With the warmer spring weather comes the beginning of weekend market season! This weekend I was wandering through the Upper West Side and happened upon the street market taking over most of Broadway from 98th to 111th. Among the spices, scarves and food vendors I was excited to meet an African man selling raw shea butter. We had a lovely (and informative) conversation about the origin and benefits of this moisturizer ingredient. Shea butter comes from a nut that looks similar to chestnut, from the African shea tree. African people use it for everything from cooking to cosmetics. It melts at body temperature, is easily absorbed and has a faint scent reminiscent of cocoa. It is said that shea butter can relieve skin irritation such as eczema and acne, and can fade scars and stretch marks. It also has some degree of sun protection and can reduce the effects of UV damage on the skin (so long, pigmentation!).
My current fave body lotion,Shea Moisture , has a high percentage of organic raw shea butter. I absolutely love the combination of shea butter with powerful organic ingredients frankincense (known for its toning and anti-aging properties) and myrrh. The fragrance is intoxicating - almost transporting you to a far eastern bazaar. My skin has never been softer.
I first discovered this great moisturizer at my local Duane Reade but have since seen a very similar product (ingredient / scent wise) by the brand Nubian Heritage at Whole Foods - in a slightly smaller bottle, for a few dollars more.
Either way, it's a magical product!