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Shea Butter Grades


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Is there such thing as shea butter grades? I know there is refined, unrefined and ultra refined, but is there a chart that tells what each one does or has in it? I hope I am making some sense here.

Here is kind of an example of what I am looking for:

Unrefined shea butter - 100% blah blah, 98% blah blah

Refined shea butter - 75% blah blah, 50% blah blah

Ultra Refined shea butter - 45% blah blah, 30% blah blah

Know what I mean?

Right now I am using refined shea butter (because the unrefined is just too smoky for me and comes out in the product). One of my wholesale clients (first one ever to ask!) wants to know the difference between using refined and unrefined and I really don't know what to say.

Anyone got some proof out there that I can document? Any help is greatly appreciated!!

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Some long and hopefully not too boring info I have found in my internet travels lol:

High quality Grade A Shea Butter has two important factions for skin and hair care.

The saponifiable faction is the moisturizing faction. The nonsaponifiable faction is the healing faction. It is the nonsaponifiable faction that separates Shea from the rest of the oils and butters. The saponifiable faction is composed of neutral fats and fatty acids.

The nonsaponifiable faction is composed of Phytonutrients, Vitamin A, and Vitamin E.

The Phytonutrients are good for cell regeneration and wound healing. They are anti-inflammatory and have an SPF factor of about 3-4.

Vitamin E is an antioxidant and also good for microcirculation.

Vitamin A repairs skin and works on the germinal layer of the skin. The germinal layer is where new skin cells are produced and vitamin A is very important to the healthy mechanism of this layer. It normally takes 4-6 weeks for the stem cells in the germinal layer to migrate to the top layer of skin. The germinal cells undergo important metabolic changes during this migration and Vitamin A is important in this change. That is why it normally takes about 4-6 weeks for the smoother softer skin caused by the use of shea butter.

Elastin is the protein that allows the skin to stretch and recoil. It is elastic in nature and is what gives the skin the supple youthful resilience. An enzyme called Elastase is the cause for the degradation of Elastin. As we age this enzyme plays a greater role in this breakdown.

In Shea Butter the triterpines Lupeol and Beta-Amyrin, as well as Vitamin A and Cinnamic Acid have all shown to inhibit Elastase activity. If the levels of these ingredients are sufficient in Shea Butter it is reasonable to conclude that regular use may retard the destruction of Elastin, helping to keep the skin supple and resilient. It is these ingredients that help determine the quality and the age of Shea Butter. As the useful age of Shea Butter is about 18 months. As Shea Butter ages the Cinnamic Acid value drops and more free fatty acids develop.

The anti-inflammatory agents in Shea Butter make it excellent for eczema. It can help with psoriasis but it takes a very long time and not everyone is helped.


Shea Butter Profile

Botanical Name- Butyrospermum parkii

Origin- Africa

Extraction- Cold Pressed

Shelf life- 1 year optimal

Notes- Because of its raw state the scent of this butter is seen as quite unusual to other butters. Store in a dark, cool location.


Color- Grey/Off White

Odor- Nutty with unusual penetrating smell

Free Fatty Acids- 1%

Peroxide Value- Less then 5.0

Non-Saponifiables- 6%

Saponification Value- 165-185

Iodine Value- 50-70

Total Saturated- 39-60

Total Monounsaturated- 40-48

Total Polyunsaturated- 4-10 Fatty Acids

Oleic- 38-50%

Palmitic- 3-9%

Linoleic- 2-9%

Stearic- 34-45%


Don't know if these will help answer your questions.. the first article left me wanting more info lol.. but I've not been able to find much more.. HTH

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