A-Closer-Look-At: Argan Oil

Argan Oil is hot at the moment, in the sense that it is trendy to use it
And why not? Celebrities like Beyonce are said to use Argan Oil. It is a deep, golden colored oil and is a very multi-functional product. Argan oil can be used as a skin- and hand serum and as bathing oil. It can be used by all skin-types from greasy to super dry, flaky skin types like myself. I’ve been using argan oil in the evening as a serum under my regular night cream and it’s wonderful! Flakes disappeared in a few days and the oil gave my skin a natural glow. Argan oil originates from Morrocco, where it was first used as an oil for cooking and baking. Later, it was also used for skin and hair.

Argan oil is extracted from the seeds of the Argania Spinoza tree. The argan tree grows in infertile and dry regions of south-west Morrocco. From June to September, the fruits are harvested and processed into oil.

A single tree produces about 30 kilos of argan fruit, which in turn yields 700 ml of argan oil. Until a few years ago, the seeds of the argan tree were found in goat droppings, since they were the only ones able to climb up the thorny trunk.

Nowdays, the demand is much higher and so the fallen fruits of the argan tree are collected.
The fruits are then taken to the villages to be processed.The seeds are beaten with rocks to get  the kernel out.

The fruit is used to feed livestock and the shells are used to make the fire which is needed in the extraction of the oil.

If the oil is used for consumption, the kernels are roasted before pressing to add some flavor.

After cooling down, the nuts are ground by hand. Water is added during the grinding process, so a paste will be formed. The paste is pressed by hand and what’s left is pure argan oil.

 

This labour intensive process takes about 15 hours, which makes argan oil pretty expensive.

Nowdays, this process is more and more replaced by mechanical press machines to extract argan oil. The collection and removal of the outer shell of the seed is still done by hand, but everything else is done by a machine. This saves time and eliminates the use of water, thus prolonging the shelf life of the oil.

Argan oil contains twice the amount of vitamin E found in olive oil, an anti-oxidant. It also contains a lot of lipids and fatty acids which are beneficial for the skin, including oleic acid, palmitic acid, and especially linoleic acid. It is therefore great for people with acne, as well as eczema and psoriasis.

Until next time,

Dymphy

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A-Closer-Look-At: Polymers & Plastics

Polymers & Plastics

Although I already explained polymers briefly in the article on methyl methacrylate and poly(methyl methacrylate), I wanted to write a more in depth explanation of polymers.

Aw, look at my old science notes. Brings back memories. 😉

Polymers are the result of a polymerization reaction. I think the best way to explain this is with Lego. Within Lego, you have different building bricks. You have white bricks, blue bricks, red bricks, yellow bricks and so forth. You have bricks with four studs on them, and bricks with six or eight studs. If you take a brick, and place it onto the next, you are building a column. Building with Lego has a lot of similiarities to a polymerization reaction. You have individual units of small molecules, which you can bond to each other.

I have only seen two major polymerization reactions (I’m a biologist, not a chemist, so excuse me if I exclude some possibilities) in cosmetic science. The first one is the formation of the most common polymer, by the breaking a double bond. A double bond can be found in a molecule (a brick), mostly between two carbon atoms. Oxygen is also known to form double bonds (other atoms as well).

As shown in the figure above, carbon atoms (and also oxygen atoms) are going to form a double bond to make sure to get the necessary 4 (carbon) or 2 (oxygen) bonds. In a polymerization reaction, another molecule is present to which a carbon atom can bond. The double bond breaks and both carbon atoms form the fourth bond with another molecule.

A polymer can consists of a large number (10.000+) of molecules, hence the ~ sign on both ends. Another polymerization reaction is shown in the photo of my old science journal above, when a hydroxyde (OH, also known as the ‘alcohol’ group) reacts with another hydrogen atom and thus forms water (H2O). The carbon atom then bonds with the other oxygen atom and a polymer is formed.

Polymers are considered plastics and are used in cosmetics as thickening or film forming (for instance in nailpolish) agents. If you find a plastic or a polymer in a ingredientlist, please do not flush it through the sink. The plastic ends up in the ocean, where it can contribute to the plastic soup that already is floating around there, killing sea animals by choking or contributing to the malformation of a sea animal. Rinse the product off with a make up removal wipe or by using a cotton pad and some cleanser.

I hope the topic of polymers and plastics is even clearer now. If not, just ask a question in the comments.

Until next time,

Dymphy

Read-the-Label: Embryolisse Cleansing Bar

Last Friday, I looked at triticum vulgare or wheat kernel oil, which is a component of the Embryolisse Cleansing Bar, and I was curious how the bar could be made without soap.

Let me first explain what soap is. Soap is the salt of a fatty acid and is a member of the surfactants family.
Soap is made by treating vegetable of animal oils and fats (which contain three tails) with a stong base (such as sodiumhydroxide).
The saponification (I’m not making this up) takes place by hydrolyzing and breaking up the oils into seperate tails and then mixed with the base. During this proces, glycerine is produced as a by-product. The reason soaps cleanse, is that they have a polar, water-loving head that can dissolves dirt that is water-soluble. They also have an a-polar oil-loving tail, that dissolves dirt that is soluble in oil. The reason why soap makes your skin feel dry is because while it’s cleansing, it will also wash away the natural oils (or sebum) on your skin.

So, I was quite interested in how the no-soap bar works and what the ingredients are.

Disodium lauryl sulfosuccinate, sodium coco sulfate, triticum vulgare, cetearyl alcohol, paraffin, aqua, parfum, titanium dioxide.

On first glance, I see a sulfate. I’m not sure whether or not a sulfate is considered soap. There is also some paraffin and cetearyl alcohol to moisturize the skin. There is some water added, but not much.

Disodium lauryl sulfosuccinate is a surfactant and it is a salt of a lauryl alcohol half ester of sulfosuccinic acid. So technically (as in, the chemical definition of soap), there is some soap in this cleansing bar. However, it’s emulsifying/cleansing properties are likely much less, so the skin doesn’t get stripped of all it’s sebum.

Sodium coco sulfate is a surfactant as well as the disodium lauryl sulfosuccinate. It is the less irritating version of Sodium Lauryl Sulfate. The difference of sodium coco sulfate and sodium lauryl sulfate is the degree of purification. Purified coconut oil makes sodium lauryl sulfate, unpurified coconut oil makes sodium coco sulfate. However, sodium coco sulfate doesn’t foam as well and will vary depending on the quality of the coconut crops harvested in a particular year.

So, is there soap in this bar? Well, there are no ‘traditional’ soap components, but there are some surfactants that could be classified as soap.

However, there are just two components that are classified as soap (and they do make up most of the product), but after that, the good stuff comes. For instance, Triticum Vulgare, or Wheat kernel oil, an oil with a lot of good fatty acids and vitamin E to moisturize the skin.

There is also Cetearyl alcohol, known as the “good alcohol”, one of the small group of alcohols that moisturize the skin instead of making it feel dry. It is derived from coconut oil or can be made synthetically. It is basically a mixture of fatty acid alcohols.

Paraffin is a bit of a underdog lately. It is actually an alkaline (get it? fatty acids + alkaline makes soap!) and could be used as a thickener. It won’t clog pores, because the formula will wash away during cleansing. Then there is Aqua, water; always good and Parfum. Parfum is in the formula to make the product smell nice.

Titanium Dioxide It is only used in a concentration of 1% or less, so we can safely assume that it is used to give the product it’s white color (and not to provide SPF, since it is used in a such a low concentration and will wash away during cleaning). (~could also be used as a thickening agent ~Monique) Oh, and lately I have heard that titanium dioxide is a natural compound and not a chemical. Please keep it in mind that every substance is a chemical, whether it would be water, plastic or titanium dioxide. So, a “chemical free” sunscreen claim is not correct.

So, from the ingredientlist I can conclude that there is actually soap in the no soap bar. However, the used ingredients provide for a less irritating formula than traditional soap and might be worth a try.

Until next time,

Dymphy

A-Closer-Look-At: Triticum Vulgare

I browsed through the Promakeupstore website and I clicked on the Embryolisse Cleansing Bar. First I thought that it was a soap bar, so I was curious whether or not the ingredients would be listed (contrary to regular cosmetics this isn’t obligatory for soap bars). Then, I actually discovered that the bar was soap free. So, I quickly scanned the ingredient lists, and saw Triticum Vulgare listed. The name made me curious, what is this ingredient?So, Triticum Vulgare, otherwise known as Wheat germ, Octacosanol, Octacosanol concentrate, Octa cosyl alcohol, Polycosanol, Isopolicosanol, Ateromixol is a grain.

In the Embryolisse Cleansing Bar, the oil is used. It is extracted from the kernel of the grain
It is a light yellow or reddish oil. The oil contains octacosanol and policosanol(long, saturateded alcohols which are good for the body) , the fatty acids linoleic acid (omega-6 and omega-3), palmitic acid, oleic acid and vitamin E. It is no surprise that the wheat kernel oil is used as a moisturizer. Scientist believe that it is the vitamin E that benefits the skin the most.
It is also used in the treatment of exzema, dry or irritated skin, wrinkled skin, scars and hair. However, it isn’t very wise to put pure wheat oil on your face. The oil has a drying effect on skin. If you do want to DIY with it, try an oil blend of a maximum of up to 10-15% of wheat kernel oil.
Is the oil all safe? No, people allergic to wheat or with Celiac’s disease (there is a difference between allergy and intolerance such as Celica disease) should avoid it.
Wheat kernel oil can also be taken as a supplement, but you should make sure that it doesn’t interfere with your medication. For instance, octacosanol may interfere with the Parkinson’s drug Levodopa. Policosanol may thin the blood slightly and thus should be avoided by people with potential bleeding disorders and who are taking blood-thinning drugs such as Asperin and Warfarin (Coumadin).
Until next time,
Dymphy

Read-the-Label: Ben Nye Matte HD Foundation vs. Ben Nye Media Pro Blue Neutralizer

Reader Tanimara (click on the link to see her wonderful blog! ~Monique) asked me to look at the (fairly new) Ben Nye Matte HD Foundation and the Ben Nye Media Pro Blue Neutralizer.

Copyright Tanimara Loupatty

The ingredients for the Matte HD Foundation are:
Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Copernicia cerifera (carnauba), Talc, Ozokerite, Polymethyl methacrylate, Methyl methacrylate, Crosspolymer, Silica, Kaolin, Phenoxyenthanol, Mehtylparaben, Ethylparaben, Propylparaben, Butylparaben.
May contain (+/-): Cl NO. 77489, 77491, 77492, 77499, 77891, 77289, 77288, 77007, 19140 (Iron Oxides, Titanium Dioxide, Chromium hydroxide green, Chromium oxide green, Ultramarines, Yellow 5). Parfum Free.

Copyright Tanimara Loupatty

And for the Blue Neutralizer Concealer:
Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Copernicia cerifera (Carnauba), Talc, Ozokerite, Polymethyl methacrylate, Methyl methacrylate, CrossPolymer, Silica, Kaolin, Phenoxyethanol, Methylparaben, Ethylparaben, Propylparaben, Butylparaben. May contain (+/-): Cl NO. 77489, 77491, 77492, 77499, 77891, 77289, 77288, 77007, 19140 (Iron Oxides, Titanium Dioxide, Chromium hydroxide green, Chromium oxide green, Ultramarines, Yellow 5). Parfum Free.

Copyright Tanimara Loupatty

Two things I can already tell from scanning this list:

A) They are exactly the same. If the consistancy of the concealer is slightly thicker, it means that you’ll get the reduced version of the foundation. Try this little experiment: put a little bit of foundation in a microwave-safe jar, heat it up in the microwave and see if the texture looks the same as of the concealer. If the two textures are alike, you basically have the same product in a different jar, perhaps with a bit more solvent (caprylic/capric triglyceride) than in the concealer. If that is true, go for the product that has the best price per gram. Or, if you are a pro and carry the full range of both the foundation and the concealer, you can decide to only carry the concealers, plus the R.C.M.A. Foundation Thinner (9,95 EUR for 1 oz.) and mix to create a foundation.

B) There are no silicones in this product, which means that you have to blend, blend and blend. Using your fingers, a sponge or a brush might not suffice. This formula dries very quickly; so the key is: blend fast! Or try using the R.C.M.A. thinner. This foundation and concealer are the perfect products to use on people who are allergic to silicones.

Let’s move on to the ingredientlist.

Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride: First off, I love the fact that the product isn’t water/oil based. This means that you get more bang for you buck. Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride is an extract that is derived from coconut (or palm kernel oil). It is mostly used as a moisturizing and thickening agent. It has low toxicity and it’s short tails (there are tree tails in this fatty acid!) can penentrate the lipid membrane. The short tail can penetrate cell wall membrane lipids (a lipid is a fat that is the main component of a cell membrane) from bacteria. Although you shouldn’t bet that caprylic/capric triglycerice can be used as a preservative, it’s good to know that it’s able to contribute to the stability and safety of the product.

Copernicia cerifera (Carnauba) is a palm tree of which the wax is used. The wax coats the leaves to prevent loss of water, so it’s logical that it also creates a film on your skin. To obtain the wax, the leaves are dryed in the sun for days. The wax turns to dust, and is removed by threshing. It is melted, strained and cooled. This wax is the hardest natural wax available. Wax is harder than fat (for instance, you can punch butter (dutch proverb), but I wouldn’t try it with wax), it has a higher melting point and doesn’t become rancid. It can be used as a thickening agent, and it can absorb oil.

Talc absorbs oil as well, and together with the wax, it creates a matte finish. Talc is a mineral, and consists of hydrated magnesium silicate (meaning that water is added). It is grounded into a soft powder, mostly in small flakes. To be used in cosmetics, talc is milled and purified. Next to absorbing oil, and as a bulking agent, it gives the skin a silky smooth feel. Talc is perfectly safe. If it is in powder form (as in, a loose foundation or another powder), it is harmless should you inhale it (but as with everything, inhaling too much is never a good thing obviously).

Ozokerite is another wax, and it’s closely related to mineral oil. In India it is used as an alternative for Vaseline. Polymethyl methacrylate and Methyl methacrylate are like a big brother and a little brother. Most often, polymethyl methacrylate is made from methyl methacrylate. Actually, the correct listing of polymethyl methacrylate is Poly(methylmethacrylate), because poly(methylacrylate) could be a crosspolymers and belong to the group of acrylates. I’m not sure if I like it; it is acutally a form of plastic and we labrats (ok, inside joke, I know) like to handle acrylate very cautiously. In this formula, it is used as a surfactant. Whether it is good or bad I leave it up to you (I’m a bit torn), but remember: if it isn’t safe, it probably wouldn’t have been FDA approved. However, don’t flush this down the sink; we dont want to add even more to the plastic soup that is already floating in our oceans.

Silica, otherwise known as Silicon dioxide or ‘Sand’ is used to thicken the product and to absorb oil. Don’t inhale it to0 often (just like talc, it will clog your lungs!), but obviously that won’t be a problem with this cream product. Funny fact: drinking 10 mg a day of silica for over 10 years could decrease dementia. I guess we all know Kaolin, clay from the famous clay masks. It absorbs oil and thickens the product.

Phenoxyethanol is an alcohol, and acts like a preservative. Other preservatives are Methylparaben, Ethylparaben, Propylparaben, Butylparaben (and correctly listed by form: least to most carbon atoms – a funny fact that I love. Call me a geek if you like). This group contains the most effective and safest preservatives available, and phenoxyethanol is very effective against bacteria and yeast.

The “may contain” section contains numbers and names. The numbers match the names listed between the brackets. These are the pigments that are used to give the product the color. So, in this context, the “may contain” indicates that it is used, but in very small amounts. So, for instance, don’t count that the Iron Oxides and the Titanium Dioxide will provide any sun protection because they are used in a very low amount. The iron oxides are a group of well, compounds that exist of iron and oxide. In this formula, they are used as pigment. This group can range from yellow to rose/red/brown. This is mainly because of the iron in it. Titanium dioxide is white. Chromium hydroxide green and Chromium oxide green are both green (in case you hadn’t guessed yet). The difference between Chromium hydroxide green and Chromium oxide green is that Chromium hydroxide green has one extra hydrogen atom. And last, we have Ultramarines and Yellow 5, and they turns out to be blue (because of a sulfide anion) and yellow. 😉

This cream product is a cream because of it’s many thickening agents and the ozokerite. There are a lot of oil absorbers in this product as well, which makes this product great for oily/combined skin. It’s not as suitable for people with dry skin, unless they mosturize well before use. I love the fact that there is no water in this product, which makes it less suseptable to pathogens (bacteria, yeast, etc.). But they actually have no chance at all with it’s well balanced preservative mix of at least four different kinds of parabens and phenoxylethanol. The only thing that could be a worry for some are the acrylates in these products; polymethyl methacrylate and methyl methacrylate. It’s not that bad, but you shouldn’t flush it down the sink.

Tanimara, I hope you liked this ingredient review of your products and I hope that your questions were answered. If not, you can always leave a comment for me to answer.

Out of my own curiousity, I will do a post on Acrylates next Friday, see you then!

Until next time,

Dymphy

A Closer Look At: Hemp Oil

Yes people, today the subject is Hemp (Seed) oil. Many of you will immediately think about drugs when they hear the word “Hemp”. However, Hemp is so much more than just the drug. But, I couldn’t ignore the fact that Hemp is used to create cannabis and to make my story complete, I will include it as well.

Hemp (Cannabis) as a drug
From the Hemp (or Marijuana) plant genus, Cannabis Sativa is used to create cannabis. The tops of the female plant is used to create the drug, because it is high in Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). The THC provides the high, while the CBD playes an unknown role in the process of getting high. Besides THC and CBD there are other 400 compounds that are also considered to be part of the cannabinoids group (substances that activate cannabinoid receptors, little “antenna’s” on top of your cells. Marijuana which is rich in THC (and therefore is considered as a high quality), is less likely to induce anxiety than vice versa.

Sometimes, Marijuana is used as a medicine. This is not so surprising. Used in lower doses than the average “recreative” Marijuana user does, it can relieve pain. Actually, the main dogma of toxicology is that “the dose makes a substance a poison or a medicine”. In theory, if you dillute mustard gas enough, it could be used as a medicine. However, since already the tiniest amount of mustard gas is deadly, it is impossible to do so in real life and hence mustard gas is considered as a poison. This dogma applies to everything: water, potatoes, coffee; if you consume a lot of it, it could be deadly. However, since the poisenous effects only kicks in after large amounts (I believe coffee is deadly after 40 cups an hour), it is not considered a poison.

It is still debated whether or not hemp is healthy or not if you smoke it. For instance, studies shows that THC improves the life span of mice with lungcancer, breastcancer or leukemia. Before we go into discussion whether or not the hemp oil in the O.C.C. Lip Tars  is tested on animals, let me say that every ingredient is tested – if it is used in medication or looks promising to be used as a medication, which includes nearly everything, including the tea that you might be drinking right at this very moment. If you’re really into buying cosmetics that isn’t tested on animals, look at the company, which makes O.C.C. good and MAC bad.

Back to the mice. The mice lived longer despite having cancer, but other research shows that regular use of THC could cause testicular cancer. Also, cannabis could help men as a substitute for viagra, but it is entirely possible a man could experience more negative effects than positive. (Sp!ts, 16-5-2012, http://www.spitsnieuws.nl/archives/binnenland/2012/05/wietplant-toe-aan-psychiater

Other uses
The Hemp plant is used for more than just drugs. For instance, the fibres from the stem can be made into jewellery (mostly bracelets and such), clothing, the inner lining of your car. The seeds of the hemp plant can be eaten. Funny fact: in 2003, 95% of the hemp seeds were used to feed animals. For these products, another species of the Cannabis genus is used, mostly Cannabis indica or Cannabis ruderalis. They are low in THC, so there is no reason why you should get high using Liptars, wearing it on your lips (or actually eat a bit of Liptar – and we all eat lipstick and lipgloss, unwillingly). Another funny fact: most of the typical marijuana smell comes from the amount of THC in the plant. High amount, strong smell; low amount not so pervasive smell. I have been told (okay, I googled it) that the Marijuana smell is a very bad mixture of herbal tea and wet dog.

Hemp in cosmetics
Hemp is very effective as an emmolient/moisturizer. In cosmetics, the seed oil is used. About 44% of the seed contains (edible) oil. The oil contains about 80% of essential fatty acids, linolei acid, omega-6, alpha-linolenic acid, omega-3, gamma-linolenic acid, stearidonic acid and proteins. Hemp seed oil is therefore considered very heatlhy; in one tablespoon, the human daily requirement of linoleic acid and alpha-linolenic are easily met. If you intend to ingest the oil, be aware that hemp seed oil can turn rancid pretty quickly: store it properly by using dark (brown) bottles and store it cold, preferebly in the refrigerator of freezer (the freezing point of hemp oil is -20 degrees celcius. Majority of the freezers only go to -18 degrees celcius, so it should stay liquid).

Because hemp seed oil is so rich, it has, besides being an effecient moisturizer, anti-inflammatory properties. One example of hemp seed oil being used is in the O.C.C. Liptars. In the liptars, next to hemp seed oil, peppermint oil is used. Peppermint oil can irritate the skin, so therefore it was a very smart move to include hemp oil as well, as it calms the skin and moisturizes it.

I hope I made it clear that you shouldn’t be afraid if you see hemp seed oil listed in an ingredientlist. Hemp is a very multi-functional plant, can be used as a moisturizer and can calm the skin.

Until next time,

Dymphy

A Closer Look At: Shea Butter

Vitellaria paradoxa

Today I want to highlight an ingredient – Vitellaria paradoxa. Perhaps you might have heard of it, with it’s more common name: Shea or Karité Butter. The name ‘shea’ comes from ‘s’í’, the name of the tree in Bamana (spoken in Mali). ‘Karité’ comes from ‘ghariti’, the equivalent in Wolof (spoken in Senegal). It used to be listed as Butyrospermum parkii, but has changed recently to Vitellaria paradoxa.

I think I’m going to refer it as shea butter from now on – so I don’t make any more spelling errors than necessary 😉

Shea butter is an oil that is solid at room temperature (around 20 degrees celcius) from the Shea tree (Vitellaria paradoxa).

The tree grows in central Africa, in a range of nearly 5,000 km from Senegal to Uganda. The tree is perennial, meaning that it grows for more than two years – most trees do so anyway). The first fruit comes from the tree is when it’s about 10 – 15 years old, and production is in full swing when the tree is about 20 – 30 years old. For 200 years, the tree produces nuts.

The fruits are plum shaped and need to ripen for 4 – 6 months. The avarage yield is 15 – 20 kilograms of fresh fruit per tree, with a maximum up to 45 kilograms. Each kilogram of fruit yields about 400 grams of dry seeds – per tree it is 400 grams x 15 kilograms, about 6000 gram of nuts – and that for about 200 years!

The oil (or butter) is extracted from the nuts. Traditionally, first the outer pulp (the fruit) is removed and the nut is dried. After drying, the nuts are separated from the outer. This can be done with an machine (but there is controversy whether those nuts are still useful), but mostly it is done by eldery women and young girls, by cracking the shells with small rocks.

Then, the nuts must be crushes.This is done with heavy pestles, slamming them into mortars. This is a very heavy and long proces. 

The crushed nuts are then roasted in huge pots over open wood fires. The pots must be stirred constantly with wooden paddles so the butter does not burn. The butter is heavy and stirring is hard under the african sun. This is also where the slightely smokey scent comes from traditional shea butter originates from.

 

 

After the roasting, the nuts are ground into a smoother paste, water is gradually added and the paste is mixed well by hand. The paste is kneaded by hand in large basins and water is gradually added to help separate out the butter oils. As they float to the top, the butter oils, which are in a curd state, are removed and excess water squeezed out.

The butter oil curds are then melted in large open pots over slow fires. A period of slow boiling will remove any remaining water, by evaporation.

 

Collecting and shaping: The shea butter, which is creamy or golden yellow at this point, is ladled from the top of the pots and put in cool places to harden. Then it is formed into balls. In the cosmetic industry, shea butter can be refined, either with chemicals such as hexane or by clay filtering.
The shea butter extract is a mixture of fat that contains, besides many components that can’t react with an alkali (a strong base, such as sodiumhydroxide) to become a soap, a diversity of fatty acids like oleic acid (40-60%), stearic acid (20-50%), linoleic acid (3-11%), palmitic acid (2-9%), linolenic acid (<1%) and arachidic acid (<1%).  Shea butter is a rich source of antioxidants, including epicatechin gallate, gallocatechin, epigallocatechin, gallocatechin gallate, and epigallocatechin gallate, as well as quercetin (Source: Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, October 2003, pages 6268–6273).
Because shea butter is a product formed by nature, the concentration of these oils may vary.

Shea butter is mostly used in cosmetics and medicinal ointments as a base or because of it’s moisturizing properties. Shea butter is solid, but its melting point is very close to the temperature of the human body (37 degrees Celcius), so that after a bit of rubbing, the butter becomes liquid again so it can be easily spread and absorbs quickly into the skin.

Take for instance the Embryolisse Essential Dry Skin Balm, in which shea butter is the main component, or the Embryolisse Lait Creme Concentre or Lait Fluide.

Shea butter gives it it’s great moisturizing properties.

For the dutch readers: here is Beautytreat’s review of the Baume Secours  ~Monique

Some soap makers love to add shea butter in small amounts (5-7% of the total of oils used) because it leaves a small amount of oil in the soap (the parts of the oil that do not transform to a soap, as written above). Some of the components of shea butter are reported to be anti-inflammatory, moisturizing and humectant properties. It also can be used as a sunblocking lotion (but I would’nt DIY with it – not unless you have a tried and tested recipe). Oh, and if you are allergic to latex, watch out with Shea butter, because there might be chance for a cross-allergy (another example for a cross-allergy is that if you are allergic to peaches, you also might be allergic to birch because of the allergens (the substance which the body reacts to in case of an allergy) look a lot alike.

Until next time,

Dymphy