(Beauty Report Card)

This Super Moisturizing Ingredient Keeps Me Hydrated & Glowing Year Round

Some people even call it “liquid gold.”

Originally Published: 
Courtesy of Marina Liao
shea butter products
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If there’s one ingredient that does wonders for my skin, it’s shea butter. In the winter, it keeps my skin from flaking and chapping when my face and hands have taken a beating from the wind and cold. In the summer, it minimizes the itchiness and dryness caused by my eczema flare-ups. My beauty drawer is stocked with shea butter products, from moisturizers to hand creams to bar soap, so to say I am a little obsessed is accurate. I know I’m not alone in this regard though, as people like Hanahana Beauty founder Abena Boamah has even built a whole brand around this fatty extract.

“In Ghana, shea butter is known as liquid gold because it is so rich with different moisturizing and nourishing benefits,” Boamah tells TZR. Her brand makes all different types of shea body butter with scented options like lavender and amber vanilla. “Because shea butter contains many fatty acids and vitamins, it's extremely hydrating and soothing for the skin.”

What are some of the aforementioned nutrients? According to Dr. Carmen Castilla, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist and clinical instructor at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City, shea butter has “a complement of fatty acids — including linoleic, oleic, palmitic, and stearic acids, that help support the skin barrier.” Now, I’m no chemist so I’ll have to Google these specific compounds and what they mean, but I trust they all work to keep my skin happy and hydrated. “[Additionally], most shea butters contain triterpene, which is great for reducing inflammation and pain,” says Emma Smith, licensed esthetician and learning and development manager at Glowbar. “[It may help with] reducing eczema-related discomfort such as itchiness and a ‘raw’ feeling.”

Since I have dry skin, it “drinks” up the shea butter and doesn’t clog up my pores. But, Smith says it’s important to note that for anyone with acne-prone skin, they should avoid the occlusive ingredient. “If you are going to use shea on the body, try to reduce excessive sweating as that can potentially lead to a body breakout,” she advises. For everyone else, slather away!

Ahead, find several TZR-approved shea butter products to try.

Drunk Elephant
Wonderwild Miracle Butter
I admit taking care of my feet is usually not part of my beauty routine, but I’m trying to make more of an effort to at least lotion down there. I’ve found that this Drunk Elephant salve is great for making my cracked heels look less, well, crackly.

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