- Unrefined Shea Butter is best for your skin. If it's refined, it's gone through a process and filter (refining) that may take away the Shea "nutty" scent, preservatives may have been added (that's not good!), and there is no standard in refining so you're probably not getting the antioxidants and nutrients needed to heal your skin.
- Grade is important. I can't stress this enough. Think about the eggs, milk, and bread you ingest. Check the labels, your eggs have a grade, why shouldn't your Shea butter )or anything that you rub on your skin for that matter)? For a detailed analysis of the grading process of Sheabase.com Shea butter, consult the American Shea Butter Institute's page on the grading process.
- Color is not that important. Most people have seen both yellow and ivory colored Shea butter and tend to prefer the ivory colored better. The color of Shea butter depends more on where it is from (Ghana or Burkina Faso for example), how it was extracted from the nut (traditionally by hand or cold-pressed for example), and the season of harvest (aka, the Shea Nut color) and less on how fresh or old it is. Sheabase.com tries very hard to purchase at the right times to get the ivory colored Shea butter, but we have yellow too (by request).
- Shelf Life. Treat your Shea butter good, and it will treat you good. Keep it in a cool, dry location. Over time nutrients will deplete, so try to use it within a year or so.
The 2011 Asheville Wine & Food festival at the WNC Ag. Center was a fun experience for me and sheabase.com. I met folks who loved our whipped Shea butter and purchased some (Thanks folks!), herbalists, and great conversationalist re: Africa and Fair Trade. Getting the word out to folks to just "Like" the sheabase.com facebook page and learn a little about Shea in the mean time meant a lot to me. Not all Shea butter is created equal, here's a little tidbit to help you, then next time you find yourself searching for Shea (and you've run out of your Sheabase, lol):