Shea butter commonly referred to as ori is fat extracted from shea nuts with incredible properties that have made it well sought after in Nigeria. Shea butter is one of the common go-to beauty products for taking care of hair and skin. Due to the rising demand for shea butter, it is no news that some fraudulent sellers mix shea butter with additives that may cause harm to the skin or hair, to make a profit. In this article, we’ll provide you with tips to help you distinguish original shea butter from adulterated ones. Let’s dive in.
How to know original shea butter in Nigeria would be discussed below:
Check How the Shea Butter Reacts to Heat
One of the tips to check the originality of shea butter is to observe how it reacts to heat or lack thereof. At room temperature, original shea butter should be thick or semi-solid, however, if it’s whipped it’d be soft. For instance, if you keep shea butter (not whipped shea butter) in an airtight container without use, it solidifies but still retains its effectiveness.
On the other hand, when shea butter comes in contact with any form of heat or an increase in temperature, it melts. When you rub in original shea butter in between your fingers or on your palms, it should melt from the heat of the friction. Hence, original shea butter would always melt whenever it comes in contact with any form of heat or increase in temperature. So, if you see shea butter exposed to heat on the shelf of a store and it is not melting, you’ll want to avoid buying it as it might be a fake.
Pay Attention to the Smell
You can determine if shea butter is original or not from the smell it gives off when you perceive it. Original shea butter, which is unrefined, should have an earthy, nutty and smokey smell. This characteristic smell is a result of the toasting of the shea nuts during the process of making the shea butter. If you come across shea butter that smells like lotion, perfumed, or rancid, it should tell you it’s not original, and shouldn’t be bought.
Examine the Colour of the Shea Butter
The quality of shea butter can easily be identified from the colour they possess. To know an unrefined and original shea butter, it should have a cream or light yellow colour. Sometimes, however, the colour may be an ivory hue. The colour of the unrefined and raw shea butter usually depends on how it was made and the colour of the shea nuts used in making the shea butter.
In cosmetic applications, shea butter undergoes some refining processes to give it a white colour. Refined shea butter doesn’t pack the amount of nutrients that unrefined shea butter would because some nutrients are lost in the production process. You should, however, not mistake the white refined shea butter for a bleached one. If you notice shea butter is bleached, you should want to avoid getting it.
Observe the Texture of the Shea Butter
The quality of shea butter can be determined by the texture it has when applied to the skin. Original shea butter should have a creamy feel when it is applied to the skin. Adulterated shea butter would have a greasy feel and spread rather than be absorbed into the skin. Furthermore, original shea butter should melt easily without lumps when it’s rubbed between your fingers. If there are lumps when you rub shea butter between your fingers, that’s a sign that the shea butter is fake.
Alternatively, you can determine the texture of shea butter by applying and massaging a little amount of shea butter into your wrist. Original shea butter will retain its whitish colour for some time before its gradually absorbed into the skin on which the unrefined shea butter was applied. If you massage shea butter into your wrist and it immediately disappears, you shouldn’t get it as it’s fake.
Look Out for Moulds
Original unrefined shea butter has a shell life of two years after it’s been produced. As we started earlier, original shea butter would take on a semi-solid state if kept in a container at room temperature. What’s more, original shea butter would stay that way, as long as it doesn’t come in contact with heat, and as long as two years without having moulds grow on it in the container. If at any point you discover moulds are growing in your container of shea butter, it means it’s time to change it.
Taste of Shea Butter
Unrefined and raw shea butter is edible as long as you find the right kind. It is important to state that refined shea butter which is primarily produced for cosmetic purposes is not edible and shouldn’t be ingested. If you are to judge the quality of shea butter by taste, know that original shea butter would often have a mild nutty flavour and a strong earthy scent. Sometimes, people may liken the taste to be mildly sweet or to that of an egg, or something natural or fruity. So, if you don’t pick up any taste of the shea butter, then it means that it’s probably adulterated.
What are the Uses and Benefits of Shea Butter in Nigeria?
Shea butter has lots of incredible nutrients and forms a key ingredient for beauty products created to take care of the hair and skin. Below are some of the uses and benefits of shea butter in Nigeria:
- Helps improve the elasticity of the skin and prevent wrinkling
- Eases and prevents stretch marks during pregnancy
- Revitalizes damaged hair
- Moisturizes the skin
- Enhances the shine and lustre of the hair
- Effective in treating chapped lips, burns, eczema, and diaper rash in babies
- Functions as a mild sunblock against harmful ultraviolet rays
- For cooking
Adhering to the tips we’ve outlined above will help you differentiate between fake and original shea butter so you don’t fall prey to fraudulent sellers.