Shea butter body lotion is a cosmetic product made with at least some percentage of pure shea butter. Like most lotions, it is designed to alleviate and protect against dry skin. Shea butter often gives lotions a denser, richer feel, as well as increased hydrating capabilities. The primary difference between a shea butter body lotion and the butter itself is the other additives. Lotions usually blend oils and other emollients in with the butter, forming a product that is moisturizing and rich, but usually less expensive.
Nearly all of the world’s shea butter comes from Africa, where the shea tree is indigenous. The butter is well known around the world for its intense moisturizing capabilities. Getting from tree to cosmetic is not an easy process, however. The butter is essentially the stored fat of the shea nut and cannot be extracted but through an arduous routine of cracking, grating, boiling, and pressing. Most pure shea butter products are quite pricey accounting for the labor necessarily involved — costs not always born, or at least not born in full, by lotion consumers.
This is not to say that all shea butter body lotions are inexpensive. Many luxury products command quite a high price. The actual production costs are usually lower with lotions, though. Most of the time, manufacturers need only procure a small amount of she butter that can be stretched across a number of lotions and related cosmetics products.
The main point of any body lotion is to moisturize the skin. A shea butter body lotion achieves this is two ways: first, by deeply penetrating the skin’s surface, restoring hydration and moisture-rich oils to the cellular level; and second, by creating a shield on the skin that protects against future dryness. The fats of the shea butter usually interact with emollient and cream bases in the lotion to produce a skin care product capable of both healing and softening.
Exactly how healing a shea butter body lotion will be is largely a matter of concentration. In general, the higher that percentage of included butter, the more moisturizing a lotion will be. Part of the equation also rests on other lotion ingredients. The richer the base, the easier it will be for the shea to shine.
Many of the higher-end shea butter body lotion manufacturers prominently disclose how much shea is been included in their products. Cosmetics manufacturers are not generally subject to much scrutiny when it comes to their labeling practices, however. Most of the time, even the smallest dab of shea butter can enable a lotion to bear its name. Consumers who are very particular about their shea lotions would be wise to either critically read the ingredient labels, else research manufacturers before making a purchase.