Shea Butter, Natural Moisture for Hair

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east african nilotica shea butter captain blankenship

Shea Butter Benefits for Hair 

Extracted from the nut of the African Shea Tree, shea butter has been used traditionally for thousands of years to sooth hair and scalp and promote hair growth by African people. Naturally rich in vitamins and minerals and intensely moisturizing, it provides long-lasting nourishment from the roots to the tip of the hair. 

Shea Butter (Butyrospermum parkii) comes from the nuts of the Vitellaria paradoxa or karite tree and has been used by the people of East and West Africa on skin, hair, and nails for centuries. It contains anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties and literally melts on skin. It is high in vitamins A, E, and F; provides collagen; and is a natural emollient. It has a natural SPF of 6, which can protect your skin and hair from the damage of UV rays. A miracle treatment for dry skin, lips, body, and scalp, shea butter helps with skin elasticity. 

Shea Butter for Hair Growth

The same beautiful healing properties that shea butter has for skin apply to our scalp as well. Shea has been shown to help improve the health of the scalp and soothe conditions due to its anti-inflammatory, emollient and healing properties. It helps heal and restore the scalp and hair follicles making healthy conditions for hair growth. Shea also deeply moisturizes the scalp and helps balance sebum production. Often if we strip our hair and scalp of moisture by overwashing or using harsh products, our body reacts by overproducing sebum. Shea butter helps restore the health and balance of  our scalp and allow our hair to be it's most abundant and vibrant mane.

It is also a wonder ingredient in all-natural haircare helping to deeply nourish and moisturize hair and scalp and seal in moisture. We love it in our Sea Shine Conditioner where it softens hair and locks in moisture without weighing down your hair. You can also find shea butter in our Lime & Vetiver Cream Deodorant which leaves armpits soft and moisturized, not dry and irritated.

Sea Shine Organic Conditioner with Shea Butter

Unrefined vs Refined Shea Butter

Unrefined shea butter, which we use at Captain Blankenship, is extracted from the nuts of the Shea (Karite) tree without the use of chemicals and preservatives. Unrefined shea is naturally high in antioxidants, full of Vitamins A and E and has incredible healing qualities for skin and hair. Refined shea butter is processed with heat and chemically altered to make the ingredient colorless, scentless and increase the shelf life. The shea is deodorized to remove it's nutty scent, it is bleached to change it white from light brown and the texture is changed into a creamier consistency. It also removes most of the beneficial properties of shea butter. Unrefined Shea is buttery and sensuous with a rich texture and characteristic nutty scent. It comes from a nut, it should smell nutty. At Captain Blankenship, we formulate to celebrate the wisdom of plants and choose to honor the beauty of shea butter in its most pure, unadulterated form. Using unrefined shea on skin and hair is a pure delight for the senses and a deeply nourishing gift to our bodies.

Where is Shea Butter Sourced?

We are so proud to have secured a partnership with a cooperative supplier of organic East African Nilotica shea butter from Uganda. Friend, entrepreneur, and bone healer, Ssanyu Birigwa, has a personal history and vision to change the social, economic and environmental sustainability of Uganda. As an advocate for the women and men shea nut gatherers her focus is on supporting fair wages for work in harvesting this precious resource and supplying beauty companies like Captain Blankenship with luxurious, cold-pressed, organic shea butter. 

East African Nilotica is known for its higher percentage of fatty acids, high levels of Vitamin A and E content, and (the reason we choose it) it needs no processing so it can be enjoyed in its rawest, purest form.

ugandan shea butter collective - ssanyu birigwa

Ssanyu's roots in Uganda date back to spending summers there, as a child, with her family. 

"My father came from Katwe, an area in the city of Kampala, Uganda to the United States as a student immigrant in 1968. I spent my middle school years in Kenya and summers in Uganda where I saw first-hand the country's struggle in delivering quality healthcare. In 2007, on a research trip to Lira, in Northern Uganda, I had the opportunity to sit with women who shared with me some of their struggles of the post-civil war conflict. Many of these women were coping with family members living with AIDS/HIV, scarcity of water, unemployment, lack of funds to educate their children, and difficulties in accessing adequate healthcare services."

Ssanyu Birigwa Bone Healer & Ugandan Shea Butter Collective
In 2008, Ssanyu co-founded the Peace & Happiness Foundation in efforts to advocate for women and children. Her mission includes a dedication to the economic and social stability of the underprivileged communities of Northern Ugandan communities through fair trade business. Her personal philosophy of every human being's right to healthcare, economic stability, and creative expression, is embedded in her goal to raise awareness for initiatives that empower, educate, and strengthen individuals while restoring communities. 

Captain Blankenship is honored to collaborate in this fair trade business venture that is aligned with our own values of improving our world together. 

To read more about Ssanyu and her healing safari retreats in Kenya, please visit her website.

Read more: Ingredient Spotlight: Witch Hazel, Aloe, the Plant of Immortality

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