I love double-duty beauty products, not only because they save me tons of money, but also because they help to cut clutter in my bathroom. And one do-it-all cream that I can't seem to get enough of is shea butter.
The buttery cream is made from nuts of the African shea tree and is generally sourced from Ghana and other West African countries. A New York City train ride to West 125th Street in Harlem connects me with street vendors who are selling ivory and yellow chunks of raw shea butter stuffed into plastic containers. The labels list its many uses, including dry skin relief, dark spot corrector, shaving cream and hair conditioner. But as my Instagram followers reveal, the beauty benefits of shea butter are endless.
And I've gathered more evidence that everyone -- from celebrities to women we've met on the street -- are slathering on the multipurpose product from head to toe.
Overnight body moisturizer
"I love this shea butter, because I put it on and I feel like, when I go home and I go to bed I take my clothes off, I feel like I’ve just put lotion on. And I only put it on once a day. I use the cream for my feet and I put socks on at night." - Taraji P. Henson, actress
"I started using African shea butter oil for the winter time because it's good for windburn and super dry skin. My cheeks have started to get red and discolored in the cold, and I've been trying to use that -- it seems to be working so far." - Lindsay Walsh, Fine Arts grad student
Instant dry skin remedy
"I use shea butter on my hands when they get really dry because I have a little left over from Ghana. The ones here are refined and have lots of other products in them. The ones in Ghana are pure shea butter. It's really hard, so I mix it up with oil, like olive oil, and then use that." - Asantewaa Prempeh, filmmaker
DIY skincare ingredient
"When you're a person who cares about the ingredients like I do, it's really exciting. [Juice Beauty] products are all natural, organic and cruelty free. They use avocado, shea butter, sesame seed, sunflower seeds, aloe and fresh juices." - Alicia Silverstone, actress and Juice Beauty skincare creator
Curly hair definer
"I think for your hair, you don't have to go to the store and buy all the expensive products. You can just get some shea butter or any natural oils, even olive oil, and they make your curl pattern come out much more defined." - Andrea Thomas, model
This feature was originally published on November 26, 2013.
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