Do you know what a lab Certified “Grade A” Shea Butter is? I didn’t, but once I learned, I threw away all but one of my existing Shea Butter products. From now on, I am not putting ANYTHING on my skin that isn’t “Grade A” Shea Butter.
I don’t want any to use any Shea Butter that does not meet this high-grade standard once I understood what it means: a poor grade Shea is not just less effective, it could be moldy, rancid, or contaminated.
I found that out when doing research about Smoothly Shea UnRefined Shea Butter, which is a very high-quality unrefined Shea Butter suitable for use on skin, hair, and for homemade Shea Butter items such as lip balms and soaps. Unrefined Shea Butter has the important bioactive nutrients that refined Shea Butter lacks. If your Shea Butter experience has been just okay, consider a quality grade unrefined Shea.
The Shea refining process removes potential contaminants but also removes most of the bioactive and moisturizing agents of Shea Butter
I WAS RELUCTANT TO USE AN UNREFINED SHEA: HOW DO I KNOW IF IT IS ANY GOOD OR EVEN SAFE?
I was leery about using unrefined Shea Butter not knowing if it is fresh, pure or even safe, so I did research. There is no governmental requirement to test Shea Butter, so some poor quality Shea, even rancid Shea, is indeed available for sale. So how does one go about finding a trustworthy unrefined Shea Butter?
This article addresses two topics: How to find a safe, pure Unrefined Shea Butter and a product review of a Grade A Premium Shea: the Smoothly Shea Unrefined Shea Butter.
IMPORTANT TAKEAWAY: Independent Shea Butter Vendors can get their Unrefined Shea Butter tested and certified for quality, freshness, purity, potential contaminants and overall safety. Smoothly Shea brand voluntarily submits their Shea Butter batches for testing and sells that which is certified with Premium Grade A.
HOW TO KNOW IF YOU CAN TRUST AN UNREFINED SHEA BUTTER
How do you know if a Shea Butter is old, contaminated, moldy, or if it has gone rancid or worse? Researching unrefined Shea Butters leads to the Shea Institute, an organization that tests and grades unrefined Shea Butter.
Shea Institute gives independent Shea Butter vendors the ability to voluntarily test each batch and get a letter grade rating of the Shea quality based on these lab results. This means vendors can assure their customers that they sell only pure, fresh, quality unrefined Shea Butter free of preservatives and consumers can purchase pure unrefined Shea they trust that is a safe product. It is a WIN-WIN for independent vendors and consumers.
This is a big contrast to many commercial products with Shea Butter in it. Because if a Shea Butter has gone rancid, the Shea Institute will assign it a grade of “D”, but that Shea can still be sold and used in product manufacturing. Few Shea Butters earn a Grade A certification.
I have probably unknowingly bought some rancid Shea Butter products over the years, the rancidity masked by added fragrances such as lavender oil. One clue that a Shea Butter may be very old or even rancid if it causes acne breakouts, because an unrefined “Grade A” Shea actually TREATS acne. So I was impressed by what level of freshness and quality is entailed by qualifying to be a “Grade A” Shea Butter that from now on “Grade A” Shea Butter is the only kind I am going to buy.
WHAT EXACTLY IS INVOLVED IN UNREFINED SHEA BUTTER LAB TESTING?
According to the Shea Institute website, the analysis includes:
- Physical Assessment of Shea
- Chemical Assessment of Shea
- Moisture Content
- Toxin, Metal, and Containment Testing
- Microbiological Analysis
- Peroxide Values
- Fatty Acid Profile
- Rancidity Values
- Shelf-Life Studies
This testing also includes testing for Lead, Mercury, Mold, Yeast, Products of rancidity, Coliform bacteria (Shigella, E.Coli, Salmonella, etc.) and unsanitary products.
This addressed my concerns of how do I know I am getting a quality unrefined Shea that is safe for use on skin and is both pure and fresh. I didn’t even think about before now that Shea Butter COULD contain some of those things. Yuck.
Smoothly Shea Unrefined Shea Butter is Certified Grade A and Certified Organic by the American Shea Butter Institute (ASBI).
ABOUT THE SMOOTHLY SHEA UNREFINED SHEA BUTTER
As a Certified Grade A Shea Butter, Smoothly Shea has not only passed freshness, purity and safety tests but surpasses levels testing for higher and better bioactive nutrients counts. With superior bioactive fraction counts, this leads to a more powerful Shea Butter to address issues like wrinkles, sunburns, scalp itchiness, acne, stretch marks, and insect bites. It can also be used as a shaving cream, for frost bite, and for cracked skin on the feet.
The protective barrier nature of Shea butter can be used for soothing chemotherapy burns. In this case, it is especially important to use an only a high grade, uncontaminated Shea. Other protective barrier uses include soothing psoriasis, dermatitis, and eczema.
Shea Butter also soothes sore joints and is useful to apply before exercising and useful for those with arthritis. Shea is also used to moisturize hair and treat scalp disorders and is recommended for hair loss due to scalp conditions.
MY EXPERIENCE WITH USING SMOOTHLY SHEA UNREFINED SHEA BUTTER
Only small amounts are needed to rub between the palms to melt it (like coconut oil) and apply. It smells slightly nutty. As seen in the video, it takes a bit longer than lotion to apply, but less time than commercial product butter I have gotten at the mall. The color of Premium Shea is different than I expected, a golden-ivory, and the feel is completely different, it is not a hard waxy feel that is difficult to rub onto the skin, it melts on contact and is soothing when applied.
MY SHEA TEST CASE: My feet are dry and cracked after a long hard winter, and it only took only a tiny amount to cover my feet AND hands. I have only used it a few times, but my dry cracked hands and feet look younger and feel much softer. It dries down to a non-greasy protective layer that you can feel and it visually leaves the skin appearing dewy but not fake-looking, just healthy. It lasted through several hand-washings during the day and my hands were still soft, which is unusual for me. There is a slightly remaining nutty scent that is a bit more fragrance than I tend to wear, but I think it would be acceptable for a scent-free office.
Want to see the testing results for yourself? Smoothly Shea will make their ASBI premium “Grade-A” certification lab testing reports findings available upon request.
THE PRODUCT SIZE
I expected unrefined Shea to come in some large, messy plastic tubs where the Shea seems to have a waxy, lumpy cream cheese type consistency because that is what I have seen available for sale. So at first, I was surprised at an 8-ounce jar for the price. While it is an unrefined butter, it is firm, dense, and solid. This is not whipped or combined with any other ingredients. There are no additives or fillers, it is just the Shea. This is better to me than the larger tubs since I have no means of removing the impurities that come in these larger unrefined Shea tubs, I am happy to find a product from a vendor that removes all the gunk for me and sells me only the pure product: it is like a refined unrefined Shea – all the goodness of the bioactives in the unrefined with none of the unwanted risks.
Most commercially available products from well-known brands such as L’Occitane and Sephora will use refined Shea. When I used these products, my skin and hair were softer but nothing special, not the fuss one hears about online about pure unrefined Shea Butter. And some Shea Butter products have given me acne and all my Shea Butters felt waxy after application, this one does not, it is soft and there no absolutely no waxy feel.
Even with daily use, This jar will last me a while, but I would not hesitate to re-order it and I only plan on buying Shea Butter that displays a Grade A certification from now on. It is a smaller container than some Shea Butters which come in a larger vat but Smoothly Shea is pure and a little bit goes a long way. I prefer knowing it is the safety of a regulated product with all the goodness and quality of a natural and pure Shea.
I am very pleased to have found this product and to know I should be selective in future my Shea purchases.
Find it at Amazon.com – and don’t forget to use the coupon!
I received this product in exchange for my unbiased review and I was compensated for my time and effort, however, my experience with the product and the opinions expressed in this review are 100% mine.