Shea butter has been around forever — and for good reason. This serious hydrator has been used for centuries to moisturize skin (and hair, too). It's essentially a triglyceride (a fatty acid) that’s crushed out of the nut of the African shea tree, then heated up in large vats, so that the softening oils make their way to the top.
Unlike other butters, shea butter quickly emulsifies when it hits the skin and is subtly warmed up from an elevated body temperature — that's why it effortlessly seeps into the skin, and doesn’t rest on the surface. Not only is it a superstar skin softener, it also helps heal and calm skin, thanks to essential nutrients such as omega-6 fatty acids and linoleic acid. What's more, it acts as an emollient and has anti-inflammatory properties (perfect for sensitive skin prone to irritation). Want to know about this tried-and-true natural prettifier? See our Periodic Table Of Beauty Elements, here. And, check out these shea butter-based skincare essentials — we're crazy for them.