What is Shea Butter Body Cream?

Mary McMahon

Shea butter body cream is a moisturizing body care product which is used to help the skin retain moisture. Moisturizers increase the flexibility of the skin, and eliminate problems caused by dry skin such as itchy or flaky skin. This moisturizing product is usually safe to use every day as part of a moisturizing routine, and can be found at many drug stores and stores which stock personal care products.

The fruit of shea trees is the source of shea butter.
The fruit of shea trees is the source of shea butter.

Body creams are designed to be spreadable. They are closely related to body butters, which are made with fats extracted from oil-rich seeds such as shea nuts, coconuts, and kukui nuts. Body butters, however, tend to be thick and can be greasy. Body creams are made from whipped oils which are lighter, easier to spread, and much less oily in texture. This makes them suitable for people with more oily skin types, as they will not significantly increase the oil content in the skin, and also for people who have trouble working body butters into their skin.

Shea butter moisturizers are good for rough areas like hands and feet.
Shea butter moisturizers are good for rough areas like hands and feet.

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A basic shea butter body cream usually includes a blend of whipped oils, with oil from shea nuts being the predominant ingredient. Stabilizers may also be added to keep the body cream from going rancid, which can happen when it is stored in moist, warm conditions such as a bathroom, a common spot for body care products. Some products are unscented so that people with odor sensitivity can use them, while others may be blended with mango, lavender, and other scents which will be absorbed into the skin along with the oils.

The best time to apply shea butter body cream is after a shower, when the skin is clean and the pores are open. The skin will rapidly absorb the cream without any white or greasy streaks, thanks to the open pores, and the body cream will help the skin stay supple instead of drying out after the shower. People may also apply body cream after washing the hands, and use shea butter body cream to touch up rough areas like the elbows and knees as needed.

For intense overnight moisturizing, some people apply shea butter body cream to the hands and feet and then slip on gloves and socks. This softens and deeply moisturizes the skin overnight; in the morning, the skin can be rubbed with a pumice stone or similar abrasive to remove dead skin which has softened overnight. This technique can be used to get rid of calluses which make the hands and feet coarse.

Discussion Comments


Shea butter creams are wonderful. They are especially great now that it's freezing cold and the air is so dry. My skin is sensitive to cold and wind, and shea butter cream just sinks right into it and makes me feel so much better. Like the article said, I put it on after showering and my skin soaks it up.

It's great for my hands as well as my legs, which really suffer in very cold weather. The skin gets ashy looking and shea butter cream gives pretty much instant results. I wouldn't make it through the winter without it!

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