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Ingredient Decoder: Shea Butter

Photo via Fekkai

Earlier this year, I hit the ultimate beauty jackpot: eight bottles of free Fekkai shampoo and conditioner from their Essential Shea Collection. No, I didn’t raid the pricey Fifth Avenue salon. I was actually at a bar trivia night, and my team was divvying up a prize of donated spa goodies after winning first place. I guess no one else liked to wash their hair, because the precious Fekkai products remained untouched until I slipped them into my bag. Who knew my knowledge of Pippin and other obscure musicals would eventually pay off in the form of great hair? 

At $25 a bottle, the Fekkai shampoo and conditioners are not cheap, though I think they’re worth every penny. A high concentration of shea butter is the secret behind the rich, creamy formulas. The first time I used my trivia night loot, my thick parched locks transformed into a smooth mane, and I didn’t need to spend an hour wrestling with a flat iron. I was hooked. The Fekkai products are going to last me until the new year, but I’ve started looking for shea butter in every single cream I could find. As far as I’m concerned, too much of a good thing is still not enough. 

But what in the world is shea butter? Turns out it’s a natural moisturizer that comes from the fruit of the African karite tree. Edible in its natural form, it’s sometimes used in chocolate bars. When you slather it on your skin and hair, it restores suppleness and combats dryness and dehydration. In other words, shea butter should be a staple in your beauty routine during the cooler months. Fekkai aside, here are my top three product recommendations:

1. Korres Body Butter: Rub it into your skin post-shower, concentrating on rough spots like your elbows and knees.

2. L’Occitane Shea Butter Hand Cream: In lieu of your afternoon coffee break, take a hand cream break instead! This formula has 20 percent pure shea butter and leaves your skin velvety smooth. 

3. Organix Shea Butter Shampoo and Conditioner: The more affordable version of my precious Fekkai products. I’m not expecting everyone to run out and splurge, and this shea-rich duo is available in most drugstores.  

-Mai

P.S. If you’re in the market for a new fall moisturizer or lotion, take a minute to peruse the Birchbox Shop

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