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Très Shea
Shea Butter Bath & Body
By Melissa Miller

Shea butter, although it's been around forever, is now a big buzzword in the cosmetics world. Having been a fan for years as it keeps my dry skin in complete check, I've tried every shea butter product I could find.

Here's a bit about shea as well as some glorious products that contain this magic butter.

About the Butter
Shea Butter is known to promote cell growth, improve skin elasticity, prevent stretch marks and provide natural sun protection against UV rays. Its healing and disinfecting properties are largely due to its high content of unsaponifiable fatty acids.

These fatty acids treat and heal eczema, psoriasis, chapped, chafed skin, razor burn, diaper rash, minor cuts and scars. It also moisturizes and protects the scalp, and revitalizes damaged and processed hair.

With all these wonderfully therapeutic benefits it's not surprising that shea has found its way into a variety of skin care items.

Lather Up the Butter
The first place to start on our shea shopping voyage? In the bath, of course. L'Occitane's Honey Shea Butter Shower Cream ($15.00 for 8.4oz) is a warm, scentful pleasure.

This rich emulsion will leave your skin clean and feeling like "buttah." The shower cream is available in a variety of scents including Bourbon Vanilla, Chestnut, Fig, Lavender, Milk, Sweet Lemon and Verbena at

An all-natural option is the Butter Cream Body Wash from Chelmsford Herbal Soap Company ($11.50 for 8oz). Containing mango, kukui nut, cocoa and shea butters, seaweed extract and coconut oil, this nourishing cleanser leaves out the sodium laurel sulfate and other harsh detergents, making it ideal for perpetually parched and sensitive skin. It's available in Shea and Vanilla Sugar, Kukui Nut and Milk Chocolate, Mango and Grapefruit, and Cocoa Butter and Coconut Suntan.

Splurge on Frédéric Fekkai's luxe Moisturizing Body Wash with Shea Butter ($20 for 8oz). The wash has a clean Provençal fragrance that lingers on the skin.

Combine this with the matching Shea Butter Body Scrub ($27.50 for 6oz) and Shea Butter Body Cream ($34 for 6oz) for a complete spa bath experience. The Frédéric Fekkai line is available at and

DOUX Shea Butter SoapsIf you're a bar soap fan, you must try French Soaps, Ltd. Doux Soaps ($24.00 for 3 bars). These exquisite, creamy oval bars are handcrafted in France and loaded with shea butter. Mimosa, Jasmine, Thé Vert (green tea), Muguet, Fleur d'Orange and Pepins de Raisin (grapeseed) are a few of the elegant fragrances available.

You can also opt for an elegantly packaged box and gift card with Verveine (verbena), Miel (honey) and Lavande soaps ($28.00 for a box). This makes a beautiful gift with a European feel. Find these at

Wash Your Hands

For your hard-working clappers try Shea Butter Moisturizing Liquid Soap ($19.50 for two 8.4oz bottles) from the lush Italian line Elariia, made by Perlier. This thick and creamy hand wash in a delicious white almond scent is gentle on the hands, leaving them lightly moisturized after each use.

The Elariia Shea Butter range is beautifully packaged, making it a great gift pick. The line also includes shower and bath cream, body lotion, shampoo and conditioner.

L'Epi Provence's shea butter hand soaps ($9.75 for 3 bars) are an attractive and fragrant addition to any bathroom. These superbly moisturizing soaps are available in a variety of delightful scents including Verbena, Tangerine, Honey, Linden, Lavender and Grapefruit. Check out the rest of L'Epi Provence's line including Shea Butter Body Crème ($15.50 for 8.4oz) and Shower Gel ($11.50 for 8.7oz) in their perfect Grapefruit scent. Find L'Epi Provence at

Shea Scrub and Soak

A Zaftig Woman has created one of the most lavish body scrubs I've ever had the pleasure of using. Composed of shea butter, oils and turbinado sugar, Sugared Shea Scrub ($14 for 4 oz.) leaves the skin smooth and soft, without the need for any additional body lotion or cream. Try this in the juicy Pamplemousse scent.

For the bath, drop in Flower Peddler's fragrant Fizzing Bath Bloomers ($4 for 3 Bloomers at These "effervescent bath pills" fill the tub with softening olive oil and shea and cocoa butters. They are available in a variety of scents, including China Rain, Chamomile Bergamot, Basil Lime, and Almond.

Slather on the Butter
For hands, feet, elbows, stretch marks, eczema and psoriasis, 100% shea works wonders. Olive Tree Soaps carries some of the best 100% shea butter I've ever used. It's creamy but not grainy or overly greasy. Check them out online at

You purchase it in bulk, so it's quite the deal ($5.85 for 1lb). It arrives in less than glamorous packaging (a plastic bag), but you're getting a fantastic wholesale price on high quality shea.

Epicurean Soap Company 100% Shea Butter ($15 for 8oz) in seven lovely scent blends including Beautiful, with essential oils of roses and cinnamon, and Passion, a heavenly grapefruit, lavender and vanilla mix. Epicurean's shea isn't the least bit greasy and leaves the skin wonderfully scented all day.

A variation on 100% shea is Little Shop of Beauty Whipped Shea Butter in Strawberry Parfait ($13.95 for 4oz), containing mostly shea with a bit of almond and vitamin E oils mixed in. This glides on without any stickiness or oil, leaving a delectable fruity fragrance on your skin.

For moisturizing that is somewhere between 100% shea butter and body creams and lotions, you may want to try shea body butters and balms. Body butters traditionally have a more buttery texture and tend to be more thick and dense than creams.

Cheri's Country Cottage Body Butter ($14.84 for 4oz) contains a healing and softening mix of shea and mango butters, jojoba, vitamin E, carrot and calendula oils. This butter leaves a light sheen on the skin, without any oily residue.

It's available in an array of scents including my favorite, Summer Breeze, which is a soft blend of peach, pear, damask rose, vanilla and green notes. Other popular scents include Citrus Zinger, Ginger Fig, Exotic Jasmine and Vanilla Cream.

Prairieland Herbs recently introduced their Shea Butter Body Balm ($9 for 2oz), with olive oil and shea infused with plantain, beeswax and vitamin E oil. It's perfect for any areas that need extra moisture. I sampled this in both refreshing Lemongrass and soothing Blackberry.

More Creamy, Less Buttery

For body creams that are more creamy and less buttery, try Cottage Shoppe's Cottage Shoppe Body ButterBody Butter ($4.95 for 4oz) with a whopping 30% percent shea butter.

This thick cream is absorbed immediately, leaving you soft and scented. Popular fragrances in the are Grapefruit Vanilla, 7-Up, Winter Morning, Mandarin Vanilla, Lemon Sugar and Mon Cherie (an exact duplication of Annick Goutal Petite Cherie).

Little Shop of Beauty carries another fine shea body product, Dreamy Whip Body Creme ($12.95 for 4oz) with olive oil and shea and cocoa butters.

This cream will definitely do the trick for dry, cold weather skin; try it in the Lemon Creme Pie fragrance, a mouth-watering vanilla and lemon aroma, or in Cinnamon Buns, the exact scent of the scrumptious, freshly baked treat.

Simply Scents has expanded their range of body moisturizers with a splendidly rich Body Butter ($6 for 6oz), containing shea along with sunflower and olive oils. Yuzu (Japanese grapefruit), Perfect Love (a sexy, buttery vanilla), Ginger Soufflé (a dead-on duplicate of Origins Ginger fragrance), and Vanilla Caramel are all best-selling scents.

Shea Lite

Laura Mercier body lotion
For lighter hydration, try a body lotion with shea butter. Laura Mercier's Body Lotion ($40 for 8oz) has a luxurious, non-greasy texture and is available in two delightfully sweet scents, Au Lait and the new Tarte au Citron at

Ignore the price and be decadent - you need one of these gems after a hard day at the office. Your skin and your senses will thank you.

For a moisturizer with a delicate, pleasing fragrance, opt for Terra Nova Revitalizing Lotion ($16 for 10oz). This quickly absorbed emulsion is enriched with aloe vera, comfrey, shea and vitamins A, D and E, and scented in Shea Blossom, a blend of citrus, ginger, spice and jasmine.

For a unique shea experience, try Carol's Daughter Shea Spray in Ocean ($12 for 6oz). This light hydrator sprays on a fresh marine whiff and a healthy dose of shea butter.

For those with extremely sensitive skin, Cheri's Country Cottage Shea Butter All Purpose Cream is a must-have. ($10.84 for 2oz). This heavy-duty treatment is gentle, unscented and rich in shea (75%) and avocado butters, and flaxseed, rose hip and Omega 3, 6 and 9 oils. It can be used all over the face and body, as well as on babies' tender skin.

For a bit of glimmer and color - and who doesn't need that - smooth on Yinka's Bühtê-Smüth (pronounced Boo'tae Smõõth) Type II Bling-Bling Cocktail ($15 for 2oz). This chocolate-minty scented mix of almond oil and shea and cocoa butters contains mica, to give your "booty" a shimmery, bronze glow. From

Hands and Feet

Give your hard-at-work hands a break with L'Occitane's Hand Cream, containing  20% shea butter. Used at night under gloves, this treatment will rejuvenate your over-worked hands.

Packaged in an aluminum tube with European apothecary charm, this makes a gorgeous gift.

Mario Russo ABC Crème ($15.50 for .5oz) is my new favorite nail and cuticle treatment. All natural with high amounts of shea and beeswax, it softens and hydrates cuticles without being greasy or oily.

Also try Russo's Olive Lip Balm ($5.50 for .3oz), another natural treat loaded with shea and olive, canola and almond oils. It has the perfect texture for use as a lip gloss. Available at

Chandler Soaps hand makes many products with shea including their uplifting Lemon Hand & Body Cream ($8.95 for 2oz). All achy, tired tootsies must experience their magnificent foot creams.

Invigorating Foot Cream
($8.95 for 2oz) is the great rejuvenator for my exhausted-and-crammed-into-high-heels feet. Comprised of powdered peppermint, spearmint and lemongrass, moisturizing oils and shea butter, this miraculous balm will bring you back to life, no matter what time of day.

Ideal for athletes, ultra-thick and moisturizing Healing Foot Cream contains antiseptic tree tea oil and shea to sooth and heal sore, over-extended feet. Try them at

Rub It In

Shea's buttery, emollient texture makes for a fabulous massage product. So, as the song goes, "rub it in, rub it in" with a Cottage Shoppe Massage Bar ($5.00 for 2.6oz). Containing sweet almond oil and shea and cocoa butters, these bars liquefy when rubbed into the skin. A popular scent is luscious Vanilla Sugar.

Or try Terra Nova's softly scented Shea Butter Massage & Body Oil ($16 for 10oz). This light blend of shea and organic sunflower and vitamin E oils is perfect for a relaxing rubdown or as an after-shower hydrator.

Shea Pioneers

And finally, for a gift package extraordinaire you must pick up's Skin  Care System ($49.99). As the country tune goes (or rather a variation of it): SheaMoisture was doing shea before shea was cool.

They know their stuff and their formulations are absolute perfection. This gift set is the ideal way to indulge in all things shea without spending a fortune.

Packed in a drawstring tote bag is African Exfoliating Black Soap (an exotic, mild liquid scrub that can be used on the face and body), Shea Butter Lotion (a super thick lotion containing a high percentage of shea), Shea Butter Moisturizing Body Oil, Shea Butter Lip Balm, 100% Shea Butter, two bottles of Shea Butter Body Wash, and a loofah.

Each product is scented in a light, fresh mango. Because of the unisex fragrance and package design, these products work well for men and women.

So, as you can see, there's a fabulous assortment of shea butter products out there for every part of your body.

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