Like most people, I’m a freak for The Body Shop but have never been too interested in their Shea butter range. I know it’s got a rabid following but, to me, it’s kind of like the ‘beige wallpaper’ of their entire collection and something I breeze past en route to sunny-smelling Moringa or zesty Pink Grapefruit. So imagine my surprise to be sitting here eating a fat Shea butter-flavoured humble pie ‘cos – SURPRISE – their new 100% Natural Shea Butter from Ghana (R200) is a new obsession.
When I first opened the bag, it looked like a very hard lump of solidified coconut oil. I wondered if I’d have any fun with it and imagined myself standing in my room listlessly rubbing the chunk on my arms, watching it coat them in a thick layer of grease that would be hard to smooth across my skin. Then, when I was sufficiently ‘buttered up’, I expected it to just lie there, feeling heavy and gross and making me not want to put on a pair of pants. (I was having a bit of a ‘day’, I think. Maybe KFC only gave me ONE packet of chilli salt. A pet hate.)
Merrily, I couldn’t have been more wrong. The moment it touches your skin it starts melting to become the most deliciously indulgent-feeling oil. Lovely and viscous, it absorbs super-duper fast, so you’re not left with any kind of ‘residue’ or even a baby oil-style sheen. You just feel like you’ve given your skin a very pampering drink and, due to all the melty funness (for lack of a better word), you immediately start searching for other bits to moisturise.
Happily, you can slap it on pretty much everywhere – body, face, hair. I kind of see it becoming the Eight Hour Cream of the vegan world. Ooh! Did I mention that? It’s totally vegan! After all, it’s just a single plant-based ingredient – 100% pure Shea butter ethically sourced in a way that creates business for women in Ghana. I’ve been using it on my arms and legs as well as my cuticles and love that it smells clean and soft with just a hint of nuttiness. It’s not the kind of scent that would ever interfere with your perfume or even be detectable as a fragrance.
If you want to get creative, however, The Body Shop’s US website lists a few beauty DIY recipes you can whip up using their Shea butter. One is a Bubbling Bath Melt that I think is quite clever. It’s essentially a mix of Shea butter and bubble bath frozen in an ice cube tray.
In short? This is one of the nicest, coolest products The Body Shop has launched in ages. Sure, the packaging isn’t especially pretty – I live for the day they whip it out in a limited edition tin – but I’ll be adding this to my list of ‘fail safe gifts’ ‘cos I can’t imagine a single person not liking it.