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[QUOTE=picksie]Shea butter is not a soap though.... it's a moisturizer.

I figure this: if centuries of african women have been using it, there's a reason. [/QUOTE]

I always worry when I see comments like the above about centuries of use! I spend a lot of time in West Africa, and I have NEVER come across an African woman who puts pure undiluted shea butter on their face! Traditionally in Africa, shea butter is used to soften and control hair prior to braiding.

For skin use it is sometimes used mixed with schnapps (alcohol) to control itching in chicken pox and help fresh scars to heal, and the soap made from shea butter which by the way ranges from a light brown to cream to black colour, is used to bathe and wash. Very often the soap is blended with camwood (a red herb) to exfoliate, honey to moisturise, or lemon to dry out and brighten the skin.

Most African (say in the villages) women with acne or not, would simply wash their face, perhaps with the shea butter soap, and then simply apply a light coating of native chalk, or baby powder depending on income. Thats it, no lotions or potions on face!! The chalk or powder probably gives some sun protection too. Even urban african women hardly moisturise their faces in the daytime, possibly only at night. I have asked so many clear skinned african women "what do you use?" and the answer if often "I wash my face and leave it alone".

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