Ivory to light yellow in colour, shea butter is a fat extracted from the nut of the African Shea tree used primarily in cosmetic formulations. It's healing and moisturizing properties are due in part to the presence of several fatty acids that are unsaponifiable, meaning that they are not altered in the soap making process. Shea butter melts at body temperature and absorbs quickly into the skin. The presence of cinnamic acid seems to aid in the absorption of some ultraviolet rays, making it a desireable addition to sun block products. Vitamins A and E, know anti-oxidants and 'wrinkle fighters', are also found in shea butter.
It's no wonder shea butter is a popular ingredient with soap makers. I love it, and use it in just about all of my formulations. What's your favorite butter to use?