I used The Body Shop’s Shea range for an entire week and here’s what happened

Words by Alyce Greer

illustration by twylamae

Nothing excites me more than a new beauty product featuring words like ‘deeply nourishing’.

I have a looong history of dry skin. When I was little, I would sit in lukewarm baths while a nude stocking filled with oats bobbed around me (kind of like Cleopatra’s milk baths, but not). Quite recently I spoke about my love for the body butter samples at The Body Shop, which I’d apply maybe a bit too liberally whenever I walked past the store. I have more hand creams than all of your nannas combined, and if you ever need a lip balm top-up when you’re out and about, just come and see me.

It made sense then that I would be the one to trial the Shea range from The Body Shop. There is nothing — and I mean nothing — that excites me more than a new beauty product featuring words like ‘deeply nourishing’, ‘intensely replenishing’ and ‘72 hours of ultra-rich moisture’. They make me feel soothed and hydrated just reading them.

But it’s not just the benefits for crocodile-skinned people like myself that make these shea products so iconic. During this process, I learned a lot more about where the shea comes from, and how it’s made. This year, The Body Shop is celebrating 25 years empowering the Tungteiya Women’s Association in Ghana, who handcraft 390 tons of shea butter every year for The Body Shop. There are 640 women across 11 villages, who pick, wash, dry, roast, smash and stir the shea butter to produce the hand creams, body lotions, lip balms and now, 100% shea butter, that you buy off The Body Shop shelf. I have to say, after learning this, it felt pretty cool to hold the shea butter in my (thirsty) hands.

Here’s how the rest of shea Pampering Week went:

100% Natural Shea Butter

Let’s kick off with a bang. This sh*t is incredible. Aside from the fact it’s handcrafted in Ghana, empowering hundreds of women and funding entire communities, the product itself is beautiful — and not like anything you can buy from a major beauty brand or store. Completely natural, 100 per cent vegan and with no hidden ingredients, it’s a true oil butter consistency that warms up in your hands. Even better, it’s a multi-purpose product; you can use it on your hair, face, body and lips for whenever you need some of that sweet sweet ultra-rich moisture.

I wanted to use it as a hair mask, so I washed and towel-dried my hair, applied a 10c piece amount to the mid-lengths and ends, then slept in it before rinsing it out the following morning. I don’t like to exaggerate, but I’m *pretty sure* my hair was about 82743582x smoother and softer once it dried. I also applied the shea butter to my face before bed, and to my lips like an absolute maniac for one week.

Shea Nourishing Body Lotion

As a body lotion connoisseur, I have strict criteria that must be met before the product can enter my bathroom. Firstly, it has to smell damn good. Secondly, it has to be suitable for dry to VERY DRY SKIN (none of this normal to dry nonsense). Lastly, the consistency needs to be perfect — nothing too light, nothing too sunscreen-y. I can happily confirm this lotion passes with flying colours on all counts.

I found it worked best fresh out of the shower. Every night, while my skin was still warm, I would lather my entire body in it, adding some of the 100% Natural Shea Butter on any extra-dry areas. Every morning when I woke up, my skin felt less dehydrated, itchy and flaky. You might have even described it as supple.

Shea Butter Shampoo and Conditioner

Hair washing night is my special time. It is not something to be rushed. I rinse, double-shampoo, condition, reminisce about every embarrassing thing I’ve ever said, comb, mask and rinse again. I usually use an expensive shampoo and conditioner from my hairdresser for this lengthy routine, and I must admit, I was a touch worried about trying something new. However, it smelled amazing, was a good consistency, foamed up well and when coupled with the Shea Hair Mask, it left my hair feeling clean, light and healthy.

Four days later when I emerged from my hair washing session, I sat on the couch next to my husband and he uttered those three little words: “hair smells nice,” and that is literally all I needed to hear to decide that the entire shea range can stay with me forever.

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