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Trendy skin-care ingredients come and go, but one that seems to stick around our beauty routines is shea butter. In case you aren’t familiar, this popular ingredient is known for its ultra-moisturizing properties and is a tried-and-true treatment for dry skin. Though there are hundreds (if not thousands) of products formulated with this nourishing ingredient, the best shea butter products have a stamp of approval from dermatologists and Allure editors alike for their conditioning formulas that’ll make your skin feel softer and suppler than ever.
The benefits of shea butter go beyond temporary moisture replenishment, according to board-certified dermatologist Kim Nichols, MD, who’s based in Connecticut. “Shea butter is rich in essential fatty acids, making it an excellent emollient for the skin, helping to simultaneously hydrate and protect,” she says. In addition, Dr. Nichols notes that shea butter is also a great source of vitamins A (also known as retinol) and E, two antioxidants that soothe and soften irritated, dry, and itchy skin. “This combination of powerhouse ingredients makes shea butter an ideal ingredient to help soothe symptoms of common skin-care conditions such as eczema, rosacea, and psoriasis, to name a few,” she says.
With this being said, Dr. Nichols recommends that oily or acne-prone skin types avoid shea butter since its dense texture can lead to clogged pores and breakouts. But, if your skin is feeling dry and chapped, look no further than these shea butter-infused beauty products. Whether you’re on the hunt for its purest form straight from the shea tree or in need of a formulation with other skin-moisturizing saviors, we’ve got you and your skin covered.
Fact: the First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream is an iconic formula that effectively nourishes just about any skin type. Just ask Dr. Nichols, Allure editors, and even our readers, since this moisturizer was recommended by her and has won both our Best of Beauty and Readers’ Choice Awards. This rich, custardy formula gets its moisture-replenishing and soothing properties from shea butter, ceramides, and colloidal oatmeal.
Dr. Nichols says one of her favorite shea butter-spiked formulas is the La Roche-Posay Toleriane Ultra Soothing Repair Moisturizer, which is also an Allure Best of Beauty winner. This intensive moisturizer is fragrance-free, so it’s great for sensitive and easily irritated skin types, and it contains a moisturizing powerhouse of shea butter and glycerin.
Chances are, you probably had a stash of L’Occitane’s Shea Butter Ultra Rich Body Cream in your Y2K years, and it’s still a classic we turn to for intensive hydration. This rich, decadent cream is formulated specifically for dry and sensitive skin types and provides immediate moisture replenishment through shea butter, apricot oil, honey, and glycerin. The best part: the formula is fast-absorbing, so your skin will feel conditioned without a greasy feeling afterward.