When it comes to selecting a massage cream that provides plenty of moisture for your clients’ thirsty skin, there are two natural treasures that have been soothing skin for ages. Manufacturers of massage creams need not worry about creating synthetic moisturizers in a laboratory environment, for the jojoba plant and the shea tree produce such ingredients in the wild.

The amazing moisturizing benefits of these two natural elements make both jojoba and shea butter common ingredients in high-quality massage creams. Let’s explore where each of these ingredients come from, how they are processed and exactly what type of benefits they can bring to your clients.

Jojoba, which is pronounced “ho-ho-ba,” was given its one-of-a-kind name by the O’odham people of the Sonoran Desert in the southwest U.S., where this shrub grows wild. The O’odham people traditionally used the oil inside the jojoba nut to treat burns.

This seed of the jojoba plant is where its treasures reside, and this seed is hard, oval-shaped and dark brown. According to the International Jojoba Export Council, it has an oil content of approximately 54 percent. The council also reports this oil is more like human sebum than vegetable oil, and it is both odorless and colorless as well.

This oil, a natural source of vitamin E and antioxidants, is hypoallergenic and easily absorbed. The jojoba plant is extremely well-adapted to controlling moisture loss, which allows the bush survive so well in the desert. Massage creams containing jojoba apply these same moisture-saving benefits to human skin.

As for shea butter, it comes from the fruit of the shea tree, which grows throughout Africa, from Senegal to Uganda. The process of creating shea butter entails the crushing and boiling of shea nuts.

According to the American Shea Butter Institute, the fatty extract from the seed of the shea tree contains a number of ingredients with biological activity that both moisturizes skin and helps heal certain ailments.

Shea butter brings a variety of reported benefits to the table, from anti-inflammatory properties to minor sunscreen agents. Relief from blemishes, itching, sunburns, small skin wounds, eczema, skin allergies and wrinkles are among the possible perks of a massage cream that contains large amounts of shea butter. The vitamin A and E found in shea butter often are credited as the major healing elements.

Both jojoba and shea butter seem to stand above many other nut extracts when it comes to soothing human skin. Of course, your clients are coming to you specifically because of your skills in the realm of touch therapy, not because you use a certain massage cream. However, walking away from a session with a body that is utterly relaxed and skin that is richly moisturized can only help when it comes to retaining clients.

If you’re hoping to bring big moisture to your clients’ skin, try out massage creams that contain jojoba, shea butter or even a combination of both. You can feel good knowing you’re using the moisturizing power of Mother Nature, rather than an artificial ingredient.

—Brandi Schlossberg

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