When confronted with the words “multi-purpose” in conjunction with any beauty product, I tend to do one of two things: completely ignore that particular message and still buy the product for the one use I went to buy it for or completely disregard the product and look for a similar one that isn’t multi-purpose because it must not work as well if it has to focus on working on more than one area.

While I do still feel as though this still applies, particularly when it comes to the skincare products I use on my face, I’ve now realised that the rule shouldn’t always stand.

I tried 100 per cent multi-purpose shea butter and it was amazing for my skin! This was a shock and completely unexpected.

The Body Shop 100% Moisturising Multi-Purpose Butter for Body, Hair, Face and Lips, R200

Here is my issue with placing the same product on different parts of my body. As someone who has worked in the beauty industry and is familiar with how the different areas of your body react to certain products, I’m exceptionally particular about what I put on my skin. I’ve worked hard to maintain my skin and I’m aware of what the different areas of my body need for me to feel good and so it is that I live by my own – not dermatologically approved – skincare rules, which have worked for me.

My rule of thumb is: nothing that goes on my body could be good for my face and anything that goes in my hair is DEFINITELY not going on my face or body. Simple enough to understand, right?

If I were to use a facial product on my body, the product would inevitably run out weeks before it should have due to the larger surface area and leave my skin far too dry because my body needs more moisture than my combination skincare products could possibly give. If I were to place anything meant for my body on my face, my skin would immediately shine like a boiled egg because of the richness of the texture of the product… and of course, I’d be prone to a break-out as bacteria stuck to my now oilier skin.

Lastly, anything that could possibly be meant to lock in moisture on my ethnic hair would be far too heavy for me to apply to my skin or face without me looking as though I’d fallen into an oil slick – including coconut oil, which few people (or rather only the brave) use just before leaving home to face the world.

Shea nuts and shea butter in glass bowl

However, when I found myself with nothing to do and nowhere to go over the festive season, I also tried working on my skin, which was drier than usual and prone to flaking on my forehead. Thus came my discovery of The Body Shop’s shea butter, which had been gifted to me. Reading the package, I initially rolled my eyes, knowing I would only ever use it on my body. But after a good two days of using the product on my skin and finding that it not only moisturised it, but also gave me a faint glow, I attempted to put the shea butter in my hair. My natural hair LOVED it! Moisturising my slightly-damp tresses after a wash made my hair noticeably softer and easily comb-able (which would have been enough of a pro for me), but the shea butter also didn’t cause my hair to shine as it would when using a hair oil to lock in moisture. When tying my hair up, I also noticed that the shea butter helped define the curl pattern as well. Completely unexpected and definitely worth me now using this product on my hair. But on my face? I was still sceptical.

Fast-forward to Boxing Day. I’m visiting family and have forgotten most of my toiletries at home in the rush. I’m asking myself what I’m going to use on my combination and dehydrated skin after washing my face and what do I find in my bag? My not-quite-trusty shea butter. I finally tried a small amount on my face after cleansing so my skin wouldn’t feel dry and uncomfortably stretched and it worked wonders. My skin wasn’t oily, but held a slight glow and looked instantly brighter. Multi-purpose, it truly was. And I now swear by it for head-to-toe use.

Now before we start running to the store to get our hands on shea butter, I’d like to state that this was 100 per cent natural shea butter suitable for dry and sensitive skin and dry hair. Knowing whether the multi-purpose product works for your skin type is imperative. I also think there should be rules to using multi-purpose products in order for you to get the best results when using them, but then again, I do love rules.

1) Always begin by using a small amount on your face first. This would be a pea-sized amount applied to skin that has been patted dry so there is moisture on the skin for the shea butter to lock in. Apply to lips at the same time for overall moisturising.

2) Apply the shea butter to your body after you’ve applied it to your face so that there is no transfer of bacteria from your body onto your face’s more sensitive and vulnerable skin.

3) Always finish with your hair! This is the most hygienic way to apply a multi-use product up top, as unwashed hair can carry dust and other particles that you wouldn’t want passed onto the skin on your body and face.