Shea Butter

What is Shea Butter

Shea butter is a slightly yellowish or ivory colored and nutty, smoky scented natural fat extracted from the seed of the African shea tree. It is often referred to by its French name as karite tree, which originally (ghariti) means the tree of life. The tree got this name due to its exceptional healing properties.

In its pure unrefined state, shea butter is also edible and has been used for centuries in Africa as cooking oil, as a waterproofing wax, for hairdressing, for candle-making, as an anti-inflammatory for sprains and arthritis, and to sooth dry skin.

From practical point of view, shea butter is supreme natural moisturizer with exceptional healing properties for the skin. Handcrafted, unrefined shea butter is by itself ready for direct application to the skin, without any need for further processing. Mixing it with other natural ingredients such as essential oils and other butters, you can make it even more appealing and convenient for particular application.

Shea Butter Benefits

Except as a superior moisturizer, shea butter is used to treat various skin problems including:

  • eczema
  • dermatitis
  • stretch marks
  • dry skin and hair
  • insect bites
  • psoriasis
  • acne
  • cracked skin
  • itchy skin
  • muscle fatigue and tension
  • rheumatism
  • arthritis
  • sunburns
  • skin allergies and rashes
  • scars and dark spots
  • skin blemishes
  • wrinkles

According to the W.G. Goreja, shea butter’s unparalleled moisturizing property is due to several natural moisturizers present in the cream. The moisturizers in Shea Butter are the same moisturizers produced by the sebaceous glands in the skin. In addition to this moisturizing fraction (saponifiable fraction), shea butter contains a large portion of healing fraction (nonsaponifiable fraction). Comparing to the other seed oils, where the healing fraction is in the range of 1% or less, shea butter healing portion ranges from 5% up to 17%.

Shea butter is extremely rich natural source of two important vitamins, namely vitamin A and E. According to the before mentioned source, vitamin A in shea butter is important for improving a number of skins conditions, including blemishes, wrinkles, eczema, and dermatitis. The same source states that, although the exact benefit and function of the Vitamin E in human being is not entirely clear, it has been described as effective in a number of conditions or circumstances. These benefits include being anti-aging, an anti-free radical agent, and exerting a positive effect on increasing the micro-circulation.

Refined vs. Unrefined Shea Butter

Confusing thing about shea butter is various sorts and shea butter attributes marketed by different producers and distributors, like ‘pure’, ‘refined’, ‘unrefined’, ‘grade A’ and ‘premium’. I will try to shortly describe how i understood it.

Unrefined shea butter simply means it is extracted and prepared without the use of chemicals or preservative. In other terms, that means it is produced the same way African people do it for centuries. And this is what really counts, because only unrefined shea butter keeps all of its natural healing properties. On the other hand, refined shea butter has usually been extracted with hexane or other petroleum solvents and some antioxidants or preservatives may also be added. Unfortunately, amazing shea butter moisturizing and healing properties are significantly reduced or completely removed in this process.

To cut it short, differences between unrefined and refined shea butter are the scent, color and benefits.  Unrefined shea butter maintains its nutty scent, beige color and its healing properties.  Refined shea butter has been chemically altered to remove shea butters natural scent, is bleach white in color and retains only a small portion of its natural healing properties. The end result of refinement is an odorless, white butter that may be aesthetically appealing, but lacks the true moisturizing, healing, and nutritive properties of true traditional shea butter.

The other meaningful term is shea butter grade. Commercial shea butter is classified into five grades: A – raw or unrefined, extracted using water; B – refined; C – highly refined and extracted with solvents such as hexane; D – lowest uncontaminated grade; E – with contaminants. Grade A shea butter retains the most natural vitamins, especially vitamins A and E, which are partially lost in the other grades.

Where to Buy Shea Butter

We usually buy unrefined shea butter and other ingredients for my personal homemade recipes online. The choice is really large and sometimes it isn’t easy to decide where to buy it. With a little effort you can find supreme quality butters and oils for a very fair price. When we started our own shea butter adventure i bought small orders from different distributors, just to check if i like their products and overall quality of their service. Maybe it is just my prejudice, but i discarded in advance sellers who didn’t have appealing or at least professional web site.

Most of the shea butters i bought online were fine and here are few suppliers I really like:

Cleopatra’s Choice

They have yellow and ivory color grade A organic shea butter. Great price, especially if you need larger quantity of high quality shea butter. They offer free shipping on orders over 29$, and 3 month money back guarantee. You can get 10% off Shea Butter with coupon code CLEO10

Adwi Organics

They sell grade A ivory color unrefined shea butter in a nice UV protected jar. Very good choice for home made creams. You can buy safely their shea butter on Amazon.


Naissance’s shea butter is Soil Association Certified Organic and in my opinion it is a very good choice, especially if you live in Europe. You can choose from 100g, 250g, 500g or 1kg packages. You can buy their organic unrefined shea butter on Amazon UK.

 Learn how to whip shea butter and make your own creams.



Shea Butter — 258 Comments

  1. I have in stock organic shea butter, no added colors, chemicals or preservative. It is 100 percent pure, uniquenly packaged in calabashes and plastics containers. It is the best form of shea butter you can get, our shea butter heals,restores and refreshes your skin, it is edible and can be used in cooking. Contact me and it will be delivered to your door steps. 00233-0246877922

    • Facebook type Shea pureness in the search bar and contact me competitive prices based in the UK will ship world wide.

  2. Don’t worry about getting shear butter in any part of the world you find yourself within the next 48hrs. Sheer Shear Butter is here to help all buyers … Contact us on +233542911622 .

  3. Quality Shea butter, I do supply unrefined raw shea butter to anywhere in part of world, contact me , +2348055347240

  4. I’ve been browsing online moe than 4 hours today, yet I
    never found any interesting article like yours. It is pretty
    worth enough for me. Personally, if alll web owners and bloggers made good cotent
    as you did, the internet will be a lot more useful than ever before.

  5. Wao! Thanks for detailed information about its beauty and treatment benefits.
    Now I have knowledge on how to choose and what to treat with it.

    Regards Connie/Nairobi

  6. We processors and suppliers of unrefine premium quality organic shea butter. From Tamale we supply both the local market and export as well. We guarantee quality shea butter for our customer because we do proper qaulity control to ensure that we produce the right qaulity and qauntity at the right time. You can contact us on 00233249009751on whassap or call on the same number.

  7. Hi, i am supplier of yellow and waith unrefined shea butter.whathsapp number:+233235815558 or call:+233268744912

    • Hello ,

      I am from India, Interested in buying organic shea butter. Kindly send me details with price. Let me know if you ship to India.

      Suman Agarwal

    • Hello Suman, am glad to introduce to you our organic ranges of products such as shea butter and pure honey. These products are obtain direct from farms without added chemicals and preservatives. They are package uniquely in calabashes and plastic containers to suit your needs. Being natural and pure has alot of healing, mosturizing,and restoring properties. Try our organic products and you will never regret it. We ship globally swifly. Please contact on 00233-0246877922 if need be. Thank you

  8. I am a supplier of fresh unrefined Shea butter from Ghana

    on FOB / CIF terms

    my whatsapp number is 00233 276106574

    • Hello ,

      I am from India, Interested in buying organic shea butter. Kindly send me details with price. Let me know if you ship to India.

      Suman Agarwal

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