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 — 375 Comments

  1. Prona?ite upravlja?ke programe i softver,
    korisni?ke priru?nike, ?esta pitanja i druge korisne
    informacije za svoj proizvod tvrtke Canon te prona?ite informacije
    popravku proizvoda ili jamstvu, registrirajte proizvod i prona?ite podršku za promocije tvrtke Canon koje obuhva?aju povrat novca.

  2. Goodevening.i m kenechukwu by name living in Netherland,i m happy to see this article about shea butter, because i have been trying to see a way to start importing it here in Netherland from Nigeria.i will appreciate if i can get any contact from here.pls do contact me with this number +31634352084.Thanks.

  3. Goodevening.i m kenechukwu by name live in Holland,i m happy to see this article about shea butter because i have been trying to see a way to start importing it here in Netherland.i will appreciate if i can any contact from here.pls do contact with this number +31634352084

    • Hello Kene..
      I can supply d Shea butter to u
      It’s unrefined, 100%.
      If u r interested, contact me on +2348069280689

  4. I like your post about shea butter ,its very interesting. i try some out and it was great. my skin is soft and glows. Thanks for the information about how to use shea butter in making different types of creams. pls will like to ask ,if i can use fragrance oil also or does it have to be essential oil.

    • Hi mimi!
      I wouldn’t use fragranced oil instead of essential oil. Fragranced oils usually made from petroleum products. I wouldn’t put them on my skin. I hope you will find an essential oil, you like. Lavander is the best for beginning.

  5. Please be informed that merry time ventures now wish to be known ad folaroungbe ventures. However, our product name is still merrytime. Merrytime shea butter and merrytime coconut oil are natural and 100% pure without additive or preservatives. We also have perfumed shea butter which is also 100% pure. We produce in large quantities packaged in 15kg and supply to any where in and out of Nigeria. Contact us on 08028016992

    • Dear Sir,

      We are interested in your 100% pure unrefined Shea butter. Could you offer us your C&F Keelung (Taiwan) together with your packaging methods and necessary information. Our terms of payment is by irrevocable L/C at sight.

      Meanwhile, we would also like to know your production capacity per month.

      Your prompt reply will be highly appreciated.

      Thanks and regards

      Peter Wang
      Rex Enterprise Co.,Ltd.

  6. hello if you need natural processed Shea butter contact me .. whatssap .. 2348101307390. if we negotiate well I can send you free sample.

    • i want to get shea butter but i m from pak here shea butter not available :-(

    • I produce shea butter in large quantities. My shea butter is grade A. Butter in colour and 100% natural. Please contact me on 08028016992.

    • Contact me on 08028016992 for large supply of shea butter

    • Dear sir pls contact me for further discussions

    • Let me know what you need, I can supply you in various sizes.. You can reach me on 08099449011

    • Hi Timmy, You can reach me via Whatsapp on +2348127372313 or call +2347033829119.
      We have 100% high grade, unrefined Shea butter at attractive rates.

  7. Hello,I am a young entrepreneur producing Shea mix hair moisturiser….
    I need a supplier of Shea butter for this product in Lagos.


    • Contact me for good quality Shea Butter at wholesale price. 08039428520

    • Goodday sir/madam,
      My names are Akinsope .L, it is a great delight to introduce myself to you, i am a representative of a shea butter company about to go international.
      please, which countries` organizations /companies would you be willing to refer me to?
      Thank you in anticipation of getting a quick response.

      My contact number is +234 805646 3884

    • Goodday sir/madam,
      My names are Akinsope .L, it is a great delight to introduce myself to you, i am a representative of a shea butter company about to go international.
      please, which countries` organizations /companies would you be willing to refer me to?
      Thank you in anticipation of getting a quick response.

      My contact number is +234 805646 3884

    • I can supply you large quantity of shea butter. Please call me on 234 8028016992.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.