The difference between Unrefined Shea Butter & Refined Shea Butter 

The difference lies in the processing and what is left behind after processing. Shea Butter is a rich emollient extracted from the nut of the African Shea Fruit. West Africans have used Shea Butter for centuries as a healing, cooking and beauty balmIn its natural state (unrefined), Shea Butter is rich in sterols and bio-actives, providing penetrating moisture to the skin and hairUnrefined Shea Butter has a sizeable quantity of unsaponifiable fats, which contain shea triterpene esters with anti-inflammatory properties. These natural active elements help with cell regeneration and capillary circulation and also provide about 5% UV protection because of the cinnamic acid content.

What Color is Unrefined Shea Butter

You can identify Unrefined Shea by its cream or light yellow color and natural, nutty scent. Unrefined Shea Butter is typically processed using the traditional handcrafted method. Properly processed Unrefined Shea Butter has an average shelf life of 24 months.

 Refined Shea Butter

Refined Shea Butter is white and odorless. The refining process removes the color and scent and in the process most of the natural healing properties. Refined Shea Butter has a longer shelf life and is still a good moisturizer but it lacks the natural skin regenerating benefits of Unrefined Shea Butter.


What about lotions and creams that claim to be made of Shea Butter? Are they effective?

Pure Shea Butter can be used as a hair and body balm and it can also be incorporated with other ingredients to make lotions and creams.  Most moisturizers on the mass retail shelves that claim to be made Shea Butter moisturizers, typically contain less than 1% Shea. For best results, Shea Butter lotions or creams should include no less than 5% of Shea. The most effective body creams and lotions will contain at least 20% of Unrefined Shea Butter in their formulas. Always look at the ingredient list. If Shea Butter is somewhere in the middle or bottom, you are not buying a real shea butter products

How do I know I’m buying the right kind of Shea Butter?

Buying the right kind of Shea Butter is as easy as going to your local naturals market or beauty store and looking at the color of your Shea. Is it too yellow, too white, or unnatural looking? Most beauty brands won’t list whether or not they’re using Refined or Unrefined Shea Butter. When in doubt purchase Shea Butter that is handcrafted and naturally rich in antioxidants to nourish and protect your skin.

For great shea butter products, made with unrefined shea butter check out  our website

At Shea Radiance, our products contain Handcrafted Unrefined Shea Butter to deeply hydrate and restore moisture to dry skin and hair. By sourcing our Shea from a select harvest of nuts that grow in the parklands of West Africa, our products are free of unnecessary additives, parabens and sulfates. We make everything from scratch in artisanal batches so that we can closely monitor the quality of our ingredients.


 Learn more about the Shea Radiance difference here and share this guide with the SR Beauties in your life!