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The Best Shea Butters

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🕚 Updated October 2022

If you struggle with dry skin, parched tresses, or chapped lips, you need shea butter. It can soothe skin and even help heal rashes or cuts with its hydrating properties. If you want to use shea butter in your hair or skin products, here are some we recommend.

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  Top Choice Best Body Scrub Best Soap Best for Hair Best for Pregnant Bellies
 
  Sky Organics
Sky Organics Organic Shea Butter for Body & Face
ArtNaturals
Banana Body Scrub
SheaMoisture
Face and Body Bar
Cantu
Shea Butter Leave-In Conditioning Repair Cream
Burt's Bees
Mama Belly Butter Skin Care
 
Our SummaryA USDA-certified organic shea butter that's a great base for any DIY shea butter skin product recipe.A decadent body scrub that incorporates the benefits of shea butter with a delicious banana scent.Specifically formulated to soothe dry skin, this moisturizing bar beautifully cleanses without any sulfates, parabens, or phthalates.This leave-in conditioning treatment helps to ease frizz, split ends, or dry and damaged hair to support healthy hair growth.This belly butter is super moisturizing and smooths skin, relieving any itchiness.
Pros✓ USDA-certified organic
Raw and unrefined
✓ A great base for DIY shea butter recipes
✓ Incorporates shea butter & vitamin E without the earthy smell
✓ Banana scented
✓ Exfoliating body scrub
✓ Sustainably made
✓ Gentle enough for a child's skin
✓ Contains essential oils
✓ No offensive fragrances
✓ Works well on most hair types
✓ Heals heat damage
✓ Removes residue and buildup from the hair
✓ 99% natural
✓ Combines shea butter and vitamin E
✓ Can help with stretch marks and itchiness
✓ No parabens, phthalates, scents, or petrolatum
Cons✗ Must be combined in recipes✗ Expensive for just a 10-ounce jar✗ Can make certain skin types feel tight
✗ Shea butter isn't the first ingredient
✗ Contains alcohol
✗ Can leave a greasy residue behind
✗ Not a guarantee against developing stretch marks
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The Best Shea Butters

Shea butter in spoon and bowls on wooden background
New Africa/Shutterstock.com

Shea butter is a type of fat taken from African shea tree nuts. As the “butter” name implies, shea butter can be edible and used in some types of food preparation. However, shea butter is more widely known for its use in lotions, salves, moisturizers, and body butter.

Buying Guide for Shea Butters

A woman spreads shea butter on her forearm from a jar.
mariesacha/Shutterstock.com

Why buy shea butter?

Because it contains high volumes of fatty acids and vitamins A, D, and E, shea butter is great for softening, soothing, and evening out skin without making it oily. It can also provide healing and anti-inflammatory benefits. Even though shea butter is technically a nut, it’s low in the proteins that set off nut allergies, so it’s generally safe for most skin types. It can also be used in conditioners since it can help with dandruff, dry scalps, and sometimes even hair breakage.

What should you consider in shea butter products?

  • Refined vs. Unrefined: Refined shea butter has been chemically altered or prepared, while unrefined shea butter hasn’t. The scent, color, and benefits of refined and unrefined shea butter are different. Unrefined shea butter retains its natural nutty scent and off-white or ivory color, while refined is odorless and bright white. More importantly, unrefined shea butter retains all of its moisturizing and healing properties, while refined shea butter may have added antioxidants and preservatives but loses much of its natural benefits in the process.
  • Quantity: Shea butter comes in various amounts, usually measured in ounces: 6 to 8 ounces tend to be the most common quantities, but you can find it in as little 1 or 2 and as much as 16 ounces. Consider how often you plan to use your shea butter and pick the quantity accordingly.
  • Jar vs. Bar: Most shea butter will come in an oil or cream-like consistency in a jar. These are great if you plan to use the shea butter directly on your skin or hair. However, if you plan to use the shea butter in-home crafts or DIY projects, you may prefer to buy it as a bar instead. It’s easier to measure out specific amounts in a more solid form, and you can always melt it down into liquid form if need be.

Is it hard to make DIY shea butter products?

No, it’s not difficult to make DIY shea butter products. There are thousands of step-by-step recipes online to make everything from shea butter lotion to bath bombs to conditioner. Many of these procedures require a stovetop or burner to melt down the shea butter and make it easier to work into the product of your choice, but most DIY shea butter products take under an hour to make.

Our Picks for the Best Shea Butters

Top Choice

Sky Organics Organic Shea Butter for Body & Face

A USDA-certified organic shea butter that's a great base for any DIY shea butter skin product recipe.

Pros: If you like the idea of creating your own shea butter creations, opting for a raw, unrefined option is always a good idea. Sky Organics lets you enjoy shea butter with peace of mind thanks to their 100% USDA-certified organic solution. Plus, it’s also certified PETA cruelty-free.

Cons: Because this is raw, unrefined shea butter, it’s not generally something you can use straight from the jar without adding it to a DIY recipe. If you try to do so, you’ll find that raw shea butter can be gritty and is often difficult to emulsify.

Bottom Line: DIYers will appreciate this raw and unrefined shea butter that serves as the perfect base for homemade whipped shea butter recipes and moisturizes skin very well.

 

Best Body Scrub

Artnaturals Banana Body Scrub

A decadent body scrub that incorporates the benefits of shea butter but with a delicious banana scent.

Pros: Those who have used shea butter know that for all its moisturizing benefits, it can have a very nutty or earthy scent that can be a little off-putting. If that sums up your shea butter experience, you’ll appreciate this body scrub from Artnaturals which leverages the moisturizing power of this potent nut but gives you a yummy banana scent to go with it. It combines bananas, sea salt, shea butter, and saffron for an effective exfoliant to banish dead skin and signs of aging.

Cons: Although the majority of the reviews are positive, we did notice a few people balked at the price given the size of the container.

Bottom Line: Get the benefits of shea butter without the earthy scent or greasy feeling on your skin thanks to this banana-scented body scrub.

 

Best Soap

SheaMoisture Face and Body Bar

Specifically formulated to soothe dry skin, this moisturizing bar beautifully cleanses without any sulfates, parabens, or phthalates.

Pros: This is a sustainably made soap that’s gentle enough to use on a child’s skin. It has essential oils in it and no artificial fragrances. It’ll soothe and clean skin without harsh ingredients, so it’s great for use in the cold, dry months of the year.

Cons: Some users noticed their skin feeling a little tight after using it. Shea butter is not the first ingredient on the product label.

Bottom Line: If you’re looking for deep moisturizing bar soap, this is a nice choice. You can feel good about the fact that it has no chemical additives, and it will keep your skin clean without making it feel dry.

 

Best for Hair

Cantu Shea Butter Leave-In Conditioning Repair Cream

This leave-in conditioning treatment helps to ease frizz, split ends, or dry and damaged hair to support healthy hair growth.

Pros: This leave-in conditioner works well on most hair types. It can heal damage from dying, bleaching, relaxing, perming, heated styling, or environmental factors. This treatment can also remove residue and buildup from the hair, leaving it cleaner and shinier.

Cons: Be wary of using this with other conditioning and styling products, as it may dry and flake. It contains alcohol, which isn’t good for curly hair. It can also leave a little bit of a greasy residue on your hair.

Bottom Line: If you’re looking for a moisturizing leave-in conditioner made with natural products, this is for you. It’s loved by swimmers wanting to improve chlorine-damaged hair. It has a pleasant smell that most people love.

 

Pros: Pregnancy can be a joyous time in a woman’s life, but stretch marks and itchy skin are anything but joyous. This belly butter is designed to soothe irritated skin, leveraging shea butter as one of the main ingredients. Along with being 99% natural, it provides vitamin E, another skin-friendly moisturizing ingredient.

Cons: While this will help with dry and tight skin, it’s a known fact that you can’t entirely prevent stretch marks with a product, as some people can also be genetically predisposed to them.

Bottom Line: Pregnant mamas everywhere can get relief from itchy, tight skin on their bellies with this 99% natural belly butter that combines shea butter and vitamin E for an ultra-moisturizing topical solution.

Final Thoughts

Shea butter products are great to have on hand. Shea butter is versatile in its healing, moisturizing, and anti-inflammatory properties, and you can safely use it on sensitive skin. Because shea butter is technically edible (but not delicious by any means), you can feel safe using pure shea butter around your mouth or on young children. If you want shea butter products for your body, give our top picks a try.

Meghan Herlihy Meghan Herlihy
Meghan Herlihy is a full-time writer for LifeSavvy and has written across a wide variety of topics, genres, and formats, including radio talk shows, local sports journalism, and creative original fiction. She received her bachelor's degree in communications from Ithaca College and a master's in writing from Johns Hopkins University. When she's not writing, you're most likely to find her reading a book, petting every dog within eyesight, and indulging in her love of travel. Read Full Bio »
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