Refined vs unrefined shea butter: What’s the real difference?

featured image Refined Vs Unrefined Shea Butter

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Let’s talk about finer things in life. We’re talking wine, cheese… and shea butter.

But how do we get started with? Refined, unrefined, or fractioned? That’s right, folks: there’s more than one type of shea butter out there, and it turns out that not all of them are created equal. Some are brilliant, while others are meh – not as useful.

Shea Butter: The miracle worker that rides to your rescue! Shea butter is full of antioxidants and vitamins A, E & F, so it’s hard not to get obsessed with this ingredient. You can find shea butter’s magic in creams and body lotions, body washes, or skincare products meant to nourish the skin, such as face creams, masks, etc.

But there’s so much confusion among its types that you need solid information to start working with it. So let’s get into the difference between refined vs unrefined shea butter in as easy words as possible!

what is refined shea butter?

Refined Shea Butter

Here’s the thing about refined shea butter; it is a type of shea butter that has been treated to high heat levels to remove impurities and a lot of good stuff like vitamins and minerals. The result is a butter that is smoother and more consistent in texture. It also has a higher melting point, which makes it ideal for use in cosmetics and skincare products.

Refined shea butter typically has a lighter color than unrefined butter, and it has a milder scent than unrefined shea butter’s pungent smell. While it lacks some of the nutrient-rich properties of unrefined butter, it is still an excellent source of antioxidants and vitamins A and E.

Unlike raw shea butter, refined shea butter has a lotion-like creamy consistency. Not only this, refined shea butter is less likely to cause skin irritation as well. For these reasons, it is becoming increasingly popular as a nourishing ingredient in skincare and cosmetic products.

benefits of refined shea butter

Shea butter has been used for centuries as a natural remedy for a variety of ailments. The refined version of shea butter is even more versatile, with a host of benefits that can be enjoyed by everyone from new moms to athletes.

First of all, it’s easy to use at room temperature because of its consistency. Secondly, the smell isn’t worrisome.

Since refined shea butter has a lot less fatty acids and lighter consistency, it is also much safer to use on the face and acne-prone skin, which is not the case for raw shea butter. Refer to this to know more about comedogenicity of shea butter!

It can also be used to soothe sunburns, insect bites, and other skin irritations. In addition, refined shea butter can be used as a natural hair conditioner or scalp treatment. It’s also effective in treating conditions like dandruff and dry scalp.

What can you ask more?

What is unrefined shea butter?

Unrefined Shea Butter

Unrefined or raw shea butter is just your usual shea butter extracted straight from the African shea trees. It is jam-packed with fatty acids and vitamins A and E, 75% more than unrefined shea butter. Yes, that is a mouth-opening difference.

Raw shea butter has a yellow/cream color and a medium-strong nutty smell that some people (including me) love and some cannot tolerate it. If fragrance is the issue, refined shea butter will be your best option.

It is also the unrefined shea butter that my mom uses to make homemade soaps. The nutty smell of shea butter doesn’t worry her because she adds a few drops of her favorite essential oils, and she’s good to go.

While raw shea butter can be beneficial for the skin, it is important to note that it does not undergo the same level of processing as other types of shea butter.

As a result, it may contain impurities such as dirt and debris. For this reason, it is important to purchase raw shea butter from a reputable source.

benefits of unrefined shea butter

Unrefined shea butter has a wide range of benefits for skin and hair and can be used to soothe dryness, itchiness, and inflammation. It is also said to have anti-aging properties and can help to reduce the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines. So whether you use it as a moisturizer, a hair mask, or a lip balm, raw shea butter is sure to leave your skin and hair looking and feeling their best.

It is also believed to have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and healing properties. Some people even use it as a natural treatment for eczema, psoriasis, and other skin conditions.

What’s the difference between refined and unrefined shea butter?

Refined Vs Unrefined Shea Butter

There are just a few differences between refined vs unrefined shea butter.

Refined shea butter is the one that has been processed to remove impurities, giving it a lighter, creamy color and mild smell. It’s also cheaper than unrefined shea butter. It has a smooth, creamy texture that is easier to spread onto the skin (not bread, lol) than raw butter.

However, the refining process also strips away many of the beneficial properties of shea butter. But it also makes it more stable and gives it longer shelf life.

Unrefined shea butter, on the other hand, usually has a darker yellow color and a stronger nutty smell. It’s also more expensive, but I believe it’s worth the cost because it’s more effective at moisturizing and protecting skin. It is generally solid at room temperature but melts when it comes into contact with the skin.

But due to its natural form, it goes rancid quickly if not stored properly.

Even though both types of shea butter are non-comedogenic, but refined shea butter is less likely to clog pores and cause breakouts than raw she butter. Yes, shea butter has a tricky relationship with acne and clogging pores.


What type of shea butter is the best?

All being said, unrefined shea butter is still the best type if you want to savor all its nutrients, moisturizing and antioxidant properties of it. It is safe to use for skin, hair, and body. You can use it for making soaps and cosmetic products as well.

What kind of shea butter is best for the skin?

If you’re looking for an effective moisturizer, especially for oily, acne-prone skin that will last longer, go for refined shea butter. If you want a natural product with all the benefits of shea butter intact, go for unrefined.

What type of shea butter is best for body butter?

Refined Vs Unrefined Shea Butter for body

If you truly want to make the best, most nourishing body butter, pick unrefined or raw shea butter for the purpose. It is safe to use on the body, infuses the skin insanely well with its antioxidants and vitamins, and locks in moisture for a very long period of time.

Does unrefined shea butter clog pores?

Unrefined or refined, both the shea butters have zero comedogenic ratings, making them non-comedogenic. But due to raw shea butter’s heavy, rich texture, it can clog pores for oily, acne-prone skin and worsen it. So make sure to use it in considerable portions.

Refined vs unrefined shea butter: what’s good for hair?

If your hair is struggling from extreme dryness and needs that boost of nourishment, blindly pick unrefined shea butter. Since it has 75% more moisturizing properties than refined ones, it is clearly the best choice. Your locks will thank you for it!

What shea butter to use for soap making?

Refined Vs Unrefined Shea Butter for soaps

The answer really depends on what you’re looking for in a soap. If you want a soap that’s packed with nourishing ingredients and provides a luxurious, pampering experience, then unrefined shea butter is the way to go. However, if you’re looking for a soap that’s more gentle and won’t clog pores, then refined shea butter may be a better option.

Whichever route you choose, just make sure you get your hands on some quality shea butter, so your soap turns out perfect!

Is refined shea butter bad?

You know what refined shea butter had some of the good stuff taken out. And by good stuff, I mean the vitamins and minerals that make shea butter so nourishing for your skin. However, it still has some of the same benefits as unrefined shea butter, just not to the same degree.

It’s still a great source of moisture, and it can still help to reduce inflammation and skin irritation. So if you’re looking for a quick fix for dry skin, refined shea butter is a decent option. Just be aware that it won’t provide the same long-term benefits as its unrefined counterpart.

final thoughts on refined vs unrefined shea butter

So there you have it, my friends. The ultimate showdown between refined and unrefined shea butter. I’ll let you be the judge of which one is better. But for me, there’s no comparison – unrefined shea butter is where it’s at for body, hair, and soap making. And refined for face because of all the pore-clogging at play.

What about you? Have you tried both versions and have a preference? Let me know in the comments below!

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