Shea butter comes in two forms: refined and unrefined. The primary difference between the two is that unrefined shea butter retains more skin care properties and vitamins, but it may have a range of smells and colors. Refined shea butter is colorless and lacks a fragrance, although it has a higher chance of graininess. Ultimately, the choice between unrefined and refined shea butter comes down to personal preference.
What Exactly Is Unrefined Shea Butter?
Unrefined shea butter is made from pure, raw shea nuts. It has a natural smell and usually ranges in color from yellow to brown. As it is cold-pressed and minimally processed, unrefined shea butter retains a high concentration of vitamins and fatty acids, making it intensely nourishing for the skin.(1)
What Exactly Is Refined Shea Butter?
Refined shea butter has been processed to remove impurities and unwanted odors. As a result, it is typically white in color and has little to no scent. Although it is less natural than unrefined shea butter, some people prefer it for its more uniform consistency.(2)
Difference Between Unrefined And Refined Shea Butter:
Unrefined shea butter is more natural and contains a higher concentration of vitamins and fatty acids, making it more beneficial for the skin.(3)
Refined shea butter has a more uniform consistency and is less likely to be grainy.
Unrefined shea butter may have a range of smells and colors.
Refined shea butter is less natural and may not be as beneficial for the skin.
How to Choose:
The choice between unrefined and refined shea butter is a matter of personal preference. If you are looking for a more natural product with greater benefits for the skin, unrefined shea butter is the better choice. If you prefer a product with less scent and a more consistent texture, refined shea butter may be a better option. Ultimately, it is up to you to decide which type of shea butter is right for you.
When Does It Go Bad?
Unrefined shea butter can go bad if it is not stored properly. If it is exposed to light or heat, the vitamins and fatty acids will degrade, reducing its efficacy. Unrefined shea butter should be stored in a cool, dark place and used within six months of opening. Refined shea butter has a longer shelf life and can be stored for up to two years.
How To Tell If It Has Gone Bad?
If unrefined shea butter is exposed to light or heat, the vitamins and fatty acids will degrade, reducing its efficacy. If you are unsure whether your shea butter has gone bad, it is best to throw it out and purchase a new jar.
refined shea butter does not go bad as easily as unrefined shea butter, but it can lose its potency over time. If you are unsure whether your shea butter is still effective, it is best to consult a dermatologist or skin care professional.
How To Store It?
Unrefined shea butter should be stored in a cool, dark place. The ideal storage temperature is between 59 and 77 degrees Fahrenheit. If you are storing shea butter for an extended period of time, it is best to keep it in the refrigerator.
Refined shea butter can be stored at room temperature.
How Long Does It Last?
Unrefined shea butter has a shorter shelf life than refined shea butter due to its higher vitamin and fatty acid content. Unrefined shea butter should be used within six months of opening.
Refined shea butter has a longer shelf life and can be used for up to two years.
How To Use It?
Unrefined shea butter can be used as is or whipped into a cream. It can be applied to the skin directly or added to lotions, soaps, and other cosmetic products.
Refined shea butter is ideal for use in cosmetics and skincare products due to its uniform consistency. It can also be used as a hair treatment or added to shampoo and conditioner.
Unrefined shea butter is more natural and contains a higher concentration of vitamins and fatty acids, making it more beneficial for the skin.
Refined shea butter has a more uniform consistency and is less likely to be grainy. Ultimately, it is up to you to decide which type of shea butter is right for you.
The Bottom Line:
Both unrefined and refined shea butter offer important skin care benefits. Unrefined shea butter is more natural and thus retains more vitamins, but it may have a strong smell and vary in color. Refined shea butter is less natural, but it is easier to work with and does not have a strong scent. Choose the type of shea butter that is right for you based on your personal preferences.
- Improving the optimized shea butter quality: a great potential of utilization for common consumers and industrials- https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4631807/
- Effect of Refining and Fractionation Processes on Minor Components, Fatty Acids, Antioxidant and Antimicrobial Activities of Shea Butter- https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC10137687/
- Development and Physico-Chemical Characterization of a Shea Butter-Containing Lipid Nutrition Supplement for Sub-Saharan Africa- https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5704141/
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