How to Handle Raw African Shea Butter

Written by belinda robinson-jones
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Raw Shea Butter is extracted from the nuts of the shea-karite tree. Raw butter can be extracted manually and boiled or cold pressed without chemicals. It has a nutty smell and its colour varies from yellow to cream depending upon where it is produced. Some companies process raw shea butter with hexane and other petroleum solvents to remove the odour and the colour. White shea butter that has no odour has probably been highly processed and its healing elements have probably been compromised as well.

Skill level:


  1. 1

    Store shea butter in a cool place. It does not need refrigeration.

  2. 2

    Do not let shea butter sit around longer than three years because the healing elements will degenerate and become ineffective. The moisturising properties usually last a little longer.

  3. 3

    Stir and remix shea butter that melts and separates in heat 36.7 degrees C or higher. Set the mixture in a refrigerator until it resets.

  4. 4

    Use raw shea butter on your hair and skin. Mix it with lotions, soaps and shampoos for more convenience. Use it to moisturise and heal rough skin and revitalise dry, damaged hair.

Tips and warnings

  • Use Ugandan shea butter on dry knees, elbows, rough hands and dry scalp. It is rarer and more expensive and has a higher absorption rate and a milder odour than the shea butter from West Africa.
  • Don't use or handle shea butter that stinks and smells rancid. Shea butter that has turned green is never to be used.

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