Shea Butter: Benefits, Uses, and Possible Side Effects

Shea Butter: Benefits, Uses, and Possible Side Effects

Shea butter has long been a favorite cosmetic ingredient in personal care and skin care products. Essentially, it is fat that's been derived from nuts of the shea tree, and mostly comes from West Africa. At room temperature, it's solid, and melts when it comes into contact with skin. There are 2 types of shea butter: ivory and yellow. Shea butter comes out of the nut in an ivory color, the yellow shea butter is made when Borututu tree root is added during the milling process, so there is no substantial difference between the two. Root from the Borututu tree, from a skincare standpoint, helps heal inflammations, and provides an extra boost of antioxidants and healing elements. Naturally BODIED offers products using both ivory shea butter and yellow shea butter. Let's see why!

So, what exactly does shea butter have in it that makes it so magical? Well, for starters, shea butter has a high concentration of vitamins (A, E, and F), triglycerides, cetyl esters, and fatty acids (linoleic, palmitic, stearic, and oleic) that gives it its ability to soften the skin so well. Shea butter also has extensive healing, antioxidant, antibacterial, anti-fungal (to spores causing ringworm and athlete's foot) and anti-inflammatory properties, which helps to condition, tone, and soothe your skin

Shea Butter Benefits for Hair

While there isn't much research pertaining to shea butter making hair stronger, there is a study from 2017 which found that a plant in West Africa that is similar to shea butter chemically made hair significantly more resistant to breakage

Shea butter helps to treat dandruff by providing moisture retention to dry and irritated scalps. A review from 2018 found that shea butter used in combination with other moisturizers could aid in decreasing dandruff flakes and also helps to reduce the risk of flare-ups.

Shea butter can be applied directly to your hair, or as an oil treatment on the scalp. For people with curly or pours hair, consider using shea butter as a conditioner, being sure to make sure your hair has absorbed most of the butter before rinsing out, and using a small amount as a leave in conditioner. 

People with naturally thin, fine, or straight hair should consider just using shea butter on the ends of your hair, as it may cause oily buildup at the roots.

For a product to consider in this case, check out:

Naturally BODIED's Tea Tree Scalp Treatment Whipped Shea Butter, with shea butter, tea tree oil, Argan oil, and jojoba oil!

yellow creamy-textured whipped shea butter

* If you have sensitivities to essential oils, like the tea tree oil in our Tea Tree Scalp Treatment ($10), consider using our Unscented Whipped Shea Butter ($10) on your hair, mixed with only jojoba oil for those with sensitive skin!*

Shea Butter Benefits for Face and Skin

Shea butter contains tree-nut oils that are super rich, that melts into your skin, restoring the barrier between your skin and the environment that locks in moisture, and makes your skin softer and smoother. Its unique composition also restores the natural balance of oils in your skin, helping to clear your skin of excess sebum.

The healing and anti-inflammatory properties of shea butter soothes and reduces redness and swelling of the face. These properties make shea butter excellent for insect bites, wound healing, skin burns, and other skin conditions like eczema, dermatitis psoriasis, and other dry skin conditions

Shea butter is also said to have anti-aging properties that could be a result of collagen production promotion, or a reduced breakdown of already-present collagen. This also helps reduce the look of fine lines and wrinkles

Shea butter also has higher levels of linoleic acid, and oleic acid which balance each other out, making it easier for your skin to fully absorb it, and resulting in your not looking greasy after application and absorption.


It is also said that shea butter stops scar tissue from reproducing, and encourages healthy cell growth to take their place, minimizing the look of scars and stretch marks

Shea Butter can be used as added sun protection. While by itself, it isn't a very effective form of sunscreen, layering it over your favorite sunscreen gives an extra boost of protection. Alone, shea butter is estimated to contain an SPF of 3-4.

You can apply raw shea butter directly to your face, as it is safe for all skin types, in terms of allergies. But it skill has the potential to cause breakouts with certain skin types due to how rich raw shea butter is. You can also mix shea butter with other oils or buy a product from the store that contains shea butter and apply it to your face. It is best to apply shea butter to your face before you go to sleep at night, to give your skin ample time to absorb it.

We would also recommend using extremely small quantities of shea butter on your face, as a little goes a long way, and there are claims of shea butter being comedogenic.

For an affordable, all natural option check out Naturally BODIED's arrangement of Whipped Shea Butters, which are mixed with different types of essential oils and carrier oils to meet all your skin needs! We also offer an Unscented Whipped Shea Butter, which is only mixed with jojoba oil for those with sensitivities to essential oils, and they're only $10!

Shea Butter Grades

Shea butter can be purchased in different forms. The best form to buys is the raw (unprocessed) and unrefined form as the more shea butter is processed, the more its all-natural properties are diluted.

Along these lines, because shea butter can be diluted, it is classified by an A-F grading scale. A is the purest form of shea butter

Risks and Side Effects

The American Academy of Dermatology supports the claim that shea butter can be comedogenic and cause acne, especially for those with acne-prone skin. However, like most skin care products, everyone's skin differs, so while some people love to apply shea butter to their face, the skin of others may feel smothered when it's applied.

Shea butter is a very low-risk ingredients, and allergies to it are pretty rare, even for people with tree nut allergies!

Naturally BODIED's Use of Shea Butter

Naturally BODIED uses shea butter in a variety of ways, like our assortment of Whipped Shea Butters, to be used on your face, body, or hair (however you see fit)! We also use shea butter is our Butta' Baby Foaming Butter Cleansers, to provide a moisturizing cleanser that doesn't leave you feeling trip and dried out!

Back to blog

1 comment

I love the Tea Tree Scalp Treatment! The shea butter is so smooth that it melts into my hands without much effort. This product helps to keep my scalp moisturized and hair shiny. I will be purchasing again :)

Tyler H.

Leave a comment