Organic v What is Non-Organic Shea Butter?

First things first, what is shea butter

Well, shea butter is a seed fat that comes from the Karite tree, typically found in East and West Africa, which produces seeds that store oily kernels, that can be manipulated into a powder, or boiled in water to produce a butter that rises and solidifies into a natural moisturiser. 


Shea butter is a multifaceted product that has been used for several purposes - to heal and cook - but today, it takes the beauty and natural skincare industry by storm. So, If you’ve always wanted healthy, glowing skin but are worried that shea butter might be too thick and break you out, fear not as Oyoma Beauty is here to help. 


The facts are true; shea butter can indeed restore skin’s elasticity, reduce razor irritations, bumps or stretch marks, and here’s the kicker, it CAN treat acne and blemishes! But these skin miracles can only be achieved with organic shea butter, so how do you ensure you’re buying the right product?

The difference between organic shea butter and non-organic?

Shea butter is a rich emollient extracted from the nut of the African shea fruit. Naturally, it’s rich in sterols and bio-actives that penetrate moisture and have a sizable quantity of unsaponifiable fat, which contains shea triterpene esters. So, without these natural active elements, there is no cell regeneration, UV protection and anti-inflammatory properties. 

How do I spot the organic vs non-organic shea butter?

Non-organic shea tends to be white and odourless because the refining process removed the colour and scent, alongside most of its natural healing properties. Whereas, organic shea butter has a natural light yellow colour with a typical nutty scent, and maintains its natural benefits such as vitamin E and D, provitamin A and allantoin; which all help to reduce irritation and scarring.

How do I know if I’m buying the right kind?

If you’re looking for pre-made and packaged organic shea butter, we suggest purchasing from all-natural, zero-waste skincare manufacturers (hint hint), but if you enjoy the process of going out and sourcing your items, just like with fruit, the best and fresh batch will always be available in your local market.


Do these things to avoid disappointment:

  • The quickest and easiest way to differentiate between the two is to smell it. Unprocessed and quality shea is naturally nutty and smokey, but non-organic is odourless until manipulated with extra scents. 
  • Colour check! Genuine, good quality shea comes in specific colours: ivory, off-white, cream, light beige, and even yellow. However, if it looks too bright or unnatural, then it’s probably not natural. 
  • Real organic shea butter melts to your body temperature, whereas, the non-organic withholds even under the scorching sun heat!
  • How does it feel on your skin? Well, this is a big indication of whether it’s organic or non-organic shea butter. In its natural state shea feels smooth, creamy and quickly absorbs into the skin, instead of the greasy feeling you may experience with refined. 
  • And the last tell-tale is the shelf life. Traditional, organic shea butter can be kept for one to three years, in comparison to non-organic which comes with a shorter shelf life, regardless of how you store it. 

Unfortunately, most beauty brands don’t disclose if they’re refined or unrefined shea butter, so it’s up to buyers to use their discernment. But hopefully, with our advice, you’re well equipped to spot the natural from the non-organic. Just in case, remember if it doesn’t feel nourishing then put it away. 

What about the shea butter creams, how effective are they?

Although organic shea butter can be used as a body or hair balm, it can also be an added ingredient within a cream. In fact, most moisturisers - stocked in mass retailers - that claim to be made from organic shea butter contain less than 1% shea. But for its true benefits, the most effective body creams will contain at least 20% of organic shea butter in their formulas. 


Our whipped shea butter contains more than 20% organic shea butter, and our rich texture is achieved because we don’t settle for one nourishing ingredient but include, aloe vera, olive oil, avocado oil, coconut oil and water. 


We all love to care for our skin and hair, and there is no better form of self-care than by using all-natural products that keep our hair nourished and skin moisturised.