As Shea butter becomes more and more popular on the skin care market, people want to know what the difference is between raw and refined African shea butter. Is one better than the other? What do ‘raw’ and ‘refined’ even mean? Below we will explore the two different types of shea butter, as well as which one might be the best fit for you.

Raw African shea butter is shea butter that has gone through the least amount of processing. The shea nuts are picked, dried, and then pounded to release the rich plant butter inside the shea nut. The shea butter is then separated from the outer shell and does not go through any sort of heating or deodorizing process. It may or may not be filtered, depending on where you source your shea butter.

People who typically prefer raw shea butter prefer it because absolutely none of the regenerative and healing compounds found in the butter are destroyed or affected in any way. Some people also enjoy the slightly nutty scent that accompanies raw shea butter.  Additionally, raw shea butter is a very stable plant fat, and so can be used for a very long time without any worry of it going rancid.

Refined African shea butter does go through some sort of deodorizing or refinement process. Most people choose to use refined shea butter because the color is more white, and the traditional nutty smell of raw shea butter has been removed. Typically, the more refined the shea butter, the less therapeutic it is. As a result, if you prefer refined shea butter to the raw version, you must take a certain amount of care when choosing whom you buy it from. Cold pressed refined shea butter is a better option because, even though it has still been refined, it has not been exposed to extremely high levels of heat, which further damage the therapeutic compounds in the butter.

If you prefer a more subtle scent, lighter color, and slightly thinner texture, then high quality refined African shea butter would be a great choice for you. If you like your shea butter skin care a little more real-to-the-feel and un-tampered with, then raw shea butter is the way to go, like our Wildcrafted Raw Shea Butter. Both versions are great used alone, or mixed with essential oils and other plant butters to enhance your shea butter skin care experience.