Shea butter is one of the most ancient natural moisturisers in Ghana, Uganda, and Chad, and it’s now extremely popular in the West. This yellow to white fat is simply the fat from the nut of the Vitellaria paradoxa or shea tree found across Africa.
As a moisturiser, shea butter is uniquely effective, shown to restore the skin’s moisture levels in just 2 hours, and it’s also free from side effects. For example, cocoa butter is also a particularly effective moisturiser thanks to its ceramides, but it’s far too pore-clogging, with a comedogenic rating of 4 out of 5. Shea butter, meanwhile, has a rating of 0 out of 5, and no other toxins, allergies or irritating compounds to speak of.
Even better, shea butter can mysteriously increase collagen. This moisturiser disables the collagenase enzyme, which breaks down existing collagen in human skin. The Pharaohs of Ancient Egypt even imported shea butter to their pyramids on wagons, for its strong sunscreen ability against the harsh desert sun.
Shea butter is among the top 5 natural moisturisers, for acne patients or natural skincare enthusiasts. But which product should you buy?
For a quick shortcut, the best products here are Key West and Plant Origin. But here’s 12 shea butter brands which range from great to outstanding:
One – Raw Apothecary
Our first shea butter is one of the first an acne patient should consider buying. It’s an ivory coloured shea butter, handcrafted by villagers in Ghana. The butter is 100% pure and natural, containing no additives, pesticides or chemicals.
Most importantly, Raw Apothecary’s shea butter is unrefined, unheated and non deodorised. This is absolutely vital, because heating shea butter damages some of its greatest acne-clearing compounds: vitamin E, cinnamic acid esters, and polyphenol antioxidants. Furthermore, the collagen-boosting powers of shea butter remain highly mysterious. The specific miracle compound is unknown, and intense heat runs the risk of destroying that compound.
There’s also a small difference between unrefined and raw, as unrefined is filtered naturally through a cheese cloth to remove impurities, including visible specks of fiber from the nut. Raw and unrefined shea butter will both clear acne excellently, and Raw Apothecary fits the bill.
What’s more, a clear sign of raw shea butter is a natural nutty smell, and an ivory colour as opposed to pure white. Raw Apothecary has the classic nutty aroma, according to reviews. Raw Apothecary is also softer and easier to apply than other products – the company must be selecting trees which yield a softer butter.
Raw Apothecary meets all requirements for an acne-friendly shea butter.
Amazon link: Raw Apothecary Ivory Shea Butter.
Two – Molivera
Importantly, the smell and colour of Molivera are correct, being mildly nutty and an off white ivory. As for the official characteristics, Molivera succeeds in every way. It’s unrefined, sourced from Africa, BPA free, and also has a UV protectant bottle to minimise damage from sunlight.
Molivera is also grade A shea butter, a feature you’ll see widely. Grade A is essentially a certificate handed out by the American Shea Butter Institute. It’s given to only the highest quality products they inspect, indicating high nutrition, minimal processing and a proper texture. Grade A shea butter isn’t vital, as other certifications like USDA organic are equally valuable and many companies choose to follow that route, but it’s an excellent feature to have nevertheless.
If you cannot resist the pull of shea butter, Molivera is an excellent product to try.
Amazon link: Molivera Organics Shea Butter.
Three – Plant Guru
Use this brand and you will again enjoy shea butter in its purest form. The only ingredient in this product is Unrefined Ivory Shea Butter, with chemical additives and preservatives completely absent.
The bottle is also UV protective, and the butter is handcrafted by local villagers in Ghana once again. The location is a factor you should always consider with shea butter, because of its impact on the fat profile.
All shea butters contain the same fatty acids, but in shea butters from east or central Africa, the content of oleic acid is significantly higher at 60% plus. In West African countries like Nigeria, Burkina Faso or Ghana, the oleic acid is a mere 40%, and this is preferable. When applied topically, high amounts of oleic acid weaken the skin barrier, leading to irritation and actually reducing moisture.
That’s why most of the products recommended here are sourced from Ghana, and Plant Guru is no exception. Why Ghana in particular? It’s a massive part of their culture, involved with wedding ceremonies, with mothers even moisturising their newborn babies with it. Consequently, they’re the world experts on how to make shea butter organically.
Elsewhere, Plant Guru fits all the requirements. Reports on the smell vary from very faint to moderately nutty yet unique. Plant Guru has no unique gimmick, but remains a perfect shea butter product for acne and skincare.
Amazon link: Plant Guru Grade A Shea Butter.
Four – Key West
This shea butter is certified organic by the USDA. It’s free from any chemical contas-skincare-acne/