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Shea Butter Shelf Life & Storage | Better Shea Butter

Unrefined Shea Butter – Shelf Life and Storage

Shea Butter Shelf Life & Storage

We often get asked how to store Raw, Unrefined Shea Butter correctly, and what the shelf life is. We decided to write a comprehensive article about this that will help you in preserving the life of this skin wonder.

Updated as of 2019!

If you haven’t read much about Shea Butter yet- you’ll want to read this article!

Shea Butter Shelf Life

The typical shelf life of unrefined shea butter is about 24 months (2 years) from the date of manufacture and packaging. This is an approximate shelf life affected by storage and temperature. The last two are very important to keep in mind!

Unrefined shea butter is 100% natural, with no preservatives added, so it can happen that one batch or harvest will give a slightly different shea than another. With unrefined Shea butter- there are no chemicals added so one can expect some differentiation in their butter from time to time.

When shea butter is in transit from Ghana to the US, or when our shea butter packages are en-route to the different warehouses that serve Amazon and our website sales, temperature control is not possible 100% of the times. In a perfect world, it would be- but it’s not!

These factors affect how long shea butter can last, however, consider that 2 years is the average time you can safely use Shea to moisturize and nourish your skin.

Shea Butter Storage and Shelf Life

How to tell if your Shea Butter has Expired

unrefined shea butter storage and shelf life

First and foremost- if it smells rancid, your shea butter is not good anymore. However, if you are new to Unrefined, Raw Shea Butter, you may mistake its characteristic nutty and smokey smell for rancidness. We’ll try to expand on this and go over in more detail the difference between rancid smell and smokey smell:

Rancid smell: Makes you gag, reminds you of olive oil gone bad or food gone bad. If your shea butter smells rancid, toss it. It would be putrid, you’d know!

Smokey smell: This is a burnt smell, close to the smell of when you fire up your barbecue or burn wood. Some batches are more nutty/smokey than others, but ALL unrefined shea has a detectable smokey smell. If your shea butter smells smokey, you have the real thing! Unrefined, pure, and ready to use!

Shea Butter Storage – and should you put it in the fridge?

Shea Butter can be stored in several different containers, from a zip lock plastic bag to a plastic container with a lid, to a glass jar or container. As long as you are keeping the air out- you are good to go! Our brand comes sealed in food grade plastic, which is then placed inside a resealable craft bag. If you use our shea butter, you can simply scoop some out of the plastic wrap, then loosely close the plastic, then place it back in the craft bag and seal that one.

As an alternative, you can scoop it out of the plastic bag and place it in one or more containers of your choice. Plastic containers are lighter and do not break as easily as glass, however, glass containers are more insulating and sturdy.

Regardless of the container you use, shea butter should be stored in a pantry, away from direct heat. Do not leave it on a table by a sunny window, close to a stove or heating element. Something to note if you like to keep a container of shea butter on your desk and if your desk is near the sun! The best you preserve it, the longer it will last!

Consider that when the temperature reaches 75F, shea butter will start to soften up and melt as the temperature rises. If you live in a zone where your home temperature is is higher than 75F, we suggest you place the shea butter in the fridge to avoid continuous melting and solidifying as that will lead to grainy shea butter (see our comprehensive blog about grainy shea and how to fix it).

Unrefined Shea Butter storage and shelf life is easily learned. Stick to our storage tips, and make your shea butter last as long as possible.

Need to order some Unrefined Shea Butter? We recommend this one here!

If you want tutorials on how to use your Shea Butter- feel free to follow our Instagram! (@BetterSheaButter) We post weekly DIY tutorials.

180 responses to “Unrefined Shea Butter – Shelf Life and Storage

    1. Hello Chloe!
      Every time you order a block of Shea Butter from us, it was packaged approximately one to two weeks before your date of purchase, we only sell very fresh Shea Butter 🙂 Feel free to write us with any questions you might have – and have a wonderful week!

        1. The only essential that reportedly helps prevent other oils and butters from oxidizing is Rosemary Oil. Please note that this is not a preservative and will not help if your lotion has also water, it just seems to keep fats (oils and butters) from going rancid.

  1. Does the color of Shea butter matter the quality? which color is the best quality as I have the creamy color of Shea butter from south Ghana. thanks

    1. Hi there! As long as the shea butter is unrefined, the color doesn’t matter. Shea can come in different shades depending on the harvest and batch, so I would not worry about that if you trust your source of the butter.

  2. I just took out my shea butter to make another body butter for my daughter with psoriasis and it doesn’t smell bad but when I cut off a chunk the color has changed from a creamy outside to grayish on the inside. Is this normal or do I need to toss it? First time I used it was last Fall around October.

    1. Hi Barbara,
      It’s normal for the fats in the shea butter to sort of separate in the butter, this is unrefined, “unskimmed” butter so the lighter part of it tends to float toward the outside of the block.

  3. Hi. I just found a 3 pack of Lip Balm that has shea butter, it also has avocado and coconut oil and absolutely no preservative bases.
    It had not been opened and was still sealed. It was in a box in a bedroom (well air conditioned). It doesn’t smell or look bad. The pkg date has a exp date of 2015. Do I toss it?

    1. My opinion is that if it smells and looks fine, you can still use it because butters and oils are pretty resilient when they are stored correctly. However, this is just an opinion, I don’t know what the brand is and I cannot see it personally. I hope this helps 🙂

  4. Hello good day what can I use to wash the container that I will be storing my shea butter it, and I just use regular dish soap please help. And when I do tht and let it air dry can then use alcohol to clean the container one more time before I put my shea butter in.

    1. Hi there! That sounds like a great way to clean it – make sure it’s completely dry before adding the alcohol to clean it, and then make sure the alcohol evaporates as well 🙂

    2. Hello!
      Just use a clean container, wash it just like you would wash anything that had food in it. Using alcohol to disinfect your storage container can be done, but normally it’s a practice used by people that sell their products and want to make sure everything is sterilized. Think of making skin care products just like you think of cooking food for yourself or your family: you want things to be clean, you want hygienic conditions, but you don’t need to stress about wearing gloves, masks or sterilizing utensils at high heat unless you get into selling products and/or use ingredients that are a bit more complex and of questionable nature (preservatives, emulsifiers, thickeners, etc.)

  5. Hi,
    I follow your blog. Thanks for sharing your knowledge on Shea butter. I would like to know…if I mix shea butter with essential oils. How long can I use it?

    1. Hello,

      Any time you mix different ingredients – look at the ingredient which expires the soonest. So if you have mixtures of ingredients that expire in 1 year, 6 months, and one ingredient which expires in one month, it would last one month. I hope that helps!

    2. Hello Suzana! Since you are just adding oils to a butter, and have no water or other ingredients that can mold easily, your mix should be good for 6-12 months if you store it away from direct heat.

  6. Hi Isabell – Is it ok to mix pure aloe vera (straight from the plant) with unrefined shea butter and pure extra virgin coconut oil? Also, if I cannot get the plant then can I use ready made aloe vera (pure organic)

    1. Hi Patricia,
      Yes you can use either aloes, but make a small batch because without a preservative, it may only last you 1-2 weeks.

    2. Hello I purchased a block of the unrefined shea butter on May 19 2017 it looks like and haven’t gotten around to using it until now. Is it too late to use for making lotion?

      1. Hi Patricia, the shelf life for shea butter stored correctly is 24 months so it looks like you have a little time left. If it smells fine and not oxidized/rancid, it’s still good.

    1. Hi Mini, I really hope it’s not expired, we produce and sell these little bricks of shea very fast, nothing sits on a shelf long enough to expire. Could you send an email with the order details, lot code # (on the back of the package) and any other concerns you have? Please send it to

  7. I have had a jar for several years. Just recently I gave it to my husband who is going through chemo to keep his hands and feet moisturized. I went in earlier to use on my face. It smelled rancid to me. Our house burned down more than a year ago. Though the bathroom got fairly hot the Shea smelled fine until now. It smells like some Crisco I had many years ago and threw out. I think I will toss this.

    1. Hi Caroline, I am really sorry to hear about your husband and I truly hope for his recovery. As for the shea butter, it has a shelf life of about 2 years, which is a long shelf life considering there are no preservatives in it and it’s just how strong and resilient unrefined shea butter is. If you’ve had it for several years and it smells rancid, it should not be used to avoid any skin irritation or other infection problems, please toss it. We have a small 8 ounce size of ivory shea butter available, it’s close to $10 and considering it will last you at least you 1-2 years, I believe you should take advantage of it. Many blessings to you and your family.

  8. I use your Shea butter as a daily body moisturizer for my kids. Because the brick is so hard, I put it in two plastic containers and let it melt completely in the sun in my car. (I don’t have a microwave.) It will become liquified and hardens again in a day. Now it’s easier to apply. The grainyness doesn’t bother me, but have I destroyed any of its properties?

    1. Shea Butter is resilient to heat, it comes from a very hot climate in Ghana so melting it a few times in the sun will not ruin it, but you should store the one you don’t use in a cool place and take out a little at a time and melt/soften it, then use it up.

  9. It seems to me that the “brick” of shea that I buy (before I make anything from it) has stayed fresh. As it doesn’t seem to get the rancid smell.

    The shea butter with essential oils that I put into s small 2oz plastic containers, does eventually get to small rancid. My guess is after 2 years.

    The shea butter bars, shea sunscreen bars, shea bug repellant bars, shea lip balm has not shown to get rancid that I have noticed, so far.

    What have others experienced in the world of shea butter?

    1. 2 years is a great shelf life considering it has no preservatives! I can’t think of anything else that’s from nature that lasts that long, other than beeswax and honey, but bees products are in a category of their own.

  10. Hi dear,
    Since you don’t have stores in my country, I bought big stock of hair products when I was in USA, could you please tell me what the best way to store it? Shall I put it in the freezer ? as I’m not going to need them before 2 or 3 months from now, and I’m worried for them to get spoiled.
    So please advice.
    Thank you in advance.

    1. Hi Sakina, thank you for buying from us! You can store it in the fridge, not freezer. It will last you 12 month (if not more).

    1. The 48 month expiration date was a typo on one of our old labels, I am sorry about that! Typical shea butter shelf life is 2 years (24 months) from purchasing date, but it needs to be stored away from direct heat because, while unrefined shea butter has a long shelf life, it does not contain any preservatives and it’s still subject to oxidation over time.

  11. I bought a container of Shea butter today and Iv noticed the bottom is completely dark. It’s also got a grey and White and yellow color on the top.

    1. Hi there, it’s hard to tell without seeing at least a photo, but I can take a few guesses: the white/yellow colors on the top could be the shea butter fat that separated and floated on top. If that’s the case, it’s normal and nothing to worry about, shea butter is still useful and usable. If the bottom is completely dark, it could be that the shea butter has sediments, we filter our shea butter before we package it so we don’t have that problem, but depending on where your shea was purchased, they may not have a good filtering system. You could try to fix the problem by melting the shea butter in a double boiler, then filtering it through a coffee filter back into your container. Once it’s filtered and still in liquid form, put it in the fridge to solidify, and your butter should be completely fixed without any discoloration. Thank you for commenting and please let me know how it goes!

  12. Just received some shea in mail with broken seal (not your co.). I am used to cocoa butter & the smell shocked me ~I guessed the product had to be discarded. Thankful, after reading this~ it’s very smokey… not rancid. Great explanation. ??

  13. Hi I ordered shea butter (not your brand) because you don’t deliver in my country. The shea butter has a very smokey smell like smoke and is not incredibly thick more of like a light to medium thickness . It also has little crystals like when you melt shea butter. It is a darker ivory to light yellow colour. Is it the real thing?

    1. The smokey scent is typical of unrefined shea butter, the crystals could be simply that the butter has partially melted and then slowly re-solidified, this does not hurt the butter and it will still melt on skin contact. I am not sure about the consistency you describe, normally shea butter is similar to clay, a bit pliable and can be broken off with your fingers. If it’s too soft it could be mixed with other oils and butters, it is hard to tell unless you run it through a lab. Is the company you bought it from respectable and have they been in business for a while?

  14. I am making a moisturizer with Unrefined Shea Butter. I made 2 batches and it seems to harden rather than stay whipped. Is it my Shea Butter or maybe I need to put less.

    1. Honestly it will always harden up a bit more than what it feels right after you whip it. However, if you keep the ratio of about 60% butter and 40% oils, and if you whip it following our method, it will stay whipped and will be softer and lighter than the brick of shea that you purchase from us.

  15. The smell of the butter seems odd and I’m very sensitive to smells. But I know what its natural and unrefined and pure so I’m glad. But I want to use it in my hair and on my face. Can you please let me know how I can use it without its harsh smell? Can I add some essential oils or something?

    1. Hi Sarah, many people melt it together with coconut oil or another carrier oil that has no scent, then add a little of their favorite essential oils. Also, you need very little shea butter for your face and hair, it’s 100% fat so you don’t want to overdo it. I think if you try with just a little bit of shea, or use it mixed with the other ingredients, the nutty smell will dissipate and won’t bother you. I hope this works!

  16. Aloha Isabella,

    I have a jar of unrefined shea butter. It doesn’t smell rancid but it has what looks like white mold on top of it, whiter than the butter. Has it gone bad?

    Thank you for your answer,

    1. Hello Gaby, mold would be gray/black and only present if water got into the shea butter. Usually the white separation in unrefined shea butter is the “fat” floating on top possibly when it partially melted due to hot weather, then it re-solidified and separated. The smell would tell you if the shea has gone bad – if you’ve ever smelt rancid oil, rancid butter will have a similar scent. Unrefined shea has a natural smokey smell, different than rancid. Lots of sniffing, I know!

  17. Hi,

    I made some whipped shea butter with cocoa butter and coconut oil, some almond oil too. After whipping it, it gets white and nice and fluffy and after 2-3 days it got yellow on the surface… can you tell me which could be the problem of the changing color? Did I whip it too much..? I can’t find an answer… thank you!

    1. Hi Andra, I believe it’s just the fattest part of the butter that tends to float to the surface. It does not affect the product, but probably doesn’t look “perfect” like the lotions we are used to see for sale. Do you cool the formula in the fridge before you give it the final whip? Cooling it fast in the fridge also prevents grainy butter and separation.

  18. I had received a shea butter from another company and I had a cacroach looking bags inside do u know why that could have be ? do they store it wrong or transit ?

  19. Hi. I made a batch of whipped shea butter that was way more than intended. I know it’s OK to refrigerate, but is it OK to freeze? I’m wondering if freezing would allow me to store it for a longer period of time. Would the freezing temperature effect the beneficial properties of the shea butter?
    Thanks in advance.

    1. I would not freeze it, your whipped shea butter has a long shelf life as long as it’s stored in a cool area below 80F.

  20. I bought raw Shea butter at a local flea market. I have Bought it there before, both white and yellow. I melted It in a double boiler and the yellow has turned a brownish color. Did I ruin it? I should Probably order from a reputable company so I know the purity of the product. 🙁

    1. I have seen dirty yellow shea butter more than once, the brown you saw were probably specks of the butter nuts that were not filtered properly or could be plain dirt. I always check out other vendor’s shea butters at markets or whenever I have a chance, and of course I am very picky having been in this business for close to 6 years. The problems you can run into with low quality shea butter is that it’s dirty, unfiltered or made with old shea nuts that make it smell rancid. You are welcome to try ours and compare with what you have found at your local market, then let me know what you think.

  21. Hi Isabella,

    I make a natural hand cream with raw shea butter, virgin coconut oil and essential oils: lemon, orange and grape fruit. What is the minimum whipping time to mix well all the ingredients?

    The cream is a good moisturizer and nourish. However, the smell is strong due to the raw shea butter.
    Which essential oil can I use to “kill” the strong smell?

    Thank you!

    1. Hello Nagia,

      The whipping time depends on the amount of your butters and oils. You want to keep whipping until you see an increase in volume, to give you a comparison, when I whip about 16 oz worth of product, I whip for about 10 minutes, but some people do it for longer. Just decide what’s a consistency that you like, then stop whipping.

      To reduce the strong smell of unrefined shea, I recommend using a smaller percentage of this butter in your formula to no more than 50%, and a bit more of other butters or oils that do not have a scent. Essential oils don’t really mask shea butter scent, and you should not use more than 2% EOs of your final formula or they may irritate the skin.

      I hope this helps.

  22. Good mroning,
    I have read through your online Q&A and hadn’t found the answer to my question.
    I am using a raw shae butter from DuSenza. I only now have learned about yours. I love shae butter with a passion and used it straight up liberally on my whole body face to toes and occasionally a bit in my hair.

    I have anosmia (no sense of smell) and recently learned I smell unpleasant because of it. Oh no !!! I have stopped using it adn eagerly await a solution.

    Essential oils were mentioned only in general terms.

    My question is: is there an essential oil or combination that masks the smell? Is it necessary (or advisable) to mix it with oils?

    I greatly appreciate your guidance.

    Signed by:

    Drying up in Ontario without my shae butter !!!!!!

    1. Hello Dawn,
      Thank you for writing! Unrefined shea butter has a bit of a smokey/nutty scent, I wouldn’t be able to smell it on a person, I can only smell it if I get close to the butter. I am not sure who told you that you smell unpleasant and I would get a few more opinions.
      That said, there is no masking the nutty scent of raw shea with essential oils, but I have found that adding carrier oils to your shea will dilute the natural scent, and adding some essential oils will direct people to that scent. Below is a link to an easy formula that you can make at home that will keep the awesome benefits of shea butter, but remove some of the typical nutty scent.

  23. I have Shea that smells burnt. It was yellowish when solid and appeared black when melted. My last purchase was completely different. It was creamish when solid and had a more nutty smell. This confuses me when nutty and Smokey have a backslash between them because they really are not the same. Anyhow, I don’t know if this black stuff is garbage or what…

    1. The first thing to know about Unrefined Shea Butter is that it’s not 100% consistent from batch to batch: both color shade and how strong the nutty scent is depend largely on the harvest. Shea trees grow wild in Africa and their fruits do not get treated with pesticides or other synthetic products, and the shea butter is handmade and does not get modified in a lab. These conditions, while they guarantee a truly pure and unadulterated product, can yield variations in your shea butter.
      Regarding the blackish color, if you look at the blog I will link below, you can see that when shea butter is melted, the oil looks darker. When it is solid it looks lighter, so this isn’t usually an issue indicating that the butter has anything wrong with it.

      The way to know if unrefined shea butter has gone bad or not is the smell: nutty and smokey, however strong it is, tells you this is unrefined shea butter. Rancid smell, similar to old oil, indicates that the shea butter has oxidized and has gone bad.

      Here’s the article I mentioned earlier, I hope this helps!

  24. HI, I am interested in making body butter using unrefined shea butter and certain oils however will I need to add a preservative to help the shelf life since the shea butter has been altered? If so what is a good preservative? thank you

    1. Hi there, I don’t have a preservative to recommend because all recipes we make don’t need it, or if they normally would need it, we simply recommend to use the product within 1 week to avoid including a synthetic preservative. If you do not add any water-based ingredient to your body butter, you do not need a preservative.

    2. The hole thing about not using preservatives . Is so you don’t have a reaction to the preservatives . As I have bad reactions to them . Burns me .

      1. You can keep it in the fridge, either leave it in our original packaging, or put the shea butter in a glass container with a lid.

      2. I need help I’m new to this . I purchased shea butter cant work out smell but would say on sour side and coco butter smells of nothing is this right

        1. That doesn’t sound right, it depends where you bought them. Our cocoa butter smells like chocolate, our shea butter has a nutty smell, not rancid.

  25. Hi. I will use Shea Butter + Coconut Oil + Castor Oil + Essential Oils, do i still need preservatives that will last for up to 2 years? if so, can i use sodium benzoate? and at what percentage? thank you so much!

    1. Unless you have a water element in your formula (for example: water, tea, hydrosol, honey or anything that is water soluble), you don’t need a preservative.

      You can however use an antioxidant to try and prolong the shelf life of a butter or oil. I use Vitamin E as an antioxidant in my recipes, if you let me know your exact recipe in ounces, I can suggest how much vitamin E you can add. A shelf life of 2 years it’s a bit long in my opinion. I would go for 12 or 15 months max to make sure your products are the most effective.

  26. Hello. I’m glad that I finally found a place that offers an education on Shea butter and it’s use. I have enjoyed the Q&A and plan to purchase my supplies from here! That said, I make large batches of Shea butter for myself and family, however don’t understand the ratio of butters to oils.
    I use 32oz jars, along with smaller jars for face and feet applications with about 5 to 10lbs of Shea butter per batch. Sometimes I’ll include cocoa and am now trying mango for my face. Generally, I simlpy “throw in” the oils I like for its intended use.

    I appreciate the information about shelf life of Shea butter mix being consistent with the shelf life of the oils used. Please help!

    1. As a general rule, I weight my butters and oils and I use about 60-70% of butter and the rest is oils. For example, to fill one 32oz jar and want to do a ratio of 65% butters to 35% oils, you will need 20.8 ounces of butter and 11.2 ounces of oils – give or take because we know this is more of an art than a science. If you whip your final body butter, you will get more volume so you will have some body butter left over to fill other smaller jars.

      When you have that much shea butter to melt and mix, I really recommend you do the math and work out your ratios, and write it down. All you need is one good formula that works for you, but if you don’t do the math and keep records, you will end up wasting products or getting confused from one time to the next.

      1. Thank you! I have decided that I will do the math from this batch going forward. Absent formulas and calculations my previous batches where wonderful on the skin and hair, but they were a bit greasy.

        With your formula, I will weigh the shea butter and put them in the 32oz jars without the oils. When I’m ready to prepare the oils for its intended use I will prepare the jars individually.

        I found a few smaller hermetic jars that are great for face moisturizers. Is the ratio still the same?

  27. Good day,

    I read that if there is no water element mixed in, the Sheabutter can last 2 years.
    Maybe a silly question, but if I whip the Shea butter(with or without oils) there is air coming in it. Will the shelf life still be 2 years? give or take.

    Thank you in advance

    1. There are no silly questions! 🙂

      If I were you, I would use the expiration date printed on the package of the shea butter you purchase, and use that as the exp date of your whipped butter. If you add other oils or ingredients, the shelf life could change a bit, unless you test it in a lab you won’t have an exact answer. From my experience, anything I whip that contains 1 or more butters and oils (but no water) will last me about 1 year. After that it starts to have a sightly different scent or color and those are signs that it’s safer to toss it and whip a fresh batch.

  28. Is there any way to get rid of the smell? It stinks! Like a smoker! I use it in deodorant and have used it before, but the Shea butter was a whiter shade(this batch is grey), and it smelled good)or at least not bad.

    1. A smokey undertone is normal in unrefined shea butter, all you can do is use less shea butter and maybe more of another butter or oil to disperse the scent. Instead of using the full amount in a recipe for shea butter, do 50/5 shea/mango butter, that also helps since mango is not scented.

  29. What is the effect if shea butter and food stuff loaded in one 20ft container for period of 2 month in transit.

    1. If the container is temperature-controlled, nothing negative happens to the shea butter. All imported shea butter from Ghana needs to get a pass from the FDA at customs, so nothing comes through to us unless it’s of the highest standards.

  30. Hello, this is the 1st time I am using unrefined shea butter and am not sure if it is spoiled or just smells a bit off. I didnt like the smell initially but it doesn’t affect me now. I have made eczema lotion bars for my toddler with it. Will it cause any problem to her skin? Pls advise

    1. Unrefined shea butter has a natural nutty, smokey scent, it comes from the process of roasting the shea nuts before boiling them and extracting the butter. This is different than a rancid smell, that would be a sign that your butter has expired.

  31. I’ve had my shea butter for about 2 years, and throughout that time I’ve kept it in my room where the temperature does tend to fluctuate. I haven’t used it in a while and today I noticed my once yellow shes butter has turned white. It seems to still have a smokey smell to it though, so is it expired?

    1. It is hard without seeing it in person, but if it does not smell rancid, it’s probably good. The white you see is probably the fat of unrefined shea butter slowly floating to the top.

  32. Should a person sterilize the Shea butter before using or is it sterile?
    And how is it done?
    The store I bought it from repackages it, to me that would be contaminating it

    1. It would smell a bit nutty and smokey, and it would need to be an off white or ivory color. Ideally it’s unrefined, but that’s not always declared on the packaging, for you would need to ask that specific question. White shea butter with no scent signifies that the shea was refined with synthetic ingredients and while it can still soften your skin and be used as a cosmetic ingredient, it was stripped of most of its nutrients and vitamins. We love unrefined shea!

  33. I just received my shea butter in the mail. It is supposed to be 100% natural African Shea Butter. It is yellow in color and not soft but hard like wax not scoopable. Is this consistency or texture right, I thought it was going to be soft. Please advise. Is it too old?

    1. The color varies from ivory to yellow, so that sounds good. However shea butter is never hard like wax, it’s always soft, similar to clay. If it was our shea butter please email us at and we’ll look into it and help you.

    2. I washed my hair with creme of nature shampoo and applied 100% pure Shea butter product of Ghana Recho Ayumaah Cosmetics Atlanta Ga (distributed by RA cosmetics) now my scalp has very dry huge flakes. What’s happening?

  34. What happens if you use expired shea butter? It’s over 24 months but doesn’t smell rancid. Smells pretty much the same as it did years ago. But I got it maybe 3 years or 4 years ago.

    1. Shea butter is very resilient and can last 4 years. We, like most companies, prefer to give it a shelf life of 24 months from production date just to be on the safe side, but if it looks and smells normal, and you have stored in a cool place, you are good to go!

  35. I bought my shea butter to make receipts and babe stored it in the fridge for over 6 months. Would it still be ok to use?

    1. It depends when the shea butter was manufactured, you should look for an expiration date on the package.

  36. Hi,
    What would be the very best essential oils to add to raw unrefined shea butter to help it smell good and cover up the smokey smell?

    1. To diffuse the nutty smell of shea, you will need to add some carrier oil to it in addition to essential oils. For example, you can mix 4 oz shea, 2 oz coconut oil (or another carrier oil), and 40 drops of EO.

    1. Sorry if I didn’t answer your question. I believe that choosing the “best” essential oil is personal, it depends on what type of scents you like – fruity, herbal, woody, floral, etc. Floral scents like lavender or chamomile are very popular and I would say they are the best for my skin, they are delicate and floral, which I love. I hope this helps.

  37. Do you have to use a preservative for homemade whipped shea butter? I plan on using it personally for hair care only. And will keeping it unrefrigerated assist it in keeping it soft and whispy?

    1. You don’t need to use a preservative unless you add water or aloe vera or another ingredient that is water soluble. Yes, keep it unrefrigerated.

  38. This is a great article! Kudos to you Isabella! I own a business EnvieSoi and we sell Shea body butter, candles, scrubs, fragrance and more. Here’s the website for those who’d like to
    check it out, With your permission I would love to share this article with my patrons? And I’d love to connect with you about potentially writing a blog for my site! ?

  39. Hi, if I vacuum pack my shea butter, then freeze it will it be OK, and have you any idea how long it will last?

    1. Wondering if you have come across shea butter causing a whitening/graying of a balm mix after a number of weeks. Currently only using about 12% of entire formula?
      Only other thing I can think is there is a small amount of Zinc oxide used as well.

      1. You can freeze anything, but I don’t think you should count on freezing to prolong the shelf life of shea butter, it’s so nice to use fresh shea, and since a little goes a long way, you will not spend too much anyways.

  40. Can we put Shea butter run the fridge? The answer wasn’t really direct. Is it ok in the fridge, yes or no, please. Thank you.

    1. No! Unless you mix a butter/oil with water or aloe vera (or similar water-based ingredient), you do not need a preservative.

  41. Thank you so much for this article, it is awesome! Quick question, Is it okay if I store big bulks of shea butter in the fridge? Does this extent the shelf life or guarantee more freshness?

  42. My wife’s shea butter has changed color from a pretty yellow to now dull Gray. It doesn’t have any objectionable odors. Is it still good?

  43. Ive made a whipper body butter out of this stuff and added essential oils to make the smell abit nicer but it hasn’t helped. Is there anything you can suggest.?
    Is there any way of adding more essential oils at this point?

    1. To reduce the unrefined shea butter nutty smell, it’s best to use less shea butter and more oils or other ingredients. Adding more Essential Oils won’t really do the trick :/

  44. I make my own hair moisturizer by mixing shea butter, olive oil, castor oil, rosemary oil and castor oil. I blend them together with a blender into a whipped cream texture and use it on my hair and skin. I don’t put it in the refrigerator because it will become hard again which will make it hard to apply, therefore; I am wondering what would be the shelf life of this. It usually lasts me about 45 to 60 days.

    1. All the oils and butters you list have a long shelf life, so as long as you do not get water in the formula and store it in a cool place, the shelf life should be at least 6 months.

    2. Can I ask the amounts of each? I would think it definitely will last 60 days. I would worry more about the olive than the others but even that should be fine

  45. Will adding some jojoba or argan and essential oils to make a beard butter. Will this shorten the approximate 2 year shelf life of shea butter? Or if stored properly can I still count on that approximation.

    1. Hello Darren, Shea Butter itself has a 2 year shelf life however when mixed with oils the shelf life is normally 1 year. I would check the oils you use for their specific expiration dates to know a more accurate expiration date but most oils have approximately a year shelf life.

  46. Ive been using straight shea butter as a cream on my body for about 3 yrs. Some batches smell like yummy shea butter and others smell perfumey. Is this the smokey smell you mean? I dont like it because it smells “scented” to me and I have asthma. Does raw or refined have less of a smell?

    1. Raw and Unrefined Shea Butter have a natural nutty/smoky smell. Refined Shea Butter with no other ingredients will have little to no smell, though some of the nutrients are stripped when the butter is refined. Shea Butter lotions with perfume or scented ingredients would have a perfume type smell. Hope this helps!

  47. So my partners and I are just starting a business and purchased Shae butter from a lady. She stopped her business in 2017 and not knowing at the time did not properly store the product we purchased. It was opened and still in its original manufactured box not sealed. It it ok to use or should we get rid of it?

    1. Hello Deborah, The way to tell if your butter is bad is the smell. If Shea Butter is bad it will have a rancid smell. As it was unsealed this could have allowed for moisture to get into it, which is a fast way for it to go bad. The only other thing to consider is now that it was unsealed for a period of time it will be hard to guarantee your product to your customers and put a valid expiration date on your products without getting it tested in a lab.

  48. If my shea butter is way over 2 years old, but doesn’t smell rancid, is it okay to use? What would consequences be of using if it is “bad?”

    1. If gone bad it could cause skin irritation – in theory. I have never personally experienced and since Shea Butter hold ups a long time, it is still normally good to use after 3 years from manufacturing. If it does not smell rancid or had no other defects, is probably still good.

  49. I purchased some of your unrefined Shea butter and forgot I had it. It has never been opened but the expiration says 8/2019. It doesn’t smell bad. Can I still use it?

    1. It’s probably still good, shea butter does last a long time, but we put a 24 month expiration date from manufacturing as a normal standard.

  50. I have a shea butter from 2016.
    Last time I used it was in 2018, then I had to travel abroad. I came back and my mom still storing it for me, so i’m confused cause i have a giant pot and it’s not easy to get rid of it. What should I do? now it’s been 4years.

  51. Hi, I have two shea butters. One smells nutty and smokey, and that’s fine. But I recently bought some that smells sour as well. I was told that it’s just the way it’s supposed to smell, but it’s so stinky! I can’t use it. Could it be fine? Is sour part of the natural smell?

    1. Sour tells you it’s expired. The nutty/smokey smell is typical of unrefined shea butter and it comes from roasting the shea nuts on open fire.

  52. I’ve never used shea butter before. I ordered and just received the raw unrefined shea butter. I was wondering if it can be mixed with 100% pure sweet almond oil. I’ve never done this before, so I don’t know amounts, or how I go about doing it and if I store the combined out of the fridge. Hoping someone can help me 🙂

    1. Absolutely you can mix the two. Melt 2/3 or shea butter and 1/3 of almond oil in weight, mix, put in the fridge to solidify and it’s ready to use!

  53. I love your entry…Btw, I’m having difficulties to insert my cream (whipped shea butter) into a squeeze tube. Do you have any idea how to solve this? Maybe by using some kind of natural lubrication or stuff..thank you

    1. You could try and put it in when it’s still liquid? Otherwise most tube openings are too small to scoop in a butter.

    1. Yes, shea nuts residues can sometimes end up in small particles in the butter, nothing to worry about since the shea nuts are washed and roasted before being milled and turned into butter. It’s just part of the 100% natural experience.

  54. My first purchase of unrefined Shea butter has just arrived from Amazon
    Regarding the scent . Per your advice, Shea should smell nutty nor rancid. Is there a 3 scent to consider? I know the smell of rancid. . My Shea Butter does NOT smell rancid or nutty. Is there a third or fourth scent to be weary of?

    Mine smells like rubber. Like it’s been smuggled across the border from Mexico hidden in the tires of diesel. (Not speaking from experience)
    I have 4 small jars waiting, anticipating your reply!

    Thank you so much,
    HeySunShine ☀️

    (Thank you for your easy informative detailed website, BTW. Totally loving you right now)

    P.s. I’m not Crazy, I’m a woman. I’m quirky?

  55. My Shea butter is from last year and it’s gone a bit gray colored, but it smells fine. Is it still okay to use?

  56. the shea butter that I bought recently has smoky smell but came with a solid block size. Does the shea butter has to be in soft texture?

  57. I have had my Shea butter for over two years and it don’t smell bad? It honestly smells like nothing to compared to what it first smelled like when I got it. Has it still gone bad / has it lost it’s property to moisturize my skin ?

    1. Sometimes shea butter lasts a very long time and seems the same as new, but we recommend getting a fresh batch if yours is older than 2 years.

  58. It would be an understatement to say that I love shea butter – it’s one of the only butters that I really use on a day-to-day basis. It reminds me of home, of my origins, and it’s just so easy to use. Is it weird that I am in love with the unrefined shea butter scent? I just can’t get enough of it – the stronger the scent, the better I feel the shea butter is. Oh well – I should also take a look at other natural butters to mix up my routine!
    Thanks for teaching me some new things I didn’t know!

    1. I get you! And I know how you feel about that raw, unrefined scent, I love it too. So wholesome. Some people don’t like it and try to “cover it up” with essential oils. To each his own I guess 🙂

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