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What Is Shea Butter?

What Is Shea Butter?

Shea butter is derived from African Shea trees, which produce smooth, round nuts. The kernel of these nuts is used to make shea butter, a moisturizing and vitamin-rich ingredient used in hair and skin products.

Shea nuts are boiled to remove their shell more easily, revealing oily kernels. This heating process releases the rich fats of the shea kernels, which is the shea butter itself. Shea butter has long been a traditional ingredient on its own for moisturizing skin and hair. Over the years, it has become a more common ingredient in commercial skincare products.

The Benefits of Using Shea Butter

So, what is shea butter good for? Shea butter is an exceptionally effective emollient, as it soothes and locks in moisture. It’s also high in fatty acids, which help balance oil production in the skin and has a large concentration of vitamins. Vitamins in Shea butter include A, E, and F, all of which have antioxidant properties that help with circulation and cell growth¹. Additionally, shea butter has anti-inflammatory properties, which means it’s great for relieving irritated skin.

If you have dry skin, eczema, sensitive skin, or age-related changes to your skin, then shea butter can be a soothing and powerfully restorative addition to your skincare routine. And since it’s non-comedogenic, you won’t have to worry about clogged pores or triggering a breakout².

How Do You Use Shea Butter?

Shea Butter for the Body

Shea butter is often best used when combined with other ingredients. On its own, it has a thick and hard-to-spread consistency. But it’s easy to incorporate into your beauty routine as part of a body butter that contains ingredients you already enjoy.

Our Undaria Algae™ Body Butter combines whipped shea butter with nutrient-rich Undaria seaweed to create a moisturizer with 72 hours of hydration³. For visible skin-firming, our Undaria Collagen™ Body Lotion with shea butter provides ultra-hydration in a lightweight formula. The unscented version is also dermatologist-approved for delicate, sensitive skin.

Anti-aging body skincare

Undaria Algae™ Body Butter
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Lightweight hydration

Undaria Collagen™ Body Lotion

Shea butter can also be a wonderful addition to your body routine, as it leaves skin feeling clean, supple, and smooth after bathing. Our Salts of the Earth Body Scrub features shea butter alongside a blend of mineral-rich salts and Gigartina seaweed. The shea butter and seaweed help keep skin hydrated, while the salts polish and exfoliate away dead skin cells.

Gentle body exfoliator

Salts of the Earth Body Scrub
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Shea Butter for the Face

Because of the fatty acid and oil-rich nature of shea butter, you may be hesitant to incorporate it into your facial skincare routine. However, shea butter-based products for the face are great for those with dry skin or age-related changes to the skin. Shea butter can help boost and restore the natural barrier of your skin, an important aspect of keeping skin clear from blemishes and irritation².

Our Atmosphere Protection Cream uses shea butter alongside nutrient-rich seaweed to help boost the skin barrier, rebalance your skin’s microbiota, and improve the appearance of the skin’s elasticity⁴. For a deeper and more restorative hydration, we suggest our Advanced Protection Cream—our richest cream. This moisturizer pairs shea butter with sea minerals, amino acids, and biomimetic lipids to provide hydration.

Lightweight barrier moisturizer

Atmosphere Protection® Cream

Top anti-aging hydration

Advanced Protection Cream
Editor's Pick

If you have targeted areas of concern, such as dark or puffy circles around the eyes, shea butter can also be a key ingredient to introduce. Our Advanced Repair Eye Cream is a luxuriously rich eye cream featuring shea butter alongside seaweed and botanicals to infuse the skin around your eyes with hydration and nutrients. Ultimately, shea butter works best for those with dry, sensitive, or aging skin, but most skin types can benefit from this nourishing, moisturizing ingredient.

Targeted age repair

Advanced Repair Eye Cream


1. Donohue, R. (1 March 2022). There’s a Good Reason Shea Butter Seems to Be in Everything These Days. Allure. Retrieved on August 1, 2023, from

2. Summers, G. and Hanson, C. (14 March 2023). Shea Butter Is Key For Well-Moisturized Skin—Here’s Why. Byrdie. Retrieved on August 1, 2023, from

3. Based on a third-party consumer perception & clinical study conducted over 4 weeks on 32 women ages 37-65.

4. Based on a third-party consumer perception study conducted over 4 weeks on 33 women ages 23-52 with twice daily application.