Is Shea Butter Vegan? Does Shea Butter Go Bad?

People have started using vegan cosmetics because they are now not in the favor of putting harsh chemicals on their skin. A few of the most important products that people use in their daily life are shea butter and cocoa butter. The good news about both of these products is that they are both vegan.

If you have a certain familiarity with beauty and cosmetic products, you must have come shea butter as an ingredient in most lotions and ointments. The name shea butter does not mean it has dairy in it! It is sourced from plants and not milk.

However, not every plant-sourced ingredient is vegan – there are a lot of elements that go into the extraction and production procedure that contaminate the plant-based product. So is shea butter vegan?

This article is your quick guide to understand shea butter from the secret of its vegan-friendliness to finding out, does shea butter expire or does shea butter go bad?

What is Shea Butter?

What is Shea Butter

Shea Butter is a fatty substance sourced from the nuts of the Shea tree which is mostly found in West African regions. For centuries, Shea butter has been used by African communities as an essential skincare and hair care ingredient, best complemented with plant based collagen supplement.

It remains smooth and waxy in its consistency even in warm temperatures, keeping up with an ivory or off-white color. Highly processed and refined shea butter may appear pure white in color which may not give you the ultimate benefit of the ingredient. Lightly refined shea butter also retains its nutty smell which gradually fades over time. It can soothe and gently moisturize the skin keeping up your youthful look.

Is Shea Butter Vegan?

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Yes, shea butter is derived from plants and is 100% vegan-friendly. However, some manufacturers might test their shea butter-based cosmetics on animals, stripping the product of its vegan status. Even though the ingredients are vegan, the process of manufacturing might not be, therefore, just keep an eye on the processing, else Shea Butter is a purely vegan substance.

Active Ingredients in Shea Butter

Shea butter, also mentioned as Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Nut Extract in most of its product label, can be justly called vegetable butter which is used in nutrition, skincare, cosmetics, cleansing, and hair care. It is rich in fatty acids and has a profile of 45-50% oleic acid, 30-41% stearic acid, 5-9% palmitic acid, 4-5% linoleic acid, <1% Arachidic acid. It also includes omega 6 and 9, useful lipids such as phytosterols, and vitamin E.

Shea butter is one of the few plant-based sources of Stearic acid. The presence of vitamins A (know the vegan sources of vitamin A), E, F, and antioxidants boosts the growth of healthy skin cells. Cetyl esters make up the waxy portion of the shea butter that is a natural moisturizer.

Shea butter also has antifungal and anti-inflammatory properties. It provides resistance to UV rays and can potentially cure a number of skin issues. Shea butter also has healing properties against wounds and insect bites – no wonder why it is one of the favorites of dermatologists. Read on to find out the benefits of shea butter for skin and hair, also how long does shea butter last?

Benefits of Shea Butter

Benefits of Shea Butter
  • It suits all skin types – There is rarely any medical documentation of allergy to shea butter.
  • A lightweight moisturizer – shea butter is rich in fatty acids and does not clog pores
  • Anti-inflammatory properties – Plant esters slows down the function of inflammatory cells
  • Antioxidation activities – vitamin A and E defend the skin from free radicals and delays aging. It also regenerates cells.
  • Kicks off bacteria and fungal infections – Shea butter can reduce microbial activity and inhibits the growth of acne or ringworms.
  • Boost collagen – The triterpenes deactivate the pace of collagen fiber destruction, giving the user plumper skin.
  • Fade scars and stretch marks – It can stop keloid fibroblasts, which is the scar tissue, from reproducing. This allows the healthy cell to grow.
  • Gives sun protection – Shea butter approximately has an SPF of 3 to 4 which can be layered on sunscreen while you’re outdoors for added sun defense.
  • Prevents breakage of hair – and gives your hair a stronger and shinier look.
  • Wards off dandruff – It can lock moisture in your scalp and prevent the formation of dandruff flakes. Shea butter is also helpful in soothing your irritated scalp.
  • Has medicinal benefits – Be it eczema, dermatitis, or psoriasis, the anti-inflammatory properties of Shea Butter can help relieve skin and reduce itching.
  • Helpful in treating burns, insect bites, and swelling – The fatty acid components can soothe the burned or wounded area by locking moisture for a quicker healing process.
  • Relieves arthritis pain in joints and soothes muscle soreness
  • Relieves congestion and can be useful in dealing with sinusitis, allergies, or common cold.

How long does Shea Butter last? (Shelf Life of Shea Butter)

In the case of raw Shea butter, which is 100% pure and unrefined, you can expect it to stay good from a minimum of 12 months to a maximum of 24 months. However, any additives or refining procedure only enhances its shelf-life. When the organic matter in it reduces or the synthesis of pure shea butter is conducted utilizing preservatives, one can expect it to last longer than the pure one.

Medium or slightly processed shea butter may last up to 3 years or more. Remember, the more raw and unprocessed the shea butter is, the greater the benefits. Highly processed shea butter, with an almost white color derived through bleaching and deodorization, may last for over 5-7 years.

Mostly, highly processed shea butter has added nut flavor which may give you a deception of purity- but that’s not the case. Raw shea butter has an ivory color and a smooth consistency which is easy to spread. Refined ones might feel a little waxier.

Type of Shea ButterShelf Life of Shea Butter
Raw Shea ButterStays good for 12 to 24 months
Medium or Slightly Processed Shea ButterLasts Up to 3 years or more
Highly Processed Shea Butter Lasts for over 5-7 years

Does Shea Butter Go Bad?

Every organic product goes bad after a certain period of time. Shea butter is no exception to the natural process of generation and decay. But there are certain ways you can say if shea butter has gone bad or not. It is essential to know when shea butter goes bad otherwise you may end up using it and harming your skin or hair.

Check the smell – Is the smell of your Shea butter growing strange? Is it lacking the nutty aroma it had when you bought it fresh? Chances are high that it has gone bad

Is the color turning from ivory to white?  The extract added to shea butter from the Borututu tree for improving its potency may fade off giving you a sign that the Shea butter is no longer as effective as it was before.

In case the consistency gets waxier and difficult to smear, shea butter should have grown enough old.

How to use shea butter on your face

How to use shea butter
  1. Clean your skin with a natural face wash and apply shea butter directly to your skin before going to bed.
  2. Purchase a face cream with shea butter, also labeled as Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Nut Extract, from a supermarket, pharmacy, or online retailer and use it as directed.
  3. Incorporate shea butter as a part of your morning skincare routine and use it lightly after a shower. Leave it for half an hour before using any cosmetic products.
  4. You may also add shea butter to your regular facial mask and wash it with a cream cleanser afterwards.

Make your own face mask:

  1. Ingredients: 1 tbsp of shea butter, 1 tbsp of raw honey (or aloe vera for vegans), 4 drops of grapeseed oil.
  2. Clean your face thoroughly using a gentle foaming face wash. Wipe it clean and get the water off. Mix the ingredients together and apply them to your face. Leave it for about 10 mins to 12 minutes and wash off with lukewarm water.

Final Verdict | Is Shea Butter Vegan

Shea butter is a natural solution to most skin and hair issues across the world. It is purely vegan and there are many benefits of shea butter for skin and hair, that we have discussed above.

We hope the article was insightful!

My life literally revolves around optimum health and sustainable living by being a devotional vegan. My mission is to create a community of like minded vegans to go forth in creating a better and brighter world for humans, animals and the planet. Just like Gandhi once said: “The greatness of a nation and it’s moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.” – Gandhi

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