Shea Butter v. African Butter



I don’t use shea butter a lot, but it is a natural product that I incorporate into my hair regimen in a couple of ways. When I first started experimenting with it in 2010, I found it was too heavy and waxy to use as a sealer for my ends. It just sat on top of my hair like wax and made it look dull and ashy. Coincidentally enough, it just sat on top of my skin as well. My skin would be shiny …and  it would just come off on my clothes and chairs!!! So, I started using shea butter by mixing it with Eco Styler Olive Oil gel to smooth and control my edges. And, it works great for me using it that way.


I also include it in my coconut oil whip that I use mostly for my hair now (it wasn’t doing much for my skin, which had become more and more miserably dry and cracked with natural remedies … had to go back to the old school stuff with water and parabens!! But, I haven’t given up on natural entirely yet. Just haven’t had time to research a new “formula!).

Anywho, above is the shea butter that I use. Nothing special … no name brand. Just “Raw African Shea Butter.” Wei picks it up for me from the vendors in Harlem!! It says 100% natural … but, doesn’t say 100% raw shea butter … so who’s to say if it is? BUT, I think it is shea butter because it’s off white and very solid. Some “shea butter” that is sold is yellow/amber in color and the reason I’m writing this is to share that yellow “shea” may not actually be shea butter. A couple of years ago, I watched a YouTube video by DuchessGabrielle wherein she shared that the yellow butter is from a different tree and is actually called African butter. She explained that both butters are beneficial, but that they are not the same. So, just wanted to share her videos on shea butter and African butter for those of you who are interested in knowing the differences between the two and the benefits!


Shea Butter 101: Off-White Shea Butter

Shea Butter 102: Yellow Shea Butter


Do you use “shea butter?” If so, which one do you use, off-white or yellow, and how do you use it? If you use both, do you see any differences?


29 responses »

  1. I use the off white one – I always thought the off white butter was pure shea butter, and the yellow one was also shea butter, but cut with palm oil to make it softer and easier to work with. Palm oil can be bright orange, so this explanation made sense to me. I’ve never heard of ‘African’ butter in my life, but I’d be interested in doing more research if she could give a biological name of the yellow shea butter?


  2. I use Shea butter among a few other natural products 🙂 , and I’ve found it to have the same effect on my hair as well. But I make it work by diluting it with other oils thinning out a small portion so it feels more like a lotion opposed to a pomade. Naptural85 has a video on it that helped me a ton as well.

    The only true differences that I’ve heard about Shea butter is where it’s located and of course refined and unrefined. One having a more nuttier smell than the other. 🙂 Thanks for sharing!


  3. I don’t use the plain shea butter. Yellow or White. I use the whipped Shea Butter by Oyin Handmade and also the Aethiopika Lock and Twist Butter from Qhemet Biologics. Both excellent products for my hair.


  4. I use the off white shea butter. I actually get it shipped to me from Nigeria. I know that it is pure because I know where it is coming from. I just can’t use the yellow one. I grew up with the off white one.
    I mixed this with some oils, and use it as a sealant on my ends and also to do twist and flat twists. I also use it to lay my edges.
    In addition, I use it on the soles of my feet to keep them soft!!


  5. I’ve just recently started using Shea Butter this year. I use it religiously. I put it on my skin, & melt it down to put in my hair, which is SUPER dry, my skin and hair are always thirsty, no matter how much water I seem to drink. Since I’m so dry all the time, this stuff, with it’s thickness, has been a God send. I haven’t tried the off white one, just the yellowish one, it does have a nutty smell to it, but I still love it!


  6. I actually use the yellow “shea butter”. I use it for sealing a la naptural 85 recipe for shea butter cream. It works excellent for me.


  7. I use shea butter. “African” butter, never heard of it. I get my yellow shea butter from west indians and africans who sell them in NYC. I was always curious about the difference between the two colors and I was always told there is no different between the beneficial properties of either. I usually melt down my shea butter (sit in boiling water for a couple of minutes) and add some almond, tea tree, and pineapple oil to the melted butter. Always works great for me. I use it for hair and body everyday and lasts very long.


  8. My strands are pretty fine but I have a lot of strands. Shea or oil of any type tends to sit on top of my hair and skin. Trying to figure out ways to use it because Naptural85’s hair looks GORGEOUS and she uses a blend with coconut oil, castor oil, jojoba oil and olive oil.


  9. I use Unrefined Shea Butter and it is 100% natural. I purchase it from Coastal Scents. I use this SB in a mixture similar to Hairscapeds Coconut Oil Whip which my family use for our bodies. I also agree that the SB does sit on the skin and everything you come in contact with has grease smudges on it. In additon, I use SB mixture in our hair. The SB is mixed with other natural (or organic) oils and is applied to the length of the hair or lightly on the scalp. I love the smell and texture of the brand I buy from Coastl Scents.
    I would be interested in knowing the ratios of Hairscapeds “…Shea butter by mixing it with Eco Styler Olive Oil gel…” I need edge control for certain styles but I find that when I use the gel mentioned it makes my hair curl up (or wave) which I think is due to the water content of it. I would appreciate it if you share more about that mixture. Who knows maybe I will be brave and get to mixing up some things…
    Thanks for sharing 😉


    • Hi T. I just mix shea butter and Eco Styler Olive Oil gel in my palm (about a 50:50 mix) and smooth my edges down with it, brush lightly to smooth out anything that looks wonky, then tie down for my drive to work. It’s all dry and set by the time I get to work and I remove my scarf. I don’t make a “batch” of the mix or anything. I only mix what I need together in my palm that day.


  10. 1. A year (or more ago) I purchased a 16oz tub of the ubiquitous “African Shea Butter – 100% Natural – Unrefined pure shea butter – product of Ghana – UPC# 8 50546 00128 9” from my local BSS. It’s light yellow, with a slightly nutty aroma. I though it was a good deal for $5.99.

    I use it blended with Monoi Oil for massaging my legs and feet. It doesn’t absorb on my skin, just sits there and wipes off on my clothes, so I use it as a bedtime ritual. It’s been a looong time since I’ve used raw shea butter on my hair, I don’t remember having a positive experience with it so maybe I’ll have to revisit it since back then I was doing EPIC FAIL overnight wet twist-outs and have since changed to damp-dry twistouts.

    2. I would however like to recommend you try Nubian Heritage body washes and lotions. It’s a product line from Shea Moisture. I love the Nubian Heritage Indian Hemp and Haitian Vetiver body lotion! OMG sooo moisturizing! I liked the shower gel too. My local Vitamin Shoppe was out of that fragrance so I purchased the Goat’s Milk and Chai which has a pleasant romantic powdery scent. I felt that the Hemp and Vetiver was more moisturizing but with a more unisex fragrance.


  11. Pingback: Shea Butter v. African Butter- Natural Hair Care | FFBlogs

  12. I bought mine at In Feb. they had the 5lb. box of Shea Butter on sale for $25. It’s now $40. You can read of its African origins on the website. I heard this website from Hope this helps. There are other sites out there, too such as,, and -Naomi


  13. Pingback: Shea Butter v. African Butter- Natural Hair Care | My Black Networks® -Black News from The African Diaspora

  14. The yellow Shea Butter has palm oil in it. The white Shea butter is 100% Raw Shea. When it comes out of the nut it is white. Iv’e been using shea butter for years but i didn’t know the difference but i learned from my boss who is from Senegal a lot about shea buttter and the health benefits of it. Shea butter is good for so many things. It was actually used as a medicine before it was a beauty product. Keep using it! I’m glad you shared your knowledge with your followers.


  15. Pingback: By Any Means, I'm Natural and Sticking to it! - Page 5 - CurlyNikki Forums

  16. Pingback: Shea Butter v. African Butter- Natural Hair Care | Curly Nikki | Natural Hair Styles and Natural Hair Care

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