Reader Carissa says;

Okay… So for some time now I have been buying expensive butters to (in the words of Diddy) “moisturize my situation”… or should I say, “seal my situation.” But the other day — horror of horrors — I unexpectedly ran out. The only way for me to get the butter I want is to order online. So I was left with a tough choice — have dry hair, or use raw shea butter. I chose the latter. I had never used just raw shea butter to seal. So I was apprehensive. I melted some down… applied it to my hair and, HOLY MOLY it worked like MAGIC!! To the point that I think I’m going to retire my “butter budget”. It made me wonder why expensive butters even exist, when you can just use some raw shea.

So I thought I’d ask your readers… If you choose not to use raw shea butter, why is that? What is your rationale? Before I make this switch I want to make sure I’m not missing something…

Interesting! Ladies, what are your thoughts?

Black Girl With Long Hair

Leila Noelliste, founder of Black Girl with Long Hair (April 2008). Social media, pop culture and black beauty enthusiast. bell hooks' hair twin...

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139 Comments on "The rationale behind NOT using shea butter?"

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I like using shea butter on my face, and on my hair to moisturize, and also for my twists. But I get my 8oz Ghana Shea Butter from the BSS for $4.89 and it works great. They also have the 160z as well for $6.79

Lol this is such a coincidence because I’ve been using shea butter products like organic root stimulator shea butter hair lotion and sheamoisture shea butter leave in conditioner and lately i’ve been wonderin why…it’s easy! omg am i the only one who can’t be bothered to mix up all this stuff? just pick up a bottle and put it in your hair, no searchin for enhancing ingredients and mixing and microwaving and putting it in bottles/dishes etc -_- i realize that raw shea butter may be certifiably better though but i’ve never tried it…lol maybe in another 6 months when… Read more »

I agree with you completely Sheree! The one time I tried to be a’mixtress” I gave myself a rash that lasted on my scalp, face and neck for several weeks and that was it for me and I said never again. It is great that so many naturals can mix up their own concoctions, but I cannot, I know my limits and it is so much easier for me to just open up the jar or bottle of premade stuff and go LOL!


I use raw shea all the time. I think the expensive products that use shea butter are heavily marketed, but actually have little shea butter in them. So for me, the real thing is the best deal and my hair thanks me for it!

I think ppl use the fancy products for a variety of reasons like ease of use, smell, and other properties like shine and hold. you just have to prioritize. Yea, shea butter can be a bit of a pain to melt and apply the right amount, but its hecka cheap and moisturizes well. For me, I dont get much shine with it, which is why someone might go for a fancy butter. Also, let’s be real, shea butter does NOT smell like roses. Of course, you could buy some essential oils and make it smell better, but thats what the… Read more »
The Natural Haven

It stinks! I have tried adding fragranced oils, mixing with coconut oil (I like the scent!)….but that nutty fragrance of shea does not agree with me.

I have refined shea butter which has no fragrance.


My thoughts exactly. I just don’t like the smell, even after adding fragrance oils, I can’t get away from that nutty scent.


1. Can’t stand the smell
2. too heavy and “oily”
3.ashy looking hair
4. not really that moisturizing just oily feeling

Camille in Slovenia

I finally got my hands on about a cool 5 pounds of raw shea on a trip to Ghana this November, and mixed with coconut oil, olive oil, and a little castor it has worked like a dream. Before shea, I had a laundry list of products that I planned to try when I got to the states, but now that I’ve got my shea mix, all I need to add to my arsenal is one good styling product and I’m good to go. My wallet is grateful!
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Ok, I really like raw shea BUT, the problem is when we don’t know what or if its mixed with something or its the real thing. I know for a fact that sometimes they mix with other stuff to strectch the shea..How do we know that what we are purchasing is authentic?


Shea butter causes build up on my scalp so I only use it to seal my ends

Lantoinette Wise

Raw shea butter all the way. My hair loves it. I scoop a small amount into the palm of my hand and rub my hands together until it softens the shea butter. I then massage it into my hair and my edges. Softens and moisturizes my hair like magic. I love it.


Although I heard a lot about her and tried to meet her, Shea is not my friend. We don’t get along. I dropped her for Glycerin.




I use raw shea since I can put melt it down to put in conditioners, scoop some out and use it for my hair in the morning or at night for twists, put it on my skin after a shower, etc. More versatile and much much cheaper (about 6 bucks for a small tub that last several weeks).


I love Raw Shea Butter! I just got into it and it’s the best! I just made some Whipped Shea Butter using Raw Shea Butter, Coconut Oil, Avocado Oil and Sweet Almond Oil. I had sooo much fun making it that I posted it on my blog along with the video from Youtuber (MeechyMonore) that I got it from. Definitely a winner in my book! 🙂


100% raw babyY I melt it down and my hair eats it up. It stays mositirized for almost a straight week. I love it. Butters do better in kinkier hair. My homegirl uses shea, but sometimes it can be to heavy for her curlier hair type.


You can get even more fancy and mix up the butter with another oil (say, olive) and apply.

I found that I prefer castor as my heavier oil. If I want to turn it into a butter I’ll mix it with aloe and/or another oil.

I don’t make *everything* at home, but I don’t bother buying much of anything oil-based when I can combine oils at home. The exception may be a splurge or if it has an oil that I’d like to try but have little access to.

I’m on team #rawsheabutter myself. Melt it in the micro and add a little aloe vera gel and it is good to go. This goes along with what I said earlier about naturals trying the lesser expensive products first in their quest to find the right products that work for them. It just plain makes more sense. I think (for me anyway) I used the idea that since I wasn’t going to the beautician as often, it gave me license to buy the expensive products. The more new products came out, the more I wanted to try. I almost let… Read more »

All proceeding thoughts are my opinion and nothing more…Theoretically, one could moisturize with plain water and seal with any oil that penetrates and/or coats the hair shaft such as coconut, olive, castor, or grapeseed oil. Butters are marvelous as well, as long as you emulsify prior to the application, otherwise you will have “ashy”-looking hair. The fancy stuff…is well, fancy, expensive stuff. When the bottom line is reached, water+oil=moisture retention


I agree. Plus, the expensive stuff comes “pre-emulsified” making for easier application.


I was using raw shea butter on my skin and randomly decided to use it on my hair. It works better, for me, than any other styling butter/gel/mouse and conditions my hair better as well for a very small price. It also lasts a very long time. Frankly, I am not sure why more curlies don’t use it. It can be kind of heavy, so there is a small amount of trial and error, but I swear by it. 🙂


Some people don’t use as it just sits on top of their hair. It doesn’t do that in my case as it absorbs in my hair really well and leaves it really soft, but everything isn’t for everybody. For me, certain oils just sit on top of my hair so I don’t use them.


Me too. It was too heavy for my hair so it just sat there and made a greasy mess of everything I touched.

Alice in Nappyland


that’s pretty much why i don’t/can’t use raw shea butter on a regular basis. it makes my hair feels super soft at first, but then it just builds up on my hair. 🙁


I occasionally use it but only in moderation. It makes for serious build up.


I’m allergic to shea butter. It breaks me out something fierce, so I avoid it like the plague!

Leonie UK

Yep me too.


Me tooo !! Has anyone that has experienced breakouts tried “refined” shea butter, I was hoping that I could possibly replace raw shea with the refined one, but I am terrified to try…Let me know your experience.