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11 best shea butter products and their benefits

This classic skin care ingredient does more than just soften dry skin.
Illustration of two hands holding different types of shea butter and a Brunette woman sitting on bed applying beauty cream
TODAY Illustration / Glossier / FEKKAI

As a beauty writer, it’s only natural that I enjoy coming across a trendy new skin care ingredient. But while new ingredients are exciting for the beauty industry, I can’t help but remain a loyalist to the classics. Shea butter, one of nature’s most useful beauty gifts to humanity, falls in this category of classics that we can’t get enough of — and for good reason.

“Shea butter can be used not only on the face, but on the entire body, ideally for softening, conditioning and smoothing the skin,” says Los Angeles-based dermatologist Dr. Jason Emer. “Shea butter contains high concentrations of vitamins, including vitamins A and E, as well as fatty acids like stearic, palmitic and linoleic acids.”

According to Dr. Emer, the vitamins found in shea butter can help to improve skin texture and promote antioxidant activity. Other benefits of using shea butter on the body is its natural anti-inflammatory and healing properties. It deeply moisturizes dry skin and gives the complexion a natural glow from all that hydration. It can reduce skin inflammation, eczema and improve skin elasticity, too.

Although, that’s not all shea butter can do. It’s also a top ingredient in hair care, too. Shea butter is intensely hydrating for the hair and scalp, as it works to seal moisture into coarse hair and create unparalleled softness.

Now that we’ve made it clear how important shea butter is in the beauty world, it’s time to start shopping for it. To assist you in picking out the best options, we’ve gathered a list of top shea butter products for skin, hair and body.

Best shea butter products for skin

SheaMoisture 100% Raw Shea Butter

This raw, organic shea butter option houses essential fatty acids and vitamins to soothe irritated skin. It’s important to note that this concentrated pick can feel a bit thick when first applied, but it still deeply permeates the skin rather quickly to treat all your skin woes. Since this shea butter option is in its purest form, it can be used anywhere — the face, body and hair included.

Glossier Priming Moisturizer

Shea and murumuru butters are the key ingredients in this product, with both working to lock in long-term moisture when slathered on the skin. The brand’s anti-redness complex also helps soothe irritated skin fast for a more even-toned complexion.

Sun Potion Skin Food Shea Butter

“Those who suffer from skin irritations such as eczema, acne and psoriasis can benefit extremely from the use of shea butter,” says Dr. Emer. “Shea butter is an ideal product for those who are sensitive to skin care products, as it has been found to be safe for all skin types, not pore clogging, improves dry skin and may help to prevent acne.”

This option is particularly good for those looking for a shea butter product that uses pure, simple ingredients at a cost-effective price.

Farmacy Honey Halo Ultra-Hydrating Ceramide Moisturizer

Farmacy’s Honey Halo moisturizer is a luxurious face cream that uses buckwheat honey, fig fruit extract and ceramides to soften the skin and combat dryness. The best part? Your skin will look dewy and radiant for hours after use.

Best shea butter products for body

Nudeskin Nudestix Hydra-Peptide Lip Butter

“This combines shea butter with avocado oil and peptides to give the lips rejuvenation and pucker while simultaneously helping skin renewal and repair,” says Dr. Emer. “This is great for those who lick their lips or are constantly chapped, and for those who want to anti-age the lips.” As a bonus, this formula is vegan, too.

Moroccanoil Body Butter

This nourishing mix of shea butter, argan oil and mango butter absorbs quickly and delivers moisture with every application. Scented with Moroccanoil’s signature scent, each application feels like you’ve transported yourself to a spa in the Mediterranean.

The Body Shop Shea Body Butter

Created with Community Fair Trade shea butter from Ghana, this pick from The Body Shop hydrates skin for up to 72 hours thanks to the 36 shea nuts that each tub contains. Simply apply it to your body after showering, adding extra product to the areas that feel drier than others and let the formula sink in before getting dressed.

GrandePout Plumping Lip Mask

This pick touts 72 hours of moisture for cracked, peeling lips. In addition to shea butter, the hyaluronic acid in this berry mojito-flavored balm plumps and fights fine lines on the lips for a more youthful-looking pout.

Best shea butter products for hair

Carol's Daughter Hair Milk Leave-In Moisturizer

Glossy strands are easy to achieve with this rich cream that’s jam-packed with nourishing cocoa and shea butter. Since this formula can feel slightly thick, it’s best for super damaged hair that’s in need of some serious hydration.

Frederic Fekkai Shea Butter Intense Mask

To truly transform your hair into healthy strands that are worthy of starring in a shampoo commercial, try this at-home mask. A blend of shea butter, botanical extracts and monoi oil reduce split ends and diminish frizz for noticeably stronger hair after every use.

Oribe Imperial Blowout Transformative Styling Crème

As one of the most innovative formulas we’ve seen in a while, this cream-to-oil-to-powder option helps consumers create a blowout that lasts for days. Using ingredients like shea butter, biotin and other essential fatty acids, this innovative pick strengthens and repairs the hair while also preventing future breakage. To use, simply emulsify the cream in your hands before working it through damp hair. Then, blow dry your locks as usual.

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