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An expert shares how shea butter will do wonders for your skin, body and hair — plus products to shop

This classic skin care ingredient does more than just soften dry skin.
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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 | Best shea butter products for body | Best shea butter products for hair | Best shea butter editor picks | How we chose | Meet the expert

Best shea butter products

Best shea butter products for skin

SheaMoisture 100% Raw Shea Butter

What we like
  • Very moisturizing
  • Mild scent
Something to note
  • Can be thick

Size: 10.5 fluid ounces | Other key ingredients: Vitamins A and E

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

What we like
  • Gentle on skin
  • Absorbs quickly
Something to note
  • Some don't like scent

Size: 1.7 fluid ounces | Other active ingredients: Glycerin

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.

Farmacy Honey Halo Ultra-Hydrating Ceramide Moisturizer

What we like
  • Gels very well with skin
  • Gets rid of flaky skin
Something to note
  • Thick consistency

Size: 1.7 fluid ounces | Other key ingredients: Glycerin

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

What we like
  • Makes lips feel soft
  • Moisturizes lips
Something to note
  • Scent can be overpowering

Size: 0.34 fluid ounce | Other key ingredients: Avocado 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.

The Body Shop Shea Body Butter

What we like
  • Quickly absorbs
  • Great for dry skin
Something to note
  • Can be waxy

Size: 6.4 fluid ounces | Other key ingredients: Glycerin

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

What we like
  • Restores moisture to lips
  • Repairs dry lips
Something to note
  • Some didn't see plump results

Size: N/A | Other key ingredients: Hyaluronic acid

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.

Moroccanoil Body Butter

What we like
  • Velvety feel
Something to note
  • Some don't care for scent

Size: 6.7 fluid ounces | Other key ingredients: Hyaluronic acid

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.

Best shea butter products for hair

Frederic Fekkai Shea Butter Intense Mask

What we like
  • Nourishes hair
Something to note
  • Can cause dryness

Size: 7.5 fluid ounces | Other key ingredients: Glycerin

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

What we like
  • Provides added volume to hair
Something to note
  • Can be oily

Size: 5.0 fluid ounces | Other key ingredients: Imperial memory polymer

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.

Best shea butter editor picks

SheaMoisture Smoothie Curl Enhancing Cream-

What we like
  • Holds a lot of product
  • Smells amazing
Something to note
  • Can feel heavy in hair

Size: 12.0 fluid ounces | Other key ingredients: Glycerin

"This product by SheaMoisture was a go-to of mine for a long time and I need to buy more!" says commerce editor Amanda Fama. "I have wavy hair, and this cream made my subtle curls feel softer and shinier than usual," she says.

This enhancing cream is designed specifically for curly or wavy hair and has over 11,500 five-star ratings on Amazon.

Sol de Janeiro Delicia Drench Body Butter

What we like
  • A little goes a long way
  • Pleasant scent
Something to note
  • Can be too thick for summer

Size: 8.10 fluid ounces | Other key ingredients: Bacuri butter

Production associate Audrey Ekman can't get enough of this Sol de Janeiro body butter, which became a staple in her winter body care routine the day it launched. "It’s deliciously thick and hydrating and is made with a ton of superstar ingredients — shea butter is the second ingredient!" says Ekman.

"A little goes a long way when I apply it immediately after I shower (3 months in, I’m barely halfway through my first tub), and it has seriously made my skin the softest it’s ever been. Plus, the warm vanilla scent is a crowd-pleaser — my boyfriend loves it," Ekman raves.

How we chose the best shea butter products

The Shop TODAY team found the best shea butter products using a few methods: enlisting the recommendations of a cosmetic dermatologist, conducting market research and combing through various user reviews. We also asked our editors to share their favorite products with shea butter to round out the list.

Meet the expert