Posted in skin care products

Shelf Life of Shea Butter

What is the Shelf Life of Shea Butter?

Raw, Unrefined Shea Butter has a very long shelf-life, of between 12-24 months. Normally, it will last between 18-24 months easily. This is good news for skin care enthusiasts everywhere! Expired skin care products should not be put on your face, yuck.

Unrefined Shea Butter is filled with fatty acids which are very stable. If your shea is unrefined, then it is filled with fatty acids as well as Vitamins C, E, and A. These all contribute to an extra long shelf life when shea is stored properly. This does not apply to refined shea butter which we do not carry, anything refined can expire much more quickly since valuable nutrients stripped from the product.

How to Store Shea Butter Properly

Shea Butter does not mold on its own, but it can if water comes into the picture. This creates bacteria, which is never a good thing for skin care products. Water + Bacteria = Moldy Shea. Shea Butter can also spoil due to early oxidation. Oxidation is a very science-y word, but basically means that the longer a product is exposed to air, the more properties it loses. Shea Butter will lose its skin care properties and nutrients if it is exposed to too much air over long periods of time. This can lead to some seriously stinky shea.

To prevent this from happening, take some steps to ensure you’re storing it properly. You can store it in the original packaging from Better Shea Butter, or you can put it in a sealed glass container. Mason jars work great for this purpose. Make sure to keep water out of your shea butter, this will make shea butter spoil much more quickly. If it is in a clear jar, it needs to be kept out of direct sunlight.

You can keep shea butter just fine in room temperature, as long as it is not above 75 degrees Fahrenheit. If your house gets above this temperature, go ahead and put it in the fridge. Remember this: keep it cool and dry, to keep shea butter divine.

Did I receive rancid Shea Butter?

If your shea butter has a different scent than usual, have no fear. Sometimes, the scent may be stronger or lighter than normal. The scent can change due to weather and rain factors during harvest season in Ghana. The smell of rancid shea butter is very particular – a strong vinegary scent, which is immediately off-putting even from across the room. When it’s rancid, it’s straight-up STINKY!

The color can vary, too and does not mean it is rancid. You can receive shea with a mild scent and normal ivory color a dozen times, and then receive a brand new color and fragrance in your shea. If a newer shea nut is harvested, the color can have a green or gray tint. Normal ivory shea colors include ivory, grayish, yellowish, and even greenish.

But my Shea smells funny


If Shea Butter makes you Pee-Yew from across the room, there is a problem. However, if there is a particularly rainy season for harvesting, the shea can have a stronger scent than usual. To combat this scent, you simply melt down your shea and mix it with your favorite carrier oils and essential oils.

When  you mix in essential oils, follow these steps –

  1. First, melt down your shea butter to a liquid state, and stir occasionally.
  2. Leave it out in room temperature for at least 30 minutes.
  3. Add in your carrier oils and essential oils, and mix well.
  4. EXTRA HINT: You can then pour the mixture into an ice cube tray or silicone molds and let it harden for easy use before storing, and even easier measuring for recipes!

Easy peasy. The reason you let it sit in room temperature is to make sure the heat does not “kill” off the scent of the essential oils.