The most desirable Shea butter is that which is unrefined. Yellow Shea will typically be raw when purchased and will have a potent odor with lots of impurities. Shea butter which is unrefined will usually be white colored which means it has been processed through a filter so the impurities have been removed.

How Else Does White Shea Butter Differ From Yellow?

Even White Shea butter that is heavily refined will retain many of its moisturizing characteristics, but its vitamins will be nonexistent. Shea in general is popular and appears in a variety of hair and skin merchandise. This is largely due to its nutrients. The differences between yellow and white Shea lie in how it’s produced.

Shea butter is extracted from Shea tree nuts. The nuts will be dried out and then the tough external shell will be removed. Once this is done the flesh within will be grounded and roasted. It is this process that gives the butter its smoky scent. The roasted butter will then be boiled and the substance that floats will get collected and cooled, after which it will be ready for use. Producers have the option of continual refinement, filtering out the butter to eradicate any impurities. Some may treat the butter so that its composition, color or scent is altered.

Production Method Is More Important Than Color

The color of Shea butter will partially depend on how it’s processed and the region and season in which it is produced. Colors can range from white to green, grey and yellow. The color of the butter should never be used to determine its nutritional value. More important is the method used to process it.

Shea butter which is raw or unrefined is superior when it comes to managing skin conditions. This is because the butter’s healing attributes remain intact during the production process. However, Shea butter which has been refined is simpler to use, particularly when preparing cosmetics, but does not provide the same level of healing. Raw Shea butter can smell unpleasant, and in cold environments can become firm and will melt quickly in hot environments.

Refined Shea butter is free of unpleasant odor and has a texture which is consistent. It is available in numerous variations but its downsides include the loss of nutrients and vitamins when it is refined, and some brands even contain chemicals which are toxic and harmful. Raw Shea butter has a superior nutritional content, greater healing attributes, and is free of hazardous chemicals. For those who want something that is pure, unrefined (raw) Shea is best, but expect a strong smell and butter will require greater maintenance than Shea which is refined. To get pure Shea you must select a dealer with a stellar reputation who acquires their product only from the best sources.