What Happens When Shea Butter Turns White?

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Shea butter is very popular due to its skin healing properties. Shea is often a key ingredient of lip balms but can also be found in lotions for your lips, face, and body.

But what happens when shea butter turns white? Is it still safe to use? 

Shea butter turns white due to heat or oxidation. It loses some of its healing properties. Mainly vitamin A. It is still a very good moisturizer, but the healing properties of shea are the main reason for its use, so that it will be less effective.

After reading this article, you will learn everything you need to know about storing and preserving the shelf life of shea butter.

Storing Shea Butter

Shea butter can be stored in various containers, from a plastic container with a lid to a glass jar. As long as you keep the air out, it’s ready. 

If you are using our shea butter, you can squeeze some out of the plastic wrap, loosely seal the wrap and place the butter back into the craft bag and seal it.

Alternatively, you can remove them from the plastic bag and place them in containers of your choice. Plastic containers are lighter; however, glass containers are more insulating and durable.

Regardless of which container you use, shea butter should be stored in a pantry, away from direct heat. Don’t leave it on a table next to a sunny window or near a stove or radiator. You should keep this in mind if you want to keep a container of shea butter on your desk and if your desk is near the sun. The better you take care of it, the longer it will last.

Keep in mind that when the temperature reaches 75 degrees, the shea butter will begin to soften and melt as the temperature rises. Suppose you live in an area where the temperature in your home is above 75 degrees Fahrenheit.

In that case, we recommend placing the shea butter in the refrigerator to prevent it from constantly melting and solidifying, resulting in grainy shea butter.

Shelf Life Of Shea Butter

The average shelf life of unrefined shea butter is approximately two years from the date of manufacture and packaging. This is an approximate shelf life that is affected by storage and temperature. It is very important to consider the latter two factors.

Unrefined shea butter is 100% natural and contains no preservatives. Therefore, one batch or harvest may yield a slightly different shea butter than another. No chemicals are added to unrefined shea butter so that you can expect some differentiation in your butter from time to time.

When shea butter is shipped to the United States, or when your shea butter packages are on their way to the various warehouses, 100% temperature control is not possible.

These factors affect the shelf life of shea butter, but keep in mind that, on average, you can safely use shea butter for two years to moisturize and nourish your skin.

Products to Try

If your face requires some tender loving care, shea butter can help. Whether you have dry skin, acne, or aging skin, this natural substance can help!

Shea butter in its raw and unprocessed form will let you get the most out of it. The more shea butter is processed, the less of its remarkable, all-natural characteristics remain.

Buying raw and unrefined shea butter also contributes more of your money to the communities that collect and farm shea nuts.

Here are my favorite shea butter skincare products that also benefit the West African people producing the majority of the world’s shea tree nut supply:

How To Determine If Your Shea Butter Is Expired

First, the shea butter is no longer good if it smells rancid. However, if you use raw, unrefined shea butter for the first time, you might mistake its characteristic nutty, smoky smell for a musty smell.

We will explain the difference between rancid and smoky smells in more detail:

Rancid smell

It makes you nauseous, reminiscent of bad olive oil or bad food. If your shea butter smells rancid, throw it away. It would be spoiled, and you know that!

Smoky Smell

This is a burnt smell, similar to the scent of lighting the grill or burning wood. Some batches are smokier than others, but most unrefined shea varieties have a detectable smoke smell. If your shea butter smells smoky, it’s the real deal! Simple, pure, and ready to use.


When shea butter turns white due to heat or oxidation, it will lose some of its healing properties. Fortunately, it can still be an excellent moisturizer for your skin.

The storage and shelf life of unrefined shea butter are easy to learn. If you follow our storage tips, it will make your shea butter last longer.