Shea Butter vs. Cocoa Butter, Which One Is Better?

Check the ingredients in your beauty products and you will certainly find Shea butter or cocoa butter in a few of them at least. Both of these ingredients are quite similar mainly because they are extracted from seeds rich in fats. Their chemical composition is quite similar too, but still, you will find subtle differences when comparing shea butter and cocoa butter. A comparison will give you a better idea about which one is going to work better in your circumstances. Let's find out more about both ingredients.

Shea Butter vs. Cocoa Butter, Which One to Choose?

Knowledge about the basic differences between both ingredients will help you determine which one will suit your needs. Here is a comparison to help you make a better choice:

1. Origin

  • Shea Butter: Also called karite butter, shea butter is obtained from the nuts of the karite tree, usually found in central Africa.
  • Cocoa Butter: It is originally extracted from cocoa beans or cacao seeds. While it is native to the Americas, it has always been a traditional moisturizer in the Caribbean and Mesoamerica.

2. Composition

When comparing shea butter vs. cocoa butter, both contain fats, but there is a slight variation in composition.

  • Shea Butter: Shea butter is comprised of 40-60% oleic acid, 3-11% linolenic acid, 20-50% stearic acid, and 2-9% plamitic acid.
  • Cocoa Butter: The same types of fats are present in cocoa butter but there are subtle differences. It contains 29-38% of oleic acid, 24-30% of palmitic acid, 24-37% of stearic acid, and 0-4% of myristic acid.

3. Shelf Life

  • Shea Butter: The shelf life of shea butter is good, but should still be used within a year.
  • Cocoa Butter: Cocoa butter is a clear winner mainly because its antioxidant profile is more impressive. You can use raw cocoa butter up to five years, which is much better as compared to shea butter.

4. Texture and Smell

  • Shea Butter: You need to keep shea butter at temperatures around 50F or it will lose its texture. Moreover, it is not that impressive in terms of smell; in fact, people criticize it for having a bad odor.
  • Cocoa Butter: It is much better in terms of texture and smell as compared to shea butter. It stays solid at room temperature and usually has a nutty, vanilla smell.

5. Skin Benefits

  • Shea Butter: It can be used as moisturizer mainly because it contains fatty acids, which are extremely beneficial for your skin. It also contains vitamins A and E, and helps repair skin damage. The presence of the caffeic acid makes it quite effective against the negative effects of UV radiation.
  • Cocoa Butter: It also contains fatty acids and is good for your skin. It is usually a better choice for the treatment of psoriasis, eczema and other skin conditions because of its pleasant smell. It also contains cocoa mass polyphenol (CMP), which proves effective against rashes and dermatitis.

6. Acne Protection

  • Shea Butter: It is a much better choice when you want something for your acne-prone skin. It does not clog your pores and helps improve the quality of your skin. It has antimicrobial properties, which help clear infections and reduce the appearance of scars.
  • Cocoa Butter: It may not be the best choice for your acne-prone skin because it can clog your pores and aggravate your acne. You can use cocoa butter in case you are looking for a remedy for stretch marks. Shea butter is not going to prove that effective in this regard.

7. Price

  • Shea Butter: A comparison of shea butter vs. cocoa butter shows that prices usually depend on the brand, but you may still have to spend more to buy shea butter. It is expensive because it is collected from wild trees.
  • Cocoa Butter: It is generally cheaper as compared to shea butter. That is mainly because it is produced on farms. The use of many unethical practices, such as low wages and child labor may also be the reason why cocoa butter is relatively cheaper.

Then Which One Is Better?

The fact of the matter is that both shea butter and cocoa butter are quite the same in many ways, but you can make a better choice considering why you want to use these substances in the first place. You may not like shea butter if you are very particular about the smell.

However, you may consider going for shea butter if you are looking for a way to keep your acne-prone skin healthy. They both have similar types of moisturizing abilities, but shea butter is a better choice considering its UV-blocking properties. But, if you are looking for a cheaper way to get healthy skin, cocoa butter may well be the right choice. So, consider your unique circumstance to make a choice.

A Quick Note: Quality Matters the Most

 A comparison of shea butter vs. cocoa butter shows that there is not a huge difference between the two, but you have to understand that you are going to get results only when you opt for high quality products. It means that you can enjoy maximum skincare benefits only when you opt for the pure and unrefined versions. Both shea butter and cocoa butter will lose most of their protective and healing qualities once they are refined. 

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