Shea butter and coconut oil are two time-proven moisturizers that have been used for centuries for keeping skin glowing, soft, and moisturized. They’ve both become widely popular beauty products; being used in natural form as well as marketed as the base for many commercial beauty products. So is one better than the other? Which one should you be using?
This post will compare shea butter vs coconut oil, share the pros and cons of each, and why you’ll want to choose one over the other.
So, what’s the difference between shea butter and coconut oil? The most notable difference between shea butter vs coconut oil is that shea butter is suitable for all skin types while coconut oil is not. Coconut oil is typically not recommended for people with oily skin as it may lead to clogged pores or acne breakouts.
We’ll dive further into these and other differences throughout this post. First, let’s look a bit deeper at each oil individually, and then we’ll make some further comparisons.
What is Shea Butter?
Shea butter has is rooted back thousands of years in West African cultures and to the ancient Egyptian culture where it is believed that Cleopatra, known for her beauty having clay jars filled with shea butter.
Today shea butter is primarily produced from west African areas for distribution throughout the world. Cultivated from the fat of the Shea tree seeds, the fat is carefully extracted so that the shells and debris are filtered out. What’s left is smooth, rich pure raw shea butter- that is unrefined.
Refined vs Unrefined Shea Butter
Unrefined shea butter will be in a raw, natural state, with a dirty yellow color and an earthy smell. Refined shea butter is processed with bleach and chemicals to give it a more appealing whiter color and remove any smell while often adding fragrance. While refined shea butter can be more aesthetically pleasing, it comes with a trade-off as most of the nutrients and properties that your skin loves is stripped away during the process.
Unrefined Shea Butter Properties
Unrefined shea butter has significant nutrients and protections that the skin loves. Shea butter naturally has a mild UV protection around SPF 6 as well as vitamins A, E and F. Shea butter is excellent at moisturizing the skin and is rich in fatty acids and antioxidants.
These components of shea butter are what make it a beauty asset. Known to help boost collagen production, reduce acne scars and improve the appearance of wrinkles and age spots- it’s no wonder why this has sustained the test of time when it comes to beauty.
Shea butter is anti-inflammatory, which also gives it some medicinal properties. It can help soothe irritated skin as well as reduce scarring, ward of infections, soothe rashes, eczema, and dry skin.
What is Coconut Oil?
Coconuts have been widely used and cultivated for thousands of years, primarily in more tropical areas where they grow plentiful on palm trees. Coconut oil is extracted from the meat of coconut fruit. Coconut oil is very versatile in that it can be used in cooking, soaps, cosmetics, and medicinal care. In fact, many native cultures have a use for all parts of the coconut from the meat to the shells and even the husks; no part is ever wasted.
Like shea butter, coconut oil makes a great moisturizer for many skin types- the one caveat being those who have oily skin, with coconut oil, less is more; as it can become greasy when too much is applied. The oil can also build up and clog pores- which is why it isn’t recommended for oily skin that is prone to breakouts.
If you are suffering from skin irritation caused by bacteria or fungus such as athlete’s foot, coconut oil may provide relief due to its anti-microbial properties.
Coconut oil is best applied after a bath as it acts as a sealant, helping skin seal in and retains its natural moisture. Coconut oil does not have quite the amount of vitamins that shea butter does, most notably the abundance of vitamin E which helps make it such a great moisturizer.
Which is Better for Your Skin Shea Butter or Coconut Oil?
They are both great options and gentle on skin, both great for moisturizing, healing, and soothing skin. While many may have a personal preference based on their skin type and other conditions. In general, if you have to choose one over the other, shea butter would edge out as the winner due to its deep moisturizing benefits as well as being anti-inflammatory as well as working well for all skin types.
But if you don’t have to choose, why not choose both! Many find a benefit in combining shea butter with a bit of coconut oil, combining the benefits of both shea butter and coconut oil can give you the benefits of both products and give you a versatile moisturizer for both moisturizing and soothing a variety of skin issues without missing out!
More Natural Beauty Tips: Top 5 Natural Skin Exfoliants, 11 Health & Beauty Hacks Using Coconut Oil and Apple Cider Vinegar