Shea butter is a rich moisturizer that has been used for centuries to treat skin conditions such as eczema, dryness, and psoriasis.
Shea butter can be found in many supermarkets and health stores, but how long will it last?
The shelf life of shea butter depends on how the product is stored. It also depends on how quickly you use up the jar or pot.
This post will discuss how to store your shea butter to get maximum shelf life out of it.
What is Shea Butter?
Shea butter is a natural fat extracted from the fruit of the African shea tree.
It is very healing and moisturizing for skin and hair, but it can also make many other household products like soaps, lotions, candles, etc.
It grows in West Africa, where it’s known as “women’s gold”.
The trees grow wild on hilltops or at forest margins.
They’re tapped by hand once every few years, after which they stop producing any new flowers or berries until another year has passed when they flower again (typically around December).
The fresh pulp from each berry is put into shallow vessels along with water that allows the fats to rise to the surface over about 24 hours before being skimmed off and then heated up with a little water to extract the last of the liquid.
The fat is then refined and cooled into blocks or flakes that can be stored and shipped without melting as butter would do, which means it doesn’t need refrigeration.
“Women’s gold” has several uses around the house: soap, skin care products such as moisturizers, massage oils, and lip balms; hair care items such as conditioners for dry scalp treatments; candles made from pure shea butter are said to have healing powers due to its amazing scent.
Shea butter comes in grades A-D, with grade D being the lowest quality because it also contains other fats not found in higher grades.
It typically varies from 18% – 24% “unsaponifiables,” which measure the total content of non-volatile matter other than fats, waxes, and sterols.
How to Make Shea Butter at Home?
Shea butter is a popular moisturizer because its rich, creamy texture penetrates deeply into skin and hair.
And if you make your shea butter at home? You can also customize the weight of the product to suit your needs.
The ingredients for a homemade shea butter recipe are:
- ¾ cup of unrefined, raw shea butter (or the equivalent in another type or weight).
- ½ cup of extra virgin olive oil.
- “optional” essential oils to scent it with. You can use up to 20 drops per ¼ teaspoon for this part.
The process is as follows:
- Measure out your shea butter and olive oil into a metal bowl.
- Microwave the ingredients for 45 seconds, stirring every 15 seconds to ensure even heating.
- Add in essential oils and mix them thoroughly with a hand mixer or spoon until you have achieved an even consistency throughout the mixture. It is best to use low heat when adding in any fragrances because it will preserve their smell better.
- Pour it into containers of varying weights (½ ounce increments are recommended) by using either a scooper or measuring cups that come with lids on top of each container.
- If you want to be creative, this is also the time when you can add labels to your containers.
- Let them cool before storing them in the refrigerator or on your counter.
The benefits of this DIY project are that you get to customize the weight and scent of your product.
Plus, it’s best to use low heat when adding in any fragrances because it will preserve their smell better.
How to Store Shea Butter?
Storing shea butter can sometimes be tricky because it is solid and doesn’t go bad like other oils.
To store, keep your jar of shea butter in a cool, dry place with an airtight lid on it.
Keeping your shea butter in the fridge can cause it to get hard and clumpy, so try keeping it at room temperature.
Since there is no preservative like other oils have, you should use up the product within three months of opening for the best quality.
If you are unsure if your shea butter has gone bad or needs some time before using it again, smell test it first as rancid scents usually indicate that the shea butter has spoiled.
How Long Does Shea Butter Last? Does Shea Butter Go Bad?
The shelf life of shea butter is dependent on several factors, such as quality and freshness.
The general rule for storing unopened jars in cool, dry, and dark places at home or away from heat sources will considerably prolong their freshness.
If stored correctly without opening it, Shea Butter can last up to two years before there’s any noticeable degradation in its properties (quality).
If you’ve already opened your jar but used only small amounts each week, then the stability may be much shorter because bacteria have had more time to grow inside.
Again, this would depend on storage conditions, so we recommend using all products within six months after purchase regardless of how our vendors or we initially packaged them.
There is a refined version of shea butter which is more stable and lasts up to one year without noticeable changes in quality.
How to Tell if Shea Butter is Bad to Use?
Shea butter’s often compared to coconut oil because both have similar properties and are good fats – but unlike coconut oil, Shea butter does not require high heat before use.
If you are a beginner at using Shea butter, there is one thing that it’s best not to do – heat the butter.
It does not need high temperatures before use, and doing so will change its chemical composition.
This can lead to an unpleasant odor or texture, which may deter your natural beauty products in general because this issue could happen with any other product containing shea butter if heated without prior warning.
So how can we tell whether our Shea butter is bad? Here are some signs:
- The color of the Shea becomes dark yellow/orange instead of off-white.
- An acrid smell emerges even though when you first bought it, the smell was pleasant.
- You notice chunks within the cream like rice or lumps.
- You notice that the butter is grainy and doesn’t easily melt on skin contact.
In these cases, it’s best to discard your Shea butter and purchase a new tub from a different source.
It’s not worth investing in something that could cause you more harm than good, as this can lead to clogged pores or an allergic reaction like hives.
You don’t want any of those things happening.
How to Fix Rancid Shea Butter?
It’s not uncommon for shea butter to go bad.
It can happen when the fats in the product break down and create an unpleasant odor, among other things.
We’ll show you how to fix rancid shea butter using a simple technique that will leave your skin feeling silky smooth once again.
If you want to fix a rancid shea butter, add some fresh or unscented white lotion into it.
This will help mask the smell and restore its natural consistency.
- Add about two tablespoons of lotion to your container of shea butter (or pinch off a small chunk from the top).
- Add more if needed until desired texture is reached.
- Let sit for up to 24 hours before use.
- Remember that adding too much lotion may make your product turn watery, so be careful.
- Re-label jar with any added ingredients such as essential oils to keep things clean and organized.
Shea butter is a natural moisturizer that can be used on the skin to prevent dryness.
It’s also popular in hair care products, like deep conditioners and leave-in creams.
Shea butter lasts for about two years before it expires; this time frame will depend on how often you use your shea butter product, though.
Hence, you should keep an eye on the expiration date of your shea butter product, especially if you use it often.