Shea Butter Showdown: Which Type Is for You?

Shea Butter Showdown: Which Type Is for You?

When it comes to skincare, there’s no shortage of products promising to deliver radiant results. But in the search for synthetic-free cosmetics that actually work, it’s easy to forget that we can rely on some of the best natural remedies that have been used for centuries.


Shea butter has been long-hailed for its moisturizing and nourishing properties, making it an excellent choice for healthy and hydrated skin. Nowadays, you’ll find it in a variety of skin and hair care products, including moisturizers, lotions, body butter, lip balms, and conditioners.


But there’s no need to blend it with anything else—pure and unrefined shea butter is enough to work wonders on your complexion. Extracted from the nuts of the shea trees growing across Africa, this rich and creamy emollient comes in different forms, depending on the source.


In this blog, we’ll compare the unique benefits of both East and West African shea butter, so you can decide which type you will use to upgrade your skincare routine. 

East African Shea Butter

Sourced from Uganda, Tanzania, and Kenya, this type of shea butter has a light and creamy texture, a pale yellow color, and a mild scent. It has a high concentration of oleic acid, which in this shea butter showdown, allows it to take the crown for the best emollient. What does that mean? East African shea butter is prized for its powerful skin-softening effects!


This variation is also rich in linoleic acid and Vitamin E; a combo that offers anti-inflammatory properties to calm and soothe skin irritation. This, teaming up with its non-comedogenic texture (a fancy way of saying that it’s less likely to clog up your pores), makes it a go-to natural treatment for sensitive skin types that are prone to dryness, acne, and eczema.


  • Officially known as Vitellaria Nilotica
  • Pale yellow color & sweet scent
  • Nourishes, moisturizes, & hydrates
  • Easy to apply: delicate & creamy texture
  • Non-comedogenic (less likely to clog pores)
  • Ideal for normal, acne-prone, & sensitive skin

West African Shea Butter

West African shea butter is sourced from trees in the Savannah region of the country. Thicker and harder in texture than its Eastern counterpart, this type comes in a yellow-brown shade and has a nutty scent. Although it has a slightly lower concentration of oleic acid, it still offers the same miracle moisturizing properties to hydrate the skin and leave it soft and supple.


A key difference, however, is that it has a higher concentration of Vitamin A: a nutrient that accelerates the skin’s healing processes. This is why it has been traditionally used as a topical treatment to heal cuts, wounds, and scars. Wondering how this will enhance your skincare regime? The skin benefits of Vitamin A mean that West African shea butter is an anti-aging hero as it helps protect your skin from the damage caused by free radicals.


  • Officially known as Butryospermum Parkii
  • Yellow-brown color & nutty scent
  • Nourishes, moisturizes, & hydrates
  • Harder & thicker in texture (but still spreadable)
  • Highest concentration of Vitamin A
  • Helps heal cuts, wounds, & scars
  • Ideal for normal, damaged, & aging skin

The Winner of the Showdown

As we’ve established, both East and West African shea butter offer similar benefits in terms of their nourishing and moisturizing properties. That means your choice ultimately comes down to your preference of scent, thickness, and texture—and more importantly—your skin type.


In a nutshell, we’d recommend opting for East if your skin is on the sensitive side, and West if your skin is in need of deep nourishment to heal and protect it from aging. Bellanomi’s pure, unrefined, and unscented shea butter is a whipped-up blend of each one, so you can reap the restorative benefits of both! Don’t forget to check out the rest of their African-inspired skincare.


Conclusion: shea butter should be a staple in your skincare regime.