Shea Butter vs. Cocoa Butter | The Smackdown #1

Two of nature’s richest moisturizers, Shea and Cocoa Butter, have been used for centuries as beauty products, and are both commonly found in creams and lotions. These naturally occurring substances are equally popular, and some people use the terms interchangeably, yet there are notable difference between the two that can affect your skin for the better or for the worse.

Shea Butter

What is it?  Shea Butter, also known as Karite Butter, is extracted after cracking and grilling the nuts of the Karite tree found in the tropical West and Central regions of Africa.  It has a high content of irremovable fatty acids which provide Shea Butter with its unique healing properties.  This substance is a great natural hair and skin moisturizer, which is sometimes referred to as “Woman’s Gold”, because it is harvest and production generates jobs for many African women.

Benefits & Uses:

  • Shea Butter is extremely soft and melts at body temperature, meaning it is easily absorbed by the skin.
  • Rich in Vitamin A and E.
  • Helps with a number of dry skin problems, including psoriasis and eczema.  As a matter of fact, using this product on a regular basis can keep such conditions at bay.
  • Can help treat dry hair and makes a great natural conditioner, helping to maintain long hair and prevent split ends.
  • Has the added benefit of being a natural sunscreen.
  • Has the ability to fade away scars and is a great remedy to prevent acne.  It may have an oily base, however its high Vitamin A content makes it a great protector against acne.
  • Can be used to get rid of skin discolouration, dark spots and rashes.

Ginger-Coconut-Oil-Sugar-Body-Scrub-topImage Credit: foodformyfamily.com

Cocoa Butter

What is it?  Cocoa Butter is a natural fat extracted from Cacao seeds, also known as Cocoa beans.  It is native to the Americas and is classed a traditional moisturiser, particularly in Mesoamerica and the Caribbean.  The substance if often added to cosmetics, skin care products and soaps to increase their shelf life, sometimes by as much as five years.  It is also wonderful for chapped lips and smells heavenly.

Benefits & Uses:

  • Is a vegan food and is best for treating skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis and dermatitis.
  • Helps to prevent and lighten stretch marks.
  • The natural aroma of Cocoa Butter is known to be great when used in a massage for relaxation, thereby relieving stress.
  • Rich in natural antioxidants which could provide long life for products.
  • Rich in Vitamin E which helps soften the skin, hydrate and balance hormones.

Ginger-Coconut-Oil-Sugar-Body-Scrub-ingImage Credit: foodformyfamily.com

Shea Butter vs. Cocoa Butter

Skin-energizers.  Shea Butter and Cocoa butter are the two best ingredients that revitalise the beauty of your skin.  The common aspect of the two is their ability to enhance skin tone and prevent skin dryness and aging.

Sun Protection.  For thousands of years Shea Butter has been used to heal burns, skin diseases and wounds.  It has the get ability to regenerate ageing skin and also protect us from ultraviolet rays.  Being composed of vegetable fats, Shea Butter definitely helps promote cell regeneration and improve blood circulation.  On the other hand Cocoa Butter lacks the ability to protect skin from the sun.  Some believe that Cocoa Butter may accelerate and intensify the process of tanning, however this has not been proven fully.  With regards to sun protection, Shea Butter has a slight advantage.

Application.  Cocoa Butter has a wider scope of applications compared to Shea Butter, causing it to prove more popular.  Many lip balms contain Cocoa Butter, which heals any cracks in the lips, whilst it can also be found in soaps, shampoos and other cosmetics.

Moisturizing Qualities.  Both Butters contain fatty acids, which improve skin moisture retention and elasticity.  They are also both effective in easing skin problems such as eczema or psoriasis.

Fragrance.  Quite rightly most people will agree that Cocoa Butter’s scent is very pleasant, which is why it is commonly used in aromatherapy; Shea Butter’s fragrance,  on the other hand, is sometimes described as off-putting or even stinky.

Skin Repair and Health.  Cocoa Butter contains Cocoa Mass Polyphenol (CMP), this helps to ease dermatitis or rashes.  It has also been suggested that CMP may inhibit the growth of cancerous cells and tumours.  Shea Butter is a good source of Vitamin A and E, which strengthen the skin and help it repair damage.  In addition, Shea Butter can reduce the damaging effect of UV radiation and a recent study has found it could repel both inflammation and tumours.

Acne, Stretch Marks and Scars.  For acne-prone skin, Shea Butter is a wiser choice than Cocoa Butter, as Cocoa Butter has been found to clog pores.  In contrast Shea Butter is non-comedogenic, which means your pores will stay clear.  A reduction in the appearance in acne scars is also characteristic of Shea Butter, as well as an ability to fight off infection.  Cocoa Butter has traditionally been recommended to pregnant women who are suffering from stretch marks.

Hair Care.  Cocoa Butter is found in the ingredients list for most popular shampoos, due to its preservation qualities.  It is not as effective as Shea Butter unless combined with addition products, as it can make hair very greasy.

The Verdict

It is clear to see that Shea Butter and Shea Butter are on par with each other in several areas – both being great moisturisers and are the best you can use for your skin.  For myself, I am particularly acne-prone and have rather oily skin, so made the choice to use Shea Butter instead of Cocoa Butter when it comes to moisturizing.

It is a case of having to see which one suits you better.  Although popular opinion is in favour of Shea Butter, there are many who swear by the benefits of Cocoa Butter.  Use both, carry out a comparison, and then decide which one you would like to use for a particular purpose.  Either way, you will do your body great benefits by using these natural products.

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