How Long Does Shea Butter Last? Everything You Need to Know!

How Long Does Shea Butter Last?

How long does shea butter last? Raw and refined, both types of shea butter have a limited lifespan. Shea butter lasts for about 24 to 37 months. It depends on the type of shea butter you have. Though it is recommended to use raw shea butter, refined shea butter lasts longer than raw shea butter. 

A lot of people ask how long does shea butter last? Does it expire? The answer to this is yes. Just like any other natural product shea butter also comes with an expiry date.

I know this bought you some stress but folks no need to worry about it because shea butter comes with plenty of time before its expiry. We then have to treat shea butter well and follow quick ways to maintain and multiply its life span by just taking a few precautions.

Shea butter is no doubt a user-friendly creamy product, call shea butter attention seeker or whatever, but if you want to use shea butter for a longer duration take care of it like your own baby. Yes, you read it right!

Let’s dig together and know everything about the lifetime of shea butter. 

Pure And Treated Shea Butter 

Okay Smooth All Natural,100% Pure UnrefinedOkay Smooth All Natural,100% Pure Unrefined
  • Yellow Smooth Shea Butter for all hair textures and skin types - Great for moisturizing, reducing inflammation, skin smoothing, wrinkle reduction, eczema, blemishes, wound healing, sunburn, dermatitis
  • Nourish, replenish, moisturize, and heal your hair and skin with this emollient-rich beauty product
  • Vitamins A & E, which keep the skin in optimal health but also protect it from being damaged by the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays - Vitamin E also soothes dry skin and improves the skin’s elasticity
  • Formulated from 100% Pure Raw African Shea Butter (Butyrospermum Parkii)
  • This African Shea Butter is ALL Natural and Pure - Imported from Ghana, Africa - Safe for the entire family
  • Skin type: acne prone,mature
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OKAY | African Shea Butter | RefinedOKAY | African Shea Butter | Refined
  • White Ivory Smooth Shea Butter for all hair textures and skin types - Great for moisturizing, reducing inflammation, skin smoothing, wrinkle reduction, eczema, blemishes, wound healing, sunburn, dermatitis
  • Nourish, replenish, moisturize, and heal your hair and skin with this emollient rich beauty product
  • Helps keep the skin in optimal health but also protect it from being damaged by the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays | Also soothes dry skin and improves the skin’s elasticity
  • Formulated from 100% Pure Raw African Shea Butter (Butyrospermum Parkii)
  • This African Shea Butter is ALL Natural and Pure - Imported from Ghana, Africa - Safe for the entire family
  • Helps to heal dry scalp, skin cracks, soften tough skin on feet, helps to even skin tone, helps treat and prevent stretch marks
  • Shea butter can be used to seal in hair moisture, helps to reduce frizz, prevent breakage, protect hair from sun and heat damage.
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Before moving further, understand the difference between different types of shea butter so that you can extract better storage ideas in order to expand the life span of shea butter. 

Mainly, there are 2 types of shea butter.

Pure Or unrefined Shea Butter

Unrefined shea butter is a 100% pure and natural item. It contains all essential vitamins and fatty acids in it. 

Unrefined or raw shea butter is said to be a better option than refined because it doesn’t include additional chemicals and mixtures.

Refined Or Treated Shea Butter 

Refined shea butter is also known as treated shea butter as it gets treated with various chemicals that minimize its natural constituents and smell. 

This type of shea butter is used in the production of styling products.

For example shampoo, conditioner, hair masks etc

The Life Span Of Shea Butter 

For treated shea butter, it is 24 months or we can say approximately two years. While on the other hand, refined shea butter lasts up to 37 months. 

Drugstore shea butter products have different lasting duration. It depends what ingredients are being mixed with shea butter in that product. 

5 Ways To Avoid Early Expiry Of Shea Butter 

Here are 5 simple ways that you can practice in your daily life to increase the shelf life of shea butter. 

Say No To Dirty Hand When Touching Shea Butter

dirty hands

Experts suggest utilizing your hands for scooping out shea butter but let me remind you it is so unhygienic to introduce dirty hands into the container of shea butter. 

Unwashed hands are the first precaution you must take seriously when you want to keep your shea butter as fresh as new.

Clean hands eliminate the chances of bacteria and other microbes that can cause decay and spoiling of food substances. 

Apart from many other benefits obtained from shea butter, it is also utilised in food preparations which is why it is important to clean your hands.  

Wet Hands; A Big No!

wet hands

Yes, you heard it. Never ever use your wet hands when it comes to working with shea butter. 

Wet hands simply minus the shelf life of shea butter as they work as a platform for bacteria and microscopic organisms that can grow inside shea butter.

A lot of people also use shea butter as a moisturizing agent after the shower, make sure you secure it in a cabinet away from a wet environment.

Keep It Away From Direct Sunlight 


Sunlight and high temperatures can decrease the lifespan of shea butter to a great extent. To avoid early expiry, store shea butter in a cool, dry, and slightly cold environment. 

If you are a resident of a warm area, a refrigerator is the only safe space when it comes to storing as it prevents shea butter from excessive melting because continuous melting is one of the major reasons why shea butter expires in a short time.

When shea butter is exposed to direct sunlight the useful vitamins and fatty acids get wasted forever and then what’s the point of using a natural product when all of its significant constituents are lost?

Always Go For High Quality Shea Butter 

high quality

If you ask my opinion, taking care of shea butter is one thing but investing in a high-quality product is another. 

These two things work just like train tracks, if one goes out of action, a dead end is a result. Always look for brands that sell authentic and pure shea butter. 

Many brands on the market claim to source raw and original shea butter, make sure you do proper research before spending money.

Pro tip: As shea butter is a natural product obtained from Africa (mainly Nigeria) make sure to find such brands that source high-quality shea butter directly from Africa.

Avoid Wet Spoons And Cutlery

wet spoon

Lastly, wet cutlery is also a big NO. 

When you are using a spoon or knife to scoop out the shea butter, make sure it is perfectly clean and dry. As discussed, wet cutlery is a favourable environment for microscopic organisms to grow and spoil your favourite product.

Trust me shea butter is a low-maintenance item, it takes nothing but simple and quick practices that can help you avoid the early expiry of shea butter.

5 Ways To Store Shea Butter 

Ways To Store Shea Butter

Providing a complimentary space for shea butter is extremely important. A lot of people ask us every day regarding handy and less chaotic ways to secure shea butter. To help you in this matter we have jotted down 5 ways to store shea butter ideally.

Containers/Glass Jars

In general, containers are everything you need to secure shea butter.

Be it plastic or glass it’s your choice but storing shea butter in the container is essential. It doesn’t cost much, however, gives heavy duty as containers are easy-to-use, travel friendly, and gives maximum protection against sunlight.

Experts say that shea butter is easily spoiled when exposed to UV rays. For better results, store shea butter in a UV treated glass container. They are designed especially for products like these to give them a healthy environment.  

Caps/Lids Are Important 

With containers, tight lids are equally important. It protects shea butter from dust particles, microbes present in the air, and water. Lid or cap work as a security barrier for shea butter that radially helps in maintaining shelf life.

Plastic Bags

Another way to store shea butter is to pack them in plastic zip lock bags. There are different types of plastic bags available on market currently, look out and see what suits your method of storing. 

Always double-check if the plastic bag is dry, clean, and free of dust because these things might create big problems.


A refrigerator is another important place to secure shea butter. Sometimes when temperatures are high, shea butter starts melting at room temperature. Continuous melting of shea butter may lessen the overall quality of it which can become toxic too.

Keep a close eye and store shea butter in the fridge when the temperature starts rising.

Pro tip: for better texture do not put shea butter in the refrigerator for a long duration. 


Among many storing ideas, the pantry is another practical option where one can store shea butter. The pantry is usually installed away from direct sunlight, thus it is commendatory to place shea butter here.

Indications Of Bad Shea Butter 

Indications Of Bad Shea Butter

Identifying spoiled shea butter isn’t tricky. Smell test, discolouration and grainy texture are a few indications that show if the butter is fine or ruined.


Starting with discolouration, when dark brown, black spots appear on the top layer of shea butter shows that it has gone bad.

Grainy Texture

The grainy texture is another sign of spoiled shea butter. Due to continuous melting (due to high temperature) shea butter loses its creamy soft texture and becomes grainy. This is the indication to say GOOD-BYE to shea butter.

How to treat rough and grainy shea butter?

I understand grainy shea butter sounds but the good part is you can fix it anytime. 

All you have to do is take shea butter and mix it with butter. Once properly combined together, put it in the freezer or introduce an ice bath. 

Wait until it is mild solid, now whip it until it’s soft and gets back to its original condition and TADDAA!

No more grainy and rough shea butter. 

What to do with grainy shea butter?

Once you are done fixing grainy textured shea butter, you can create your own lip balms, moisturizer,  body lotion etc. Isn’t it just great? 

Rancid Smell

Usually, shea butter smells like nuts or wood. But when it’s deteriorated, the odour turns rancid which means shea butter is no more and it’s time to let it go.

Jim Hammer, founder of Mixsolutions says;

“Natural oils and butters can oxidize and develop changes in odor and appearance pretty quickly if not formulated with an effective antioxidant” 

The above tests are easy, make sure you keenly observe the change that takes place inside the jar to always use fresh product.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can shea butter grow moulds inside the container?

Due to the usage of wet hands and cutlery, shea butter can facilitate moulds to grow at the surface. The discolouration observed when shea butter goes bad is due to the presence of long and dark filamentous structures of moulds. 

Does spoiled shea butter cause skin infections? 

Although it is not proven yet, however, it is advised to let go of bad shea butter as it has more beneficial vitamins left in it. 

How to know if shea butter has gone bad?

The rancid and smokey smell, discolouration, and grainy texture are a few initial signs that indicate spoiled shea butter. 

How to improve the scent of shea butter? 

Melt down your shea butter and add a few drops of essential oil (of choice) to it. That’s it! You have improved shea butter which smells magical. 

Is it important to refrigerate shea butter? 

Yes, however, refrigeration is not always necessary but in the case of high temperatures (75 degrees F), it becomes a necessity to put it in the freezer or fridge. 

Now, It’s Your Turn!

I hope this article will solve all your queries regarding the lifespan and storage procedure of shea butter. Follow simple tips and tricks to instantly improve the overall experience of using shea butter. 

As the trend of using shea butter as a major component in skincare and hair care routines is increasing we suggest you do proper research before bringing it in, and storing it properly. So now buddies, do tell me how long your last shea butter last and how do you store your shea butter?

Comment section is waiting!

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