Monday, April 15, 2019

Best Shea Butter: The Ultimate Shea Butter Review

good brand of shea butter
A sampling of the shea butter I have tried
Before reading my micro reviews on shea butter brands, please consider the following:
  1. Shea butter quality varies from batch to batch.  Region, rainfall, and processing methods are all significant quality factors.
  2. Brands of shea butter can switch their supplier and this effects quality.  For example, Naissance (wonderful company) recently switched suppliers and unfortunately, the new batch does not have good Free Fatty Acid results but their previous supplier's batch had phenomenal lab results.
  3. Fresh high quality shea butter should look, feel, and smell a certain way.  It should be light ivory beige, have a fondant-like texture, and smell slightly earthy, nutty, sweet, or smokey.
  4. Laboratory analysis is the only way to confirm that a batch is high quality with solid levels of unsaponifiable matter. 
Just because I recommend a certain brand right now, the next batch of shea butter that they get in might not be up to quality standards.  And vice versa! ;)  That being said, a brand that values high quality shea butter AND understands how it should be processed AND understand the value of laboratory testing SHOULD ensure that all the shea butter they distribute is truly high quality.  I'm still searching for such a brand.  ;)  If you have found one, please comment!

Now for the mini reviews!  Once again, this review only pertains to the batch that I ordered.  I recommend you do your own research on the brand's current batch of inventory before ordering.

Review KEY:
Smile = Recommended
Frown = NOT recommended
$! = Pricey  
Stikethrough = No longer in production
FFA = Free Fatty Acids
Unsaps = Unsaponifiable Matter

Brands I have tried:
Ancient Health Remedies ☹ Excessive FFA 7.12% WWW supplier
Anjou Naturals
Beuna Skin ☹$!  Unresponsive company.
Bulk Naturals Etsy --waiting on lab analysis--
Dr. Ferrin's ☹ Company unresponsive & WWW seems to be supplier.
Green Leaf Naturals ☹ No lab testing available
Karitex 😊☹ My first batch was great with smooth, light nutty sweet scent.  BUT the second batch was smelling rancid and plasticy.  I transferred it to a new container and let it sit, then melted it and cooled it in the freezer.  It helped the smell.  This batch was also too soft/oily for me.  Super sad beause is is fair trade, certified organic, with excelly labs.  FFA 2.5-3.5% and Unsaps 7-10% YEAH!  Can also buy bulk on their website.
Kate Blanc Cosmetics Borderline FFA 3.46%.  Unsaps not measured.
Naissance:  A favorite brand of mine BUT their new supplier's unrefined butter has FFA 6.45%.  However, the clay refined butter labs are great with unsaps at 5%.  Company is fair trade.
Nubian Heritage ☹ Very rancid.
PURE by Rachelle Parker ☹ Company won't provide analysis.
Rise N Shine ☹ FFA too high 4.48%
Sans Pareil Naturals 😊 Very fresh batch of Shea Nilotica. Borderline FFA 3.5%
SheaTerra Organics $! --waiting on analysis--
Slice of Nature (East Shea Oil)
Smell Good 😊 So far the only company with satisfactory lab analysis that has low levels of FFA and Peroxide, with moderate levels of unsaponifiable matter 4.06%. Most economically priced and claim to be fair trade.
Superior Shea: 😊$! Fresh 2018 batch with Unsaps 5.63% and low FFA 0.96% with strong smell.  Fair trade for sure.  But shipping makes it $22/lb which is steep.
Viva Naturals ☹ Jar was nearing exp and rancid. However, since then they have bought a new batch of shea nilotica and I am considering a purchase.  It would be identical to Sans Pareil Naturals because Guru Nanak is the manufacturer.
Zavebe ☹ Awfully rancid.

Brands that I've looked into (this is mostly for my own records):
Afrikinky Shea Butter: Waiting on labs. GSA member. Company unresponsive.
Alaffia: They don't test every batch, and their lab averages for FFA are btwn 1.07-8.56% and Unsaponifiable Fraction averages are 2.21 – 4.18%.
Anthony's Goods: Completely unresponsive
Baraka: Canadian company with really good lab readings.  Just wish unsaponifiables were higher than 2.06%
Better Shea Butter:  They only do cosmetic testing, which doesn't show unsaps.
Bramble Berry: Cold-pressed Refined Unsaponifiables 6% No returns.
Bulk Apothecary: Unsaps not measured on unrefined but refined Unsaps are 5.8 and FFA 0.20%
Coastal Scents: Doesn't do testing.
Daolus: Unresponsive, Nigerian, GSA member, waiting on labs.
Essential Depot: FFA too high 7.2!
FairTale Ghana: $! Very fair trade. Awesome labs but unsaps not measured.
From Nature with Love: Refined but consider the Unsaps 6.6% and FFA 0.010%.
Good Earth Spa: FFA 5.45% too high!
Green Factory: Waiting on labs.
Key West: Does not test their shea.
Mary Tylor Naturals: Labs really good. Unsaps possibly above 4% but not sure about the latest batch.
Liberty Natural Products: Good unsaponifiable matter levels 6-9% but current stock is pretty old although they regularly monitor their expiration dates.  I will most likely be ordering from them in the future.  Search "shea butter" and click on special yellow for the highest Unsaps.
Lotion Crafter: FFA too high 7.2%, unsaps not measured.
Naturise Good lab readings except low unsaponifiable Matter 1.4
Rustic Escentuals: High FFA 6.06% Unsaps not even measured
Shea Butter Source:  Canadian company that seems awesome but I have no labs. Have to buy a big box.
SheaGrowers:  Good labs, but unsaps not measured.
Sky Organics: Company unwilling to share lab results.
Soap Expressions Candlewic: Sold by gallon. Refined. Unsaps 5.8.
Village Shea Butter: Waiting on labs.
Yellow Brick Road: Company unresponsive with results.
Zaturals: FFA too high 5.04%.  Unsaps not measured.

If you are a company wanting to send me shea butter for review, please contact me using the form to the right.  I do have high standards and will require a copy of your (or your supplier's) lab results, also called Certificate of Analysis.  You can't sell shea butter as Grade A or Grade 1 without proof to back it up.

Why I love shea butter:
Shea butter has transformed my skin.  It's not that shea butter makes my skin flawless..it's that it makes my skin feel so healthy that I just don't enjoy the feel of makeup on my skin.  Which is really really odd for this make-up loving guru to say...because, hello, makeup is so fun!  But the bluntness in me cannot deny the change shea butter has made in my life.  I love good shea butter from the top of my head to the tip of my toes.

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