You likely know that there are many products available that are great for your health. There are so many natural ingredients that can help heal your dry and itchy skin, make your hair look and feel softer, and protect you against diseases.
You could use an oil like jojoba oil or castor oil. They’re great products, but maybe you aren’t crazy about oils. Maybe they don’t work well with your skin, or you simply don’t like the way they feel.
That’s okay, there are plenty of other great products to choose from. Shea vs cocoa butter, which one is better?
Both of these products have similar properties to the oils, but their texture is a bit different. You’ll quickly realize why these products are so great for your health.
Below, I cover exactly what each of shea butter and cocoa butter is and their benefits. I then describe their similarities and differences so you know which is the best for your situation.
What Is Shea Butter?
Shea butter is a fat that comes from the seed of the shea tree. These trees can be found natively in West Africa where the climate is warm and tropical.
Within the seed, you can find two kernels that are filled with oil. These kernels are removed from the seed and then ground into a powder. That powder is then boiled in water. The resulting butter that forms from the powder will rise to the top of the boiling water where it becomes a solid.
Shea butter is referred to as a “butter” because it is solid, not liquid, at warmer temperatures. You can recognize it by its cream, or ivory color.
Benefits Of Shea Butter
Shea butter has been used for many things over the years including treating burns, acne, dry skin, eczema, and dandruff. Because it is so good at treating these things, shea butter is often used as an ingredient in cosmetics.
Unfortunately, there hasn’t been much research performed on the effectiveness of shea butter. However, people have been using the product for years and swear by it. There is plenty of anecdotal evidence suggesting that shea butter is great for treating many issues and helping you to become a healthier person.
It’s A Great Moisturizer
Shea butter is an emollient, meaning that it locks in moisture to make your skin softer and smoother. It is also rich in vitamins and fatty acids that keep your skin healthy and glowing. Some of the fatty acids found in shea butter include linoleic, oleic, stearic, and palmitic acids.
The oils that are found in shea butter are considered “refatting” agents which restore the skin’s natural amount of lipids. These lipids quickly absorb into the skin, hydrating the skin and providing long-lasting moisture.
You might think that because it’s a solid that it would be harder to apply to your skin than using an oil. However, shea butter is very similar in consistency to lotions. It is creamy and very easy to spread.
Not only that, but the linoleic acid and oleic acid found in shea butter balance each other out. They work together to ensure that your skin can absorb moisture without becoming oily.
It Protects Your Skin From Pollutants
The fatty acids and lipids found in shea butter also act as a type of barrier for your skin. It locks moisture into the skin while also preventing things from getting into the skin.
The butter can help keep your skin clean by preventing dirt, bacteria, chemicals, and other pollutants from getting into your pores.
It Has Anti-Inflammatory Properties
Another great thing about shea butter is that it contains properties that fight inflammation. This can help ease the pain and irritation caused by swelling. Inflammation is a common problem for skin, often caused by issues like acne, burns, and eczema.
When shea butter absorbs into your skin, it forces inflammatory cells, like cytokines, to slow their production, reducing swelling.
It Is Safe For Anyone To Use
The seed that shea butter is extracted from is technically a kind of tree nut. This may cause people with tree nut allergies to be nervous about using it. However, there is no evidence to show that shea butter will cause a reaction when used topically.
Still, if you have a tree nut allergy, it’s probably best to use caution. Simply use a small amount of the butter on a small area of your skin to see if you have a reaction. If you notice any itching, redness, or swelling, wash your skin right away and discontinue use.
It Promotes Wound Healing
Besides being incredibly moisturizing, shea butter keeps your skin healthy by generating new cells. Your body will shed about 30,000-40,000 dead skin cells every day. Before they flake off, though, the dead cells will sit on top of the new ones.
Shea butter encourages the old skin cells to fall off sooner so that they can be replaced by the new cells. These new cells will leave your skin looking and feeling healthier.
In this same way, shea butter can encourage wound healing and can reduce the appearance of scarring. The butter will encourage new cells to grow back quicker on wounds. It will also prevent you from developing scars.
However, shea butter can reduce the appearance of existing scars by encouraging new cell growth. People have noticed an improvement in minor scarring and stretch marks.
It Makes Your Skin Look Younger
Shea butter is rich in antioxidents as well as vitamins A and E. These work together to keep your skin healthier for longer, protecting your skin from free radicals.
They can reduce the signs of aging, including wrinkles, dullness, and dark spots.
It Has Antibacterial & Anti-Fungal Properties
Another way in which shea butter can help keep your skin healthy is by fighting infection. Although more research needs to be done to support these claims, it is believed that shea butter can kill bacteria and fight fungal infections from dandruff, athlete’s foot, and ringworm.
It Prevents & Treats Acne
Because shea butter has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, it is great for treating acne. The butter will sink into your pores to clean out any dirt and bacteria that is causing the acne.
It will also reduce the redness, pain, and swelling caused by the acne. Not only that, but it will prevent future acne by keeping your skin healthy and clean.
It Makes Hair Stronger
Just as shea butter can help your skin to be healthier, it can help your hair to be stronger and better looking as well. The properties found in shea butter prevent your hair from breaking, resulting in stronger, fuller hair.
Although shea butter alone has not been proven to encourage hair growth or discourage the loss of hair, it will certainly make your hair stronger. When your hair is stronger, it will, by default, be less likely to fall out.
It Can Relieve Muscle & Arthritis Pain
Arthritis is caused by inflammation, which as we know, can be treated with shea butter. Shea butter will help relieve the pain caused by inflammation while also protecting the joints affected by the arthritis.
Similarly, shea butter can relieve muscle pain and weakness by relieving inflammation.
What Is Cocoa Butter?
Cocoa butter is a very popular product that is mainly used in the cooking of sweets because it adds creaminess to the desserts. However, cocoa butter is also becoming much more popular as a product that is used for moisturizing both skin and hair.
Cocoa butter is, of course, derived from beans of the cocoa plant, or Theobroma cacao, and has been used for thousands of years in the production of chocolate. The product was so popular in ancient times that it was referred to as the “food of the gods” by the Mayans.
Cocoa butter is a type of fat — a triglyceride — that is found naturally in the cocoa beans. The fat is removed from the beans through fermentation. To use it to cook with, the fat sometimes goes through further production. However, in cosmetics, cocoa butter is used in its raw form.
Benefits Of Cocoa Butter
Cocoa butter is more commonly used in foods than it is in cosmetics, so this is why we are more likely to notice benefits in the inner workings of our bodies.
However, cocoa butter is becoming more and more popular for topical use, and it can work wonders on the skin and hair as well.
It Keeps The Heart Healthy
You can find lots of polyphenol in cocoa butter which is known to be heart-healthy. The polyphenols are known to lower blood pressure and improve the overall health of your blood vessels. This, in turn, will reduce your risk of heart disease.
Further, it is believed that dark chocolate will reduce fat deposits in your blood vessels as well as reduce inflammation.
It Supports Immunity, Digestion, & Bone Health
Cocoa butter is rich in vitamin D which helps with the absorption of calcium. With more calcium in the body, we will experience better digestion, immunity, and bone health.
It Is Moisturizing
Cocoa butter is incredibly nourishing to the skin because it’s rich in fatty acids like oleic, palmitic, and stearic acids. They allow the cocoa butter to sink deep within the skin and add hydration.
Cocoa butter is an emollient, so it also adds an extra layer of protection to your skin which locks in hydration. This can help protect your skin from the sun, from cold, or from excessive heat.
For this reason, cocoa butter is a very popular product that is used in lip balms in addition to moisturizers.
It Promotes Wound Healing
If you have damaged skin, cocoa butter can help to heal your skin and make it feel better. The butter is rich in antioxidants and fatty acids that heal the skin and promotes new cell growth.
Also, as I mentioned earlier, cocoa butter as anti-inflammatory properties that can aid in wound healing. It can help reduce any swelling, itching, or pain associated with the swelling of damaged skin.
It Has Antibacterial & Anti-fungal Properties
Similar to shea butter, cocoa butter is helpful at reducing your chance of infection, whether it be caused by bacteria or fungi.
Cocoa is a very popular ingredient in hair care products because it can moisturize the hair. However, it can help reduce and heal dandruff as well. Dandruff is caused by a fungal infection in the scalp, and cocoa butter can help clear that up.
Besides the butter’s remarkable ability to generate new cells, its antibacterial properties are another reason why it aids in wound healing. Cocoa butter will help to generate new cells so that your skin heals faster, but it will also help keep your wound clean, preventing bacteria from entering the wound and causing an infection.
It Makes Your Skin Look Younger
Cocoa butter also contains antioxidants called polyphenols which are known to reduce the signs of aging in your skin in addition to relieving the skin of itchiness and irritation.
In certain studies, polyphenol has been shown to reduce the breakdown of the skin, cell mutations, and certain chronic diseases. It also improves the elasticity of the skin, and helps with hydration and collagen retention. These factors prevent wrinkles from forming as well as the appearance of age spots.
It Protects & Strengthens Hair
Not only will cocoa butter help heal your skin and keep your heart healthy, but it is beneficial to your hair as well. Because cocoa butter is incredibly moisturizing, it’s a popular product to use on your hair to make it softer and smoother. It keeps your hair hydrated and protects it from the drying properties of shampoo and heating elements.
When your hair is properly hydrated, it is going to be better able to collect nutrients. Hydration protects your hair from losing the important proteins that hair needs to stay healthy. This is especially important if you have issues with thinning hair or hair loss.
The moisturizing properties of the cocoa butter will sink directly into the hair follicles on your head, providing nourishment directly to your hair and scalp.
Although there is not enough evidence to suggest that cocoa butter can help with hair loss or the growth of new hair, it is likely that it can help. Your hair is much more likely to break or fall out when it is weak and unhealthy.
What is proven is that cocoa butter has great effects on the hair and can get your hair back into top shape in no time. Once you get your hair healthy again, it is very likely that you will notice less hair loss and breakage, and you may even notice some new hair beginning to grow in.
Is Shea Butter The Same As Cocoa Butter?
What is the difference between shea butter and cocoa butter?
As described above, shea butter and cocoa butter come from different places and are made in different processes. This means the answer to is shea butter and cocoa butter the same is a definite no!
However, they are often used somewhat interchangeably in DIY beauty and skincare product recipes. This is because both are moisturizing for the skin, but there is a difference between shea and cocoa butter which we will cover more coming up.
I don’t recommend you switch them in recipes without understanding the differences below because you will alter the end product.
Cocoa Butter Vs Shea Butter
Is cocoa butter the same as shea butter? Shea butter and cocoa butter are more similar than they are different, but they do have their differences.
What’s the difference between shea butter and cocoa butter? Which should you choose? Shea or cocoa butter? Your preferences will determine which product is going to work better for you.
Similarities Between Shea And Cocoa Butter
Cocoa butter and shea butter are very similar and can work wonders on your body. Here are some ways in which they’re alike:
- Moisturizing for both skin and hair: both butters are great at penetrating the skin and locking in moisture. They also moisturize the hair by bringing nourishment to the hair follicles and helping the hair to grow back stronger.
- They make your skin look younger: both butters have antioxidant properties that help prevent you from developing wrinkles or age spots.
- They fight infection: they both have antibacterial and antifungal infections that can help in wound healing and fighting things like dandruff.
What Is The Difference Between Cocoa Butter And Shea Butter?
Cocoa or shea butter? Which to choose? Although cocoa butter and shea butter have many similarities, their differences are important too.
- Internal health
- Cocoa butter has properties that, when used in cooking, can protect bone health, immunity, and heart health.
- Shea butter has anti-inflammatory properties that make it useful in relieving pain from arthritis and muscle pain.
- Cocoa butter is derived from the cocoa bean, making it safe for anyone to use.
- Shea butter is derived from a tree nut. While there have been no findings to suggest that shea butter will cause a reaction in those with a tree nut allergy, it is still possible.
- Cocoa butter has a stronger, tropical smell that will have you smelling almost like chocolate. Some people love this smell and prefer to use cocoa butter for this reason.
- Shea butter has a milder smell, so it is preferred by those who don’t like scented beauty products. It’s milder smell also makes it easier to mix with other products, such as essential oils.
- Cocoa butter is used in cooking all the time. If you’ve ever eaten chocolate, then you’ve eaten cocoa butter.
- Shea butter is not recommended for consumption and shouldn’t be used in cooking.
Shea Butter Vs Cocoa Butter For Skin
Both cocoa butter and shea butter are great for skin. They both lock hydration into your cells to keep your skin moisturized, soft, and supple. They can both fight inflammation, they can treat acne, and they promote wound healing.
Therefore, neither is really better than the other. Just pick whichever works better for you.
Shea Butter Vs Cocoa Butter Stretch Marks
Is shea butter or cocoa butter better for stretch marks?
Neither cocoa butter or shea butter is better than the other when it comes to treating stretch marks. They both are great at promoting wound healing and generating new cells. So, they both work equally well in reducing the appearance of stretch marks.
What about shea butter vs cocoa butter for dark spots? Is it the same?
Yes! Similar to stretch marks, both cocoa butter and shea butter work wonders for dark spots and wrinkles.
Shea Butter Versus Cocoa Butter For Hair
Again, neither cocoa butter or shea butter is better than the other when it comes to hair care. They both work wonderfully to add moisture to your hair and to make it stronger. Simply pick which works best for you.
So, when it comes down to it, should you use cocoa butter or shea butter? It really depends on what you are using the butter for and your personal preferences.
In general, there are no significant differences between shea butter and cocoa butter. They have many of the same wonderful properties that can help with keeping your skin and hair healthy.
The main difference is simply the smell. If you prefer stronger smells, go for cocoa butter, but if you like milder smells, stick with shea butter.
Whether you choose shea butter or cocoa butter, you’ll find that you feel and look much healthier than you did before.