Shea butter is the most underrated ingredient in the mainstream skin care market (IYKYK, of course). As a professional licensed esthetician in New York City, it remains the top ingredient I recommend to my clients and friends — particularly those with normal, dry and combination skin types who are dealing with skin conditions like redness, dryness, dullness and flakiness. I personally use a shea butter SPF every single day, no matter the season — and it’s really transformed my skin.
1. Top-Rated and Black-Owned Shea Butter
Buttah’s Facial Shea Butter
2. Best Shea Butter Moisturizer for Redness and Inflammation
First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream Intense Hydration
3. Best Glowing Shea Butter Makeup Primer
YSL NU GLOW In Balm
4. Best Overall Shea Butter Eye Cream
Olay Shea Butter and Peptide 24 Rich Eye Cream
5. Gentle Exfoliating Shea Butter Face Scrub
Dr. Barbara Sturm Facial Scrub
Shea butter is a non-comedogenic (meaning it won’t clog pores) humectant and an emollient, working to lock in hydration and seal moisture. It has many healing properties and is amazing for conditions like eczema, psoriasis and dermatitis. Plus, it has anti-aging properties to reduce the look of fine lines and wrinkles. It’s even been said to help with stretch marks and scars.
Now, there’s always a caveat when it comes to products because the visual benefits of any product all depend on the formula efficacy, ingredient efficacy — and specifically when it comes to shea butter— the sourcing of the ingredient(s). Shea butter is naturally derived from Africa, so if you get an unrefined raw shea butter from the continent, you’re more likely to see these amazing effects.
Even though shea butter is non-comedogenic, I caution acne-prone skin types when incorporating shea butter into your routine. Unless you have an effective acne care routine — where you’re using acne-reducing ingredients (like BHAs) daily and your breakouts are usually kept at bay should you try shea butter. Although many people with acne skin types have reported relief from shea butter without an increase in clogged pores, it honestly just depends on your skin.
So keep reading for my favorite shea butter skin care products and why they are some of the best out there on the market.
$19 at Ulta
Made with unrefined shea butter from Ghana, it’s a facial moisturizer that smooths and hydrates without that oily or overly greasy feeling. It’s perfect for normal, dry and even combination skin (like with myself) to even out skin tone, minimize wrinkles and leave your complexion with a radiant glow.
$38 at Sephora
If you’re dealing with any skin condition like eczema, dermatitis or just suffer flakiness or dryness, this is the perfect product for relief. Formulated with shea butter (of course) and colloidal oatmeal, which both work together to calm, soothe, hydrate and heal distressed skin. Perfect for all skin types.
$39 at Sephora
Not only does this primer make your makeup have that glow-from-within finish because of the shea butter (and other ingredients like glycerin and Rosat), your skin will be hydrated, smooth, and illuminated with all-day foundation wear. It can also be worn without foundation or mixed with your SPF moisturizer for that extra dewy look.
$20 at Ulta
Say bye-bye to crow’s feet and dark circles with this conditioning and smoothing eye cream. Also, formulated with niacinamide for brightening, its consistency is not too thick or greasy but still mighty moisturizing. I recommend it to all skin types.
$75 at Nordstrom
Everyone’s skin needs to be exfoliated (1–2x a week for normal to dry skin, 2–3x a week for oily skin) to increase cell turnover and slough off dead skin cells. Most facial scrubs are harsh, stripping and can make your skin feel drier than it was before using the product. But not this one. The best facial scrub for inflamed, distressed skin—specifically anyone dealing with dryness, flakiness and redness—as the shea butter helps to moisturize and smooth while exfoliating.
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