Does Shea Butter Go Bad? Here’s the Answer

Shea butter is one of the most popular natural products on the market today. People use it for cooking, skincare, hair care, and other purposes.

If you’re wondering if shea butter goes bad, the answer is yes. Like every other natural product, shea butter will eventually go bad.

This article will answer any questions you may have about this nut butter and its shelf life. Read on to find out.

What Is Shea Butter?

Shea butter is a thick, creamy fat extracted from the nut of the African shea tree (Vitellaria paradoxa). It has been used in Africa for centuries to treat many skin and hair conditions.

The main ingredient in this natural butter is oleic acid, which prevents water loss from the skin cells by forming a thin film on top of them. This makes shea butter one of the most effective moisturizers available today.

It also has anti-aging properties, which make it popular among women who want to prevent wrinkles and keep their skin looking young and healthy.

SEE: Here’s What You Need to Know About Refrigerating Butter

Does Shea Butter Go Bad?

Yes, but not so fast. Most brands of shea butter can last for up to 3 years if stored properly.

After this period, the butter will start to go rancid and develop an unpleasant smell. If this happens, you’ll need to discard it immediately because it no longer has any health benefits and can cause problems if you use it.

To make your product last longer, you should keep it in an airtight container away from humidity and direct sunlight. If the container is not airtight, bacteria will contaminate the butter easily, causing it to spoil more quickly.

SEE: How to Tell if Almond Butter Has Gone Bad & What You Can Do About It

What Is the Shelf Life of Shea Butter?

The shelf life of shea butter depends on the type of shea butter that you have.


The shelf life of raw shea butter is about two years from the date of manufacture. This means that if you buy your product online or from a store and store it properly, it should be good for at least two years after purchase.

The best way to tell if your raw nut butter is still good is by smelling it. If it smells rancid or oily, then you need to discard it and replace it with a new one.


The shelf life of refined shea butter is three years, which is much longer than its raw counterpart. This is because refined butter contains preservatives that make it more resistant to bacteria or mold growth.

If you notice any changes in the color or smell of your refined butter, replace it immediately, as this indicates that it has spoiled.

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Can You Use Expired Shea Butter?

You can, but experts don’t recommend it. Here are some reasons why you shouldn’t use expired shea butter:

Bacteria contamination

The first danger of eating or using an expired product on your skin is that it could have been exposed to bacteria or mold while sitting on your shelf. If this happens, there could be harmful bacteria growing inside the nut butter that could make you sick if you eat or use it on your skin.

Acne breakouts

An expired product can damage the barrier on your skin, causing it to be vulnerable to bacteria and other irritants. It can cause acne breakouts or other skin conditions that will make you regret using the product.


Another danger of using an expired product on your skin is that it can irritate sensitive areas such as broken skin or open wounds. The irritation can lead to further complications if you leave it untreated, so make sure you avoid using expired shea butter.

Allergic reaction

When you eat or use expired nut butter on your skin, you may develop an allergy. Signs of an allergic reaction include rashes, itchiness, and redness around your mouth and eyes.

SEE: Here’s How to Stop Food Spoilage and Food Poisoning

How to Tell if Your Shea Butter Is Bad

Smell the product

If your product smells rancid or musty, then there’s no question about it — your nut butter has gone bad. A rancid odor means that bacteria have grown inside the container, and it has affected the quality of the product.

This can lead to serious health problems if you eat it or use it on your skin or hair.

Feel the texture

The nut butter should be smooth and creamy when you open it up for use. But if it feels grainy or hardens quickly when you expose it to air, then chances are high that it’s gone bad. Throw the product away, as it won’t do any good for your skin or hair.

Look at the color

The product’s color should range from white to yellowish-cream. If it looks brownish or grayish, this is a sign that it has gone bad, and you should throw it away immediately.

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How to Preserve Shea Butter

Store in an airtight container

It’s best to store your product in an airtight container or jar. This prevents moisture from entering the container and ruining the butter. If you have multiple containers of this nut butter, label them accordingly so you know which one you stored first.

Keep it away from sunlight

Keep your butter away from direct sunlight, which can cause oils to go bad faster than usual. Even indirect sunlight can degrade the quality of your product over time.

Keep it away from heat

Heat can cause the natural oils in your product to break down more quickly than normal. So ensure to keep it in a cool place such as a drawer until you are ready to use the product.

Wash your hands before use

Wash your hands and dry them thoroughly before scooping out the product. This is because they may harbor bacteria that could contaminate your product and make it go rancid faster than usual.

Use a spoon or spatula

Instead of digging into the tub with your hands, you can use a spoon or spatula to scoop out only what you need. This will help prevent bacterial contamination, thereby increasing the shelf life of your product.

SEE: How Long You Can Keep Your Foods Safe and Fresh


How can you use shea butter on your skin?

You can apply shea butter directly onto your skin as a moisturizer, and you can mix it with your regular moisturizer for better results. You can also mix it with oils like olive oil and coconut oil to treat dry skin and eczema.

Is shea butter good for the skin?

Yes, it is. Shea butter has many benefits for the skin when used correctly. It can help moisturize dry skin and eczema, soothe sunburns, and heal burns. It can also help heal insect bites and protect the skin against environmental damage like UV rays and pollution.

Can mold grow in shea butter?

Yes, it can. Mold is a fungus that grows on dead organic matter. Since shea butter comes from the nut of a tree, mold spores can grow in it. These spores are microscopic and cannot be seen by the naked eye.

If you keep your butter in an area where it is exposed to moisture or humidity, then it may develop small amounts of mold over time. This usually happens when someone leaves their product in their bathroom or kitchen sink area after using it.

Where can you buy raw shea butter?

The best place to buy raw shea butter is at a health food store. You can also find it at some grocery stores or drugstores. If you cannot find it locally, you may consider ordering it online. Several websites sell organic raw butter, including Amazon and eBay.

Can shea butter clog pores?

Yes, it can. Shea butter can clog pores if you have sensitive skin or acne-prone skin. If you have oily or acne-prone skin, then it’s best to avoid using this product.


In short, yes, shea butter does go bad. Raw shea butter has a shelf life of about two years, while its refined counterpart can last for up to three years.

It is best to store your product in an airtight container in an area of your house that does not have heat or much light exposure. If you expose it to too much heat or light, the product will become less effective.

Thanks for reading.

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