Authentic Shea butter has a soft mellow nutty aroma. The original scent of the edible fruit is kind and agreeable, flavourful and distinctive. Real Shea butter exudes the characteristics of the kernel nut tree it belongs.
I have come across articles describing Shea butter as being a white to yellow colour with a ‘burned’ or unpleasant odour. This is an incorrect description of genuine Shea butter as the butter that comes out of the Vitellaria paradoxa tree is off white to a beige colour and not yellow, and it does not have a bad smell.
Traditional Shea butter is made in Africa by very skilled women. It has a pleasing aroma and a creamy colour. The odour is naturally merry and nutty. It is a welcoming and gratifying scent that indicates the quality and authenticity of the butter.
Shea butter found to be odourless may be the super or ultra refined version. Odourless Shea butter may also have had preservatives added or other products mixed with it.
Original Shea butter has a maximum shelf life of 24 months. It is possible for the nutty aroma to diminish within this period. I have seen Shea butter purchased and stored for months and still have its nutty scent.
Shea butter that has a burned smell is simply burned Shea butter indicating the product has been heated to a high level. This type and the odourless type is usable and still effective but is not classified as cold pressed or grade A and may not have retained the beneficial healing properties that make it a highly effective emollient.
Choosing either (raw unrefined, lightly refined, refined, super refined) is a matter of preference and the purpose of use is a factor usually considered by skin care companies. All grades of Shea butter are effective at their different levels.
Although all grade of Shea butter offers a variety of healing properties also Shea butters of lower grades may have it healing properties diminished. This is due to a number of factors such as processing, age of butter, addition of other products, preservatives. This also effects the colour of the butter.
The distinctive scent of Shea butter is a mild nutty scent and the colour is off-white to beige. Any butter said to be Shea butter and is not off white or cream isn’t authentic Shea butter.
Kpangnan butter is yellow in colour and is often confused as Shea butter. It is known as yellow Shea butter or golden Shea butter. There is also butters died yellow and referred to as Shea butter. The original colour of Shea butter is not white but off white or cream ivory. For authentic Shea butter take a look at our Shea butter product page.