Does Shea Butter Expire? Top Tips to Increase its Shelf Life


Almost all brands dealing with shea butter get this question often – does African shea butter expire? How long is shea butter good for? What does shea butter smell like when it expires?

It’s a common question with a guaranteed answer. Refined shea butter can last longer; however, raw shea butter expires after 24 months of its manufacturing. If you don’t store it properly, then there’s a good chance that it will expire before time.

Raw shea butter is extracted from the kernels of the shea tree, but refined shea butter often comes with different ingredients that increase or decrease the product’s shelf life.

Let’s discuss it in detail.

Does Shea Butter Expire?

Yes, Shea butter expires in 24 months to 37 months time period.

Here’s a quick update on how fast both raw and refined shea butter expires.

Shea Butter Types

Expiration Date

Raw Shea Butter

24 Months

Refined Shea Butter

37+ Months


It’s evident from the numbers that raw shea butter expires faster than the refined one, yet, it’s still recommended to use raw shea butter. It is not mixed with unnecessary ingredients that can cause an allergic reaction to a lot of people.

Refined shea butter is bleached, which is obviously not good for anyone. Refining the butter strips away all the goodness of shea butter that eventually leaves you with nothing. Raw shea butter comes with powerful moisturizing properties and is enriched with certain vitamins as well. Also, it’s not harmful to your skin.

How to identify if Shea Butter has expired?

So how can you actually tell if the shea butter has expired or not?

It is normal to forget when you purchased a particular item, so when that happens you have to rely on natural ways to identify if the shea butter has expired. If you cannot even find an expiration date on the product, then it’s about time that you check it yourself.

Your first clue is to check if the shea butter has changed its smell to something like bad olive oil, vinegar, or rotten food.

Shea butter has an earthy aroma to it that people often describe as smoky or nutty. Most people don’t like the smell and mix essential oils with the shea butter to make it tolerable.

If you have mixed a few scented oils with the shea butter, then there’s a possibility that the rotten shea butter might not smell like it. But, you will definitely get to know from the smell if it has expired or not. Once you start smelling something similar, it’s highly recommended to stop using the product and get a new one for use.

The oxidation of scented oils is very common and can reduce the benefits of shea butter. So, the best thing is to go to the market and get new shea butter to use immediately!

Can I use Shea Butter after it expires?

It’s recommended not to use it as the vitamins in it are lost after its expiration. However, if you don’t have any option available, then you can still use it for moisturizing.

5 Tips to Expire the Shelf Life of Shea Butter [Don’t Let Shea Butter Expire]

As mentioned above, you can only try to prolong the expiration date, but not entirely save shea butter from expiring.

If you’re in search of a few tips to increase the shelf life of shea butter, then here they are:

Keep Shea Butter in cool & dark place to avoid early expiry

It’s highly recommended to keep your shea butter safe from UV rays, so it’s better to get UV jars to save your shea butter. UV jars stop the rays from coming inside the jar that can oxidize shea butter. Once it’s oxidized, the vitamins and fatty acids in the shea butter will be lost forever, so the best thing is to invest in a UV jar.

In addition, always secure your shea butter in a cool place. A refrigerator is a perfect place to keep shea butter to stop it from melting. Also, excessive heat is one of the many reasons why shea butter expires faster. Follow these two tips and you can significantly prolong your shea butter’s life.

Don’t touch it with dirty hands to Save it from expiring

Wash your hands before touching your shea butter to make sure it’s free from all bacteria and germs. It’s especially important if you will use this shea butter for cooking or baking. The bacteria can cultivate in shea butter and can make shea butter go bad in no time.

Secure Shea Butter in original packaging

If you want the shea butter to last long, then the best thing is to leave it in its original packaging (if from Baraka). Do not put it in airlock sealed plastic containers.

Buy High-Quality Shea Butter

If you’re thinking that you can find good quality shea butter in all places, then you’re wrong. Not everyone sells  high-quality shea butter nor all of them are sourced from good places. The quality of the shea butter accounts for a large part of its expiration date.

Original shea butter is exported from Africa, so you need to look for a brand that directly sources shea butter from there. Wrong handling of the butter can also lead to product expiration, so it’s best to look for a place that sells authentic and well-preserved shea butter.

Avoid touching it with wet hands

A lot of people apply shea butter directly on the body and face right after a shower. While it’s one of the best times to moisturize, it's recommended not to touch shea butter with wet hands. Wet hands can carry bacteria to the shea butter, which can easily fester in there.

If you don’t want to spoil your shea butter, then avoid touching it with wet hands.


While there are a lot of brands offering high-quality shea butter at wonderful prices, they are all not recommended. Shea butter expires just like other items in the market, but you can save it from expiring fast.

Before you take the initiative, it’s recommended to buy it from a  reliable and trusted store. Shea butter can get contaminated with bacteria or can oxidize upon contact with air, so it’s recommended to keep it in a cool and dark place.

There are a lot of other different ways through which you can prolong the shea butter’s expiration date. Follow the tips if you don’t want to spoil your shea butter soon!

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