Is there actually a difference between organic shea butter and organic cocoa butter? Are they the same thing? Is one better than the other? These are just a few questions you may have asked yourself when pondering the difference between these two highly moisturizing ingredients commonly found in skincare and haircare products. Things like this can get pretty confusing, so we are here to help you navigate through the similarities and differences.
In the most simple form, cocoa butter and shea butter are different, but they contain many of the same properties and do very similar things.
In this post, we will take a look at how they are different, how they are the same, and when you should use one over the other!
How Are They Different?
Cocoa butter comes from cocoa beans and shea butter comes from the nuts of a shea tree. Cocoa beans are native to South America and Central America and the shea tree is only located in Africa.
Cocoa butter is darker than shea butter and has a strong and delicious chocolate scent. Shea butter is ivory and has a nutty scent with undertones of smokiness.
Shea butter’s consistency is soft, pliable, and can be broken easily. You can easily take shea butter and mix it with a fork or an electric mixer to make different skincare products at home. On the other, hand cocoa butter is extremely hard and cannot be easily broken. You will need to take a sharper knife to shave off bits of the cocoa butter to use in products.
Interestingly, shea butter contains antimicrobial properties, which helps the body to fight off infections. Shea butter also has anti-inflammatory properties to help with any type of skin redness and inflammation you may be suffering from.
Cocoa butter may clog pores in people that tend to have oily skin. However, shea butter does not clog your pores, so it is better for people who have oily skin or are prone to developing blackheads. And last but not least, if you have any type of nut allergy, it is possible that shea butter can cause an allergic reaction. You will want to make sure you are not allergic to tree nuts before you use a product that contains shea butter.
How Are They Similar?
Both cocoa butter and shea butter have similarities as well. They both come in blocks and can be purchased refined or unrefined. They are both solids and they will melt on the skin by body heat.
Both are great for moisturizing and hydrating the skin when it is dry, helping with rashes, eczema, dermatitis, and psoriasis. Both cocoa and shea butter also help your skin to produce more of its own collagen. The more collagen your skin has, the more youthful and elastic your skin is going to look.
Both will also help heal and fade scars and acne scars. They are both wonderful for chapped lips and healing cracked skin. Both products will also help to reduce wrinkles, fine lines, and age spots, which is something that everyone wants to do! Being able to do that safely and naturally is a huge benefit as well.
When to Use Cocoa Butter vs. Shea Butter
Although there is a lot of personal preference involved in this decision, there are a few rules of thumb you can use to help guide you on which option you should choose.
If you have acne-prone skin and want to use a product on your face, you should stay away from cocoa butter and use shea butter products instead. As we mentioned above, cocoa butter has a tendency to clog pores, which is a big no-no if you suffer from acne. Using a product that can clog pores will just make your acne and breakouts much worse.
However, if you have normal skin that is not acne-prone and not oily, using products with cocoa butter or pure cocoa butter is fine and will not cause clogged pores and breakouts. If you are looking for a product that had a delicious scent and love the smell of rich chocolate, going with cocoa butter is going to be your best choice!
Many skin care products, such as body lotions contain both cocoa butter and shea butter since they are so hydrating and moisturizing. Many times even shampoos, conditioners, and body washes will contain both of these ingredients as well.
In the end, shea butter and cocoa butter are similar and different at the same time. Both are great natural and organic skin care options if you buy organic, unrefined, and high-quality butter. Which one you choose will depend on which benefits you are seeking and what type of skin you have!
This article was last updated on May 6, 2022 .