How to Use Shea Butter for Dry Skin: Top 10 Skin Benefits

How to use shea butter for dry skin.

Shea butter has been the most amazing thing for my dry skin. I no longer use any night cream and only apply shea butter directly to my skin after a refreshing spray of rose water. It seriously works.

How do you use shea butter for dry skin?  After a warm bath or shower, rub enough shea butter between your palms until warm and soft.  Shea butter can then be directly applied to skin with your hands and fingertips, lightly spreading and gradually massaging in until the skin feels moisturized. 

Disclaimer: Always do a skin patch test under your dermatologist’s supervision before using shea butter to make sure you don’t have an allergy or unwanted reaction to the product. Some people are sensitive to shea butter and other natural products. The below statements are based on my personal research and opinion. This article is for informational purposes only and contains no medical or beauty advice.

I’m absolutely in love with shea butter. I only use it as a night cream on my face because it’s luxuriously thick and takes several hours to penetrate deep into my skin. Here’s the shea butter I use. When I wake up in the morning, my skin feels similar to my childhood: soft, supple, cool, and smooth. Shocking, really.

Here are the Top 10 Shea Butter Benefits for Skin:

  1. Moisturizing
  2. Anti-inflammatory
  3. Anti-aging
  4. Antioxidant properties
  5. Anti-tumor properties
  6. Antifungal
  7. Antiviral
  8. Not likely to clog pores
  9. Skin-healing properties
  10. Promotes skin elasticity

These are only a few of the wonderful shea butter skin benefits. Discover how shea butter works on the skin below:

1. Shea Butter Moisturizing Benefits

If you want to learn how to use shea butter for dry skin, it’s super easy. The great thing is that it’s a 1-ingredient kind of wonder. You can literally melt a chunk of shea butter between your palms and apply it where your skin is dry. It’s that easy. It’s worked close to a miracle for me.

Is shea butter a moisturizer? Shea butter has ultra moisturizing properties. It’s best known to hydrate dry skin and to replenish moisture.

How do you use shea butter on your skin?

This is how I use shea butter on my face:

  1. Wash face with gentle natural soap.
  2. Dry skin.
  3. Spray rose water on skin (see my natural toner page) **
  4. Put a square inch of shea butter in your hands.
  5. Rub the shea butter between your palms until it melts.
  6. Your face will still be moist from the rose water at this point.
  7. Apply the shea butter on top of the rose water mist while blending and gently massaging in until skin feels deeply moisturized.
  8. Smooth completely over face, lips, neck, chest, and even taming eyebrows in the process. It makes a great lip balm.
  9. Carefully use fingertips to gently pat over fine lines around the eye area, avoiding the eye perimeters and lashes directly.

** You can skip the rose water if you want. But I find it makes a huge difference in my skin when combined with shea butter. Always ask your doctor if it’s safe for you to use rose water and shea butter before trying. **

Why waste money on expensive night cream when I can spritz with rose water and follow with raw shea butter?

I use raw shea butter on my face everyday, but only at night after a shower. I don’t use it during the day because it takes several hours to soak in and the texture is too rich for daytime. It’s the perfect natural night cream. Shea butter works all night so I wake up with soft, smooth, and hydrated skin.

My face is always dry and tight after a shower, so I completely solve that problem with a good spritzing of rose water followed by raw shea butter applied directly to skin. Amazing.

So can I use shea butter on my face? If your dermatologist approves, then definitely yes! I do. It’s best when used as a night cream or if you don’t plan to wear makeup during the day.

Is shea butter good for dry skin? Shea butter can be used for:

  • Lip balm
  • Dry feet and heels
  • General body moisturizer
  • Cuticles
  • Dry elbows and knees
  • Hand moisturizer
  • Face cream
  • Wrinkles and fine lines
  • After shaving

These are only a few of the countless uses for shea butter. Raw shea butter for dry skin is my favorite skin solution.

2. Shea Butter Anti-Inflammatory Properties

A study showed that an extract of shea butter had anti-inflammatory properties. 1

Inflammation occurs when the immune system is activated. The inflammatory process can make skin red, irritated, or inflamed. It’s a sign that shows the body’s working to fight something off and to heal.

Always consult your dermatologist before putting anything on inflamed skin. Shea butter should only be applied if your doctor says it’s safe and appropriate for you. Shea butter is for general skin purposes, not for medical treatment.

Some people apply shea butter to soothe irritated and inflamed skin after shaving. Others apply it to relieve mild redness from being in the sun too long.

3. Shea Butter Anti-Aging Benefits

Back in the days when I was doing research on shea butter, I came across some beautiful African women who worked in the fields harvesting raw shea butter. These women didn’t look like field workers beaten down by the sun at all! Instead, their skin was rich, moist, glowing, and appeared deeply hydrated. I could tell these women had access to all the free shea butter they wanted at work.

Their skin was absolutely radiant. It was that beautiful picture of the field workers that sold me on shea butter, enough to try it anyway.

I’ve personally noticed the anti-aging benefits of shea butter from my own experience. My skin’s surface is cooler to the touch, definitely less patchy/blotchy, it’s smoother, more supple, more hydrated, and not dry or wrinkly at all! All thanks to shea butter.

Before using shea butter, my skin would feel tight, dry, and prone to wrinkles (I didn’t want to smile in fear of forming lines and cracks). I no longer worry about any of this with shea butter!

4. Shea Butter Antioxidant Properties

Shea butter contains vitamin E, which is an awesome antioxidant for the skin. Antioxidants are known to fight free radicals that contribute to aging and cell damage.

A study showed that shea butter contains alpha-tocopherol, which is another name for vitamin E. 2 It works to protect your skin cells from wear and tear.

This study showed that there’s more vitamin E in shea butter from areas that are hot and dry, such as Chad. 2 If I was looking for higher levels of vitamin E, then the best country of origin for shea butter might be one that’s hot and dry (Chad), according to my research so far.

It makes sense that a higher concentration of antioxidants would make a higher quality shea butter.

5. Shea Butter Anti-tumor Properties

A study showed that substances found in shea butter slowed down skin tumor growth. 3

It’s nice to know that nature offers many options when it comes to things that naturally benefit the skin.

Any kind of skin tumor should be evaluated by a dermatologist as soon as possible. A dermatologist is a medical doctor that specializes in skin diseases. Don’t use shea butter unless directed by a dermatologist.

6. Shea Butter Antifungal Properties

Shea butter’s main fatty acids are stearic acid and oleic acid.

A study showed that oleic acid inhibited the growth of certain fungi known to harm plants. 4

That particular study doesn’t prove antifungal effects on human skin, but it shows that it has an effect on fungus in the plant kingdom.

A different study showed that extracts from the bark of shea trees killed fungus known to infect human skin. 5

It would be interesting to see if shea butter itself has the same effect as the tree bark extract. I’m going to try it on my feet to see how it works on athlete’s foot. I couldn’t find a direct study to prove it works on athlete’s foot, but I’m going to experiment on myself. It will only take a second to put a little on my feet and toes. Don’t try this without asking your doctor.

Trichophyton mentagrophytes is a very common type of fungus that causes athlete’s foot. The bark extract from shea trees completely killed this type of athlete’s foot fungus in the study. 5 It knocked it out in 1 hour! Now that’s a great study.

7. Shea Butter Antiviral Properties

Shea Butter Antiviral Properties

We know that shea butter is loaded with oleic acid, which is a fatty acid that helps drive moisturizing properties into the skin.

A study showed that oleic acid powerfully inactivated a virus found in mammals, called Pseudomonas virus phi6. 6

We also know that shea butter is abundant in stearic acid. Stearic acid is a fatty acid with amazing natural properties that both cleanse and moisturize the skin at the same time.

A study showed that stearic acid had antiviral properties in the liver tissue of mice by impeding the reproduction of the Hepatitis B virus. 7

Since both oleic acid and stearic acid have been shown to demonstrate antiviral properties, it would be reasonable to suggest a study on the antiviral properties of shea butter as a stand-alone antiviral agent.

8. Shea Butter Comedogenic Rating

Does shea butter clog pores?

  • There is some debate as to whether or not shea butter clogs your pores.
  • There’s a chart that’s found on many websites called the “Comedogenic Ratings List”. Basically, it tells you how likely a substance is to clog your pores, rated from 0 to 5 (0 being not likely to clog, and 5 with high clogging risk).
  • The chart isn’t exactly based on the best recent science and can’t be easily traced back to a verifiable source.
  • One chart says that shea butter has a comedogenic rating of 0, which means it’s not likely to clog pores. Another chart says 0-2, which could possibly cause some clogging. Why the differences?
  • In my opinion, these charts don’t show us precise human science, so it’s best to proceed with caution. Ask your dermatologist if shea butter is safe for your skin type.
  • The American Academy of Dermatology says that shea butter may clog your pores, which could lead to breakouts. 8 They don’t provide a study that proves this, but that’s what they said on their website.
  • I would suggest doing your own research and having a talk with your dermatologist before trying. The evidence isn’t great either way.
  • I avoid my eyelash lines and tear ducts around the eyes to prevent any possible irritation near the eye’s hair follicles. The last thing I want is a clogged pore on my lash line! Always ask your doctor if you can use shea butter on your face or not. Just because I do doesn’t mean it will work for all people. Better safe than sorry. Everyone is different.

9. Shea Butter Healing Properties

Shea butter has beneficial healing properties for the skin. Many people use it to soothe mild sunburns, eczema, and minor scrapes from shaving. Always ask your doctor before using shea butter on your skin.

A study showed that shea tree oil helped heal wounded rats and boosted the production of fresh cells that helped resurface their skin. 9

Shea butter helped heal the red and blotchy areas on my cheeks (face). Before using shea butter, rose water, and switching to natural foundation, my skin was red and looked like a patchy beet (yes, the vegetable).

I can say from personal experience that shea butter definitely helped heal the redness, irritation, and blotchiness on my skin. It made such a profound difference that I had to write this article. I’m not saying that it will work wonders for everyone, but it sure did for me. Always consult with your dermatologist before trying.

10. Shea Butter for Skin Elasticity

  • Shea tree oil helped increase collagen production in the skin of wounded rats. 9

Having more collagen in your skin makes it firmer and better able to hold shape. More collagen in the skin helps it bounce back from outside forces.

The ability of shea butter to seal in moisture contributes to the awesome bounce-back quality that promotes skin elasticity.

  • Shea butter contains lupeol, which is a natural compound with strong antioxidant properties.
  • A study showed that lupeol inhibits the production of elastase. 10
  • Elastase is the stuff that destroys your elastin. Elastin is the protein in your skin that makes it stretchy, plump, and youthful.
  • It’s good to have less elastase, so your elastin stays put longer.
  • So basically, the lupeol in shea butter helps preserve your elastin, keeping skin beautiful, fresh, and elastic.

I definitely noticed that my skin had a better bounce-back quality when I started using it as a night cream. I could feel the effects the next morning. My shea butter skin results were pleasantly surprising.

Shea butter didn’t darken my skin at all. In fact, it cleared away my red blotchiness almost completely and brightened it overall. Some of the light brown pigmentation spots are also starting to fade (I’ve only been using it a month).


MY RESULTS WERE SO AMAZING I HAD TO WRITE A BLOG ABOUT IT. By the way, I’m a real person and this is a real review. I use shea butter every night on my skin as a night cream.

Many people today are looking for natural ways to take care of their skin. Some people can’t afford expensive prescriptions. Others don’t want to put chemicals on their bodies. A lot of people just want natural products.

I’m truly amazed at what shea butter does for skin.

May nature guide you. Carpe diem.


1. Verma N, Chakrabarti R, Das RH, Gautam HK. Anti-inflammatory Effects of Shea Butter Through Inhibition of iNOS, COX-2, and Cytokines via the Nf-κB Pathway in LPS-activated J774 Macrophage Cells. J Complement Integr Med. 2012; Jan 12; 9: Article 4. [PubMed]

2. Maranz S, Wiesman Z. Influence of climate on the tocopherol content of shea butter.  J. Agric. Food Chem.  2004; 52: 2934–2937. doi: 10.1021/jf035194r. [PubMed]

3. Akihisa T, Kojima N, Kikuchi T,Yasukawa K, Tokuda H, Masters ET, Manosroi A, Manosroi J. Anti-inflammatory and chemopreventive effects of triterpene cinnamates and acetates from shea fat.  J Oleo Sci. 2010; 59(6): 273‐280. doi:10.5650/jos.59.273 [PubMed]

4. Walters D, Raynor L, Mitchell A, Walker R, Walker K. Antifungal activities of four fatty acids against plant pathogenic fungi. Mycopathologia. 2004; 157(1): 87‐90. doi:10.1023/b:myco.0000012222.68156.2c [PubMed]

5. Ahmed RN, Sani A, Igunnugbemi OO. Antifungal Profiles of Extracts of Vitellaria paradoxa (Shea-Butter) Bark. Ethnobotanical Leaflets. 2009; 6(2). [Google Scholar]

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7. Zhang RN, Pan Q, Zhang Z, Cao HX, Shen F, Fan JG. Saturated Fatty Acid Inhibits Viral Replication in Chronic Hepatitis B Virus Infection With Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease by Toll-Like Receptor 4-Mediated Innate Immune Response. Hepat Mon. 2015; May; 15(5): e27909. [PMC free article]

8. American Academy of Dermatology. “10 tips for Clearing Acne in Skin of Color.” American Academy of Dermatology website. Retrieved from: Accessed: June 07, 2020.

9. Adedeji AO, Orisadiran PK, Abdulrahman A, Adenowo TK. The Morphology of Re-epithelized Skin Following Experimental Open Wound in Wistar Rat Treated with Vitellaria paradoxa Oil. APRJ. 2019; 3(2): 1-11. [Google Scholar]

10. Myint KZW, Kido T, Kusakari K, Devkota HP, Kawahara T, Watanabe T.  Rhusflavanone and mesuaferrone B: tyrosinase and elastase inhibitory biflavonoids extracted from the stamens of Mesua ferrea L. Nat Prod Res. 2019 May 28; 1-5. doi: 10.1080/14786419.2019.1613395. [Google Scholar] [PubMed]

Natural Universal Secrets

The author is a nature enthusiast who loves to share tips on how to live closer to nature. These gems of knowledge encourage a simpler life and cleaner way of living. Inspired by the magnificence and power of the natural world, these info-packed articles feature independent research, personal experience, and universal wisdom. Products that support natural beauty, clothing, personal hygiene, and a healthier lifestyle are explored. All natural product reviews are based on harmony with nature as the guiding principle and gold standard.

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