Difference Between Shea Butter and Cocoa Butter (With Table)

There used to be a time when skins of humans used to be self-nourished and self-polished. It did not require any artificial or human-made substance to polish its outer layer. But with all the phenomena present today, such as pollution and climate change and heavy cosmetics and other chemicals, the skin has lost its natural moisture and requires outer sources to provide it with the required moisture. 

Shea Butter and Cocoa Butter are two such elements heavily used in the cosmetic industry as a moisturizer and are heavily marketed. To know exact facts about these two and decide the most suitable one, it is crucial to mark their differences. 

Shea Butter vs Cocoa Butter  

The difference between Shea Butter and Cocoa Butter is that the Shea Butter is derived from the nuts of a particular tree found in Africa called the shea tree, and the Cocoa butter, as the name itself suggests, originates from the nut of a cocoa bean. Apart from this origin factor, these two differ in terms of their internal attributes and other things also. 

Shea Butter travels the whole world after getting originated in Africa. A very popular and beautiful tree called the shea tree is found in the dense forests of this continent that gives nuts, and from inside of the nut, shea butter can be extracted in the form of fat.  

While on the other hand, Cocoa Butter comes into existence only after fat is yielded from the nuts of the cocoa trees, which are majorly cultivated in the lands of Central America and South America. It is not just a moisturizer but a preservative manufactured by the hands of nature too. It helps to preserve the life of things in which it is used.  

Comparison Table Between Shea Butter and Cocoa Butter 

Parameters of Comparison Shea Butter  Cocoa Butter 
Meaning  It is a kind of natural fat that comes from the nuts of shea trees. It is a kind of natural fat that comes into existence due to cocoa beans. 
Extracted from The nuts of the shea tree. The beans of the tree of cocoa. 
Cultivated in Only in Africa It is usually cultivated in Central and South America. 
Suitable for It works for all skin types It is ideal for oily skin 
Life span Can be kept up to 5 years It cannot be kept for more than 1 to 2 years. 
Benefits associated It happens to be really rich in Vitamin E and protects the skin from damage due to environmental factors. It also acts as a lock for the skin and keeps the moisture of the skin within. It usually works as a healing mechanism for damaged skin. It is also used as a preservative in many cosmetics. 
Other uses Used in many medicinal ointments and beauty products. Used in manufacturing of chocolates that are edible.  
Absorption  It can be absorbed by the skin very quickly as it melts easily. It takes a little longer while getting absorbed in the skin. 
Taste and appearance  It smells a little bit smokey and has this pale yellow or beige color naturally. It smells purely like chocolate and looks brownish in color. 
Consistency  Soft consistency Hard consistency 

What is Shea Butter? 

Shea Butter is the name given to the fat that is extracted from the Shea trees cultivated in the African continent. It happens to be a very nourishing and moisturizing fat with respect to the human skin and is widely used all over the world in beauty and cosmetic products. 

It happens to be really rich in Vitamin E and protects the skin from damage due to environmental factors. It also acts as a lock for the skin and keeps the moisture of the skin within. Not only this, but it is also used in many medicinal ointments that require nourishment. 

It has a very smooth consistency, and upon coming into contact with skin, it melts down. It helps in its quick absorption. It has a kind of smokey smell and looks pale yellow in color. Being suitable for the all-skin types, it can be stored for up to 2 years in its unrefined state. 

What is Cocoa Butter? 

A very popular Cocoa Butter takes birth from the tiny beans of cocoa or cacao tree majorly cultivated in America’s central and southern areas. In its natural state, it looks like any other fat and smells like chocolate. Needless to say, it has a brownish chocolaty color attached to it. 

This butter is a natural preservative, and companies use it to increase the shelf life of their products. The beauty industry and the chocolate industry use this butter the most. In its natural form, it happens to be really expensive. 

It usually works as a healing mechanism for damaged skin and repairs the damaged cells. Not only this, but it also helps in managing chipped heals and lips. It can be stored for up to 5 years without worries, and it happens to be suitable for oily skin types only. 

Main Differences Between Shea Butter and Cocoa Butter 

  1. Shea Butter is a kind of natural fat that comes from the nuts of shea trees. While Cocoa Butter is a fat originating from the beans of cocoa. 
  2. Shea Butter is only found in the African continent, but Cocoa butter is majorly cultivated in the land of America. 
  3. Shea butter smells really smoky and looks pale yellow, while Cocoa Butter smells like edible chocolate and looks brownish in color.  
  4. Shea butter has a soft consistency and melts really easy while in the case of Cocoa Butter, the consistency is hard and takes time to melt. 
  5. Shea Butter happens to be really rich in Vitamin E and protects the skin from damage due to environmental factors. It also acts as a lock for the skin and keeps the moisture of the skin within. While Cocoa Butter usually contributes to the chocolate industry and gets used in edible chocolates. 
  6. While shea butter happens to be ideal for all skin types, Cocoa butter can be used on oily skin only. 

Conclusion  

Almost every lotion and cream today come with the tagline ‘with the nourishment of shea butter/cocoa butter etc.’ this shows how much people prefer these two. To know the most suitable out of these for one’s skin, it is important to differentiate between these two. Apart from this origin factor, these two differ in terms of their internal attributes and other things also. 

While Shea Butter is fat used heavily in the cosmetics industry, Cocoa Butter is used beyond this industry as well. It is used in the making of edible chocolates, and in certain countries, chocolate is considered chocolate when it contains a certain percentage of cocoa butter. This tells about the acceptability and popularity of these two. To make sure that one chooses the most suitable for his own uses, their differences should be known to him.

References 

  1. https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/africa/article/african-shea-butter-a-feminized-subsidy-from-nature/562FE8E2A7D7FD53DC62144F680D9DB9
  2. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S030881469700160X
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