In this post, you’ll explore everything you need about the out-of-date shea butter. And I’ll answer the relevant questions like “Does shea butter expire?” “What happens if it expires?” “How to identify if it expired?” and more.

Ways to Increase Its Shelf Life

I’ll also provide 7+ effective tips to increase its shelf life. Earlier, I have covered whether a beard balm expires and whether you can use beard balm and beard butter together

If you don’t want to read the whole article, let me tell you that shea butter expires from 24 to 36 months. Don’t use the expired shea butter whatsoever.

If yours has expired, go for Okay African Shea Butter or L’Occitane Pure Shea Butter, which is perfect for your skin and hair. 

Does Shea Butter Expire?

Yes, shea butter expires, and its typical shelf life varies between 24 to 36 months, depending on factors like processing methods, storage conditions, and the presence of antioxidants.

To give you a clearer picture, raw shea butter tends to expire faster than its refined counterpart. Despite this, I recommend using raw Shea butter because of its natural and unprocessed state.

Understanding the varying shelf lives of these Shea butters can help you make better decisions about storage and usage.

Refined Shea Butter36 Months
Raw Shea Butter24 Months
Unrefined Shea Butter with Essential Oils18 Months
Shea Butter Lip Balm12 Months
Shea Butter for Beard24-36 Months

What Happens When Shea Butter Expires?

When shea butter expires, its quality deteriorates. It develops an unpleasant, rotten smell due to the oxidation of its natural fats. The texture may become grainy or lumpy, making using it less pleasant. 

Also, the color of expired shea butter might change from its original creamy beige to a slightly darker or even yellowish hue. 

These signs could signify a decreased quality and that shea butter has gone bad. In this case, discarding it and buying a new one is best. For example, Okay African Shea Butter and L’Occitane Pure Shea Butter are perfect for your skin and hair. 

How to Identify Expired Shea Butter?

You can use many methods to identify expired shea butter, but the simplest way is by its appearance and smell. When Shea butter expires, it becomes lumpy or grainy in texture and gets darker and shinier.

Shea butter has an earthy aroma that many describe as smoky or nutty. If it smells like bad olive oil, vinegar, or rotten food, it’s likely expired. This is because the natural fats in shea butter oxidize over time, creating an unpleasant, stinky smell.

The rotten smell might not be as noticeable if you’ve mixed a few scented oils with the shea butter. This is because the oxidation of scented oils can hide their bad smell while reducing their beneficial properties.

If you pay close attention, you can still smell the bad odor.

Once you notice an unusual smell, it’s best to stop using shea butter immediately. It’s then time to head to the market and purchase fresh shea butter, ensuring you retain all the benefits of this fantastic natural product.

What Does Expired Shea Butter Look Like?

Expired shea butter often undergoes noticeable changes in appearance. It might become grainy, with small lumps forming within the butter. The color may shift from its natural creamy hue to a slightly darker or yellowish.

In some cases, mold might start growing on the surface, indicating that the shea butter is no longer safe to use.

Is It OK to Use Expired Shea Butter?

You should not use expired shea butter because it may have lost its beneficial properties. And it’s because the vitamins in the shea butter can break over time. 

Also, because shea butter is a fatty substance, it can provide a suitable environment for bacteria. That means the expired shea butter may contain harmful bacteria as well. 

For these reasons, it is best to discard expired shea butter and purchase a new jar. To help extend the shelf life of shea butter, store it in a cool, dark place. You can also store it in the refrigerator or freezer.

The out-of-date shea butter could also cause skin irritations or allergic reactions. Using fresh, unexpired shea butter for your skincare and haircare routines is best to ensure optimal results and safety.

What to Do with Expired Shea Butter?

When shea butter expires, avoiding using it on your skin or hair and discording it is best. Or, you can repurpose it for non-cosmetic purposes. 

For example, you can use it as a moisturizer for wooden furniture, to lubricate squeaky hinges, or even as a natural ingredient in DIY candles. But refrain from applying shea butter on your face or beard when it becomes bad.

What’s the Shelf Life of Shea Butter?

The shelf life of shea butter typically ranges from 1 to 2 years. However, you can extend its life with proper storage in a cool, dark place and by minimizing exposure to air and light. Adding natural antioxidants like vitamin E can also help prolong its shelf life.

Let me share a few more ways to increase shea butter shelf life.

7+ Tips to Increase the Shea Butter’s Shelf Life

Let’s take a look at 7+ tips to increase shea butter’s shelf life:

Tips to Increase the Shea Butter's Shelf Life

1/ Store Shea Butter in a Cool and dark Place

Proper storage is key to preserving the quality of shea butter. To prevent early expiry, store it in a cool, dark place. Light and heat can accelerate the breakdown of its natural compounds. Choose a cupboard or pantry away from direct sunlight and heat sources.

Keep your shea butter away from UV light as much as possible. Use a UV jar to prevent harmful rays from reaching the shea butter inside. This will help minimize oxidation and preserve its quality.

If you store it in an ordinary jar, ensure the lid is tightly sealed after each use. After the oxidation, the fatty acids and vitamins in the shea butter will start breaking down and turning rancid.

Also, store your shea butter in airtight containers or jars to prevent contamination. Refrigeration is not necessary but will help the shea butter last longer. Extreme cold can alter its texture, making it less smooth.

2/ Use It With Clean Hands for a Longer Shelf Life

Contaminants can spoil shea butter. Always ensure your hands are clean and dry before handling it. Shea butter becomes susceptible to bacterial growth when exposed to dirt or moisture.

Using clean hands or utensils helps maintain its freshness. And don’t touch the shea butter when you don’t want to use it. This will help keep the butter from becoming clumpy over time.

3/ Preserve the Original Packaging

The packaging in which shea butter comes is designed to protect it from external elements. To extend its shelf life, keep it in its original packaging. If the packaging is resealable, tightly seal it after each use to prevent air exposure.

4/ Choose High-Quality Shea Butter

Investing in high-quality shea butter is a wise choice for effectiveness and longevity. Unrefined, pure shea butter without additives retains its natural properties but has a shorter shelf life.

When buying a shea butter, always check the label for its contents and ensure you get 100% pure shea butter. Avoid buying shea butter with added ingredients like fragrances, dyes, or preservatives. 

For example, Okay African Shea Butter and L’Occitane Pure Shea Butter are 100% natural pure shea butter, perfect for your skin and hair. 

5/ Avoid Moisture or Water.

Water is an enemy of shea butter’s shelf life. Many people love to apply shea butter on their body and face right after a shower. Even though it’s the best time to moisturize, directly touching the shea butter with wet hands is not recommended.

Wet hands can carry bacteria into your jar of shea butter, potentially leading to bacterial growth. It’s essential to always dry your hands thoroughly before handling shea butter, particularly after a shower, to preserve its quality and prolong its shelf life.

6/ Choose Shea Butter in a Dark Container

Choose dark or opaque containers to shield shea butter from light exposure. Transparent containers allow light to penetrate, which can accelerate degradation. Dark containers help maintain the butter’s integrity and extend its shelf life.

7/ Regularly Inspect and Rotate Stock.

Practice the first-in, first-out method to ensure you use shea butter before it spoils. Regularly inspect your stash for changes in color, texture, or smell. If you notice any signs of spoilage, discard the affected portion promptly.

More FAQs for Expired Shea Butter

Let me answer a few more questions about shea butter’s expiry and shelf life.

Does Natural Shea Butter Expire?

Yes, even natural shea butter can expire. Natural products are not immune to time, air, and light effects. While shea butter is less prone to spoilage than some other natural products, it will eventually lose its quality over time.

Does Cantu Shea Butter Expire?

Like all shea butter products, Cantu Shea Butter has a shelf life of 1 year. Always check the product packaging for the expiration date or the “best by” date to ensure its freshness and effectiveness.

Does Whipped Shea Butter Expire?

Yes, whipped shea butter has usually less shelf life than regular shea butter. The whipping process might introduce air, which can accelerate oxidation. And it expires faster. But with proper storage and usage, you can enjoy its benefits.

Can You Still Use Shea Butter When It Turns White?

Shea butter turning white is a common phenomenon called “crystallization.” It’s a natural process that doesn’t necessarily mean the shea butter is expired. To restore its original texture, you can gently melt and re-solidify it.

Does Beard Oil Expire?

Yes, beard oil does expire, and it usually has a shelf life of around 1-2 years. But you must check for changes in smell, texture, or color to determine if you can still use your beard oil to enjoy all its benefits. Store it in a cool, dark place to preserve its freshness.

Does Beard Butter Expire?

Yes, beard butter expires within six months to 1 year, depending on how it’s stored and used. As with any skincare or haircare product, always read the label for its shelf life and ingredients.

To ensure the best results for your facial hair, use it within its recommended shelf life and store it properly in a cool and dark place. Always check for any changes in smell, texture, or color before application.

And if your shea butter has expired, you should go with Okay African Shea Butter or L’Occitane Pure Shea Butter, because they pamper your skin and hair perfectly. 

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