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Shea Butter, Cocoa Butter, Mango Butter: Which Is Better?

We had some questions about the these butters from our customers frequently, so this is to provide a detailed info on the commonly available butters, which area Shea Butter, cocoa butter & Mango butter as well as a simple Guide on how to choose which butter to use.


Typically we all have heard of this Butter and it's actually quite famous and been around apparently since the Ancient Egyptians! Did you know there is written proof Cleopatra used Shea Butter as part of her cosmetics regime? Cool right? Shea butter is widely used as a moisturizer and skin repair in many cosmetic products. Most of the time we use this on skin & lips as well as used it in a lot of products specifically for dry skin or eczema 

Where is it From?

It is the fat extracted from African Shea trees nut. Mainly from Ghana, West Africa and usually has a solid paste texture. usually has 2 types, Raw or Unrefined and Refined.


Raw or Unrefined it looks yellow and has a nutty & smoky scent. I personally don’t prefer the raw version cause it smells and i dont really like putting it in my products for that reason alone: SMELL.

Refined has a white or ivory white color and no scent. This is the version i prefer using cause its flexible to add into any product and is has not smell but gives the same qualities i need in my product.

If you want to know more about this, read here.

They have a shelf life of about 2 years, but depends how you store it as well. you can read about that here.

How to use in Handmade Soap:

High in Stearic and Oleic acids, this oil will produce a long lasting hard soap with a stable conditioning lather. I've used it in amounts up to 25% of the base oils without any difficulty.

Shea Butter can be added into various ways in soap making.

For example, you can replace the conditioning Oil and Hardening Oil property in soap with Shea Butter. Lets say if u are already using Palm Oil, you can replace with Shea for better effect

Or you can Add on into your current base Oil of up to 5-8% to have a more deep moisturising effect

Others uses are of course in lotion, creams & lip balm. Can click here to see more on that.


This is another famous Butter that is gaining popularity in cosmetics. It was used in making chocolates and still is, but has since been in the cosmetic industry lately and has proven to have great benefits. Prevents skin dryness & chapped lips because it is a naturally hydrating product.

They are extracted from cocoa beans which are fermented, roasted and separated from hulls. Appears as Solid paste texture at room temperature also has the same types like shea, Unrefined & Refined.

Raw or Unrefined it looks yellow and has distinctive chocolate smell.

Refined has a white or ivory white color and scent removed.

Cocoa Butter also has a similar shelf life, approximately 2 years

How to use in Handmade Soap:

Similar to shea butter, cocoa butter is used to replace or fortify the ‘conditioning’ property of a soap.
So formalists usually replace hardening oils like palm oil with cocoa butter or add on to the existing mix by adding about 5-8% of the cocoa butter for higher moisturizing effect.


This is a more rare and expensive butter, due to scarcity as well as the seasonal availability. It is also a more stable product with longer shelf life (almost 5 years)!

The mango butter is similar to shea and cocoa in the moisturizing properties, but also contains rich antioxidants such as vitamin A & E. The main benefits which are recorded & claimed are restores and maintains moisture as well as promotes sell regeneration.

Mango butter is obviously from the mango fruit, but which part of the fruit? Well, it is actually extracted from the seed of mango fruit, not the fruit itself.

Mangoes are commonly found in warm tropical countries and currently the ones commonly available comes from India. They also appear to be a solid paste texture at room temperature.

But the best part of the Mango butter is a soft butter that has a sweet fruity smell! Lovely smell, i love it! :)

Another cool thing about Mango butter is the shelf life, approximately 5 years! (yes i know i already mentioned it before, so what? What it means that your product shelf life can be stated as that long if you use mostly mango butters in your product.

How to use in Handmade Soap:

Applying mango butter in handmade soap is basically the same idea for shea & cocoa. It works in the ‘conditioning’ and 'hardening; properties in a soap.


Sometimes you are overwhelmed by the various information from the internet that you get a bit confused on what you want to use for your product.
Here is a simple guide to help you.


Firstly you need to look at costs of making your product.
Shea butter & Cocoa butter has a similar price range, but Mango butter is very expensive. So depending on what you are making and who your target market is; choose the best for your product. Using mango butter will give you this 'luxury' and 'upscale' feeling to your customers but make sure the selling price should also be high to be on par with what mango butter has to offer.

Shelf Life:

Secondly, the shelf life, using mango butter allows to have a longer shelf life.
(Note : depends on the other ingredients you add into your product as well, if you use any which has lower shelf life than mango butter, that will be the shelf life of the product)


If just for moisturising, you can go with Shea or Cocoa, but if you want a smoother, and creamier product, with a luxurious fee to it; people have been known to go for Mango butter.


Which product do you think is suitable for your target market?

Are you making a simple product for a mid-range target market or is your target market exclusive and demand high quality products?

Shea butter & Cocoa butter have a great common perception and acceptability already in the market.
But Mango butter, is much more expensive and a lot more exclusive and not many products use this in the market.

So as mentioned it depends how you want to position yourself or your product.

Hope this post helps you slightly on what to choose. Overall; its really up to you which you want.

Thank You for Reading;



  1. Hi. Can I use cocoa butter instead of shea butter for Balm?


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