Coconut Oil vs Shea Butter – Which Is The Better Moisturiser?

Coconut oil vs Shea butter

With no other ingredient than their name states, Coconut oil and Shea butter are currently two of the most popular natural moisturisers out there. Although they’re both great at hydrating and soothing the skin, they do have some distinct differences that you might find interesting.

Coconut oil vs Shea butter - Which is the better moisturiser?

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Pros and Cons of Coconut oil

Natural skincare product alternatives + 99 harmful ingredients you don't want to find in your skincare products.


  • Coconut oil is great at preventing moisture from leaving the body.
  • It also has antimicrobial properties so it helps if you’re suffering from any type of fungal infection.


  • It is greasy. If you have spot prone skin like I do, it could make things worse. It can build up on the skin and clog your pores. I used it to moisturise my face a few times, however I didn’t get on with it because of this reason.

Analysing the labels

Refined v virgin:

There are two types of Coconut oil, refined and virgin. All Coconut oil products are refined because coconut oil itself doesn’t grow on trees. However, there are different types of refinement which determine the nutritional properties of the end product. Refined, bleached and deodorised (often seen as RBD) oil is made from the dried coconut kernel and might be chemically treated. This process removes all odour and natural flavour from the oil and is generally seen as lesser quality. Virgin coconut oil is made by cold pressing the liquid from the coconut meat and then separating the oil from the milk and water. This is the most natural way to extract the oil, therefore it retains its coconut tastes and smell.

Organic v non-organic:

Organic coconut oil means that the coconuts that were used were grown without the use of pesticides.

Virgin v extra virgin:

I’ve brought both types and I couldn’t tell a difference and after doing further research It’s conclusive that there actually isn’t a difference! Unlike olive oil where virgin and extra virgin contain different amounts of fatty acids. There are no regulations governing the purity of coconut oil.

Pros and Cons of Shea butter

Natural skincare product alternatives + 99 harmful ingredients you don't want to find in your skincare products.


  • Its anti-inflammatory properties work wonders on calming irritated skin. It has a slightly deeper moisturising effect compared to Coconut oil, therefore it is great at treating conditions such as Eczema.
  • It is often used as the base ingredient in sunblock and tanning lotions to protect the skin from damaging UV rays given off by the sun.
  • Shea butter is naturally high in nutrients such as moisturizing fatty acids. As well as vitamins A, E and F.


  • It has a more extensive preparation process than Coconut oil, therefore it is harder to find high quality Shea butter products.

Which Shea butter is better, refined or unrefined, yellow or white?


Raw Shea butter is often yellow or green in colour as it has not been filtered at all, it is sold in Its original extracted form. As a result of this, you will often see flecks of impurities within in.


Unrefined Shea butter is usually whiter in colour. It is filtered through a cheesecloth to remove nut skins and other impurities. However, it is still chemical free and none of the butters properties including vitamin content, scent and texture are compromised throughout this process.


Refined Shea butter has gone through at least one filtering system to change its characteristics and odour. Because of this, it’s generally very smooth. Refined Shea butter is usually bleached with chemicals throughout the filtering process, as a result it is white in colour. Although it still contains the moisturising abilities, it doesn’t have the same nutritional value as raw and unrefined Shea butter because many nutrients are lost during the refinement process.

My verdict

Personally, I’m a lover of Coconut oil. I use it on my daughter’s Afro-Caribbean (type 4b) hair and It works wonders to retain the moisture after washing. I also love how easy it is to apply on the skin, I use it to moisturise daily and I wouldn’t use anything else.

Alternatively, I prefer to use unrefined Shea butter to moisturise my daughters skin. H has suffered from eczema since she was born and we’ve probably been prescribed every cream there is for the condition but nothing has ever worked. I was so desperate to find something to soothe her skin, I tried out some home remedies suggested by family members. Coconut oil and garlic was one. Yes, I covered my daughter in garlic and Coconut oil, she was very shiny, smelly but still incredibly itchy. I later read that Vaseline was a great barrier cream and it was! It cleared her eczema up in no time and was a great moisturiser.

It was only through this chemical free journey of mine that I found out how dangerous petroleum is on the body, so I knew I needed to find a replacement asap. I was over the moon when I discovered Shea butter online. I can really vouch for its claim of being great for dry skin conditions. It keeps her skin moisturised all day, no more itching… NO MORE VASELINE!

Some people do go one step further and combine both so that they combine the antimicrobial properties of coconut oil and the anti-inflammatory properties of Shea butter, so really It’s up to you, anything goes!

Here are the products I use

Kuza 100% African Shea butter

Groovy Food Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil


Do you use any of these? which do you prefer Coconut oil or Shea butter? or do you use an alternative product? please share in the comments below.

Thanks for reading guys,


Source 1, Source 2, Source 3, Source 4


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6 thoughts on “Coconut Oil vs Shea Butter – Which Is The Better Moisturiser?”

  • I love Coconut Oil but never thought of using Shea Butter. It sounds quite amazing and next time I’m out and about I’ll have a look for some Shea Butter. I can imagine it would be great for my dry legs etc.
    Lea, xx

    • Hey Lea! Thanks for checking out this post. Shea butter really is amazing for dry skin conditions. You will notice the difference straight away just by the texture. Albeit a bit more laborious to apply than coconut oil, you’ll feel silky smooth for the rest of the day 🙂 xx

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