Shea Butter Vs. Jojoba Oil: Which is better for your skin?

The main difference between shea butter and jojoba oil lies in their nourishing abilities. While both shea butter and jojoba oil are excellent moisturisers, they also have other benefits on the skin.

The best part about using shea butter or jojoba oil is that they are extracted from natural sources. This ensures that both the products are infused with vitamins and minerals that are ideal for a healthy and glowing skin.

In this article we will explore more about shea butter and jojoba oil and how to get their benefits for our skin.

Which is better: Shea butter or Jojoba oil?

A comparative study about shea butter and jojoba oil reveals the following:

Shea ButterJojoba Oil
Comedogenic Rating22
AppearanceWarm ivory colured butterColourless to pale yellow liquid 
Which skin type is it best suited for?All skin types, especially dry and mature skinAll skin types
  • Fatty acids (Oleic acid, Linoleic acid, Stearic acid, Palmitic acid)
  • Vitamins A, E, K
  • Phytosterols
  • Fatty acids (Eicosenoic acid, Erucic acid, Oleic acid, Palmitic acid, Stearic acid)
  • Vitamins A, D, E, K
  • Phenols and Flavonoids
  • Phytosterols
Benefits on the skin
  • Moisturises the skin
  • Heals wounds
  • Prevents ageing and oxidative stress
  • Reduces inflammation
  • Nourishes hair and prevents dandruff
  • Controls oil production
  • Moisturises the skin
  • Protects from oxidation and ageing
  • Acts as an oil cleanser

Here is the video about Shea butter Vs Jojoba Oil.

What is shea butter?

Shea butter is the extract from the nuts of the shea tree, Vitellaria Paradoxa which is found mainly in Africa. It’s a thick and creamy substance with a warm ivory tint to it.

To make shea butter, the outer shell of the shea nut is removed and the nut is roasted to form butter. This raw butter is kneaded in a basin of water to separate the oil that floats on the top. The oil that is boiled and evaporated eventually gives the shea butter.

The main usefulness of shea butter lies in its moisturising abilities. It is used in numerous lotions, creams, body butters and salves due to its moisturising and soothing properties.

Shea butter is also used in conjugation with cocoa butter, palm oil or olive oil. Puree shea butter is refined using various techniques to obtain the form which is suitable for our skin.

Depending on the degree of contamination in shea butter, the United States Agency for International Development has classified shea butter into five main  categories:

  1. Grade A which is raw shea butter.
  2. Grade B which is the moderately refined grade
  3. Grade C which is the purest grade. Grade C shea butter is extracted using hexane.
  4. Grade D which is the lowest grade with maximum contaminants.
  5. Grade E which has a moderate amount of contaminants. 

Benefits of shea butter on skin

The benefits of using shea butter on skin are:

1. Moisturises the skin

Shea butter is essentially an emollient. This means that it can form a protective barrier on top of the skin and lock the moisture in. The ability of shea butter to act as an emollient is because of the presence of fatty acids on it.

The moisturising action of shea butter is particularly beneficial for those with dry skin. Besides, it can also be used for those suffering from eczema or psoriasis.

2. Heals wounds

Shea butter also has healing properties on skin. It is used by those who have eczema, dermatitis or psoriasis as it can soothe the inflammation on skin,

People with active, cystic acne can also use shea butter to calm the redness and heal the acne scars fast. Additionally, shea butter also reduces the redness and irritation on skin that is caused from sunburns, bruises or any accidental burn.

3. Reduces signs of ageing

Shea butter is rich in vitamin A which has anti-ageing properties. Vitamin A or retinoic acid can improve the production of collagen and elastin on skin. This keeps the skin tight and prevents the formation of wrinkles, lines and sagging skin.

4. Protects skin from oxidative stress

The presence of vitamin E in shea butter helps it act as an antioxidant. The antioxidants present in shea butter combat the effect of free radicals in the atmosphere.

Free radicals can damage the barrier of the skin and enable pollutants to penetrate deep inside. This makes the skin dull and inflamed. By fighting them,shea butter effectively protects the skin from oxidative stress and external damage.

Additionally, shea butter also acts as a sunscreen and protects the skin from UV rays.

Nutritional information about shea butter

Shea butter is an amalgamation of various nutrients. The wide variety of essential and non essential fatty acids present in shea butter are responsible for keeping the skin smooth and moisturised. Additionally, the vitamins in shea butter also confer skin repairing benefits.

The primary categories of nutrients present in shea butter are as follows:

1. Fatty Acids

The fatty acids present in shea butter are together known as Vitamin F. this includes both essential and non-essential fatty acids. Essential fatty acids are those that are not produced by our body and need to be incorporated from outside.

The composition of fatty acids in shea butter are as follows:

  • Oleic acid: 40 – 60%
  • Linoleic acid: 3 – 11%
  • Stearic acid: 20 – 50%
  • Palmitic acid: 2 – 9%
  • Linolenic acid: <1%
  • Arachidic acid: <1%

2. Vitamins

In addition to fatty acids, shea butter is a treasure trove of vitamins. The major vitamins present in shea butter are as follows:

  • Vitamin A which is useful in preventing ageing of skin.
  • Vitamin E which acts as an antioxidant and helps to fight free radicals.
  • Vitamin K which helps in skin renewal and soothing of burns and wounds.

3. Phytosterols

Another class of nutrients present in shea butter are phytosterols. In simple words, these are plant cholesterols which have a beneficial effect on the skin.

The prominent phytosterols in shea butter are:

  • campesterol
  • stigmasterol
  • α-sitosterol
  • α-spinosterol

What is jojoba oil?

Another oil which is beneficial for the skin is jojoba oil. It is extracted from the seeds of the jojoba plant, Simmondsia chinensis which is found in Mexico.

Although the extract from jojoba seeds is called oil, it is technically a wax ester. This means that it contains mono esters of long chain fatty acids and alcohol. 

If jojoba oil is unrefined, it has a golden colour, while pure jojoba oil is colourless. This oil is known to mimic the chemical composition of the sebum produced by our skin.

Benefits of jojoba oil on skin

The benefits of jojoba oil on the skin are as follows:

1. Controls oil production

The chemical composition of jojoba oil is unique as it is similar to that of the sebum produced by our skin. Thus, when jojoba oil is applied, our skin recognises it as its own oil, and this reduces the oil production from the sebaceous glands.

By controlling the sebum production, jojoba oil actively prevents acne on our face. It also prevents inflammation that is caused by the bacteria accumulating in the pores of our skin.

2. Moisturises the skin

Endowed with numerous essential and non-essential fatty acids, jojoba oil acts as a very good moisturiser for our skin. As it has a very low comedogenic rating, it does not clog the pores of our skin.

Jojoba oil, being very lightweight, can penetrate the skin several layers down and help to keep it nourished.

3. Protects from oxidation and ageing

Jojoba oil is loaded with vitamins like A and E. Vitamin A in jojoba oil converts to retinoic acid inside the skin. This acid is responsible for boosting the collagen and elastin levels of our skin and keeping our face free from wrinkles and fine lines.

Another useful vitamin present in jojoba oil is vitamin E. This vitamin acts as an antioxidant and fights free radicals, UV rays and harmful pollutants in the atmosphere that affect our skin. Thus it can keep the skin glowing and prevent any inflammation, redness or itching.

4. Acts as oil cleanser

Another benefit of jojoba oil is that it can act as an oil cleanser. Most of the makeup that we use is soluble in oil. Jojoba oil based cleansers can remove all the traces of makeup effectively without being harsh on the skin.

Nutritional information about jojoba oil

As mentioned before, the chemical composition of jojoba oil is quite similar to the natural oils produced in our skin. It contains wax esters, alcohols, fatty acids and phytosterols along with vitamins.

The main nutrients present in jojoba oil are:

1. Wax Esters

The major constituent of jojoba oil is the jojoba wax which takes up 50% by weight. The jojoba wax is mainly made up of wax esters like erucyl jojobenoate, jojobenyl jojobenoate, jojobenyl erucate, eicosenyl oleate, and docosenyl oleate.

2. Fatty Acids

The primary usefulness of jojoba oil lies in its constituent fatty acids. These essential and non-essential fatty acids are responsible for moisturising the skin and keeping it plump and healthy.

Among the fatty acids present in jojoba oil, the most beneficial ones are:

  • Eicosenoic acid
  • Erucic acid
  • Oleic acid
  • Palmitic acid
  • Stearic acid

3. Vitamins

Jojoba oil is a rich source of vitamins. It mainly contains fat soluble vitamins like vitamin A, D, E and K. All these vitamins are instrumental in preventing ageing, oxidation and helping the skin repair itself.

4. Phytosterols

Jojoba oil also contains several plant sterols which are healthier versions of cholesterols. The most important phytosterols in jojoba oil are  β-Sitosterol, campesterol, stigmasterol, and isofucosterol.

5. Phenols

Although the flavonoids and phenols are secondary compounds of jojoba oil, their presence offers sufficient benefits to the skin. These phenolic compounds act as antioxidants for the skin. Some of the significant phenols in jojoba oil are quercetin, isorhamnetin and typhaneoside.


Both shea butter and jojoba oil are invaluable ingredients in our skincare routine. Not only are they devoid of the harmful chemicals, but also pack the benefits of multiple nutrients at once.

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