Does Shea Butter Expire

does shea butter expire

Does Shea Butter Expire

Are you here because you are concerned that your shea butter may be expired?  Were you using it at one point on your hair and skin, but ended up pushing it towards the back of the shelf and forgot about it?  I understand because it happens to the best of us.  It is impossible to use any hair and skin care product that has become smelly and rancid.  It doesn’t smell, look or feel good so its best to know if a product does expire and how to identify when it has.  You’ve had your shea butter for quite sometime but not sure if it is fresh enough to be used and asking yourself, does shea butter expire?

How Long Before Shea Butter Expires

For the most part shea butter has a standard shelf life of about 2 years before it expires.  Shea butter contains a significant amount of fatty acids that help to extend the shelf life.  Additionally, it contains antioxidants such as vitamin A, C and E that are natural preservatives. But even with all of these factors that help to extend the shelf life, you have to be careful about how and where you store your shea butter to keep it from going bad sooner.

How Does Expired Shea Butter Smell

Your shea butter shouldn’t stink!  On a normal occasion it does have an earthy, nutty smell that some people don’t really care for, but it should never have a rancid scent.  Depending on if your shea has added oils or has been packaged by itself, you may experience a different rancid scent.  For example, if your shea butter has an oil added to it such as coconut or olive, it may smell like old food.  On the other hand, if your shea has no additional ingredients when it goes bad it may smell like old car oil or vinegar.  Whatever the case, if you have encountered any shea that smells foul, it is time to say goodbye and toss it.


To keep your shea butter from going bad, it is important that you store it properly.  It should be stored in a cool, dry place.  Be sure that you keep it out of the sun and heat.  When shea is exposed to sunlight for long periods of time, it will begin to oxidize.  Some decide to store their shea butter in the fridge but this isn’t necessary.  Keeping it in a tightly sealed glass or plastic container, away from water is good enough.

How To Make It Last Longer

Did you know that you can use shea butter that has passed the expiration date shown on the container?  It can still be used if there are no signs of it going bad.  You can preserve your shea butter by following these tips:

1) Before putting your hands in the butter, be sure that they are clean and free of germs.  This will stop the spread of microorganisms, decreasing the shelf life of the product.

2)Buy or make small batches at a time.  With smaller amounts, you’ll be able to use it up more quickly, rather than having extra laying around that will eventually go bad.  You can check out our article that shares our whipped shea butter recipe.  It is easy and you can create small batches at home if needed.  If you are strapped for time, we offer 5 oz containers, grab yours here.

Pay Attention To Quality

Keep in mind that all shea butter is not created equally.  The source and origin plays a major role in the quality and shelf life of your shea butter.  It is best to purchase from a reputable company that offers quality shea butter, so that you can have and use it for years to come.