Does Shea Butter Clog Pores? [Happy Pores Series]

By Valeria D.

April 22, 2020

acne, diy, shea butter

Welcome to “the happy pores” series!

After starting my DIY skin care journey, I’ve experimented a ton. And let me tell you, it’s not every recipe that’s a success. I see this as part of the DIY charm. You never know what you’re gonna get until you try mixing it.

One of my favorite DIY skin care recipes is this green tea moisturizer

Among the ingredients for this moisturizer is shea butter.

Often though, when I share this recipe with others, they ask me: does shea butter clog pores?

You are curious about this, too, it seems...

I’ve been using the green tea moisturizer for quite a while now. So if I answer from personal experience, shea butter does not clog pores.

But my experience alone wouldn’t be of any help to you.

That’s why I worked my fingertips to the bone to research this matter.

The short answer? 

Shea butter is non-comedogenic, which means it won’t clog pores!

You can of course click X on the post right now and we'll probably never talk again. But you could also stay for 2 minutes and get the full answer. Up to you.

Nevertheless, we shall explore this delicious butter some more now.

Is there a connection between clogged pores and shea butter? Are there shea butter alternatives you can try? And, is there a way to tell beforehand whether an ingredient will clog pores or not? 

Answers to those questions are waiting for you below. Ready? Read on!

Shea Butter and Clogged Pores: Is there a Connection?

Does shea butter clog pores?

From an initial search, most sources will tell you that shea butter won’t clog pores. That is great news, really. But to eradicate any doubt, let’s look at how shea butter does this.

How come it doesn’t clog pores? 

Shea Butter and Sebum

According to the American Shea Butter Institute, shea butter doesn’t clog pores because of its natural moisturizers. These natural moisturizers give shea butter its amazing moisturizing property. But the key thing about these natural moisturizers is their likeness to your sebum

Sebum (or the skin’s natural oil) is produced by the oil glands. This natural oil is responsible for keeping your skin healthily moist. Oily skin has a lot of sebum – to the point that it may clog their pores. Dry skin doesn’t have enough of it – leaving skin lackluster and irritated at times. 

Now, since shea butter is so similar to sebum, it can “trick” your skin into thinking it’s the real thing! That’s why it’s close to impossible for shea butter to clog pores. 

Shea Butter’s Trick on Oily Skin

But wait. 

It’s easy to see how shea butter will be great for dry skin. Shea butter can provide the moisture dry skin doesn’t have naturally. For oily skin, though, wouldn’t more sebum-like shea butter be bad? Won’t shea butter just add to the possibility of clogged pores for oily skin?

That’s where the “tricking” part works so great! 

By mimicking skin’s sebum, shea butter can trick oily skin into thinking it has enough. Your oil glands won’t be prompted to overproduce oil. Instead, you’ll achieve an equilibrium of moisture on your face.

Refined Shea Butter, Additives, and Pores

All that we’ve talked about so far paints shea butter in a great light. A sebum-like super moisturizer butter? Fitting for both oily and dry skin? If that ain’t great quality moisturizer, then I don’t know what is!

Not to mention shea butter is also filled with vitamins A and E

Skin care junkies are all too familiar with these vitamins. Vit A helps with a lot of skin conditions like blemishes, wrinkles, eczema, and dermatitis. Meanwhile, Vit E gives your skin protection and anti-aging effects. 

But how come some people are still getting clogged pores with shea butter?

One of the reasons could be refined shea butter.

Refining shea butter rids it off any “undesirable qualities,” like color and odor. Naturally, shea butter is ivory-colored or off-white with a nutty and smokey smell. After refining, you’ll be left with an odorless and snow-white shea butter. But color and odor are not the only things removed by then. Refining also removes a large percentage of bioactive nutrients. These bioactive nutrients are important for shea butter to do its magic.

It doesn’t stop there. 

After refining, a lot of brands mix in additives like fragrance and dyes to shea butter. They do this to make shea butter cosmetically elegant

Bad news for skin though. 

These additives can irritate and even clog pores.

So if you’re still getting clogs, you might have picked up refined shea butter. 

If you want to experience shea butter in all its glory, go for organic, raw, and unrefined.

Still Getting Clogged Pores? Try These Instead of Shea Butter

shea butter alternative

A lot of sources assure us that raw shea butter does not clog pores. But what if you still get clogged pores from it? It can happen since skin can be so different from one person to another. So is there no way for you to get the benefits of shea butter?

Luckily, there’s a wide array of alternative to try! Here’s a list of butters and oils you can try if shea butter clogged your pores:

1. Mango Butter

· Mild sweet scent

· Naturally boosts collagen production

· Reduces inflammation

· Moisturizes dry skin

· Deeply moisturizing (emollient, moisture-sealing)

· Natural source of vitamin A

2. Avocado Butter

· Vitamin rich (A, C, E, K)

· Little to no smell

· Soft, almost creamy texture

· Helps reduce dark marks

· Moisturizes while brightening skin tone

· Leaves skin silky smooth

3. Cupuacu Butter

· Can quench even the driest skin

· Protects skin while moisturizing

· Restores skin’s elasticity

· Rich in vitamin A and C

· Light texture

4. Murumuru Butter

· Vitamin A rich

· Restores elasticity to damaged skin

· Doesn’t leave a greasy feeling

· Calms and soothes irritated skin

· Protects skin from harmful bacteria

5. Shea Oil

· Contains shea butter’s properties without the nutty smell

· Leaves skin soft and radiant

· Rich in vitamins E, A, and F

The Secret Weapon to Avoiding Clogged Pores

Wouldn’t it be great if you had a way to know which ingredients are likely to clog your pores? 

There is a way we can avoid pore-clogging ingredients. With this, you won't need to patch-test or stuff like that. It's the secret weapon to keeping your pores clog-free!

Okay, I won’t keep it a secret any longer. This weapon is a powerful sheet with pore-clogging ingredients. Some people say they’ve used it so much they’ve memorized all the ingredients. 

With this sheet, it will be easier for you to identify if a product will clog your pores or not.

Believe it or not, some companies label their products as “non-comedogenic.” Yes, even though the ingredients say otherwise. "Non-comedogenic" has become a marketing term to sell you more products. Of course, it’s a different case when you don’t get clogged pores easily. You can disregard those labels and this secret weapon.

For me though, when I found out about this, I was overwhelmed with worry. I knew then I couldn't easily trust every product all because of the non-comedogenic label. With this, the list was born!

With the comedogenic list sheet, I was less worried with the products I reached out for. I could look up the product online, check its ingredients, and consult the list. If any of the ingredients on the product comes up on the list, I’ll quickly erase it from my “to buy” list.

The convenience this list gave me prompted me to share it with you. I placed it in a neat looking file so you can easily download it. It won’t hurt to keep a copy handy. You can check the list as you shop online or even when you go to your nearest stores!

Final Thoughts

Hearing how great an ingredient is for skin can make you rush into using it. But no matter how great something is, getting it in a substandard quality won't do you any good. It might not give you the benefits you hope for. Just like with shea butter.

A lot of products will rave on how shea butter is the MVP of their soap, moisturizer, lotion, or whatnot. But don’t expect a lot from these refined forms of shea butter mixed with additives. To best enjoy shea butter without the clogged pores, organic, raw, and unrefined is the way to go!

Have you tried unrefined shea butter? Any recipes you’d like to share with this fabulous ingredient? Share your thoughts in the comment section below!

Stay tuned and take skin care!

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