The Battle Between Ivory/Yellow Shea Butter.....What's The Difference Anyway?

OK, so here we go. The age old question of what's the difference between Ivory Shea Butter (Image above) and Yellow Shea Butter (image below). I get this question so often that I decided to make a blog post about it in hopes to help everyone out. Don't get me wrong, I didn't wake up with this knowledge! I did A LOT of research on this matter when I was in the process of ingredient searching for Natural Roots LLC. And with all of the information that I found out about each butter we made a decision to only use raw unrefined Ivory Shea butter which is used in four of our most popular products called "the butta"     moisturizing natural hair sealant "Smoove" body butter, "Silky" face moisturizer and "the conditioner" deep moisturizing hair conditioner.  Stay tuned and you'll see why.


Ivory and yellow Shea Butter both start as fresh unrefined raw Shea butter. Raw, correctly produced, and unadulterated Shea Butter is Ivory to light yellow. Methods of production vary by regions which attribute to the color variations. However, bright yellow like the picture below is not 100% pure Shea butter (I apologize in advance to those who thought it was). To be clear, it is not bad Shea Butter when it's fresh and colored correctly. A few of the methods used to color ivory Shea is actually just as beneficial for your hair and skin. The problem is that it's difficult to distinguish which method was used. Unfortunately, there are some methods of coloring that has zero benefits and may be used by the unscrupulous to mask flaws in the ivory Shea Butter.

Now, the question is how does Raw Shea Butter goes from Ivory to this bright yellow coloring? Boru-tutu Roots, Turmeric Powder, Red Palm Oil, and or a host of other artificial dyes. Boru-tutu has its own set of medical claims and makes a good coloring agent. Turmeric powder is easily distinguishable with a stronger scent. The powder from Turmeric has benefits as well, but not hardly enough to add anything that Shea Butter can not do on its own. Red Palm Oil, IMO is the worst. Red Palm Oil will make yellow Shea Butter super smooth and easier to spread but it is a highly comedogenic oil, will clog pores, and is not good for acne prone skin. When you hear that yellow Shea Butter breaks people out almost instantly, red palm oil could be the reason. Yellow Shea Butter is also more difficult to cover its scent in natural products. Artificial coloring serves absolutely no benefit other then making the butter aesthetically pleasing to those who believe yellow Shea Butter is the "real" Shea Butter.


Shea Butter that is really old eventually turns white so for the unscrupulous sellers, coloring is a very good way to revive old Shea into the highly demanded yellow Shea Butter. As you can see, there is a lot to know about Shea Butter especially if you want certainty of ingredients and products. Natural Roots LLC will continue to give you only the best ingredients and products and will continue to search for only the best for you our valued customers.

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This rich and creamy whipped body butter is formulated with a nutrient-packed blend of essential oils and 100% organic. fair trade and natural Shea Butter. With its smooth and silky feel, it's no wonder we named it  ‘Smoove’. This luxurious butter is designed to hydrate and seal in moisture while leaving your skin feeling soft and velvety. After one use, we guarantee your significant other won't be able to keep their hands off of you.


  • Chelsie Romero

    Hi Angie,
    My raw, unrefined yellow Borututu Shea Butter looks just like the one in the picture. It clearly states that it contains Borututu so it is unrefined. When buying raw Shea Butter look at the ingredients list. If it states that it doesn’t contain Borututu extract then it’s fake. There is a fake Shea Butter that is selling like Shea Butter and that they dye to make it look yellow. It’s called African Butter. It has another name but you can research it. It starts with a K🙂

  • Chelsie Romero

    I don’t believe one shit I read in this blog post😑😠 Talking about Yellow Shea Butter from the Borututu tree like if it’s fake🤬🤬 Borututu has many benefits for health and skin and is rich in antioxidants. Yes I researched it😑 To anyone who reads this blog post I just want y’all to know that she is not fully wrong as some Shea Butter that is yellow are fake BUT if y’all buy a yellow Shea Butter and in the INGREDIENTS LABEL it states that it contains BORUTUTU, then it’s not fake. Borututu simply adds even more antioxidants and benefits to the raw Shea Butter that is ivory in colour. I hate people who try to make it seem as though the Yellow Borututu Shea Butter is fake because they hate the smell of the yellow Shea Butter 🙄🙄🙄😆🤣 Like really 🙄🤦🏽‍♀️

  • Kim (CEO)

    Hi Angie
    Thanks for leaving your comment and question! The best thing to do is research research research Queen. If the company your dealing with can’t show and prove where they get their shea butter from then move on. But the number one tell tale signs that the shea butter is old is the smell and how it looks and feel. Fresh ivory shea butter has a natural nutty smell but not overpowering. It feels sooooo smooth and moisturizing to the touch….almost melts between your fingers. The yellow is wayyyy tricker that’s one reason that I decided not to deal with it in my business. Only THE best for my #naturalrootsbaes. Once you find a supplier that you want to try ask them to send you samples. Truthfully speaking Queen there shouldn’t be NO middleman between your American supplier and the African Supplier. Your American supplier should have its connection directly with Africa so it’s fresh as possible by the time the butter makes it to you. No shade to the beauty supply stores but they have no idea about their shea butter. They just find a local supplier and sale it and it sells. The same with African Black Soap….many think that African Black Soap is black when it’s actually brown ..LOL. The key is research my Queen, ask questions and patience. Good luck and let me know if you have any other questions.

  • Kim

    Hi Mel and you are very welcome! It’s our mission to educate as much as possible. It’s very very important to do your research on the companies that you buy your ingredients from as well as sample them. Take your time and don’t rush the process of finding vendors. You want to make sure that their product(s) lineup with the integrity of your business standards. Besides, at the end of the day its your reputation that’s on the line. It’s their job to make sure you’re satisficed and if they don’t move on to one that will. And you’re right regarding most yellow shea butters are hard to mask its smell simply because of what was stated in my blog post. Enjoy your day Queen and thanks for your comment :)

  • Mel

    WOW! My eyes have been opened! Thank you for this information. Ive been using both. When making my body butters but I found the yellow is harder to scent, is thicker and has its own natural scent thats hard to blend with other scents or fragrances.

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