Can We Use Sunscreen After Using Shea Butter?

When it comes to skincare, you might wonder whether using shea butter and sunscreen together is a good idea. Shea butter is a well-known natural moisturizer that hydrates and nourishes the skin.

This makes it an appealing ingredient for various skincare products, including sunscreen, but can we use sunscreen after using shea butter?

Can We Use Sunscreen After Using Shea Butter?

What is Shea Butter?

Shea butter is a natural and powerful moisturizer that is derived from the fruit seeds of the African shea tree (Vitellaria paradoxa). Rich in vitamins, essential fatty acids, and antioxidants, shea butter works wonders for your skin by nourishing, smoothing, and hydrating it.

To obtain shea butter, the shea nuts are first removed from the shea fruit, and then the kernel inside is taken out.

After being ground into a powder and boiled with water, the shea butter rises to the surface and solidifies when it cools down. This process results in raw shea butter, which has a characteristic pale yellow color and a thick, creamy texture.

There are two main forms of shea butter available for use:

  • Raw shea butter: Shea butter is rich in nutrients and natural properties, as it is unrefined and untreated. This form is an excellent option if you’re looking for a more organic and natural moisturizer.
  • Refined shea butter: Natural shea butter undergoes a refining process to remove impurities, resulting in a white, odorless product. This form is better suited for use in cosmetic formulations where the natural scent of raw shea butter may interfere with the desired fragrance.

As well as having moisturizing properties, shea butter also offers other benefits to your skin, such as anti-inflammatory and healing properties.

Shea butter is known to reduce redness, soothe irritated skin, and even provide a mild level of protection against sun damage. It is worth mentioning that although shea butter offers some sun protection, it should not be used as a standalone sunscreen.

A lesser-known product derived from the shea tree is shea oil, which is obtained by fractionating or breaking down raw shea butter.

Shea oil is lighter in texture compared to shea butter, and it shares similar skin-loving properties. This versatility allows shea oil to be used in various applications, from skin and hair care to cooking.

Shea butter is a valuable, natural ingredient derived from the African shea tree, and it can be an excellent addition to your skincare routine.

With its moisturizing, soothing, and nourishing properties, you can enjoy the benefits of this unique and powerful product in various forms, such as raw shea butter, refined shea butter, and shea oil.

What Are The Benefits Of Shea Butter For The Skin?

Shea butter is an excellent skincare ingredient with numerous benefits for your skin. As a natural moisturizer, it can hydrate and nourish your skin, thanks to its rich content of fatty acids and essential oils.

Shea butter is especially suitable for sensitive skin types, as it contains minimal allergens and is gentle on your skin.

One of the key benefits of shea butter is its ability to moisturize your skin. It is known for its emollient properties, which help to seal in moisture and keep your skin feeling soft and smooth.

Shea butter contains high levels of vitamins A and E, which are vital for maintaining the overall health of your skin.

These vitamins also provide strong antioxidant properties, which protect your skin from damage caused by environmental factors.

Shea butter can also help protect your skin from the sun. Its natural ingredients form a barrier on the surface of your skin, helping to shield it from harmful UV rays.

Although not a substitute for dedicated sunscreen, this added protection is especially useful for those with sensitive skin or skin conditions that require gentle care.

Furthermore, the fatty acids found in shea butter are known to have skin inflammation prevention properties. This makes it an ideal treatment for various skin conditions, such as eczema, psoriasis, and even sunburn.

Shea butter’s soothing abilities can help to alleviate redness, itching, and irritation caused by these conditions.

Incorporating shea butter into your daily skincare routine can provide numerous benefits for your skin. Its moisturizing, protective, and soothing properties make it an ideal choice for maintaining the health and appearance of your skin.

How to Use Shea Butter on Your Skin

How to Use Shea Butter on Your Skin

To make the most out of shea butter’s benefits while also using sunscreen, it’s important to know how to apply shea butter properly on your skin.

Shea butter can be used alone or with other natural ingredients like coconut oil. Follow these steps to incorporate shea butter into your skincare routine:

  1. Cleanse your skin: Before applying shea butter, ensure that your skin is clean and dry. Use your preferred facial cleanser or body wash to remove any dirt and impurities.
  2. Soften the shea butter: Pure shea butter can be quite solid and firm, so it’s essential to soften it before application. Scoop out the desired amount of shea butter and rub it between your hands to warm it up, making it easier to apply.
  3. Apply shea butter to your skin: Gently massage the softened shea butter into your skin in a circular motion, focusing on problem areas or dry patches. Shea butter can be applied to both your face and body.
  4. Optional: Mix with other ingredients: Depending on your personal preferences and requirements, you can opt to mix shea butter with other ingredients, like coconut oil or a carrier seed oil, to amplify its benefits or create a customized blend. For instance, combining equal parts of coconut oil and shea butter can create a more spreadable consistency, making it easier to apply.
  5. Wait for shea butter to absorb: Allow the shea butter to fully absorb into your skin before moving on to the next step in your skincare routine. This may take a few minutes.
  6. Apply sunscreen: Although shea butter possesses a natural SPF of around 6-10, it is insufficient to protect your skin from the sun’s harmful rays by itself. Remember to layer sunscreen, preferably with an SPF of at least 30, over the shea butter to ensure adequate sun protection.

By incorporating shea butter into your skincare routine, you can take advantage of its moisturizing and nourishing properties while still keeping your skin protected with a separate sunscreen product.

Can We Use Sunscreen After Using Shea Butter?

Shea butter is a natural ingredient often used in skincare products for its moisturizing and soothing properties. But can you use sunscreen after applying shea butter?

The answer is yes, you can and should use sunscreen after using shea butter to provide extra protection for your sun-exposed skin. Shea butter can offer some sun protection, but it is not a substitute for sunscreen.

Sunscreen is essential because it protects your skin from harmful UV rays that can cause sunburn, premature aging, and skin cancer.

Dermatologists recommend using a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30, which blocks 97% of the sun’s UVB rays, according to the American Academy of Dermatology.

No sunscreen can block 100% of the sun’s UVB rays, but higher-number SPFs offer slightly more protection.

To apply sunscreen, you should use enough to cover all sun-exposed skin, which for most adults, is about 1 ounce or enough to fill a shot glass. Make sure to apply it thoroughly and cover your neck, face, ears, tops of your feet, and legs. For hard-to-reach areas, ask someone to help you or use a spray sunscreen.

To maximize the benefits of both shea butter and sunscreen, you can first apply shea butter as a moisturizer and then follow up with sunscreen.

Alternatively, you can look for sunscreens that contain shea butter as a moisturizing ingredient. Shea butter-based natural sunscreens often combine shea butter with ingredients like coconut oil and zinc oxide or titanium dioxide to provide sun protection.

You can even make your own homemade sunscreen with shea butter if you prefer more natural options.

Using shea butter should not deter you from applying sunscreen. Shea butter can provide some sun protection, but it should not be used as a standalone sunscreen, especially for those with lighter skin tones.

To better protect your skin every day, always apply sunscreen on top of shea butter or choose a sunscreen with shea butter as a moisturizing ingredient.

Does Shea Butter Offer UV Protection?

Does Shea Butter Offer UV Protection?

Shea butter, a popular natural skincare ingredient, does offer some sun protection due to its antioxidants, vitamins A, and E, and fatty acids that can help protect your skin from environmental stressors such as UV rays.

This protection mainly stems from the presence of cinnamic acid, a compound responsible for providing UV protection. However, the level of SPF it provides ranges between 6 and 10, which is not sufficient for complete sun protection.

As a natural barrier, shea butter can help protect your skin from the sun to a certain extent, but it is important to know that it cannot replace sunscreen.

While it can add extra nourishment and hydration to your skin, relying on shea butter alone for sun protection might not be enough to prevent sunburns, aging, or skin cancer caused by harmful UV rays.

To ensure adequate protection, it’s best to combine shea butter with other sunscreen ingredients for a more effective and broad-spectrum sun defense.

Some organic sunscreen actives, like OM-Cinnamate, can work in synergy with the cinnamic acid in shea butter to offer more comprehensive UVB and UVA coverage.

While shea butter can contribute to some protection from environmental stressors, it’s essential to pair it with a sunscreen formulated for full sun protection.

Make sure you’re applying sunscreen generously and frequently, especially if you’re spending time outdoors or engaging in activities that involve sweating or swimming. 

Can You Make A Homemade Sunscreen with Shea Butter?

Yes, you can make a homemade sunscreen with shea butter as one of the main ingredients. Shea butter is known for its natural ability to protect the skin from the sun’s harmful rays and nourish the skin.

When combined with other ingredients like zinc oxide, it can create an effective sunscreen alternative to commercial options.

To create a homemade sunscreen with shea butter, start by combining shea butter and coconut oil in a mixing bowl. It is best to use natural and organic shea butter for optimal benefits.

Mix until you achieve a smooth and creamy consistency. Next, add zinc oxide powder, which will provide the primary sun protection factor (SPF) in your sunscreen. Some people also use titanium dioxide powder for added protection.

It’s crucial to handle zinc oxide powder with care, as inhaling it can be harmful. When mixing, you may want to wear a mask to avoid inhaling the powder accidentally. You can also add vitamin E oil to the mixture to help moisturize and repair the skin.

Essential oils, such as lavender or eucalyptus, can provide additional skin benefits and a pleasant scent. Eucalyptus has a very low natural SPF, and lavender is excellent for soothing and repairing the skin. Adding 1 teaspoon of your chosen essential oil is usually enough.

Once all ingredients are combined, transfer your homemade sunscreen to a glass jar or container and let it cool in the fridge for about 30 minutes to set. Your homemade sunscreen with shea butter is now ready for use.

Keep in mind that while homemade sunscreens containing shea butter and zinc oxide can be effective, the exact SPF level may be difficult to determine. It’s essential to perform a patch test on your skin before full application to ensure there is no allergic reaction.

You can make a homemade sunscreen with shea butter and a few other key ingredients such as coconut oil, zinc oxide powder, and essential oils.

This option can be an alternative to commercial sunscreens, providing nourishment and protection for your skin from the sun’s harmful rays.

What Are The Dangers Of A Shea Butter Sunscreen?

While shea butter is known for its moisturizing and anti-inflammatory properties, using it as a sunscreen may not provide the adequate sun protection your skin needs.

Shea butter is a natural product that is gentle on the skin and rich in vitamins, but it lacks the necessary ingredients to shield your skin from harmful UV rays effectively.

When using shea butter as a natural sunscreen, you may be exposing your skin to the risk of sunburn and potentially increasing your chances of developing skin cancer.

Ensure that the sun protection you choose has been tested and proven to provide the required protection against both UVA and UVB rays, which can cause premature aging, inflammation, and damage to your skin cells.

Although shea butter-based products may offer some minimal protection, they should not be considered a reliable alternative to traditional sunscreens.

Mixing shea butter with other ingredients to create a homemade sunscreen may lead to inconsistent and inadequate coverage, leaving your skin vulnerable to sun damage.

While shea butter offers many benefits for your skin and can be soothing for inflamed skin, it should not be relied upon as a sole source of sun protection.

It is crucial to choose a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a known SPF level to ensure that your skin is adequately protected against harmful sun exposure.



Using shea butter and sunscreen together is a good idea. Shea butter contains natural ingredients that offer some sun protection, but it should not be used as a substitute for sunscreen.

Sunscreen provides adequate protection against UVA and UVB rays, which can cause sunburns, premature aging, and skin cancer if left unprotected.

You can opt to use both products together in your skincare routine by applying shea butter first followed by sunscreen or choosing a shea butter-based sunscreen product.

In either case, make sure to apply enough sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 to ensure adequate coverage and full protection from the sun’s damaging rays.

All products featured on Gemma Etc. are PR samples or gifted items, unless otherwise indicated. This post may contain affiliate links. If you wish to find out more, please see my Disclaimer within my navigation bar.

Gemma Etc.
Gemma Etc.

Hi, my name is Gemma, and I’m the writer behind I’m a true beauty obsessive, and love writing about anything to do with beauty. In addition to Gemma Etc., I also own, and love sharing my thoughts and feelings about beauty and lifestyle products.

Find me on: Web