Petroleum jelly and unrefined shea butter – find out the differences

Petroleum jelly and unrefined shea butter – what are their main differences? Well, petroleum jelly is a product derived from petroleum processing, while shea butter is made from the nuts of the shea tree. Both products are very well tolerated by sensitive skin and are a common addition to cosmetics.

Both products prevent moisture from escaping from the skin, soften it, smooth it and, above all, protect it from external influences. However, petroleum jelly makes the skin slightly oily and, when used in its pure form, can cause blackheads – the reason for this is that petroleum jelly is not absorbed into the skin – it has an occlusive effect (separates from environmental factors), forming a protective layer. Shea butter, on the other hand, absorbs perfectly without leaving the skin greasy (if used in the right amount). Shea butter has another unique characteristic – it does not clog pores like most cosmetic fats.

Seven main differences between shea butter and petroleum jelly:

1. Consistency

Vaseline’s texture feels greasier but is also softer and therefore easier to apply. However, shea butter will absorb better into the skin, leaving it softer and smoother than Vaseline, which does not penetrate the cuticle.

2. Naturalness

Shea butter is obtained from the seeds of the shea tree, it is an absolutely natural product and most often organic too (as long as it is in natural form). Vaseline, on the other hand, is a product of chemical origin and is also mixed with other ingredients of unnatural origin.

3. Versatility

In terms of versatility, shea butter can be used for many skin ailments, wrinkles, minor wounds or light burns, skin lesions, acne and for hair and scalp. Petroleum jelly, on the other hand, can also be widely used, but its benefits are limited compared to shea butter. It is not a medicinal product, but rather protective and moisturising.

4. Absorbability

Shea butter is quickly absorbed into the skin, thus improving its condition and healing it from within. Vaseline does not absorb at all. It simply stays on until you wash it off or unknowingly lick it off. Here, it is worth noting that shea butter is also a dietary fat in Ghana with amazing health-promoting properties (including anti-cancer effects), so if you lick shea butter off your lips, you certainly won’t lose out on it.

5 Health benefits

Unrefined Shea butter contains vitamins A and E, which have many health benefits for the skin and protect against free radicals that can cause cell damage. Petroleum jelly is limited to providing moisture before drying out the skin and creating a protective layer against environmental factors.

6 Refining and aesthetics

Vaseline is by far the more popular and commercial product. Its smell and texture make it preferable over shea butter. Shea butter, on the other hand, is a difficult cosmetic to use due to the fact that it is much harder and requires a few moments more in application to the skin

7 Industrial use

Shea butter is most commonly used in cosmetics (mainly refined) because it is a rich source of fatty acids that help heal and repair skin cells. It is also rich in vitamins A and E, which act as antioxidants to protect against free radicals that can cause cell damage. However, these benefits apply more to unrefined butter. Vaseline, on the other hand, is usually a product on its own, to which various additives, such as cocoa butter or perfume, are often added – for many customers, fragrance plays a decisive role in the purchasing decision.

Therefore, in our DUAFE line of organic shea butters, we invite you to discover butters with natural essential oils, which also have health-promoting properties for our skin and well-being on their own.