Before delving into these questions, bear in mind that many products contain small quantities of shea butter but are primarily made from creams and chemicals. This article is only looking at 100% shea butter - whether refined, unrefined, graded or ungraded.
What quantity of shea butter do you plan to purchase
Shea Butter is available in every size from a small, personal 2oz size up to 50 pound blocks. How much shea butter AND the brand you select can really impact the cost of your shea butter. A small 2 oz shea butter may cost $5 or more. At that cost one pound of shea butter would cost $40. At Afrikan Republic you can purchase a pound of shea butter for about $15 or a10 pound bulk shea butter for about $35.
Are you purchasing for personal use or resale
The cost of shea butter can go down considerably if you are purchasing larger quantities for resale. For example if you are purchasing 48 8oz containers you may only pay $2-3 each for them, while a person purchasing for their own use may pay $8 for a single 8oz container. Wholesalers usually have minimum purchase quantities and an end user may not want a 10 year supply of shea butter sitting in their bathroom!
Do you need refined or unrefined shea butter
99% of folks should be using an unrefined shea butter. Unrefined shea butter is basically just shea butter as it was originally made in Africa. Refined shea butter is typically used in cosmetics and the shea butter is filtered and altered to make it consistent and ready to be used by a mass volume producer of skin care products. Unfortunately refining shea butter removes many of the excellent properties that make shea butter such a great skin care product in the first place, but it makes it easier for manufacturers to use. Stick with unrefined shea butter.
Are you purchasing graded shea butter or ungraded shea butter
The vast majority of shea butter used is ungraded and perfectly fine for daily use. For manufacturers or folks who want that "seal of approval" the Shea Butter Institute offers to grade shea butter. This grading is particularly useful to manufacturers or large scale importers of shea butter. Most shea butter sold is not graded.
Is your shea butter organic
A very small percentage of the shea butter available has been produced and processed organically. As with any other organically produced product you will pay considerably more for an organic product. For the most part you can feel comfortable using an unrefined shea butter that has been made using traditional methods.
Hopefully this guide to understanding how much shea butter costs and why there are price differences has been useful to you.