Shea butter (//, //, or //) is a fat extracted from the nut of the African shea tree (Vitellaria paradoxa). It is usually yellow in color when raw, with Unrefined, refined, and Ultra-Refined Shea butter being ivory or white in color. Shea butter is a triglyceride (fat) derived mainly from stearic acid and oleic acid. It is widely used in cosmetics as a moisturizer, salve or lotion. Shea butter is edible and is used in food preparation in Africa. Occasionally, the chocolate industry uses shea butter mixed with other oils as a substitute for cocoa butter, although the taste is noticeably different.
The English word "shea" comes from s’í, the tree's name in the Bambara language of Mali. It is known by many local names, e.g., kaɗe or kaɗanya in Hausa language, karité in the Wolof language of Senegal,ori in some parts of West Africa, and many others.