Shea butter is a vegan butter used, in between other uses, as a scalp hair anointing material; it's the most thick creamy-ointment I personally have known and can help straighten quite curly hair; it can be putted on hair in two or three "waves" and then the hair is combed.

My problem

After some people use Shea butter with their hand palms, their hand palms become very cream-oily.
Removing it from hand palms might require using lots of soap (when using a squared firm soap) and about two towels; to split the cream evenly and not to ointment one towel too much (in the span of a few days) and possibly also about two or four napkins to remove pointed leftovers.

One can afraid that so much wiping, small particles from certain towels or napkins could contaminate the skin tissue of its hand palms and would desire an efficient way to remove Shea butter from hand palms.

Possible solution

Because removing it from scalp hair requires a strong (quite salty) shampoo and lots of wash, I assumed that a strong (quite salty) liquid soap, instead squared firm soap, could be handy.

My question

How to safely and efficiently remove Shea butter from hand palms?
That is to ask; how could Shea butter users as described above, safely and efficiently remove it from their hand palms (in the means of liquid solution and wiping appliance material)?


With time I found it helpful to use different common generic shampoos or liquid soaps to do go work.

I further found that in general, the more a professional shampoo or a liquid soap is more salty (in a chemically reasonable amount) the more it is effective.

I can buy a large ("saving") pack of some shampoo and use a little bit of it, with or without some soap (probably liquid but not necessarily).

  • Hi JohnDoea, Welcome to Lifehacks. I would think that any safe scalp treatment can be used also for your hands which are usually tougher.
    – Stan
    Dec 22, 2019 at 19:19

3 Answers 3


Shea butter is very similar in composition to lard. Based on my experience with lard, foaming dish soap (detergent) will work well. Non-foaming dish soap will also probably work, but it may be more trouble due to the lower total volume and the fact that you there won't really be much water on your hands.

The procedure that works for me is: wet your hands, though most of the water will bead off. Apply dish soap. Rub your hands vigorously to mix the oil and soap. Rinse off while rubbing your hands. Apply more soap and wash as normal.


Shea butter is a form of grease ie a solid oil. The best removal method for most oils is a thinner oil. The thinnest oil is paraffin alternatively known as mineral oil, baby oil and tens of other names. Rub this on and wash of with soap.


A few words about "Safely" and "Efficiently" — A Different Perspective

Whenever you attempt to remove grease using soap or detergent, the process is incomplete. (That's why you must repeat the washing process.)

Undissolved grease (fat) will coat your drains, pipes, septic tanks, and municipal drains. It collects in inaccessible parts of a plumbing system as "fatbergs" which can and will eventually limit or plug it up. It's atherosclerosis of your plumbing. Same thing. Same problem.

If and when this happens, the obstructing "fatberg" must be physically dug out — It cannot be removed without significant cost and damage.

Avoid draining your waste which is merely displacing the material. Use absorbent paper which can be put with other surface refuse.

Do Wear protective (biodegradable? nitrile) disposable gloves when possible.

Good Luck!

NOTE: This was originally a comment which was subsequently removed and added as an answer.

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