Shea butter is certainly a popular topic and I get a lot of questions about it. I have done a previous post about it (see here) but the questions keep coming!
Unfortunately there isn't much research about shea butter (meaning real tangible stuff like the way coconut oil has been studied for hair applications) but I have really great questions - for example Dorothy asked, what is the difference between East African and West African shea butter?
Dorothy details her experience with the product saying the East African butter seems to be less greasy while the West African butter can sometimes feel hard and less absorbent.
Science has to play catch up! There are no references that I could find to directly explain this but East and West Africa certainly are two very different climates. There is evidence that the vitamin E content varies in shea butter from these regions (Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, pp2934 -2937,2004). I would even say on the basis of Dorothy's observation, certainly the types of oil that make up the butter could vary in amount.
So, the best answer to this one probably comes from those who have tried the different types of butter. Tell us, do you prefer East to West or vice versa? Tell us why!