Shea butter and cocoa butter have long been staples around me, no matter where I am. It started with my very dry skin and my parents' attempt to make it better for me. Since they grew up with cocoa butter, when I'd experience tightness with my skin, we'd quickly rub some cocoa butter on it. Eventually shea butter rose in popularity which made it easier to find on shelves. So, to this day, no matter where I am, there's a tub of shea or cocoa butter around.
If you've got dry skin or if you scratch your skin, shea butter (or cocoa butter) is pretty good to keep around. Yes, it's a bit greasy to start and it's hard to work it in well (more about that below), but that's what helps. I was prone to scratch quite a bit so having skin that was greasy thereafter meant that I couldn't actually scratch that well. (Also, if you use shea butter as a lotion thereafter and still need to do stuff like typing, you can wear gloves). Over time though, it will sink in and not be as greasy as cocoa butter.
Shea butter can be a little bit hard to work with the first time round, especially if you're in a cold area. It hardens up and will require either a bit of microwaving (not too much!) or suspension in hot liquid in order to melt it down. It softens with warmth so if you get a small chunk, your own body's warmth will be able to melt it down.
Shea butter can be used for a multitude of things, none of which I've actually used it for. I do use it for massages here and there and once in a blue moon, I'll slather it on my feet to soften them back up again. When I was younger and my face was dry and I used to have acne scars, I'd use cocoa butter as an overnight cream which worked wonders for me. The reason why I mention this is that shea butter is actually much better to use for this (especially if you have acne problems) since shea butter is non-comedogenic and won't clog your pores like cocoa butter would.
Choosing between shea butter and cocoa butter is tough, and I'll admit that I have a tub of each. Cocoa butter is what I'll use at night since it's a bit greasier and shea butter is my preference for the day.
Product: Now Solutions Shea Butter
Takeaway: For dry skin, it's great as a moisturizer and night facial moisturizer. Since it absorbs a bit more quickly than cocoa butter, it's especially great throughout the day.