I learned how to make whipped shea butter at YouTube University. Regrettably, I can’t remember the name of the woman who was kind enough to provide a step-by-step demonstration of how to make this all-in-one wonder ointment. And I’ll admit that I sometimes wing it by tossing too much of one oil or too little of another in the pot and getting a stiffer less whipped version of it. Especially when I’m short on supplies. But better batches have made me proud.
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Shea butter is a fat that comes from the nut of the shea tree in Africa. Raw Shea is ivory, but it is often dyed yellow with palm oil or borututu root.
I wasn’t a fan when I was first introduced to the revered substance. While many people sang its praises for health and beauty versatility and healing properties, I couldn’t get past the texture and the nutty smell. Rubbing pure shea butter on my skin was a chore because of how dense it was. There was always a clump or two that just wouldn’t dissolve. But that was before I learned the magic of melting and mixing it with other oils like castor, coconut, and/or argon. These, more viscous oils help to bring out the stiff butter’s creamier side. Here’s how I made my very first batch years ago:
1/2 cup of coconut oil
1/2 cup of castor oil
30 drops of essential oil of your choice (I used tea tree and a little lavender)
A large pot
A heavy glass bowl that will fit inside the pot
Water for boiling
What I’ve learned is that there’s no one true formula when considering what secondary oils to add as long as you stick with natural unblended, unrefined oils. It’s also ideal to use the essential oil you choose very sparingly (think drops) as they can be strong when used too generously. You can use argon, grapeseed, or even olive oil with your brick of shea if you do choose. The key is to strike a balance between the dense texture of the Shea butter and the oils to create a fluffier, easier to smear on, more dissolving texture.
- Start by adding water to your pot. Don’t fill it up. Put your glass bowl in the pot of water. The water should reach no higher than half the height of the glass bowl to avoid it spilling over into the oil (like a double boiler).
- Add all of your oils to the glass bowl.
- Heat the pot on medium until the boiling water melts all of the oils together. Gently stir the mixture.
- Once the oils are completely melted, allow the pot to cool enough for you to remove the glass bowl.
- You can allow the oils to cool on the counter or you can speed up the process by putting it in the refrigerator for an hour or two until it’s solid.
- Once you’ve removed it from the fridge, use your hand mixer on high speed to whip it until it’s fluffy and white.
- Scoop it into a container that has a lid.
This recipe makes a little more than about two, 8 oz containers. I usually store one container near my other health and beauty items at room temperature and refrigerate the second jar until I’m ready to start using it.