I have been mildly obsessed with Raw Unrefined Shea Butter for the past several months now. It is versatile, useful, and healthy for the skin. I use it directly for eye cream, to make deodorant, sunscreen, you name it. While I use shea butter for various purposes, I have found that by itself, it is rather firm. While the butter melts upon contact with the skin, it can be somewhat tricky to apply larger amounts to, say, to the whole body. Hence the inspiration for today’s post, how to make the most amazing DIY Whipped Shea Butter.
Shea, Shea, Here to Stay
Shea Butter, which comes from the Karite or Shea Tree in Africa, is the fat that is extracted from the seed of the shea fruit (2). The seed is crushed, strained by hand, and boiled to extract the nutrient dense butter or oil (2). Finally, the resulting butter, once packaged, stays fresh for 2 years or more. Making it easy to store or transport around the world.
The Shea nut tree has been used for centuries both medicinally and cosmetically (1). With well known believers including Cleopatra who was known to travel with large clay jars of shea butter and used it daily (3). Shea butter became more well-known throughout Africa and Europe when it began commonly traded during the Middle Ages (3). Popularity has spiked in the last 10 to 15 years as shea butter has become a popular ingredient in natural skin care in the US. It can be used on its own or blended with other ingredients to make natural skin care such as hair balm, tanning lotion, lip balm, or deodorant.
One of the benefits of shea butter has been its positive impact on communities in West Africa (1). Women artisans in Ghana and many other countries make a good living handcrafting raw shea butter. Where normally women would have few opportunities, shea butter has proven to be “women’s gold,” providing income to support the local communities. Thus, shea butter will continue to be widely available around the world as an important part of the African economy.
Why Shea is so Awesome
Ok, so if you are going to be a believer in shea butter, I want you to understand why. Shea butter has many uses. Traditionally it is used in African cuisine and even as a substitute for cocoa butter to make chocolate (3). More commonly, it can be used for a variety of cosmetic purposes including making soaps, shampoos, lotions, and various moisturizers (1).
The reason shea is so beneficial is due to its unique fatty acid composition. It contains high levels of stearic acid, a fatty acid known to help protect your skin, as well as numerous other naturally occurring substances (1). Here are list of some of the other compounds and their benefits:
- Cinnamic acid– absorbs UV radiation, about SPF 6 (1)
- Tocopherols (vitamin E)– rejuvenates cells, promotes cell regrowth and healing (5)
- Catechins– powerful antioxidants, help treat wrinkles and sun damage (1, 4)
- Vitamin A– heals skin conditions including blemishes, wrinkles, eczema (5)
- Lupeol-prevents the effect of skin aging and discoloration (1)
Whip it, Whip it Good
Now that we understand why you should be slathering shea butter all over your face and body, lets look at the process of whipping. Whipping any substance adds air. Think whipped cream. Before you whip it, it is just a heavy liquid. Once air has been forced in, it is light and fluffy. The same concept applies to DIY whipped shea butter.
We want to be able to have a spreadable, soft final product. Raw shea butter has a melting point of about 89 degrees Fahrenheight. At room temperature, it is semi-soft to firm, depending on the butter. To get the right softness, we also need to add liquid oils. Any carrier oil will do fine. I selected Almond Oil for it’s skin healing benefits and Coconut Oil for it’s antibacterial properties.
Whipping the shea butter will be a laborious process, I will admit. Using a hand mixer, you need to be willing to whip it for a good 10 minutes. Some of the more luxurious products whip theirs for 4-5 hours (not by hand)! The more whipping, the more air. The more air, the lighter and fluffier your butter will be.
How to Make DIY Whipped Shea Butter
I have decided to show you how to make whipped shea butter using the melting technique. I prefer this method because it ensures the smoothest butter. Also, it makes less of a mess, because the butter is cold before you whip it (less splatter)After melting the butter and oils together, they are chilled down in the fridge before whipping with an electric hand mixer. Notably, you want to be careful not to heat your shea butter too hot. Heat can reduce the effectiveness of the natural healing properties. To ensure a less direct heat, use a double-boiler and heat on med-low heat. Here is the recipe:
DIY Whipped Shea Butter
- large bowl
- small saucepan with 1 inch of water
- measuring cups/spoons
- jars for storing
- ¾ cup (6 ounces) Raw Unrefined Shea Butter
- 2 Tbs (1 ounce) Almond Oil
- 2 Tbs (1 ounce) Coconut Oil
- 1/4 tsp vitamin E oil
- Essential Oils of your Choosing (I used 10 drops vanilla absolute and 10 drops of patchouli)
- On the stove, heat the saucepan of water over medium heat. Once boiling, turn do
wn to med-low and place bowl on top. Add shea butter, almond oil, coconut oil, and vitamin E oil.
- Whisk often until melted, then remove from heat. Be sure not to overheat. Add your essential oils, whisk again. Place in refrigerator for 30 minutes to cool.
- Once cool, remove and beat with an electric mixer for 10 minutes (at least), occasionally scraping down the sides.
- When desired texture is achieved, use a spoon or spatula to transfer whipped shea butter into jars for storing.
Note: Keep in mind, your whipped shea butter will continue to cool after storing, thus the final product will be a bit more firm.
Yield: Three 4 ounce jars (and then some)
For Use: With clean hands, spread lotion on any dry or damaged area of skin. Repeat daily or as needed. Can be used on face, body or hair. Store in a cool dry place up to 6 months.
How did you like your DIY Whipped Shea Butter? Any questions, comments or feedback, leave them below! Thanks for reading, friends!