Shea Butter is a substance obtained from the nuts of the shea tree, which is native to Africa. It is rich in Vitamin A and Vitamin E, making it a very popular for skin care and hair care. Shea butter is also edible, and used in food preparation in African countries, but it has a strong nutty flavor that makes it less desirable compared to other oils.
So Why Whip the Shea?
It is most often sold in plastic tubs, and is quite stiff when you try to get some out with your fingers. You typically have to use some "elbow grease" to get it out, and then rub it around in your hands to warm it up and make it more malleable. This can be time-consuming for people who want to use more than a little bit for their face, hair, hands, body, or anything else.
Another thing some people do is heat up some water and partially submerge the plastic tub so that the butter can melt into an oil. This is also time consuming for those who want it readily available for them.
The third option is to mix it with other oils that are less dense, and also beneficial to skin, hair, and body. Mixing makes it easier to use and work with, but it can be taken a step further by using a utensil or hand mixer to "whip" air into it, making it fluffy, creamy, and easy to pick up and use.
How to Whip Shea Butter
So here is our recipe for whipped shea butter. There are many different ways to do it, varying the ingredients to achieve the desired consistency.
We like a consistency that is not too loose, but also not too stiff. To achieve that, we vary the ratio of butter to carrier oils. The more butter used, the stiffer it will be, and vice versa, the lower the ratio of butter to oil, the looser the mixture will be. We have found that we like the ratio to be between 70%-80% butter to carrier oil.
Wait, carrier oils?
So what are carrier oils? They are defined as any oil derived from the fatty portion of a plant. They are used to dilute other oils and cause them to stretch, or loosen, the main oils or butters that you are using. For our purpose, they help loosen the stiffness of shea butter.
Carrier oils also give you the opportunity to enrich the mixture with more nutrients that will be beneficial to you. We like our whipped shea to be beneficial for hair as well as skin, so we include carriers that achieve this. Read more about the carrier oils here.
Give It a Pleasant Scent
In addition to carrier oils, we use essential oils. An essential oil is an oil obtained from a plant by distillation. Oil obtained in this way contains the "essence" of the oil, hence the name. These oils contain the nutrients and the scent of the plant from which they come. The oil is very concentrated, and because of this, should be diluted, both for safety, and to extend the use of the oil. Each essential oil has recommended dilution, some can be used safely without dilution while others require it. For our recipe below, the dilution comes out to be 0.6% dilution. That is, 60 drops of oil, which equals 0.11 ounces to the 18.5 ounces of combined shea butter and carrier oils. This dilution level is safe for skin and hair, and allows the scent to come through.
The 60 drops of essential oil can come from any combination of essential oils you wish to use. The oils can be mixed to create a scent that's nice and pleasant, or mixed for the nutrient benefits of the oil, or both.
Whipped Shea Butter
15 oz of shea butter
4 tablespoons of coconut oil
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1 tablespoon of avocado oil
1 teaspoon of almond oil
1 teaspoon of jojoba oil
1 teaspoon of castor oil
60 drops of essential oil
5-10 drops of tea tree oil and/or vitamin E oil
1. Boil a pot of water on a stove.
2. On a table, combine the shea butter, coconut oil, olive oil, avocado oil, almond oil, jojoba oil, and castor oil in a stainless steel bowl or pot that can sit atop the boiling pot of water.
3. Set the butter and oil mixture atop the boiling water and allow the butter and oils to melt and mix together.
4. Once melted, cover and refrigerate until the mixture solidifies. We usually let it set overnight to ensure it solidifies throughout.
5. Scoop out the solid mixture into a mixing bowl.
6. Add essential oils and tea tree/vitamin E oil to the mixture.
7. Mix with an electric mixer or wooden spatula until smooth.
8. Scoop out with a rubber spatula into a glass or plastic jar with a lid.
Here's the video of us making shea butter!