As the quintessential butter of the natural hair community, it makes sense that people keep finding new ways of incorporating Shea butter into different recipes for hair and skin. My go-to sealant in the winter has always been a whipped mixture of Shea butter and a liquid oil. The whipping process takes forever though so I have been experimenting with different methods of whipping that maintain the light fluffy creamy butter that’s definitely a part of my hair care arsenal.
So…after trying various ways (and let me tell you youtube has plenty of methods), I finally came up with what for me is most efficient, effective and guarantees my final texture will be exactly as I like it.
1 pound Shea butter – I used off-white from Togo. Other butters like the Shea Nilotica or Murumuru will work. Whichever butter you use, make sure it’s in the same range of hardness as Shea especially if you’ll follow this recipe as is.
4 ounces of fractionated coconut oil – Any liquid oil of your choice will do. My top three choices here would be fractionated coconut, olive and avocado because these three are ideal for hair. If using the butter for skin, there’s a lot more flexibility with liquid oils but my top three are great for skin as well so my formulations for body and skin are identical.
0.15 ounce (grapefruit + peppermint) – Options for essential oils are a matter of preference and no combination is wrong. Just remember your Shea might have the characteristic woody smoky scent to it so if you want to mask that, high fragrant essential oils like lavender, cedar wood or lemongrass would work.
Hand-held or freehand mixer – The hand-held mixer will require some work so I recommend cutting the recipe in half so it’s easier and faster
Keep all measurements within the same unit. If you are going to measure 1 pound of Shea butter by weight, also measure your liquid oil and fragrance by weight. In this case I am using 4 ounces of fractionated coconut oil measured in weight. (Notice the 4 ounces could also be a volume measurement).
For those using the metric system, your measurements would be in grams — 454g of Shea butter to 113g of a liquid oil and 4.5g of a fragrance essential oil.
Ideally, we are aiming for a 70%-25%-5% ratio. If you have sensitive skin or prefer not to have fragrance then your ratio would be 70%-30%.
Of course there’s always room for tweaking and personalization so once you have this basic recipe down feel free to modify and explore with other combinations and ratios until you find one that you absolutely love.
If using the handsfree mixer, start the mixer slow and gradually increase speed to the highest setting. Whip at high speed for about 3 minutes then stop the mixer and scrap the sides to bring the mixture to the center of the mixer. Whip again at high speed for about 3 minutes.
Add you essential oils (try to put the essential oil in the butter to avoid contact with the metal mixing bowl). Whip again at high speed for about a minute. The consistency at this point should resemble light cake frosting. If happy with this consistency, you are done! This is usually where I stop.
At this point you can add a little more of liquid oil or keep whipping if the consistency still isn’t there for you.
Essential oils are not equal…some will be stronger than others e.g Orange 10 fold is much stronger than regular Orange. This goes for all members of the citrus family (lemon, lime, grapefruit, mandarin). The essence of mint family (basil, spearmint, peppermint) are very strong so even a few drops will go a long way. Gentle essential oils like chamomile, lavender, geranium, rosewood and jasmine will work for sensitive skin and the butter will be gentle enough to use on babies and kids.
PS: I keep getting questions on my hand blender so here are some options. I use KitchenAid (with a duplicate set of accessories so I can use it both for my creams and food). You can always go with the hamilton mixer, which is what I started out with. It’s cheaper and works very well. The KitchenAid freehand mixer is included as well.