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Shea Butter is an ancient beauty hack that has blessed us with all the hair and skin benefits for thousands of years.
It’s origins go as far back as Cleopatra of Egypt where Shea Butter was extracted from the nut of the Shea tree in West Africa. It was stored in clay jars and used in cosmetics and as a topical healing ointment. It was also added to desserts.
Not unlike today, people all over the world enjoy Shea Butter as part of their daily skin and hair routines and in DIY makeup recipes. One thing that has changed, is enhancing the use and variations of Shea Butter by whipping it.
Whipping Shea Butter makes it more pliable and easy to spread making it readily available to be turned into an all-natural shampoo, conditioner, lotion, cream, or cosmetics.
Before we get into how to whip Shea Butter, here are just some of the reasons Shea Butters's popularity has lasted thousands of years maintaining its nickname “Women’s Gold”.
Benefits of Whipped Shea Butter
Shea Butter is extracted from a nut making it high in fat. The rich fat makes Shea Butter an emollient and ideal as a moisturizing agent.
But Shea Butter is so much more than nature’s moisturizer. Containing Vitamins A, E and F protect skin from sun damage, radiation, dark spots and can help prevent early signs of aging.
Shea Butter promotes collagen production and helps protect the current collagen in the skin helping it maintain it’s elasticity and naturally fills fine lines.
Its effects aren’t only for beautifying but can help treat and reduce the appearance of:
- Stretch Marks
- Sun Spots
- Dry Skin & Scalp
- Insect Bites
- Cracked Skin
- Irritated/Itchy Skin
Shea Butter also contains an anti-free-radical agent (like an antioxidant) that promotes microcirculation and helps heal below the skin. When massaged into muscles and bones Shea Butter is known to:
- Reduce muscle fatigue and tension
- Relieve rheumatism and arthritis
- Can lock-in medicinal cream used on skin and muscles
It’s even safe for consumption in small amounts to:
- Relieve constipation
- Improve digestion of other vitamins and minerals
- Make desserts like chocolate truffles creamier!
As you can see, whether you’re sneaking into your skincare or into your food, it’s hard to go wrong with Shea Butter. However, when you buy Shea Butter in its raw form (which I highly recommend) it’s quite solid and hard to work with. Thus--we whip!
How to Whip Shea Butter
Once Shea Butter goes from solid to whipped it can easily be applied directly to skin and hair or used in nearly any DIY skin, hair, or makeup recipe.
So, before you get started on creating your own cosmetics, here are five effective ways to whip Shea Butter. Each has a slightly different outcome making it more suitable for some recipes than others. Take a look!
Using a Fork or Spoon
If you don’t own any fancy-schmancy blending tools or if you want to whip your Shea Butter without having a mess to clean up, using a regular utensil is the way to go.
What you’ll need:
- Ceramic or glass bowl
- Raw Shea Butter at room temperature
- Olive Oil
- Coconut Oil
- An optional oil
- Fork or Spoon
*Optional oils include almond, jojoba and any other oil you’d like depending on the nutritional benefits you’re after. For hair growth, I add castor oil to this recipe.
Start with the Shea Butter on its own and begin to mash and soften it by pressing the chunks to the side of the bowl. Once it’s softened add the other oils and begin to whisk until the desired texture is achieved.
Pros of whipping Shea Butter with a fork or spoon:
- No tools need to be cleaned afterward
- Can be done anywhere anytime
- Fast and easy setup
- Requires manual effort (whipping for 5-8 minutes)
- Can only make small batches at a time
- Can only achieve a limited amount of “whip”
Using a food processor is a lot faster than manually mix Shea Butter. For this recipe, we keep it simple. Like the other Shea Butter recipes, this is a great base to use when creating your own lotions, balms, conditioners, etc.
What you’ll need:
- Large or Small Food Processor
- Raw Shea Butter
- Coconut Oil
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil
*Essential oils are a great way to add a scent to this mix. Add a few drops and this recipe is ready to use.
Depending on how much Shea Butter you’re whipping, you only need a few tablespoons of the carrier oils. These oils are what break down the fats in the Shea Butter and allow it to soften and whip.
Add all ingredients into the processor, pulse to combine and soften the mixture, then mix for a minute or two.
Pros to using a processor to whip Shea Butter:
- Can do large batches
- Breaking down the processor for cleaning
- A processor makes a thicker consistency, it’s a little hard to whip air into the mixture
Because of the narrowness of a blender, we will be adding a few additional liquid components to keep the mixture from stiffening during the whipping process. A Blender is a great way to whip Shea Butter that will be used as a body lotion or hair conditioner.
What you’ll need:
- Rubber Spatula
- 5 oz of Organic Raw Shea Butter
- 4 oz of Coconut Oil
- 4 oz of Aloe Gel
- 1 oz Vegetable Glycerin
- 1 oz Argan Oil
Pulse on medium speed occasionally stopping to lift chunks from the bottom of the blender. Then blend on low speed for 4-6 minutes or until whipped.
Pros of using blending to whip Shea Butter:
- Can make a medium-sized batch of whipped Shea Butter
- Creates a uniquely smooth texture
- The blender spout makes it easy to pour the mixture into containers
- Blenders don’t allow too much air to be whipped making a more dense and smooth consistency rather than a light, airy, whipped one
An immersion blender is incredibly convenient and allows you to use any of the whipped Shea butter recipes I have listed. Only this time, you will use the handheld immersion blender.
This option is the most versatile as it allows you to create a light, fluffy consistency, or a dense, creamy one with the Shea Butter. What makes the difference is how close you hold the blender to the bottom of the container.
Using a slow lifting motion you can add air to the whipping process. You won’t even have to add any carrier oils if you prefer a pure, whipped Shea Butter.
Many DIY queens and bakers alike love working with a standing mixer, and for rightful reasons. The settings on a standing mixer will allow as much air as possible to enter the Shea Butter mixture making it nearly as fluffy as an egg-white meringue.
The following recipe I like to use as a moisturizer, conditioner, and makeup removing balm.
What you’ll need:
- Standing Mixer
- 1 Cup of Shea Butter
- ⅓ Cup of Coconut Oil
- 1 Tbsp Avocado Oil
- 2 Tbsp Olive Oil
- 1 Tbsp Grapeseed Oil
- 1 tsp Honey
- 5 Droplets of Tea Tree Oil
Soften Shea Butter in warm water, add all ingredients into a standing mixer and mix on medium speed for 15 to 20 minutes. The texture will change significantly, but we aren’t done.
Start the mixer on low and give it a mix for one minute on each speed setting until you’ve reached the highest setting. This will maximize the amount of air added to the mixture for the fluffiest of whipped Shea Butter.
Pros of using a standing mixer to whip Shea Butter:
- Holy fluffiness!
- Makes large batches
- Suitable for solid or melted Shea Butter
- Not suitable for small batches
- Takes 20-30 minutes from start to finish
Additional tips to perfectly whipped Shea Butter:
- Don’t melt the Shea Butter. If it becomes too solid place it in a closed container and put it in a short bath of hot water to soften, never allowing the water to enter the container with the Shea Butter.
- Storing whipped Shea Butter in glass containers, like old candle holders, is more hygienic than plastic. Plastic has a tendency to hold onto germs and bacteria.
- All other oils being added to the Shea Butter should be in liquid form.
- Feel free to play with measurements. Add or withhold additional carrier oils to achieve your desired texture.
- Decorate little containers of whipped Shea Butter customizing each with its own essential oil scent for the most amazing DIY birthday or bridal gifts.
Your solid Shea Butter has now doubled or tripled in quantity, will easily apply to skin or hair or is ready to be used in the creation of homemade soaps, lotions, conditioners, and more.
Don’t forget to share this post with the ladies in your life who love working with Shea Butter-- “Women’s Gold”!