Shea butter is made from shea nuts -- tree nuts, indigenous to West Africa -- and is used for dry skin, stretch marks and as a massage oil. In its unrefined state, shea butter is slightly yellow or beige and has a nutty aroma. Unrefined shea butter is also solid at room temperature, may have a grainy texture and needs to be warmed up before use. You can reduce the graininess of your shea butter, make it creamy and add fragrance by melting it, adding your fragrance then blending it as it cools to room temperature.
Things You'll Need
- 14 oz unrefined shea butter
- One one-quart double boiler
- Silicone spatula
- Candy thermometer
- Perfume oil of your choice
- One-quarter ounce ramekin
- Stick blender
- Pastry bag
- Storage container
Fill the outer pot of the double boiler with one to two inches of water. The water should be deep enough to just reach the bottom of the inner pot.
Bring the water to a boil. Put the inner pot inside the outer pot and let it warm.
Reduce the heat and add all of the shea butter to the inner pot. Stir the shea butter, with the silicone spatula, until it melts.
Heat the shea butter to between 170 and 185 degrees -- use the candy thermometer to measure the temperature. Keep the shea butter at this temperature for 20 minutes. The steady heat ensures even melting and reduces graininess.
Remove the double boiler from the heat and add one-quarter ounce of the desired perfume oil. If you are using more than one oil, mix them together to make one-quarter ounce of the desired fragrance.
Use the stick blender to mix the melted shea butter as it cools down to room temperature. Using the blender will make the shea butter creamy. The more you mix, the creamier it becomes.
When the shea butter is thick, but still soft, use the spatula to transfer it to the pastry bag.
Use the pastry bag to squeeze the shea butter into your storage container.
Tips & Warnings
- Suggested fragrances: almond, orange, bergamot, patchouli, rose, sandalwood, lavender, lemon, mint, rosemary.
- You can find unrefined shea butter from online retailers like Agbanga Karite.
- You can find cosmetic fragrance oils from online retailers, like Brambleberry and craft stores, like Michael's.
- You can use any container you want. Simple, plastic food storage containers are cheap and come in a variety of styles. Some even have screw tops, like cosmetic jars.
- "Making Aromatherapy Creams & Lotions";Donna Maria Coles Johnson;2000
- "The Herbal Home Spa";Greta Breedlove;1998
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