Do oil and butter mix? That question perplexes novices customizing their own skin and hair products. Castor oil and shea butter are each good choices for people with dry skin and hair. Yet mixing a liquid and a semisolid into a product that offers the benefits of both is a challenge. Additionally, too much castor oil can be overly heavy on even the itchiest scalps and damaged skin. The key is to add some helpful allies into the mix to ensure a harmonious final product.
The secrets to making a workable product utilizing castor oil and shea butter are to blend castor oil with a lighter oil, to use heat to equalize the consistency of all fats for proper mixing and to add beeswax as a thickening agent. Almond or olive oil are good candidates to blend with castor oil before adding shea butter and beeswax into the mix.
Grate the beeswax and set aside briefly. Pour the castor oil and a second oil into a heat-proof measuring cup and scoop the shea butter into the cup along with the liquid. Next, add the desired amount of beeswax. Set the measuring cup in a saucepan over low heat and stir gently until the shea butter and beeswax melts. Once the mixture is well combined and lump-free, remove the saucepan from the heat and stir in additives such as essential oils. Pour the mixture into one or more glass or non-reactive containers and cap tightly.
Use nine parts liquid oil to three parts shea butter and one part beeswax. For the liquid oil, use half castor and half a second oil, such as olive or almond oil. The amount of beeswax may increase or decrease depending on how thick or loose you need the final product to be. The more beeswax you add, the thicker the final product.
Natural beauty author Dina Falconi’s recipes for hair pomades and skin creams make it easy to combine solids and liquids. Falconi directs her readers to fill the measuring cup first with liquid oil, then with the solids – shea butter and beeswax -- until they reach the total amount of liquids and solids called for in the recipe. To make one unit of the recipe above, for example, fill your measuring cup to 9 ounces total of liquid oils, then add scoops of shea butter until the measure reaches 12 ounces. An additional ounce of grated beeswax takes you to the 13 ounce measurement.
Castor oil and shea butter each possess healing, moisturizing qualities useful for nourishing damaged or mature complexions, soothing dry scalps and taming flyaway hair. Shea butter is a semisolid substance that comes from the seeds of the African shea tree, and is prized for its ability to penetrate deeply. Shea butter is solid at room temperature but liquefies with heat. Castor oil, from the castor bean, has similar properties as shea butter but is in liquid form. It is an extremely thick substance that often benefits from blending with a lighter oil for skin and hair care.