How to Decrystallize Shea Butter

"Cooking" your shea butter can bring it back to a creamy consistency.

Photo: George Doyle/Stockbyte/Getty Images

When it comes to skin, every diva needs a little shea butter in her beauty arsenal. This is a butter extracted from the nuts of the African shea tree. It's claim to fame is the fact that it's a terrific antibacterial moisturizer that can replenish the natural oils you lose from your skin. The trouble is, like any other butter, if it's heated and cooled improperly -- for example, if you leave it in your car on a hot day -- it crystallizes. It's still completely useable, but you likely want to get the gritty granules of fat out.

1.

Get out a cooking pan or pot. Ideally, pull out a double boiler. For fashionistas not familiar with a double boiler, it's a dual-layered cooking pot where you put water in the bottom and the heat of the water transfers to the upper chamber.

2.

Put your crystallized shea butter in the cooking pot and put the pot on your stove.

3.

Turn your stove on medium to medium-high heat. The goal is to melt all the little fat globules in your butter that are making it gritty. Shea butter melts around 175 degrees, so your temperature setting has to be at least that. If you're not sure where to put your stove setting to get the butter to 175 degrees, start low and then turn the heat up.

4.

Use a food thermometer to double-check your shea butter is at least 175 degrees. Don't let the temperature go too much past this, as that makes it harder for you to cool the butter. Cook your shea butter for at least 20 minutes.

5.

Put your melted shea butter into the containers you'll use to store it and then immediately put it in the freezer to cool quickly. Avoid glass; the extreme temperature difference of the butter and the freezer may make glass containers shatter.

Things You'll Need

 

1.Cooking pan

3.Storage container(s)

2.Food thermometer

 

Tips & Tricks

 

Another method of decrystallizing shea butter is to melt it on low heat, stirring it to remove any globules. Turn off the heat and keep stirring until the shea butter is cool. The more you stir, the creamier the butter will be. Lots of ladies prefer the high-heat method, though, because it usually does a better job of eliminating the crystals.

 

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