How to Whip Shea Butter for Smooth and Silky Hair

Melted shea butter

 Narcisa / Getty Images

Shea butter is a wonderful natural ingredient that works well on skin and hair. In its natural form, it's a bit firm but easily spreadable. Whipping it makes it easier to get out of the container and apply to the hair. You can mix shea butter with a number of carrier ingredients; this tutorial uses coconut oil. The carrier keeps the whipped shea butter from re-hardening. Once whipped, you'll have a fluffy, ultra-moisturizing natural product that will give your hair a healthy sheen. Before we share our step-by-step how-to guide to whipping up shea butter to use on natural hair, we chatted with hairstylist and African Pride brand educator, Robin Groover about the benefits. 

Meet the Expert

Robin Groover is the founder of Atlanta-based Too Groovy Salon and an African Pride brand educator.

"Shea butter is good for natural hair. My favorite benefits are the sealing properties, added moisture, and softening for hydrated, easy styling," says Groover. If you're dealing with scalp irritation, Groover says the nourishing benefits of shea butter can reduce inflammation and irritation on the scalp while protecting the hair follicles from environmental toxins and sun damage.

If you're dealing with scalp irritation, try oiling your scalp with shea butter a couple of days before your wash day as a pre-poo.

You can also use shea butter for styling and conditioning, depending on your hair's needs. "Shea butter mixed in conditioners and masks smooth the hair, eliminating frizz, tangles, and dullness," says Groover. Don't worry about the butter being too thick as the consistency can be altered with creams and oils for deeper penetration and easier spreading throughout the hair. For styling, Groover says, "Consider the hair density, porosity, and texture to determine the amount of butter needed." 

Now that we have the details on why shea butter is ideal for natural hair, keep scrolling for a step-by-step guide on DIYing whipped shea butter.  

01 of 08

Shea Butter in its Natural State

As seen here, shea butter scooped out of the jar is firm and thick. Place it in a glass or metal bowl.

02 of 08

Place Bowl of Shea Butter Over Boiling Pot

Bowl Placed Over Pot
Photo © 2009 D. Sandeen

This is a variation of the double-boiler method (perfect for those of us who don't own double-boilers!). Place a small amount of water in a pot and boil it. Once it's boiling, remove from heat and place the bowl of shea butter over the pot. It will melt very quickly, which is why you need to remove the pot from the heat. Instead of placing over hot water, you can also microwave shea butter in a microwave-safe bowl, but you may lose some of the nutrients this way.

03 of 08

Add Coconut Oil to the Bowl

Adding Coconut Oil
Photo © 2009 D. Sandeen

This is a small amount of shea butter (approximately 2 oz.). Remove the bowl from the pot and add 1 tbsp. of coconut oil to the melted shea butter. Mix well.

04 of 08

Mix Shea Butter and Coconut Oil

Mixed Shea Butter and Coconut Oil
Photo © 2009 D. Sandeen

Once the shea butter is mixed with the coconut oil, it's ready to be whipped. It's fine if the shea butter isn't melted into a complete liquid. The whipping process will break down any chunks of butter.

05 of 08

Begin Mixing Both Ingredients Together with a Mixer

Use a regular hand-held mixer to begin whipping your shea butter/coconut oil combination. Set your mixer to medium-to-fast speed.

06 of 08

Consistency at 5 Minutes

Consistency at 5 Minutes
Photo © 2009 D. Sandeen

After about five minutes, your mixture will still be very liquidy. You can take short breaks between mixing if needed.

07 of 08

Consistency at 10 Minutes

Consistency at 10 Minutes
Photo © 2009 D. Sandeen

After 10 minutes of whipping, your mixture should resemble Cool Whip in its consistency which is thicker than a liquid, but not very firm.

08 of 08

A Light and Fluffy Shea Butter Mixture

After about 20 minutes of whipping (if you have a large amount of shea butter, it will take longer), your mixture should be light, fluffy and thick, almost meringue-like. Whipping shea butter will increase the volume by two to three times, so having a container on hand to hold all of it is essential. Store your shea butter in a cool, dark place in a glass or plastic container; the refrigerator is not recommended because it may become grainy. Natural shea butter mixed with coconut oil or jojoba oil may last approximately six months to one year.

Article Sources
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  1. Lin TK, Zhong L, Santiago JL. Anti-inflammatory and skin barrier repair effects of topical application of some plant oilsInt J Mol Sci. 2017;19(1):70. doi:10.3390/ijms19010070

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