How To Melt Shea Butter and Natural Oils for Body Care

by Andrea Butje on April 20, 2015

melt shea butter on the stoveLearn how to melt shea butter and natural oils so you can make your own body products.

It’s one thing to follow a recipe—and that’s important when you’re creating a product that you want to replicate—but by understanding how to melt natural oils and butters, you’ll be able to get creative. There’s no end to the variety of body products you can make!

I made a YouTube video showing you step by step how to melt shea butter and natural oils. My body butter videos are usually exclusive for students of Aromahead’s online Body Butters and Lip Balms class, but I wanted to share it with you all because knowing how to melt natural, raw butters and oils is such an important part of blending.

You can watch the video here and follow along with me, or keep reading (or both!).

The recipe that I make in the video includes:

  • 1 oz (28 gm) Beeswax (Cera alba)
  • 2 oz (56 gm) Coconut oil (Cocos nucifera)
  • 2 oz (56 gm) Cocoa butter (Theobroma cacao)
  • 1 oz (28 gm) Shea butter (Butyrospermum parkii)

You’ll also need three 2 oz (60 ml) glass jars, a kitchen scale, a glass stir rod (or stainless steel spoon), a Pyrex measuring cup, and a cooking pot that can hold the Pyrex.

how to melt shea butter on the stoveThe simplest way to melt shea butter and natural oils is to make your own “double boiler.” Fill your cooking pot about ¼ with water. Bring it to a boil. Place your Pyrex in the pot, but hook the handle over the edge of the pot. You might be surprised at how cool the handle stays as you melt your ingredients!

Let’s talk about the ingredients one by one as we add them to the recipe.

First, melt the beeswax: Measure it out and add it to the Pyrex. We use beeswax in body butter blends because it keeps the other butters and oils blended together. When we make body butters, the texture depends on the ratio between beeswax and other butters and oils. In this blend we want a spreadable, softer texture, so the ratio is 5:1 (5 parts natural butters and oils, to 1 part beeswax). I also use 6:1 for a soft texture.

Let the beeswax melt. Then…

01 coconut oilAdd the coconut oil: Coconut oil can withstand a lot of heat, so it’s okay to add it to your Pyrex early on in the melting process.

Add the cocoa butter: Cocoa butter can also withstand heat. Add it to your Pyrex and stir as it melts.

Add the shea butter: Remove the blend from the stove immediately after adding the shea butter. Shea can’t withstand as much heat as beeswax, coconut oil, and cocoa butter (it gets grainy). So just lift the Pyrex out of the pot (the handle should not be burning, but be careful), or leave the Pyrex in but move the pot off the heat, and stir the blend until all the chunks of shea are fully melted. (Tip: The smaller your chunks of shea, the sooner they will melt!)

That’s it for this recipe! Pour it into your jars and let it cool. It should be ready to use in a few hours.

Now, let’s say you want to swap out some ingredients and make a different recipe…

…perhaps one that is used for a specific skin issue. You can absolutely do that by learning the properties of each butter and oil and keeping the textures in mind.

When you learn how to melt shea butter and natural oils, a few main points to remember are:

  • The consistency of the natural butter or oil
  • How much heat it can withstand
  • The therapeutic intention for the butter

If you don’t have cocoa butter, for example, you can swap it out for something with similar properties and a similar firm, chunky texture, such as kpangnan butter.

I hope you enjoy this great base recipe, which you can adjust to your own preferences and ingredients. Have fun blending!

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Make Sports Massage Oil with Spike Lavender

by Andrea Butje on April 13, 2015

sports massage oilI have an easy-to-make recipe for sports massage oil to share with you!

There are only two ingredients, so you can even make it if your body is sore after a workout and just wants a hot bath. The ingredients are Trauma Oil and Spike Lavender essential oil (Lavandula latifolia). We can keep this recipe simple because these two ingredients are so ideal for soothing sore muscles.

Trauma Oil is one of my favorite carrier oils for relieving pain. It’s actually an infusion of three flowers in olive oil. The herbs are St. John’s wort, calendula, and arnica.

St. John’s wort is an excellent analgesic for nerve pain, so it helps soothe discomfort quickly. The arnica helps reduce pain and inflammation, speeding up the tissues’ process of self-repair. The calendula is more to nourish the skin itself.

Trauma Oil is so effective for sore muscles, I sometimes use it without adding essential oil. But for a sports massage oil, I like to take the healing and comfort up a notch.

You can make this sports massage oil in a 1 oz (30 ml) glass bottle. Combine:

  • 1 oz (30 ml) Trauma Oil
  • 15 drops Spike Lavender essential oil

Close the lid and shake gently, then massage into sore muscles as needed. You can use this blend right after a workout (if you suspect you’ve pushed your muscles a little too hard), or you can use it after your muscles start complaining.

Why Spike Lavender, and not Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia)? Spike Lavender has some key chemical differences.

  • It contains camphor, which has wonderful circulatory and rubifacient effects, so it stimulates blood flow.
  • It also has contains 1,8 cineole, which boosts the analgesic, antispasmodic, and anti-inflammatory properties of the recipe.

So Spike Lavender has an enhanced ability to get circulation going and relieve muscle soreness.

I just love simple recipes like this! You can even make a little bottle to keep in your gym bag.

If you’d like to learn more about using aromatherapy for massage, you can come to my free webinar, “Reduce Your Clients’ Pain Using Aromatherapy.” In the webinar, I’m sharing six of my favorite aromatherapy for massage blends, including butters, oils, and inhalers, as well as how to price your blends for purchase. You can sign up here: Reduce Your Clients’ Pain Using Aromatherapy

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