I would say it smells a little "earthy", perhaps it's mold? I don't want to use it in my soap, I'm so disappointed, it's such a waste I am trying to find a substitute for it in my soap. it only calls for .96 of an ounce so it's not a large amount. Any idea what I can sub? I have everything already weighed out and in the pot for tomorrow.
I have some babassu oil, would that work? Or maybe palm?
That looks okay to me. Do you just mean the combination of graininess and smoothness, darker and light? Mine looks like that after freezing & thawing, and I've had no problems. Also, shea butter does have an earthy smell of sorts. My suggestion is to use it for the small amount you need. Take good notes through time and see if it really is trouble.
I also think it's fine. It reminds me of what happens to chocolate bars in the summer when it gets hot. The fat separates from the chocolate and leaves discolored ugly spots. I've had that happen to my shea butter before and used it with no issues. It's happened with the batch of shea I bought that came in solid blocks like that, but not the batch that came in from WSP. (WSP sells it in a sort of shaved and softened form in a resealable bag.) If you're uncomfortable using it in soap, scrape the discolored part away and put it into a container for personal use on hands, feet and elbows. Shea is awesome for that!! I know I dip into the bag every now and then when my skin is feeling particularly bad.
ETA: I love the smell of unrefined shea. Hate the smell of unrefined cocoa butter, though. Odd right? Most people are the opposite.
It doesn't have to be refrigerated, but it will extend shelf life. My eyes were bigger than my molds when I first ordered shea butter, and I had more than I could use for quite a long time. So I refrigerated and froze some of it. It has a reasonably long shelf life on its own though if it's kept cool and dark outside of a refrigerator. I had unrefrigerated shea about 2.5 years old that never went bad, though I did live in a very cool climate for most of that time. I still have some in the frig; it's just over 3 years old and there is no indication there is anything wrong with it.
Shea is expensive to buy in small quantities but is quite more affordable in bulk. I use it in winter soap formulations as well as body butters and other b&b goodies. I do like having it around, and will surely wrestle with how much to buy when my stock finally runs out.
I have put it in the fridge but I can easily move it to the freezer. DeeAnna, I did what you said and it wasn't like a powdery mold that would cover my fingers. When I started soaping I didn't have any clue what I was doing, so I just ordered shea butter, haha, I didn't realize you use such a small amount of it in soap, this will last me a lifetime since I rarely use a recipe with it in there. Thank you!
I refrigerate mine also, to maintain a long life and have never had anything like that. My first batch I bought was in the fridge for about 2 years with no issues. Good to know it's still fine...I would have had doubts also.