Yes, it happens when the butters weren't tempered properly. I used to get grains all the time too. And sometimes even get grainy butters from suppliers because they melt during transit. But you can easily fix this by remelting your body butter and put it in the freezer to set. Freezing make the butters solidify quicker and not crystalize (grains).
Shea butter is also known as African Karite Butter. This is smooth and creamy just like room temperature butter. When added to soaps it gives an exotic feel that is so luxurious once you experience it you may never want to be without it.
Shea butter can also be added to creams and lotions or used alone for massage or skin cream. Please remember a little shea goes a long way.
Please note: Recently we have become aware that other vendors are suggesting you heat shea butter to 170 degrees F for a period of 45 minutes to prevent graininess. This can be very damaging to the shea butter and will drastically reduce the shelf life as well. Worst of all, it will not work! Shea butter will become grainy, or fractionate, with the addition of heat. Body temperature alone will start this reaction.
When shea butter is refined the prevention of graininess is achieved by quick cooling. Our recommendation is to heat the shea butter with your other ingredients just until everything is melted and can be mixed thoroughly. Then cool lip balms and body butters quickly. Quick cooling can be accomplished by pouring your butters into cool containers, pouring shallowly, and cool room temperatures or the use of the refrigerator. Do not use the freezer to firm the products you have just made. Once the shea butter has been made into a smooth fat again freezing will not harm the butter. Graining of shea butter has not been a problem in soaps and lotions.
Graining does not make the shea butter bad or harmful, it simply is an appearance issue which may also turn into an unpleasant application issue. Think of rubbing sand across your legs versus a smooth, creamy butter. We thought you would prefer the butter! If you need additional assistance with this heating issue please let us know. We also do a lot of work for those who have formulation or technique problems which encourage the graining to occur. Just drop us a note and we will help.
We are very concerned about the proper treatment and handling of this product. We want you to make wonderful products and feel education and the truth will prevail.
Expeller pressed, without solvents, product of Holland.
I forgot to say in my last post that I also had troubles with grainy body butter and I was using raw shea. I haven't yet tried to make anything else with shea, but when I do I'm going to give the quick cooling method a try.
Ah, good point, I did not check it before I whipped it, it was quite smooshy at RT, so I didn't bother melting it. It is possible that it was already grainy before I got to it! It was only a small amount, so I'll use it up as is, and check the next batch I order. It was refined, not raw by the way.
I just made the next mini batch of whipped shea. I melted it and kept it liquid for about 15 minutes. Then I added a little macadamia nut and grapeseed oils. Then I cooled and whipped it, added a little cornstarch and some vanilla extract and lavender EO. It has whipped to a beautiful consistency, not grainy at all, I'm so pleased, I just thought I'd share my joy with you all!!
what was the percentage of liquid oils you added? and how did you get it into the containers? I would love to make a whipped shea/cocoa butter product but I haven't had any luck - it seems like I whip it forever and nothing happens...
simplyamanda, I'm afraid that I did not measure accurately for this, sorry! I just put about 3tbsp shea butter, melted it, then added a swig of the other 2 oils, and whipped. I stood the bowl in a larger bowl with iced water, it makes it whip much faster. I spooned the resulting whip into a jar, it sets a bit firmer when it has thoroughly cooled.