Unrefined Shea Butter

Soapmaking Forum

Help Support Soapmaking Forum:

This site may earn a commission from merchant affiliate links, including eBay, Amazon, and others.


Well-Known Member
Aug 26, 2014
Reaction score
I normally use refined shea butter to make my scrubs, I love the fluffy light texture but have been reading "unrefined" shea butter was suppose to be better. I made a batch last night and am highly disappointed. The texture was extremely thick, dry and hard. Does anyone out there use unrefined shea butter and do you think if I mix the unrefined with the refined I would get my old texture back? I purchased 10 lbs of this stuff and want to salvage it if I can.
I only use unrefined so can't help. I've not noticed an odd texture at all in mine. But, then I don't have anything to compare it to. Sorry not much help but hope you figure it out. Do you make emulsified scrub or just mix shea and sugar? Mine is emulsified so I melt my oils etc first. May be the difference.
I only use butters, sugar and oils, no waxes and other additives. I do melt my butters first, let them cool and then proceed with adding the other ingredients.
Hmmmm, not sure why it's not working for you. Maybe adding a bit more liquid oil would help with the texture? I make whipped shea butter with unrefined shea as well and it's nice and fluffy but again I have nothing else to compare it to as I've always used unrefined. Someone else may respond with some wisdom for you. Good luck with it. It's always a bummer when things don't work out.
I haven't noticed a texture difference with refined. Vs unrefined, only just a slight colour difference. I also would try using more liquid oils. And modifying your recipe that way if you find the Shea too thick.
Is it possible the difference is caused more by the source of shea, rather than refining?

I've had unrefined shea that was soft enough to apply like a whipped butter, and refined butter that was hard as a rock.
I personally would not use unrefined butters in a leave-on product.

I have read too much about mold, "off smells" etc in unrefined butters. I don't care what the prevailing opinion about much "better" and "more natural" they are, mold and bacteria are not better for you.

I would use up the rest in soap, unless you started seeing visible mold or it smells bad, in which case I would just toss it.
I melted the butter, put it in the frig for about 30 minutes and whipped it. The texture was so stiff, I did put more oil but that didn't help. What I think I'm going to do is take a portion of it and mix it with refined shea butter. What do you think

Tempering Butter 101(shea, mango, and cocoa)

Although I am in love with lotion bars and lip balm, I felt that mine were turning out slightly grainy. It isn't something that completely ruins the products, for as soon as they warm up the graininess goes away and it melts into your skin, but I have not been entirely happy with them. I learned that the culprit is my butters. This has nothing to do with the quality of the butters, but more that the fluctuation in temperature causes the butters to crystallize. The best way to get rid of the graininess is to temper the butters. Maintaining a high heat for a prolonged amount of time causes the crystals to melt completely, resulting in smooth butter (hopefully). Each butter has a slightly different process, so I will share a little on each one.

Shea Butter: Heat to 170 - 185 degrees. Maintain this temperature for approximately 15-30 minutes.
Mango Butter: Heat slowly to 100 degrees. Maintain this temperature for 45-60 minutes.
Cocoa Butter: Heat slowly to 100 degrees. Maintain this temperature for 45-60 minutes.

Slowly melt the butter, lifting the thermometer
out and away from the pot occasionally to
get an accurate temperature.

The most difficult part of this process is maintaining the temperature. I heated my butters in a pot on my gas stove on low and stirred and watched until it was melted, all the while constantly watching the temperature. With the shea butter, I slowly raised the temperature until I reached the desired 175, then eased it back down. The mango and cocoa butter, in order to maintain 100 degrees, I had to alternately turn the burner on and off as the temperature climbed and decreased (usually in about 10 minute intervals). It was kind of a long, tedious process, but I hope it will be worth it when I have nice, smooth lotion bars.

I have also reformulated my lotion bars, adding mango and vitamin E to create a more moisturizing bar that has more "slip" on the skin.

Latest posts