My shea butter separated, now what do I do?

Natural BeautyThere are so many benefits of using pure, organic and unrefined products.  However, those that regularly use natural unrefined products know that they can be pretty temperamental.  East African Shea Butter is no exception.  One of the reasons the customers reach out is that their East African Shea butter has separated. This tends to happen in the warmer months because of the hotter temperatures where shipping and storage conditions can be extreme.  If your East African Shea butter has a texture that is grainy, gritty, beady, or lumpy, it may have separated.  There is no need to worry, grainy shea butter is still fine to use and will melt completely into your skin when applied.

Why does shea butter separate?

Shea butter is naturally comprised of several different complex fatty acids (oils), predominantly stearic and oleic acid.  Each of these fatty acids has a different melting and solidification point.  Therefore, shea butter has a melting range of 82 – 98.6° F (28 – 37 ° C). Sometimes shipping and storage conditions, (like leaving in a hot car) can partially or completely melt the shea butter.  When shea butter comes back to room temperature slowly the oils solidify at different temperatures causing it to separate. This makes it feel grainy and gritty and it may even appear oily or lumpy.

These are some of the reasons why we feel it is important to package our Wise Owl Organic East African Shea butter in a glass jar.  The glass is good insulator, offering better protection from temperature changes during storage and shipping.  There are other benefits to packaging in glass that can be read in another one of our posts here.

For those of you that are fine with a grainy shea butter texture, it is perfectly fine to use as is.  In fact, all of the oils will melt into your skin as you apply it since the high end of the melting range is the natural body temperature of 98° F.

However, for those of you who want to get the product back to a smooth and creamy consistency, we have put together a quick tutorial below.

A simple way to fix grainy shea butter…

  1. Fill a sauce pan with about an inch of water and place your GLASS JAR of Wise Owl Organics East African Shea Butter in the sauce pan and slowly heat the water over medium heat.

Please note: We do not recommend doing this with shea butter that is packaged in plastic container. It is not safe to heat some plastics, it can be dangerous, and may cause chemicals to leach into your shea butter. 


  1. The water does not need to come to a full boil.  This should only take a couple minutes depending on how quickly your water heats ups.  As your shea butter begins to melt, stir it slowly in the jar without letting any water get in.

  1. Once the shea butter has melted, remove it from the pan, stir it really good and put the lid on.

  1. Place the jar in the freezer for about 30 minutes. By placing it in the freezer, this allows the oils to cool more rapidly and stops it from separating.

  1. After 30 minutes remove the jar from the freezer and let it return to room temperature. Your Wise Owl Organics East African Shea Butter should be back to its original creamy, silky, consistency.