LisaLise's Fail-Safe Whipped Shea Balm

A lot of home crafters (and pro cosmetics makers) have a love/hate relationship with shea butter. That's understandable.

My Position 

Shea has far too much to offer in the way of skin and hair care to be dismissed. Over the years, I have worked with it countless ways - in emulsions, melt-and-pour products, bars, bath products, hair products, and a plethora of skin care products.

Along the way, there have been lots of opportunities to make mistakes. And there have been many. I have also learned from every one of them.

Today, I'm going to show you how I make whipped shea.

Ingredients and Equipment


  • Shea Butter 
  • Jojoba 
  • Essential oils of choice (optional)


  • Glass Beaker (or other heat-proof container)
  • Container (in which to whip your mixture)
  • Handmixer
  • Accurate scale
  • Piping bag
  • Empty containers for your product


  • 19 - 19.5 % jojoba 
  • 80 %  shea
  • 0.5 - 1%  essential oil (optional)


Sanitize your equipment and be sure your work area is clean.

Weigh oil

An accurate scale is gold when working with smaller amounts. Here it's obvious there is almost a full gram too much.

Weigh Shea

Weigh the shea.

Cut Shea

Cut the shea into small pieces - as uniform as possible.

Allow it to reach room temperature.

Transfer the shea to your 'whipping container'.

Heat oil

Heat the oil slowly then transfer it to the shea.


Whip the mixture. Start at a slow speed, then increase speed until the mixture has an even consistency.

Add Essential Oil

If you want to add essential oils, now is the time.

Final Whip

Whip the mixture again until the consistency is light and airy.

Transfer and Set

Transfer the mixture to a piping bag. Pipe into your container and let set.

Texture, Color and Feel

When set, the texture should be light and airy yet stable. You should be able to easily dip into the balm without having to 'dig it out'.

As you can see above, my final product has a yellowish tinge. This is due to the essential oils in this batch.

Get the Full Story

Get the complete step by step of this formula with all of my best tips in my book Working With Shea Butter. Just want the formula? That's available too - right here.


MissPolymer said…
Thank you so much Lisa for this detailed instructions <3 I'll try your method now. In the past I made some lipbalms with shea and after a while I ended up with granules in all the balms, so I stopped using shea at all :( Would it be because I heated up (melted) everything together including the shea butter? I left it to cool on the counter. Also, do you have any tips on how to make a lipbalm/stick with shea (as I would need a harder consistency, not whipped). Best regards
Tina LeGrand said…
Coincidentally, I made some body butter this weekend. I whipped it but it set hard as a rock. I used 50% mango butter, 45% meadowfoam oil, vitE, EO. Did I not whip it enough? Too fast? Not fast enough? I actually made two batches, hoping the second batch would come out lighter, but it came out the same-hard like a rock.
Signe said…
Interesting -my shea body butter is always hard too, like Tina's. But I make it differently, I melt shea butter and then whip it with oil using ice outside of the bowl. Could that make so huge difference? Need to try Lisa's method next time...
LisaLise said…
Hey there MissPolymer - You might find some useful info in some of my earlier posts on shea - particularly the one titled 'battling shea butter graininess - and winning'. Best of luck!

Hi Tina LeGrand - mango butter is a harder butter than shea. Consequently, you'll need a higher oil to butter ratio than 50-50 if you want the end product softer. Try starting 40% butter and 60% oil and then tweaking from there to your desired texture. Make small batches at a time. :)

Hi Signe - you are using a classic method for whipping shea butter and it does work for many. You have to be very aware of both temperature and proportions when working with shea - never overheat the shea. If your body butter is turning out too hard, try adjusting the proportions first. If that don't work, then change the method. If you change only ONE thing at a time, you'll always be able to pinpoint the problem/solution. Best of luck with it.
Signe said…
I'm too lazy to measure temperatures...but I haven't heated oils at all, only melted shea butter to liquid. Perhaps I work with too cool ingredients? Ratios have been 75-80:25-20, so I've tried to add more liquid oil, but never half and half. Need to use my hard body butter first and then try your way. :)
Christopher said…
Will definitely try this. Thanks for the tips. Btw those square paper sheets are genius, where do you get them?
LisaLise said…
Hi Signe - I would try reversing things and heat the oil - not the shea. This gives me the best result.

Hi Christopher - the papers are actually sold pre-cut in Denmark as papers to use for layering between open-face sandwiches when packing kids lunches. I use them for everything but! They're also great to lay on the scale when measuring out ingredients.
Anonymous said…
Lovely! I shall try this out! I have made some balms before with shea and a cream with shea, jojoba, and aloe that actually stays emulsified, but in a very tiny batch since I didn't have a preservative, kept in the fridge, and used within a week. I won't attempt that again until I get a proper, natural preservative. Anyways, I prefer shea balms a bit more than wax since beeswax balms tend to clog my skin =(
LisaLise said…
HI Ashlynn - I think some people add water-based ingredients to cut any greasy feel, but if you add a small amount of cornstarch or arrowroot powder, you'll get a drier feel without sacrificing quality and can safely make a preservative-free batch. Best of luck with your water-free balms!
AnnaMK said…
I agree that shea butter is nit always that easy to work with but I think it is very much worth the trouble! My skin loves it :-)

LisaLise said…
Hi Anna - you and I alike! My skin and shea get along quite well. :)
Anonymous said…
Hi Lise

Where did you buy your scale?

Is the texture of your butter more like a mousse or cream rather than real butter? I've tried this method before and found that it was like a mousse.

Thanks Ayanda
LisaLise said…
Hey there Ayanda - The texture is more like a mousse - not very heavy.

As for the scale, that's a great question… I've had this scale forever and ever and cannot remember where I bought it. I do know that most cosmetics ingredients suppliers offer scales that measure down to a tenth of a gram, so my best suggestion for you is to check the links on the sidebar (you'll need to view the web version to find it). Best of luck with it!