“Why does Shea butter/my GF balm get little granules in it sometimes?”

Shea butter, doing its thing.

Shea butter. It’s got a real personality of its own. You may never experience this, as it depends on  the season or the climate you live in, but grainy balm is a little fact of life when you deal with very natural products. I do what I can to control graininess, but keep in mind that the ingredients I use are so natural and unrefined, that they like to just do their own thing, whatever little talents mother nature gave them. In the case of Shea, it gets a little grainy at times.

So, this is a pretty common question I get, along the lines of “I love my grapefruit cleansing balm! But what are the little granules in it? They melt super easily and are smooth, I’m just curious about what they actually are.”

The reason is simple, and the solution (should you even want to “fix” the texture) is easy and takes 5 minutes or so.

These little granules that sometimes happen are perfectly natural and normal, and doesn’t mean that your product has gone bad or that something’s wrong with it. This is a common occurrence with natural, unrefined Shea butter, and sometimes, cocoa butter.

I won’t get all super sciencey on you, but basically what happens is that Shea is made of several different types of fat. When temperatures change, the Shea melts, and then the like-fats all congregate and hang out together by the chip bowl. When the butter cools again, they crystallize, or harden, at different speeds, causing little granules to form. The more the butter melts and re-hardens, the more granules you get. Keep in mind that Shea butter melts at the same temperature as human skin (one reason why we love it so much), which also means that sunshine, travel, humidity, sitting close to a heater, or being in a hot bathroom can all cause fluctuations in the texture of the balm.

If you like the granules, then party on, Wayne. Many people love the smooth granules that melt quickly, especially when they use their GF balm as a balm cleanser as it adds a little exfoliation/massage. If you prefer a smooth texture, here’s what you can do:

1. Boil some water in a kettle, then pour the hot water in a cereal bowl. (Just make sure it’s about the same height as your jar of GF….at least more or less. No need to get all anal about it.)

2.  Wait about 30 seconds or so for the water to cool slightly. You don’t want to actually boil your product!! With the lid on very tight, gently drop your jar of GF into the bowl. Don’t worry, the label won’t be affected. They seem to be essentially bullet-proof.

3. Give your GF a 5 minute bath. A little longer is fine, too, but I said this would take 5 minutes and I’m sticking to it.

4. Using tongs, lift your jar out of the water. If you want, you can carefully open the jar and give the contents a stir, but honestly it’s not really needed, and you might risk losing a little product that way. Best to move onto step 5 right away….

5. Pop that jar in the fridge! (**NOT the freezer!!!**)

After half an hour or so, the balm has been set. (And yes, I still count this as a 5-minute fix because you don’t need to do anything while the jar is chilling, k?)

You can repeat this process as often as you like. If you do it very often, you may find that the essential oils are wearing off, so I wouldn’t recommend doing this more than 3 times to the same balm.

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