Shea butter is our most prized ingredient yet it is also the most finicky to work with. I found this article on the web and thought I would post so you can better understand the nature of shea and how it is always a challenge to work with.
The texture of Shea butter is another frequently asked question. Why is some shea butter smooth and some grainy: I will attempt to answer this question based on my experience and some research. Shea butter becomes grainy due to changes in temperature. When the butter melts and then cools, crystals can form during the cooling process.
When Shea butter is extracted by traditional or cold pressed methods, the texture is always smooth and creamy to touch. Shea butter is a tropical product and in the tropics the weather throughout the year remains pretty much the same - hot! The result is that while in Africa the texture of shea butter remains smooth due to the consistently warm weather. There are some exceptions to this rule - During the months of November through January some of the northern parts of Nigeria, Togo and Ghana experience cooler temperatures when the cold air from the desert blows across the continent bringing night time temperatures down to 50 -60 degrees. I have been told that shea butter can become grainy under those conditions also.
If you get a shipment of Shea butter from Africa during the summer months you will most likely enjoy the nice smooth texture. The texture is so smooth you may not even need to melt it to make whipped butter and balms. However, once the butter goes through the hot and cold temperature changes, it may become grainy.
Grainy shea butter is not bad shea butter. The grainy texture is not an indication of poor quality of the butter or the extraction method. Like most things that are pure and natural, they react to their envirnoment. The only way to keep them stable is by introducing some kind of additive and that really doen't make much sense.