Gritty Beeswax and Grainy Butters (Solving Common DIY Problems)

Beeswax and butters are common ingredients in DIY personal care projects like lotion bars, salves, and lip balms. I’m going to address two common problems people can have with these ingredients and how to solve them.

Problem: If you use unrefined beeswax there is particulate matter that will make your final product a little gritty. Personally, I love using unrefined beeswax and I suggest it to others – it’s got a rich amber color that is beautiful and it smells like honey!

Solution: Its simple, but it did take a batch of gritty lotion bars for me to do this.

  1. Melt the beeswax either in a metal pot or in a Pyrex measuring cup, placed in a pot with water. Heat slowly until melted.
  2. Place in the freezer until it is solid again.
  3. Take the beeswax out of the container and you’ll see the particulate matter settled at the bottom. Simply cut or skim off the dark stuff with a knife.
  4. You can repeat this process with the beeswax and particulate matter mix and see if you can filter it out further to maximize how much clean beeswax you can retain.

Problem: You’re super excited to open up that container of creamy, luscious Shea butter only to find it’s grainy and gritty. This problem commonly happens with Shea butter and Mango butter, but I’ve also gotten an Olive butter than was grainy. My understanding is that this can occur in almost any vegetable butter that is unrefined.

Why does this happen? The issue is due to the different melting points of the various fatty acids in the butter. If the butter melts, or semi-melts, and then cools too slowly, the fatty acids solidify at different rates and start to crystallize. This doesn’t impact the quality of the butter at all, it’s just not a very pleasant feel for skin products.

Solution: Reheat your butter and cool it down quickly. Or more detailed:

  1. Using a double boiler or the Pyrex in water bath method, slowly reheat the butter until melted.
  2. Hold at the melting temp for 20 minutes. The company From Nature With Love says to hold Shea butter at 175° F (80° C).
  3. Remove from heat and place in the freezer.

    Shea Butter brand I buy with filtered beeswax and lotion bars.

Your butter should be nice and smooth after this! I’ve done this successfully with Olive butter and Shea butter. The last time I had Mango butter in my supplies, I didn’t know about this trick so I just suffered through the graininess.

Good luck and happy DIYing!