The benefits of shea butter have been known for many years. It comes from Africa and has been used to rejuvenate the hair and skin. It can take up to 30 years for a shea-karite tree to bear a high quality crop of nuts to produce the fatty acid that makes the shea butter. It has excellent healing properties and is considered much better than cocoa butter or other vegetable butters. It can be stored at room temperature but will start to lose some of its effectiveness after a couple of years.
Put it in a bowl of warm water. Shea butter does not have to be boiling because it has a low boiling point and, if it gets too hot, it will actually lose some of its healing qualities. Place the shea butter in a water-proof container and submerge it into the warm water. It will soften fairly quickly.
Heat it by sunlight. If you have an area of your house or apartment that gets a good amount of sun, put it in a container and leave it in the sun for a while. Check it often and remove it from the sun once its able to be scooped with your hands.
Place it next to a heat vent. Shea butter heats and melts quickly, so you can put it close to a heat source but not directly on it. Check it occasionally and remove it from the heat source once it has reached the desired softness.
Use it. Just by putting it in your hands, your body temperature will start to soften it. The more you rub it on your body, the softer it will get.
Melt it. Depending on how soft you want it, you can always put it in a sauce pan and melt it. It will harden more after melting, but doesn't take long to melt.