Saturday, September 25, 2010

Experiments in the workshop: Whipped golden shea butter

I admit I'm not normally a fan of unrefined shea butter. It can go grainy much more easily than the refined stuff I use, and sometimes there's a smoky nutty kind of scent that doesn't seem to agree with me. So I was a little apprehensive about using golden shea butter, sent to me by Randi of Creations from Eden in Edmonton.

We all know about the awesome power of regular shea butter - with the wonderful phytosterols, polyphenols, and fatty acids that offer moisturizing, softening, wound healing, skin regenerating, and skin protecting properties - so what does golden shea butter offer that the other doesn't? Golden shea is purported to be a rawer shea than normal shea, and it may contain higher levels of the unsaponifiable portion of the butter, meaning there's more polyphenols like cinnamic acid that can help with skin cell regeneration, a reduction of irritation, and behave as a very light sunscreen (although I wouldn't trust it for that purpose).

This golden shea butter has a really nice scent, and it's harder and thicker than my normal refined stuff. It doesn't feel as greasy as normal shea butter, but it is a little harder to spread on my skin. The golden colour is very appealing - I'm not sure why, but it seems more luxurious to me than the white stuff. It doesn't whip as easily as the refined shea - you can see more about this in the recipe below.

My favourite thing to make with shea butter is a whipped butter, so it seemed logical to start the experimentation with this product. Since I've been having such fun playing with esters lately, I thought I'd whip this shea with some ethylhexyl palmitate and a little IPM to make a lovely moisturizing butter with a little less greasiness than I'd normally feel. (Yes, I generally like greasy products, but I'm experimenting!) And I'm including the Vitamin E for the goodness it offers for my skin, not to increase the shelf life - golden shea is reported to have a four year life span, so I'm not that worried as I know this'll be gone in a month or so!

If you don't want to play with esters, then just add 23% oil of choice to this recipe in place of the ethylhexyl palmitate and IPM. If you want to make this a little more occlusive, choose C12-15 alkyl benzoate or a heavier oil like avocado, olive, or jojoba for the oil portion. If you want to make this lighter, use fractionated coconut oil or soybean, sunflower, sweet almond, or apricot kernel for the oil portion. Cetearyl ethylhexanoate would be an amazing ester to use with this recipe, but I chose not to use it as I really needed a whipped butter with Clementine Cupcake fragrance (from Brambleberry) and we know it doesn't play well with vanilla based fragrances.

75% golden shea
21% ethylhexyl palmitate
2% IPM
1% fragrance oil
1% Vitamin E

Weigh the golden shea, ethylhexyl palmitate, and IPM into a heat proof container and melt slightly. Remove from the heat and add the fragrance oil and Vitamin and whip until fluffy. Pipe into containers with an icing bag and a 1M tip or spoon into a lovely jar and enjoy.

I found this to be really grainy and that's an unpleasant feeling. My suggestion is to melt it completely, then put it in the freezer to cool down very very quickly. Remove from the freezer after about 30 minutes - it should have a solid layer of shea butter on top with liquid underneath - and whip until you are happy with the consistency. When I made this recipe the second time, I followed this process and it wasn't grainy at all!

This feels really lovely on my skin. It's thicker than my regular shea butter, so I had to work a little harder to get it onto my skin (low spreading) but it felt really nice and the occlusive layer of moisturizing stuck around for a long time.

I did make a third version of this butter using Captex SBE (found at the Herbarie as Natrabutter or Lotioncrafter as ButterEz) and it removed the grains amazingly well. But that's for another post!

Join me tomorrow to make an awesome sugar scrub with golden shea butter.


p said...

I'm intrigued by Captex SBE - how does it work to prevent/remove graininess?

Amanda said...

Great posts! I am also interested in butterEZ.... How does it work? Also I'm looking for more information on tempering butters and a really good explanation of what that does to prevent grain. It seems like a lot of work but I'll do it if it works well. Also I understand you can break a temper and am wondering if you know anything about that. Thanks in advance

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

It appears I never wrote about Butter EZ/Captex SBE? What? Really? Seriously? I didn't! Eek! I'll have to rectify that soon. It's going on the to-do list right now. I've already done all the experiments and took pictures and everything!

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Amanda. Check out this post on tempering butters to see what I think is a good explanation on how to do it and why it works!