Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Experimenting in the workshop: Whipped shea without butter - cetyl alcohol

For the whipped shea without butter experiment, I know I need some shea oil and a thickener. Today I'm experimenting with cetyl alcohol...

For my first experiment, I used 90% shea oil and 10% cetyl alcohol. I weighed both together in a Pyrex jug, then put it into the double boiler. It melted relatively quickly - maybe 5 minutes? - and I removed it from the heat and put it into the freezer for about 35 minutes. When I removed it, it had hardened completely, so I started to whip it. I whipped it for a minute or two, then added 1% fragrance oil (something cupcake-y!) and whipped it further.

I returned the next morning and it had separated! What? There's no water in there? Oh, right, it was really warm yesterday, so some of the oils must have melted and sunk to the bottom of the container (the oils were heavier than the whippy part of the whipped not-butter).

Before the melt down (pun intended), it did feel really nice on my skin, but it wasn't exactly what I wanted it to be. It was very light, but a bit gooey looking, almost like royal icing. It was light and moisturizing without being really heavy. I think I'll try this again with 20% cetyl alcohol in the near future...

Join me tomorrow for whipped not-butter with stearic acid!

4 comments:

Tara said...

You had warm weather yesterday?!? Lucky!

p said...

I'm glad you're trying out this experiment! I'd love to know more about why some butters can be whipped (and why others can't, and whether you can whip balms made of liquid oils & waxes...). I make an anhydrous body butter (liquid oils, mango butter, some beeswax - it's looser than your balms), and I've often wondered if I could whip it.

Fatima Issa said...

Hi there Susan!

I have a question regarding the maximum usage rate of cetyl alcohol? I want to make a body butter with a salve consistency (but still water-based) that doesn't leave a greasy feeling. I was hoping using a high % of cetyl would get me there :)

thanks!

Fatima

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Fatima. The only maximum is what you like to feel on your skin. Use as much as you want to get the skin feel you want.