Sunday, January 23, 2011

Experimenting in the workshop: Avocado butter

Randi from Creations by Eden sent me out some green avocado butter, which is "...made from solid fraction of raw-green avocado oil, then fortified with sal butter-stearic fraction and virgin oil de coco-crème® solid fraction." It's light green in colour and has a very earthy smell to it. It's quite hard and would need to be melted to include it in anything - you can't just whip this butter from room temperature!

I decided to do something basic with it and make a whipped butter. I used rice bran oil, because that was the challenge for the Iron Chemist and it was sitting right on top of my work table, and fragrance so I could get a better idea of the consistency and feel of the butter on my skin.

77% green avocado butter
22% rice bran oil
1% fragrance oil (Clementine Cupcake, what else?)

I melted the avocado butter and rice bran oil in my double boiler and heated until it melted. I put it in the freezer to harden. After 40 minutes, the middle was still liquidy, so I left it in for another 10 minutes. (I would normally leave shea, mango, or cocoa butter for about half an hour.) It was still liquidy, but I wanted to play with it so I removed it from the freezer, added my fragrance oil, then started whipping it with my whisks. It whipped up very nicely...but I can't get over that earthy smell. I added another 1% Clementine Cupcake fragrance oil and whipped a little more. Nope, still smelling it. So another 1% - I wouldn't go higher than 3% in a leave on product - and more whipping.

What do I think of it? I really like the feeling of this butter. It feels a lot like babassu oil in that it melts on contact with your skin. It's greasy-ish at first, but starts to feel drier after about 10 minutes or so (I think the greasiness comes from the rice bran oil, not the butter). I really like it...but I can't get over the earthy smell.

I don't tend to use unrefined butters because that earthy smell really gets to me, and this is one of the strongest I've smelled in a while. It's not an unpleasant smell, but it's something I don't tend to like in my products. If you like earthy smells - for instance, I can't stand having patchouli in the house or even catching a whiff of it at the farmers' market - then this is a great butter for you. If you don't, then use the butter at lower levels in your products.

Why use avocado butter? Avocado oil is filled with phytosterols and polyphenols that are fantastic for reducing inflammation and itchiness. It's great in a hair care product as it's easily absorbed, and it might help with dandruff prone hair. (Click on the link for more information on this oil.)

As an aside, my husband woke up yesterday morning and said to me, "You're lucky you don't have a stupid husband." I agree with him, but why? "Because you leave out these containers with things that look like icing and smell like cupcakes, and a stupid husband would eat them and die." One wouldn't die from eating whipped avocado butter, but it wouldn't taste like cupcakes. "But how do I know it doesn't taste like it smells? It looks like icing! You're so lucky I'm not stupid." He went on to suggest I should bake some cupcakes so we had something in the house that smelled and tasted like cupcakes. I think he's right - we need some real cupcakes! (I think you've figured out by now that I'm obsessed with cupcakes! And I haven't even shown you my cupcake fabric pillowcases!) And I am a lucky woman to have him (not just because he avoids eating my products)!


Randi said...

ROFL! That little story was funny...

I personally do not like Patchouli at all (the aged stuff I find more tolerable), but I really do not mind the scent of the Avocado butter. It does have a scent though. I do find at 5% or so, it can easily be masked by fragrance or essential oil.

Thanks for playing with it Susan! I always appreciate your insight :)

Katie Pallen said...

I am just wondering why you did not use a preservative in this product? I just made a whipped shea butter for the first time using sweet almond butter, shea, vitamin e, and essential oils. It sounds like its consistency is similar to yours and it too is a little greasy at first but soaks in nicely. Loving your blog! I was considering doing lotions but am honestly afraid now of all of the bacteria and such that can grow on it. I also read that you do not consider there to be any natural preservative. Your post was from a little while ago, so maybe you have changed your thoughts on this?

Love that you're from the lower mainland. I am a Langley girl living in Vancouver right now.

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Katie! I've answered your question about using a preservative in this product in this post (short answer: we don't add preservative to anhydrous or water-free products) and I've started a short series on "natural" preservatives here (I've got natural in quotes because I don't know if they're natural, but they are Ecocert.) The short answer: There are Ecocert approved preservatives out there, but there are many restrictions on their use, which is annoying.

Thanks for the inspiration for these posts!

Anonymous said...

Hi, I am a newbie and i wanted to know how can I make a large batch of the whipped avocado butter.

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Anonymous. Follow the recipe in the post and just make it bigger.

Camirra said...

I just got the avocado butter from bramble berry and it has no smell at all. It is so creamy and smooth, this was my first time trying it so I was super surprised. Maybe you would want to give that one a try. Left my skin feeling super soft, and no smell.

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Camirra! I really don't like the smell of earthy things - patchouli, certain oils, sandalwood, incense, and so on - so this just isn't the butter for me. I don't like anything other than ultra refined or refined shea as it's too smoky for me. I appreciate the suggestion, but I think the cold reality is that this isn't the butter for me.

On that note, have you tried babassu oil yet? It's epic!