Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Why the heck did I buy this and what can I do with it? Captex SBE or ButterEZ

There's nothing more frustrating than making a delicious body butter from some unrefined shea only to find out that it's riddled with specks of what feels like sand and grit when you apply it. That's where Captex SBE (aka Butter EZ - INCI Caprylic/capric/stearic triglyceries) saves the day! ButterEZ is a thick white butter composed of caprylic, capric, and stearic triglycerides that can be used in the place of a butter or along with a butter to extend it. It improves crystal formation in our products, so you can use it to help reduce the grains you might find in a butter that happens when it cools improperly. You can use it as a thickener anywhere you might use a butter or use it as a thickener for our oils. And it can also be used to improve the glide of butters when used in things like lotion bars.

Why do our butters go grainy? A quick summary from this post - An aside on melting butters (from the FAQ). Let's look at the fatty acid profile of shea butter - 3 to 7% palmitic acid (C16), 35 to 45% stearic acid (C18), 40 to 55% oleic acid (C18:1), and 3 to 8% linoleic acid (C18:2). The palmitic and stearic acid have different melting and solidification points (the oleic and linoleic aren't solid fatty acids, so they aren't relevant for this situation). After melting, the palmitic and stearic acids will eventually turn solid again, but each does it at a different temperature. If they cool slowly, the fatty acids can crystallize into large clumps, which causes the graininess. If they cool quickly, they won't have time to crystallize and you'll have a smooth product. This is one of the reasons it's suggested we temper our butters by heating them and cooling them quickly in the freezer to get rid of grains!

How do we use it? Weigh it in a heatproof container along with your heated oil phase and use as you would any other butter. As the melting point of stearic acid is 69˚C, you will want to get the temperature above that point.

To use it to temper our butters, try it at 10% to 25% the weight of the butter in your products. To use it as a substitute for our butters, just substitute it for whatever the butter was in the product, except for something like a whipped butter - don't try using ButterEZ for that purpose! To use it to increase glide in a lotion bar, add it at up to 25% in the heated oil phase.

Join me shortly for a quick tutorial on how to use this to reduce grains in your product, and join me tomorrow as we enjoy a little formulating with Captex SBE/ButterEZ.


melian1 said...

i love butter-ez because it doesn't matter how well you temper butters, it never lasts! cocoa butter is about the only one that doesn't go grainy on me. they're marvelously smooth when i put them into the lip balm tube or lotion bar... until the first time the room (or my pocket or my purse) gets a little warm. the lip balm or lotion bar doesn't melt, but even without actual melting, it softens and then it cools down, and that affects it. maybe i get by once or even twice, but just the room temperature swings will make that darn stuff go grainy on me. since i discovered butter-ez, i have never looked back. i simply won't bother making anything of that nature without it. with it, my lip balm and lotion bar can have a normal use without grains developing. without it - grains.

Anonymous said...

Hi Milian, thanks for your very useful comment. I too am plagued by grains....... Argh! I was wondering at what percentage do you include the butterEz to prevent grains in lip balm/body balm etc. Thanks in advance.

Michele said...

Sorry re above comment, my name is Michele!

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Check out this post - how to use ButterEZ in a butter for some ideas on what levels to use it to prevent grains!

Anonymous said...

Looking at the INCI name, isn't this just a blend of fractionated coconut oil and stearic acid? Is it possible to make this with ingredients I already have on hand and incorporate it into my products?

Thank you :)