Saturday, November 29, 2014

Weekend Wonderings: So many comments (part one!)

As you might have read, I've been sick lately. It's been one heck of a flu, and I'm still struggling with low energy issues and sinus problems. I thought I'd get to some of the comments you've made in the last few weeks. Please be patient with me - I'm wading through the e-mail and comments right now and there are just so many! (As always, I encourage you to check the frequently asked questions section to see if your question has been answered before!)

If you're interested in learning how to make the fragrance sprays you see in the picture to the left, check out this post on the topic! We made these in group the other night, and as you can see, they were a great hit! This is the haul Laura took home! This is from the craft program you support through your donation for the e-books! Thank you so much for making these programs possible! If you'd like to learn more about our youth programs, click on this link

In the post, Newbie Tuesday: It's time to make lotion, MSC asks: Hi Susan, a little late to the party here but is it possible to do this successfully without the cetyl alcohol? If so how might I change the percentages? Also I'd like to add cocoa butter. Should I reduce the percentage of Shea butter to accommodate the cocoa butter? 

In this recipe, we have 5% shea butter or mango butter. You can feel free to try another butter in the recipe, like cocoa butter, at the same amount. When you make a change of this nature, you will change the viscosity slightly - it'll be a tiny bit thicker - and might change the skin feel - it'll be a little greasier than mango butter, a little drier than the shea butter - but it'll still work out to be a nice lotion.

As for the cetyl alcohol, why do we include it in a lotion? It's a thickener and an emollient. Without it, the recipe'll be a little thinner. Will the chemistry still work? Will we create a lotion? Sure! It's a lovely addition to increase the viscosity and make the lotion feel glidy, but it's not essential for emulsification! So feel free to leave it out. Increase the amount of water by 3% to ensure the recipe still totals 100%.

This is the reason I encourage you to know your ingredients and what they do in the product - you can make substitutions easily when you know why you're doing what you're doing!

In this post, Balms: A new recipe idea, Nancy asks: I make shea butter balms and find that they sometimes get grainy on me a few weeks after making. I think this may have to do with how quickly it cools (faster being better). Any thoughts on this?

From the frequently asked questions section - an aside on melting butters:

Sometimes your mango butter or shea butter can get grainy (this can happen to cocoa butter, but not as often as the other butters). The reason for this is the fatty acid profile of the butters.

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.

If you are finding your mango or shea butter is always grainy no matter what you do, you can temper it the way you would temper chocolate. Melt your mango or shea butter completely, then pour into a mould or container of some kind and put it into the fridge or freezer to cool very quickly. Remove, store in a cool dark place, then use when you need it. This should eliminate the grains you're finding in your products. (The reasons you could be getting grains even when you've been cooling the product quickly could be due to the way you're storing it, the way your supplier is storing it, and possible melting and cooling while shipping from the supplier or from the manufacturer to the supplier.) This will increase the melting point of your mango or shea butter in future products, but it will eliminate the graininess so it's hooray time all around!

This is one of the reasons I suggest melting your butters slightly and to put your products into a fridge or freezer to cool: The less we melt the oils or the quicker we cool them, the less likely we are to see the grains!

Join me tomorrow as we take a look at more of the comments you've left over the last few weeks!


Anonymous said...

Sorry to hear that you're struggling to get back to felling 100%, but sooo glad to hear rom you!!


Anonymous said...

Wow, could there have been more typos in my post? I guess I'm a little less than 100% too ;)

MSC said...

Feel better Susan! Thanks for responding to my question with a whole post. I am thrilled! Can't wait to try some things out and let you know how they work!

Lise M Andersen said...

Hey there Susan- Hope you're feeling tip top again real soon- struggling with the flu is so tiring!

I love your tempering instructions for shea. I actually received detailed input on how to battle graininess in shea from Jonna, a 'shea butter master'. She explained her tempering method and allowed me to put it into a hlog post. Here's a link if you're interested.

Leslie said...

I am so glad you are feeling better. I missed you!