Thursday, December 1, 2016

Weekday Wonderings: Did my oil turn my lovely body butter brown?

I'm slowly working my way through the comments you've left me over the last few months, and I'll be posting those I think would appeal to a larger audience over the next little while. If you have a question, please comment on a relevant post, regardless of how old it might be, and I'll do what I can to answer it!

In this post, Pumpkin seed oil: A whipped butter, Adele asks: This is my favorite body butter, but I saw that in time (after 2 weeks of use) it turned its color from light green (due to the pumpkin seed oil which was unrefined cold pressed) to a more brownish color, which I don't like. What can be the cause? Oxidation or the temperature (which was above 20 Celsius degree in the room I kept it)? Thank you!

I love this recipe so much, so I'm glad someone else loves it, too!

There are so many reasons a product can change colours, and most of them are pleasant and okay. For instance, in the picture above, a tiny change in oils changed the colour. Add something like sea buckthorn or rosehip oil that has a very orange hue, and you'll have yourself a darker coloured product. Add something like fractionated coconut oil or squalane, which are colourless, and you've got yourself a clear or very white product. Something like unrefined hemp seed oil could make something quite green, and so on.

We see this a lot in extracts. Powdered rosemary extract has coloured this shampoo a deep green, something you can avoid by using a clear, liquid extract instead.

This is the risk in using botanically derived ingredients: A different climate, a different growing season, a different soil, and so on can lead to very different colours from the last batch you bought. In general, if you see a brown or green colour in the ingredient, it'll show up in the product. There's nothing wrong with that, but if you were looking to make a colourless, clear shampoo with green tea extract or a facial cleanser with grapeseed extract, you'll be sad with the end result. (I love the colour of that cleanser so much!)

Fragrance and essential oils can have a huge impact on the colour of our products. These body washes are the same with the exception of fragrance oil, and look how one is almost red-orange with the other almost clear. You can get an orange-y tone from citrus based ingredients and a brown-beige from using vanilla.

Related: My article in Handmade Magazine: Understanding the Vanillin Villain

In the case of your green oil turning brown, I think you're right - there's oxidation going on, but it's not a horrible thing. You could add an anti-oxidant like Vitamin E to slow down that process, you could use a more refined, less coloured oil, or you could keep it in a cooler place.

3 comments:

Kirsten Thomas. said...

Hi Susan, I made a spiffy facial cleanser this morning, and added some sea buckthorn oil to it (just a touch), as we all know, it turned yellow. I am wondering if it will fade in time, or remain yellow? Have you noticed fading with this CO2 extract? thx.

firegirl said...

I would consider adding some gold or bronze mica to a brownish cream. Go easy on the mica, but it does turn lotion into something that actually looks quite ludurious.
Anne

Adela said...

Thank you very much for your answer! I've made it this time and keep it in the fridge. The color is still the same nice green.