Purifying Shea Butter

Discussion in 'Soap Making' started by Truly, Mar 9, 2008.

  1. Truly

    Truly New Member

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    The shea I got is completely unrefined. I really love the texture and smell.

    However, there are some impurities that need to be strained out.

    My plan is to slowly heat to liquid and strain thru a mesh strainer.

    Are there any "rules" I should know for heating the shea, ie, too low, too high, simmer, or anything like that? Do I need some sort of special strainer?

    It is currently a beautiful bright yellow. Will heating it take away the color?

    Thanx for the input.
     
  2. cmharris6002

    cmharris6002 Guest

    Heat to 170F, no higher than 185F and hold for 10-15 min. and cool quickly. Shea is high in stearic which will crystallize and become grainy if you get it too hot.

    Christy
     

  3. Truly

    Truly New Member

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    Thanx Christy

    Do I have to bring it up to 170? Can I just get it warm enough to melt?

    I had heard about the crystalization, that's part of why I asked.
     
  4. MRFBarbara

    MRFBarbara Guest

    I don't heat it any higher than 140, and cool it in the freezer..
    Barbara
     
  5. cmharris6002

    cmharris6002 Guest

    I don't heat it to 170F either. Once it is more than half melted I stir it with a whisk until the rest melts. I just have 170F-185F in my notes as the 'no higher than' number.

    Christy
     
  6. kidsngarden

    kidsngarden New Member

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    Have any of you found that heating unrefined shea butter changes the qualities of it? I learned that if I heat it and use it again by itself it is a lot greasier. I've only melted some and added the same weight to it of cold shea to try to retain the qualities of it, but it is still pretty greasy. I would imagine temps make a big difference in the qualities as well.

    I don't notice a difference in Lotion and lotion bars - but using it by itself I do.
     
  7. NubianSoaps.com

    NubianSoaps.com New Member

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    Since shea melts at room temp here, I would be aiming for the lowest temp you can...100 degrees and it is liquid and if it is not it isn't shea.

    What kind of impurities are we talking and where did you buy it?

    I used to melt my shea to sell it in my 4 ounces jars, then had someone comment that they didn't want shea that had been heated, so I stopped, but never did find anything in my shea melting and then pouring it through the same sieve I use for my lye. I do have a new source but I used Columbus foods for a really long time. Vicki
     
  8. Truly

    Truly New Member

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    The impurities are parts of the shell of the nut or fiber from the fruit. Not a lot, but a couple of pieces.

    I thought if I melted and strained it b4 I use it to soap.... but maybe I'll just melt and strain it when it's time to soap.

    My biggest concern is changing the properties of the shea. I've been using this on my face, hands, arms, leather shoes, finger nails and cuticles... the list goes on. I really like it.
     
  9. Sondra

    Sondra New Member

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    leather shoes???
     
  10. Truly

    Truly New Member

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    Yes, leather shoes... conditioner for the leather. It cleaned them up real nicely.

    Hint, rub it in with your fingers, then rub with a soft cloth. It seemed like more went into the cloth then the leather when I tried to rub it in with the cloth. Plus, the warmth of your fingers helps it to melt in.
     
  11. Sondra

    Sondra New Member

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    neat will have to try that
     
  12. kidsngarden

    kidsngarden New Member

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    If you are going to soap with it, heating it up won't likely change the properties any more than soaping with it will. It's when you are using it in lotions, balms or by itself it would matter.

    I've never had unrefined shea with bits of the nut shell in it before...
     
  13. Whitney

    Whitney New Member

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    Lois,
    I soaped the shea from you last weekend. It turned out really well! I didn't notice any impurities. :)
     
  14. beaglady

    beaglady New Member

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    The shea from Agbanga Karite usually has 'things' in it, but is otherwise wonderful stuff, so I just strain it.
     
  15. Truly

    Truly New Member

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    Whitney, I'm glad to hear you didn't find impurities. I tried to pick out whatever I saw when packaging it. There wasn't a lot. But I was surprised at what I did find.

    I'm anxious to hear how your soap turns out.
     
  16. kidsngarden

    kidsngarden New Member

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    I have found three tiny black specks in the 20 pounds I have used of Agbanga. It was mixed in with some other stuff though so I didn't realize it could have been the shea! It was all melted and I just fished them out with a spoon - which was hard to do with such small things!
     
  17. Whitney

    Whitney New Member

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    I did a CPOP soap with Rosemary and Peppermint EO. Shea, coconut oil, and safflower. I had never soaped with shea before. I love the silky feeling the lather has compared to the lard bars I've been making. I was surprised how much the yellow of the shea carried through all the way to the finished bars. I thought it would mellow out more. It turned out a rich golden color. I did a pink and green swirl with micas.

    I asked my husband to try it because I wanted his feedback on the differences between the lather on the shea and lard bars. He was reluctant to try it because he thought it was a girly scent but once he tried it on his hands he wanted a bar for the shower. Then he asked if he could take some to work today. :) I think it's a hit. :)
     
  18. Truly

    Truly New Member

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    Kewl Whitney. I'm glad it turned out well for you.

    I haven't yet completely replaced the lard. I'm trying to keep the price per bar down. I'm thinking of making a shea batch for the house tho.
     
  19. Whitney

    Whitney New Member

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    I think for my next batch I will try part lard, part shea. I just bought a 25# bucket of lard at Walmart. The cashier asked if I was going to do a lot of frying. :lol