Sal Butter - Pure Velvet


Five months ago, the first test batch in my self-appointed quest for 'the ideal butter for lotion bars' was created. There have been many batches and much note-taking since.  The formula has been identical for each batch – except for the butter.

Today, we're going to have a closer look at Sal Tree Seed (INCI: Shorea Robusta) butter.

Contrary to 'almond' and 'aloe' butters (which turned out to be a mix of oils and shea or cocoa butter), sal butter is the real deal.

Not only is it proving to be a wonderful addition to a lotion bar, sal has qualities that have made me a serious fan.



From India

Native to the Indian subcontinent and covering about 13% of the total forest area there, the Sal (or Shala) tree thrives across an expansive area that covers 3 central states.

Collection of seeds, leaves, and resin alone is a predominant means of survival for nearly 30 million (!) native Indian people.


The Whole Tree in Use

Leaf plate
Sal trees provide raw material for multiple industries. The wood is one of India's major sources of construction timber. The resin is used as an Ayurvedic medicine and also burned as incense. The leaves are used to produce the widely used (and eco-friendly) patravali (leaf plates).

The tree seeds are equally versatile, providing oil that is used from foodstuffs and soapmaking to pigments and paints.

The oil has even been spotlighted and is under consideration for use as a possible bio diesel product.

The sal tree really does have a lot to offer. But my favorite use of sal (so far) is as butter and on the skin. 


Sal Solo

Each butter throughout this quest has gone through a little a 'solo test' before being used in a formula, just to get an idea of the properties and feel of the raw material.

My first impressions of sal:
  • creamy
  • neutral smelling 
  • melts into skin in a jiffy 

My favorite impression has been experiencing the argan-like quality of this butter – it leaves my skin feeling the same kind of velvety smooth as argan oil does.

It's an undeniably luxurious, enjoy-the-moment, spa-treatment kind of feeling.



Love That Profile

No wonder sal butter feels fabulous. It brings all kinds of skin- and hair-loving goodness to the party.

Here's a quick breakdown of the fatty acid composition of the Sal Seed butter I am using
  • Linoleic acid (omega-6) – 3.70%
  • Oleic acid (omega-9)  – 39.50%
  • Stearic acid  – 39.30%
  • Palmitic acid  – 14.10%

Other active components include
  • Phytostérols  – improve skins barrier function and microcirculation
  • Terpene alcohols – anti-inflammatory, antioxidant
  • Squalane – helps regenerate the lipid 'cement' of the stratum corneum 

In short, sal butter is made to love both skin and hair.


Next Project

Sal seed butter is said to be ideal as a cleanser. My next project will be to incorporate it into one of my clay and butter cleansers to see if what 'they say' has any truth to it.

Meantime, my lotion bars with sal have all seemed to disappear a bit faster than the others. I feel a new batch coming up!


 Do Tell

Have you ever worked with sal butter? What do you use it for?


References

wikipedia
Himalayan Health Care
Aroma Zone (fatty acid profile)

Photo of leaf plate courtesy of Wikipedia

Comments

Signe said…
Sounds interesting, this the first time I hear about sal butter! Is it hard to find and is it more expensive, than other butters?
Lise M Andersen said…
Hi Signe - Ooh you should definitely give it a try! I buy mine from Aroma Zone - check the links on the sidebar :)
Lise M Andersen said…
Hi Signe - forgot - it's a bit pricier than other butters - but not so much that it will break the bank
María Zamora said…
Hi Lisa :)

I have been lucky to test this butter a time ago, I ordered a little trial size from Aroma-zone (my favourite supplier): a 10 ml "berlingot". Not only it has all these fabulous qualilties you have explained, but also another one I absolutely loved: its touch is less oily than other butters (as shea or cocoa) and it's easily and quickly absorbed by the skin. I tried it on a lilttle experiment to make a whipped butter for a friend with mixed-to-oily skin and it was a huge success, as she does not like the oily feeling of the most known butters (I made it for her belly while pregnancy).
I mixed it with a little vanilla infused oil to soften just a bit and add a good aroma, and voilà, butter done ;) (also with a tiny bit of cocoa and rosehip oil)
Tina Rasmussen, CPH said…
Sounds amazing Lise! will have to buy some to test... oh my, more things to try :-P
Lise M Andersen said…
hi Maria - you have the same experience with sal that i do! I am also quite an Aroma Zone fan and order quite a few things from them. I love your idea iof doing a whipped butter and have now added this to my to do list!

Hi Tina - Go for it- You will love it! :)
Olivia J said…
I don't think I have tried a product that contains this. I like to moisturize my skin with something that feels good.

Can this be used on its own or does it have to be mixed?
Lise M Andersen said…
Hi Olivia - I'm pretty sure you can use this on its own, but be aware that it is not quite as soft as shea - it's closer to cocoa butter in hardness.
Tina Rasmussen, CPH said…
Better late than never, I bought some sal butter and finally tried it in a body butter. I like it but forgot that it is so firm so my next test-butter will have a lower amount.
I didnt add any scent to my sample butter, and the scent itself (other ingredients dont have strong smells) is nice - just clean and a bit powdery. Hope to have time to make the next sample tomorrow.
Have a wonderful weekend!
Lise M Andersen said…
HI Tina - Yes, it is a tad on the firm side. I'd place it between shea sand cocoa butter - which makes it a great stand alone butter for some products. You have a great weekend too!
Tina Rasmussen, CPH said…
I decided to change my recipe to make a lighter sal body butter and I absolutely love it this time :-) It sinks in nicely, doesnt feel greasy and I am happy, happy!

Today, I thought I'd make the exact same recipe just using painya and kokum butters when I realized I was running low on the emulsifier I had used and also of the preservative :-( GRR how did that happen without me noticing it? There was just enough preservative for one small sample pot so today is painya butter day.
I like the smell of it and while I stirr the emulsion I will get online and stuck up on what I need ;-P
Tina Rasmussen, CPH said…
I decided to change my recipe to make a lighter sal body butter and I absolutely love it this time :-) It sinks in nicely, doesnt feel greasy and I am happy, happy!

Today, I thought I'd make the exact same recipe just using painya and kokum butters when I realized I was running low on the emulsifier I had used and also of the preservative :-( GRR how did that happen without me noticing it? There was just enough preservative for one small sample pot so today is painya butter day.
I like the smell of it and while I stirr the emulsion I will get online and stuck up on what I need ;-P
Lise M Andersen said…
Hi Tina - even though it can be a bit frustrating to discover suddenly that one ingredient is missing, it's kind of fun to think on your feet when working on a formula, and sometimes makes for some surprisingly good results- :)
Abby said…
Hey Lise! Did you end up trying the sal in a cleansing bar? What did you think? How did it compare to other butters in cleansing bars? Thanks!
Abby said…
One more question - how would you compare sal to cupuacu in skin feel? Thanks!!
Lise M Andersen said…
Hey there Abby - Yikes! Thanks for the reminder! I sooo need to bump this up on my to-do list! Right now I'm working with - of all things - palm oil in my cleansers. :)
Lise M Andersen said…
Hi again Abby - As much as I hate to admit it, cupuacu butter is still on my to-do list as well (if you saw my to-do list, I think you might forgive me - it's a constant inspiration, but also hard to find time enough to get through everything!)
Unknown said…
I would like to make my own shea and sal butters. Im a beginner. Can someone help me?
Lise M Andersen said…
HI Unknown - what a great question- and I truly wish I could help you, but I am unfortunately not able to point you to anywhere that teaches making your own shea and sal butters. I hope you have luck with it!