Sunday, February 28, 2016

Unrefined vs Refined Shea Butter - A Story Begins



Sooo.. this happened. Quite by accident too.

In all my years of working with shea butter, unrefined shea has never made it to my workbench.

(yes, really)

Until now.


The tub of unrefined shea you see above arrived all by itself in my latest ingredients order.

The label on it is in French.

Well, that's kind of expected since it came from a French company.

They have a website from which things can be ordered.

It's in French.

Did I mention I don't quite read French?

In my defense, the labels on the unrefined and refined shea butters are almost 100% identical. So, maybe it wasn't as much my lack of French-understanding-ability as a question of destiny.

(insert short angelic choir jingle here)

So, now we begin trying out a few things with unrefined shea.

In English.

Before we start, here's my initial thoughts on this exciting 'new' ingredient.

Unrefined Shea - First impressions

Texture
richer and more buttery than refined shea

Scent
heavier than refined shea. The scent borders on the 'denseness' of cocoa butter and is going to require masking or essential oils that 'work with' this heavy scent.

Feel
Melt-in smooth and nourishing (yes, it feels nourishing)

Coming Up

We're going to be doing some A/B batches with refined and unrefined shea around here. We're also going to be trying to create a non-greasy-feeling whipped shea butter.

Stay tuned!


Do Tell

Do you work with unrefined or refined shea? Which do you prefer?

9 comments:

MarĂ­a Zamora said...

I can't help it, buy I don't like shea butter.
But if you need help in French just let me know ;)

Lise M Andersen said...

Maria to the rescue! I may just take you up on the offer of help with the French :)

And you're forgiven for not liking shea -- it really cam be a bucket of worms to work with

Dian Tardiff said...

I've never tried refined. No particular reason, my supplier only carries unrefined at an extremely reasonable price. I'm really interested in your findings between the two. I just assumed refined was the same only cleaner, more evenly colored and with much less odor. It didn't occur to me (and it should have) that the texture would be different as well.

Dian Tardiff said...

I've never tried refined. No particular reason, my supplier only carries unrefined at an extremely reasonable price. I'm really interested in your findings between the two. I just assumed refined was the same only cleaner, more evenly colored and with much less odor. It didn't occur to me (and it should have) that the texture would be different as well.

Lise M Andersen said...

Hey there Dian - Thanks for your input. I was surprised that there was such a difference too! I look forward to working with these butters

Almocado London said...

Hi Lise,

I definitely find unrefined butter creamier, softer and smoother out of the jar (let's not start that debate about crystallisation later on...) but I personally don't like the smell of raw unrefined shea... it definitely needs masking - unless you like the aroma

:)

Lise M Andersen said...

Hey there Annette - You and I both! I'm interested to see what it takes to 'work with' this scent.. I'm thinking some of the woodsy scents : cedar wood, rosewood, or even frankincense mixed with some citrus scents might be the ticket. :)

Megan Johnson said...

Hi, Lise! I've been reading your blog for a few months now and enjoy it very much, by the way.

I've used both unrefined and refined shea, and of the two, I prefer the texture of unrefined. I find it to be less oily after it is applied. However, it does come with that characteristic nutty-sweet-slightly-rubbery fragrance. I don't mind the aroma, but if I'm making things to give away as gifts, I usually default to refined shea so that I don't have to mask anything.

I'm excited to read about your side-by-side comparisons!

~ Megan

Lise M Andersen said...

Hey there Megan - It's interesting you prefer the texture of unrefined. I was surprised to discover how much 'richer' it feels, and I am inclined to agree with you. I'm also excited to be testing these 2 side by side (it's about time!). Thanks for your kind words about the blog. :)