Almond Butter - Well, Not Quite

Sometimes I get so excited about discovering a new ingredient that I forget to read the fine print before ordering. My recent purchase of almond butter is such an example.

It's Organic! Go For it!

In my quest for exciting and exotic butters to find the 'perfect butter for lotion bars' test, I was overjoyed to discover a butter I'd never seen before. The supplier had placed it right on the front page of the butters section with a splashy little 'new item' icon next to the name – almond butter.

Even better - it was organic almond butter.

Perfect! The oil in the test lotion bars is almond oil. "Pairing almond butter with almond oil will probably make for a deliciously smooth, marzipan-scented lotion bar", I thought as I added it to my order without a thought of checking the product description in detail.

This really isn't my usual behavior when ordering ingredients, but I was excited about 'my discovery'.

The Arrival

When the order arrived, it turned out the almond butter consisted of shea butter with almond oil added.

This just wasn't what I was expecting.

At all.

And they mixed it into shea. Really, shea?



Now, I love shea butter to pieces and use it in several products. But in my experience, it's really a bucket of worms to work with. Graininess is a constant battle (an upcoming post on this soon).

And let's face it, no one on the planet wants graininess in their lovely cream or whipped butter, do they?

Grains are so.. so.. grainy.

And lumpy.

And unpleasant.

But Maybe This Will Be Different

I opened the container.

Visible graininess all over the place.

(Insert rolling eyes and theatrically loud sigh of adolescent-style disappointment here).

What did I find when I (finally) checked the information sheet?
"This almond butter can sometimes be grainy due to natural crystallisation. To remove the graininess, melt the butter completely in a water bath, then cool rapidly."

Sometimes be grainy? This jar was through and through 'sometimes'.

To make matters worse, the butter was really, really soft.

"OK, it's here now, so let's just run with it. We'll use it in a lotion bar" said the no-nonsense part of me to the part that was still busy acting like a spoiled child.

In the Lab

Because the texture of the butter was so soft, a harder butter had to be added to the mix if there was to be any hope of creating a lotion bar that didn't turn into lotion mush at room temperature. Cocoa butter was introduced to the formula. The proportions are evident in the pic above. The almond butter is practically nonexistent in this lotion bar. Therefore, it hasn't been included in the butter comparison test.

I'll be trying to find a different use for this butter in the near future.

Or maybe not.

We'll see.

Do Tell

Have you ever heard of almond butter? Have you ever tried it? Was yours also shea with oil mixed in? What did you think of it?


p said…
Hi Lise! I'm always skeptical when I see a butter from a plant that I know to yield a liquid oil in its natural state. Almond butter is an example -- almond oil is liquid. "Avocado butter" is another one that comes to mind, but I've seen "grapeseed butter" and several others. There's got to be some monkey business involved in taking natural almond oil and turning it into a buttery product, whether it's hydrogenation or mixing it into something that's naturally buttery like shea. Hydrogenated fats are no good to eat, so all things being equal I'd prefer not to choose them as skincare ingredients -- but everyone has their own preferences!
LisaLise said…
Hi p - thanks for your comment. My reaction was the same as yours. I will be working with this butter anyway to see if it has anything special to offer. The texture of it is like soft shea with graininess, so I think they have 'just' mixed almond oil with shea butter. All in all, I could have done this myself and saved myself the grains! We'll see what happens - I will be blogging about it.
Marjo said…
I had the exact same experience with coffeebutter.. Overexitedly bought it .. Was essential oil infused butter .. Wah i tossed it out
LisaLise said…
Hi Marjo - ooooh coffee butter sounds fabulous! I would have done the same thing you did! :)
Anonymous said…
If it is a grainy butter, would it make a moisturising scrub?
LisaLise said…
Hi Anon - you could try it, but because this is shea, the grains melt as they are on the skin. I'm not sure it would give you much exfoliation, but feel more like something that takes too long to melt...
Anonymous said…
I did that once with Aloe Butter. It was coconut oil with aloe in it. So disappointed! Live and learn I guess. I'm sure you will find something to do with it.
You are such a wealth of information......I never knew Shea was known for it's graininess. Now I know why my lotion was grainy. Thank you again. JNC
LisaLise said…
Hi JNC! Glad you commented ! I tried to reply to your question but am not sure my mail got through-- could you email me directly at the email on the sidebar of the blog? thanks!
Tina Rasmussen, CPH said…
I have bought both an almond butter and a coffee butter. Is it for certain that almond butter does not excist? I liked it a lot, not grainy at all. I know you can buy some stuff that turns oils into butters, but the retailer I got the almond butter from just says its almond:
Thanks in advance, Tina
LisaLise said…
Hi Tina,

I just checked out the link you attached - the text is a bit confusing. It mentions apricot butter, yet the product is almond butter. The text looks like it has been copy/pasted from their page with apricot butter. I think their ingredients explanation is misleading as there his no INCI list at all. Without an INCI list, it's just not certain what the ingredient is. I would ask them for complete INCI description if I were you.
LisaLise said…
HI Tina - I just checked around a bit more. Their page with coffee butter has absolutely no product description - so it's anybody's guess what this ingredient is. This is enough to get me on my guard about ordering form these folks...
Tina Rasmussen, CPH said…
So I emailed them and asked and of course you clever ladies are right - its almond oil in a base :-(
I feel cheated!

This is what they say:
"All the fats i.e. Mango, Avocado and olive all use a vegetable fat base which is then blended with the named oil."

I have written them back asking that they provide this information and list ingredients in the base they use, thats just not OK to leave out! Maybe I should have know but I didn't, and I'm sure others dont either. Since they list almond oil they should list the other ingredients as well. Like you said, I am not sure I can trust this company now and wonder if oils I bought are what they say they are. Annoying.

Thanks for alerting me! Tina
LisaLise said…
Hi Tina- My pleasure to be of help. I know how annoying it can be to discover something isn't what you thought it was-- (one of the reasons I got serious about making my own cosmetics)