Thursday, May 22, 2014

The differnt shades of Coconut oils

What is Coconut Oil?

It is a edible oil extracted from the kernel or meat of the mature coconut that is harvested for the palm coconut tree.  Coconut can be used in many ways such as soap making this is a main ingredient which contributors to the cleansing and lather. It is used for hair care products great for moisturizing hair and skin. Also in cooking if you are use the virgin coconut oil. 

What are the different kinds of coconut oil?

Refined coconut oil- Made from dried coconut, also known as copra; the standard end product made from dried kernel (meat) is RBD oil, which stands for refined, bleached and deodorized. The reason the oil has to undergo this process is that the dried copra is not fit for consumption and the oil needs to undergo processes to filter our impurities and to make it more stable; it’s a pretty common way to mass-produce coconut oil. and because it is refine it’s fairly tasteless and doesn’t smell like coconut. Most of the coconut oils available in grocery stores and vitamin stores are refined unless they specifically state otherwise; not all refined oils are created equal so try to get good quality, non-hydrogenated (yep, even coconut oil can be hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated but mainly in tropical, Asian countries).

Unrefined coconut oil -is labelled as ‘virgin’ or ‘extra-virgin’, this coconut oil is made from the first pressing of fresh, raw coconut using mechanical means without the addition of any chemicals; depending on the extraction method, the flavour can be mild to very intense (more heat exposure during extraction, more coconut flavour in the oil). Good raw, unrefined, virgin coconut oil should have a very mild coconut flavour and scent. The difference between ‘virgin’ and ‘extra virgin’ is, well, pretty much none existent as far as I’ve researched, it’s more of a marketing trick to get you to pay more. Virgin, unrefined oil is more superior to refined coconut oil.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Cocoa Butter What's all the hype about?

What is Cocoa Butter?

Cocoa butter, also called theobroma oil, is a pale-yellow, edible vegetable fat extracted from the cocoa bean.  It is obtained from whole cocoa bean, which they ferment, then they are roasted, and then separated from their hulls. It contains a high proportion of saturated fats, derived from stearic and palmitic acids.  Most cocoa butter offered in the market will have a melting point of 93-101 degrees.  So that means it solid at room temperature but will melt once in your mouth but you don't want to eat this because even thought it smells of chocolate it has no flavor because it has been separated for the chocolate liquor which contain the taste of chocolate.
It is one of the most stable fats known, a quality that, coupled with natural antioxidants, prevents rancidity, giving it a storage life of two to five years when stored properly.

The difference shades of cocoa butter?
Unrefined cocoa butter- is creamy yellow in color  in its raw form. It smells pretty strongly of chocolate. 

Refined cocoa butter-  It white with no scent because it has been process to remove those properties.   The natural and alkalized cocoa butters are bleached and subsequently steam refined in a continuous packed column at temperatures ranging between 160 and 220°. There is not a whole lot of information regarding how this process effects the quality. 

What is it good for?
Cocoa butter helps the skin in many ways. It lubricates and protects the skin and also helps to fade scars.  Cocoa butter penetrates the top layer of the skin called the epidermis. The cocoa butter can also reach the dermis, the middle layer.
1.Antioxidants: Cocoa butter is high in antioxidants, which help fight off free radicals.
2. Stretch Mark Reducer: Cocoa butter is widely noted to help reduce stretch marks. Many women claimed regular use of cocoa butter was what kept their stretch marks away.
3. Deeper Skin Hydration: Cocoa butter is high in fatty acids and is an exceptional moisturizer that deeply hydrates for all skin types.
4. Problem Skin Healer:  Cocoa butter has been noted to help skin irritations such as eczema and dermatitis.
Recommended Usage:
Lotions & Creams: 1 – 10%
Lip Balms: 1 – 20%
Bar Soaps: 1 - 15%
Haircare: 1-10%
 Places to purchase from:

Friday, May 9, 2014

Shea Butter! There not all created equal!

What is Shea Butter?
It is an all-natural product. It can be slightly yellowish or ivory colored and nutty, smoky scented natural fatty substance made from the nuts of karite nut trees (Butyrospermum parkii or "butter seed") also call the tree of life. It grows wild in the savannah regions of West and East Africa.  It is a triglyceride (fat) derived mainly from stearic acid and oleic acid.

How is it made?
The shea nuts are picked, cracked, grilled and pounded to extract the butter which is then boiled in water until the fresh shea butter rises to the surface. It is then scooped into gourds and left to cool and set. Although these artisanal methods result in smaller output, no chemicals or synthetic agents are needed at any stage. Shea butter may also be extracted by pressing in an expeller type press which cuts 3-5 hours off the extraction time. Again, no chemicals or synthetics are needed. The end product of either method is raw unrefined shea butter!

Types of Shea Butter?
Raw unrefined-  Has not been passed through any filtering systems using clays, chemicals or other methods that would remove or deplete or reduce the vitamin content or otherwise change its natural properties.  This includes attempts to remove the natural nutty aroma, change the color or texture, add chemicals to or remove qualities or properties from the shea butter.  This does NOT include passing the shea butter through the cheesecloth filter to remove nut skins.  This is raw shea butter that has been processed but done so without changing its healing properties.

Naturally refined shea butter- can be naturally refined.  In this process raw shea nut butter is melted and "washed" with water.  The melted butter and water mixture is transferred to a vacuum reactor where air, and steam removes the odor.  Next, melted shea butter is mixed with diatomaceous earth, to remove most of the color, before being filtered by pressing through several layers of paper and cloth.

Ultra refined shea butter- can be processed with chemical solvents (hexane) and bleach, to produce shea butter that is pure white, with no odor.  However almost all vitamins and nutrients are lost, and the chemical processing diminishes or destroys the natural qualities of shea butter. 

Which is the right color for Shea Butter?
There are different reasons for the different shades of Shea Butter!
1. Can be the season in which the shea nut are harvested.
2.  How the shea nut is extracted and processed. 
3. If it was boiled too long or mixed too long may be lighter
4. If its boiled and mixed for short time it more greenish or darker yellow.
5. They have said that during the  milling process of the yellow shea butter, a root from the borututu tree is added to the mixture which gives it that turmeric yellow color.  Have not read that on any of the fair trade organization websites so I can not confirm this information. Its what Wikipedia says!
Either way there is no difference in the quality of the Shea Butter.  It just people different preferences.

What to look for when choosing a Shea Butter!
Color -Ivory, to yellow or even light green. Again this depends on your preference.
Texture- Smooth and creamy! Not grainy! Graininess can happen when it is heated too fast and cooled too fast.

Whats it good for?
Shea butter is extremely rich natural source of two important vitamins, namely vitamin A and E. Its a  superior moisturizer, and  is used to treat various skin problems including:

  • eczema
  • dermatitis
  • stretch marks
  • dry skin and hair
  • insect bites
  • psoriasis
  • acne
  • cracked skin
  • itchy skin
  • muscle fatigue and tension
  • rheumatism
  • arthritis
  • sunburns
  • skin allergies and rashes
  • scars and dark spots
  • skin blemishes
  • wrinkles
Thanks for reading and I hope this will help your debate on which color shea butter to choose!

You can purchase shea butter here: Beige 

  And here for the Yellow shea butter