Has my shea butter gone bad?

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mommycarlson

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I just got my shea butter out to weigh for tomorrow's soap and it looks "off"
Please advise if I can still use it and if not, what can I substitute for it?
Thank you!

IMG_20161206_191702157 (1).jpg
 

shunt2011

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That doesn't look good to me. Does it small off at all?
 

mommycarlson

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I would say it smells a little "earthy", perhaps it's mold? I don't want to use it in my soap, I'm so disappointed, it's such a waste :( I am trying to find a substitute for it in my soap. it only calls for .96 of an ounce so it's not a large amount. Any idea what I can sub? I have everything already weighed out and in the pot for tomorrow.
I have some babassu oil, would that work? Or maybe palm?
 
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CaraBou

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That looks okay to me. Do you just mean the combination of graininess and smoothness, darker and light? Mine looks like that after freezing & thawing, and I've had no problems. Also, shea butter does have an earthy smell of sorts. My suggestion is to use it for the small amount you need. Take good notes through time and see if it really is trouble.
 

The Efficacious Gentleman

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You can sub it out with lard. You are right, it is a waste to use it in soap [emoji39]

It just looks like some sort of bloom to me
 
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IrishLass

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It just looks like some sort of bloom to me
My thoughts exactly. It looks just like the bloom that normally develops in some butters when refrigerated, such as with cocoa butter, which is harmless. by the way.

Re: the 'earthy' smell: Does it happen to be unrefined shea? If so, no worries there- unrefined shea smells quite earthy (which is why I choose to use refined shea instead).


IrishLass :)
 

shunt2011

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That's good to know. I've not put mine in the fridge to experience it. Thank you for the heads up. I probably would have tossed it. That would have been a bummer.
 

mommycarlson

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I have not refrigerated it. Yes, it's unrefined. So it's okay to use, that's good. Should I now put it in the fridge? I've had it less than a year. Thank you for all of your advice!
 

TeresaT

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I also think it's fine. It reminds me of what happens to chocolate bars in the summer when it gets hot. The fat separates from the chocolate and leaves discolored ugly spots. I've had that happen to my shea butter before and used it with no issues. It's happened with the batch of shea I bought that came in solid blocks like that, but not the batch that came in from WSP. (WSP sells it in a sort of shaved and softened form in a resealable bag.) If you're uncomfortable using it in soap, scrape the discolored part away and put it into a container for personal use on hands, feet and elbows. Shea is awesome for that!! I know I dip into the bag every now and then when my skin is feeling particularly bad.

ETA: I love the smell of unrefined shea. Hate the smell of unrefined cocoa butter, though. Odd right? Most people are the opposite.
 

CaraBou

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It doesn't have to be refrigerated, but it will extend shelf life. My eyes were bigger than my molds when I first ordered shea butter, and I had more than I could use for quite a long time. So I refrigerated and froze some of it. It has a reasonably long shelf life on its own though if it's kept cool and dark outside of a refrigerator. I had unrefrigerated shea about 2.5 years old that never went bad, though I did live in a very cool climate for most of that time. I still have some in the frig; it's just over 3 years old and there is no indication there is anything wrong with it.

Shea is expensive to buy in small quantities but is quite more affordable in bulk. I use it in winter soap formulations as well as body butters and other b&b goodies. I do like having it around, and will surely wrestle with how much to buy when my stock finally runs out.
 

DeeAnna

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Mold is powdery. Bloom is waxy feeling. Carefully rub a little of the white stuff onto a fingertip and see how it feels. But I think the others are right -- it's harmless "bloom."
 

lsg

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It looks Ok for unrefined shea butter. I divide my bulk orders and freeze some of it. This works fine for me.
 

mommycarlson

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I have put it in the fridge but I can easily move it to the freezer. DeeAnna, I did what you said and it wasn't like a powdery mold that would cover my fingers. When I started soaping I didn't have any clue what I was doing, so I just ordered shea butter, haha, I didn't realize you use such a small amount of it in soap, this will last me a lifetime since I rarely use a recipe with it in there. Thank you!
 

lenarenee

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Can anyone explain the dark streaks in her picture? Surely that's not part of the bloom - unless it went rancid?
 

IrishLass

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Can anyone explain the dark streaks in her picture? Surely that's not part of the bloom - unless it went rancid?

I zoomed to 150 on the photo on my computer and do not see any dark streaks- just natural shadows from the lighting.


IrishLass :)
 

Dahila

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I do freeze all my oils if it is going to be long before I use it, so all my butters. Even lard and tallow
 

sue1965

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I refrigerate mine also, to maintain a long life and have never had anything like that. My first batch I bought was in the fridge for about 2 years with no issues. Good to know it's still fine...I would have had doubts also.
 

mommycarlson

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I wish I had room in the fridge or the freezer for all my oils and butters! Good to know though, which ones would you absolutely refrigerate?
 
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