Refined versus unrefined butters

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allane

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I have used both refined and unrefined butters in my products. Lately, I have only used unrefined. This is my personal opinion but I feel like there is something missing in the refined butters. May it be the high heat used or the chemicals stripping the oils and butters of some beneficial or probably dangerous components? I know refining takes away the offensive scent in some of the butters and any dirt or debris. But is it always good for us?

Allane
 

Obsidian

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It depends on what you are making. For soap, using refined is just fine since very little if any natural goodness from oils survive the saponification process. For leave on products, unrefined is better. Unrefined isn't just deodorized, a lot of the natural compounds that make the butter good are also removed. Its not bad for you, just not as nourishing for the skin.
 

allane

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Thanks Obsidian. I am glad to know my observations were right.

Allane
 

LisaAnne

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For soap, using refined is just fine since very little if any natural goodness from oils survive the saponification process.

What you wrote kind of shocked me. I'm being sincere here, if what you say is true, what's the point? Why are we all doing this?

Are we actually just striving not to strip our oils and hope a little soap oil will cling to our skin, so we feel conditioned?

Like I said, sincere question :)
 

Obsidian

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For soap, using refined is just fine since very little if any natural goodness from oils survive the saponification process.

What you wrote kind of shocked me. I'm being sincere here, if what you say is true, what's the point? Why are we all doing this?

Are we actually just striving not to strip our oils and hope a little soap oil will cling to our skin, so we feel conditioned?

Like I said, sincere question :)
Why are we doing what? making soap or using fancy fats like shea?

Handmade soap is made/used to get away from synthetic cleanser and because for most people its gentler and better for the skin.
Yes, we strive not to strip oils from our skin and hope a little of any superfat might stay on the skin.

What it doesn't do is moisturizer, nourish, heal or otherwise do anything besides clean.
Luxury oils are often added for label appeal or for specific things they add to the lather. Shea and coco butter are know to add a creaminess to soap.

You can get more of a benefit from specific oils if you add them as superfat to HP soap after the cook. This way the oil hasn't come in contact with any lye and in theory retains all or most of its natural benefits.
 

LisaAnne

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Why are we doing what? making soap or using fancy fats like shea?

Handmade soap is made/used to get away from synthetic cleanser and because for most people its gentler and better for the skin.
Yes, we strive not to strip oils from our skin and hope a little of any superfat might stay on the skin.

What it doesn't do is moisturizer, nourish, heal or otherwise do anything besides clean.
Luxury oils are often added for label appeal or for specific things they add to the lather. Shea and coco butter are know to add a creaminess to soap.

You can get more of a benefit from specific oils if you add them as superfat to HP soap after the cook. This way the oil hasn't come in contact with any lye and in theory retains all or most of its natural benefits.
Making soap, as I read it all the attributes in the oils we use are ate up by lye, leaving nothing.
Thank you, I realize what your saying is true, I've learned that here. Stated so bluntly took me back a little bit. Thanks so much for clarifying, I've missed HP for the superfat advantage.
I sometimes miss the point being stated, so I ask. Thanks again.
 

lenarenee

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Making soap, as I read it all the attributes in the oils we use are ate up by lye, leaving nothing.
Thank you, I realize what your saying is true, I've learned that here. Stated so bluntly took me back a little bit. Thanks so much for clarifying, I've missed HP for the superfat advantage.
I sometimes miss the point being stated, so I ask. Thanks again.
And remember that soap is no longer oils and lye because the chemical reaction changes it to a salt of fatty acids. oils/fats + lye = a new product called soap (there's no oils/fats left except for the superfat whether it's cp or hp.
 

cmzaha

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Shea does contain unsaponifiables that will remain in the soap, which is why I prefer to use only raw shea in my soaps that contain shea. I also do not agree that soap cannot heal, maybe not directly, but a nice tea tree charcoal soap helps my daughter's skin tremendously, and salt bars help alleviate my itching and salt itself helps my skin heal. I spent many hours in the Pacific Ocean, since I was a kid, with the main purpose to help my eczema heal. If different fatty acid profiles lend nothing to soap then I wonder what be the purpose of using different oils...
 

LisaAnne

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If different fatty acid profiles lend nothing to soap then I wonder what be the purpose of using different oils...[/QUOTE]

This is what I was thinking. Interesting conversation.
 

penelopejane

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I have used both refined and unrefined butters in my products. Lately, I have only used unrefined. This is my personal opinion but I feel like there is something missing in the refined butters. May it be the high heat used or the chemicals stripping the oils and butters of some beneficial or probably dangerous components? I know refining takes away the offensive scent in some of the butters and any dirt or debris. But is it always good for us?

Allane
Not all providers use heat and/or chemicals to refine butters.
Check with the suppliers.
 

The Efficacious Gentleman

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I think the important thing is to forget the oils as such and look at what the soap is. Mostly.

People often say "I love olive oil, so I put it in my soap" but is the soap the same as the oil? With coconut we know that it is really not the case at all, that the soap and the oil are worlds apart from another.
 

topofmurrayhill

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You seem to be making assumptions and discussing them as facts. Or maybe, as the world fills up with BS, it becomes more difficult to encounter the facts. I don't claim to be the final word in how shea butter should be produced, but I know that in some significant ways reality is the reverse of what you think it is.

It's traditional raw shea extraction that damages the integrity of the oil. This boiling method subjects the shea nuts and oil to 212 F temps in contact with water for hours. Would you do that to your oils? No surprise it oxidizes and hydrolyzes the oil so that it ends up with a high peroxide value and higher free fatty acid content (sometimes upwards of 8%). Raw shea may be going rancid before you ever get it.

As far as the "goodness" is concerned, it's interesting that solvent-extracted shea butter contains vitamin E and in the raw oil it's undetectable. Seems the boiling must destroy it. Raw and refined shea differ in the amounts of various substances that get into the final product, but it's not always in favor of the unrefined shea. You're just imagining the refined product is stripped of goodness because chemicals, but it ain't necessarily so.

The refined stuff has a low peroxide value, low free fatty acids, and reduced moisture to help it stay that way. You get it in good fresh condition with a longer shelf life. It's pretty and it doesn't have crap in it. Personally I'd stay away from the raw stuff just because on the average it's a lesser oil in terms of quality and condition, with no compelling benefit.

The good news is, phytochemicals and such are not destroyed by lye. I guess unsaponifiables is a good name for them.
 

Obsidian

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You're just imagining the refined product is stripped of goodness because chemicals, but it ain't necessarily so.
No, its not because chemicals used but because everything I've read points to refined being inferior when it comes to the antioxidant and vitamin content, aka "goodness".
I've never had raw shea turn rancid, nor does my body butter I make with it. Can you share where you got your info about raw being inferior?

As far as me saying the lye destroys most of the "goodness" I still believe this. Just like I believe that lye destroys most anything beneficial in herbal infusions or teas.

Carolyn has a point about shea containing unsaponifiables but I've never been able to get a clear answer on what these are and what benefit they have in soap so I have a tendency to forget about them.
 

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