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Shea vs Cocoa

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afbrat

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Ok, so what are some opinions on which is better between Shea and cocoa butter and why do you feel that way? I really like cocoa butter, but have never had the opportunity to see or work with Shea butter.
 

kumudini

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Not much different for me. They both lend a creaminess to the lather, just the CB bars feel little more luxurious. Also, Shea bars make my hubby break out while the CB bars don't. No one else has that issue though.
 

dixiedragon

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If I had to pick only one - cocoa for shelf life. Seriously...5 + years and still go. But when it comes to lip balms and lotions, they both bring something different to the party. Soap...kind of meh. I only use them when I am making an all-veg soap, and I don't care for palm. I am a lover of the lard.

In lip balms, lotions, lotion bars - cocoa has a higher melt tip and its harder. It doesn't absorb as well. It is good for forming a barrier, so good for winter lip balms since it sits on top of the lips for longer. Also, prime pressed cocoa butter smells AWESOME. Great natural chocolate scent/flavor. (In lip balm - won't survive CP.)

Shea has a lower melt temp. Absorbs better. More neutral odor.

I think shea butter and mango butter are fairly interchangeable...but I don't think there's anything else like cocoa butter.
 

afbrat

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Thank you for the replies! I have been considering ordering some Shea butter just to try it out. I still may, but I'll move it down on my want to try list since I already know I like the cocoa butter. Btw, I found some little cocoa butter sticks, 1 oz each, at the dollar store that are perfect for my small batches of soap!
 

afbrat

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Obsidian, is there a certain smell to Shea butter as well that contributes to the scent of body butters, etc?

And is the creamier lather in soap extremely noticable?
 

BlackDog

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A couple months ago I was wondering the same thing so I made two batches - one with 10% shea and one with 10% cocoa butter. Otherwise (apart from two different fo's) they were identical. I found that the shea lathers easier and the cocoa butter lather is richer, but a little more work to get the bubbles to come out. I might try a combo next....
 

navigator9

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Like the others, I don't find so much difference when used in soap. But straight up on my skin, I just love cocoa butter. I don't know, there's just something about it that I love.
 

The Efficacious Gentleman

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I tend to use Shea in a lot of my body products and as part of the superfat in my shaving soap. I also use some cocoa, but tend to turn to Shea if I am picking freely between the two, unless there is something specific needed like with the winter lip balms mentioned already
 

TeaLeavesandTweed

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Not much different for me. They both lend a creaminess to the lather, just the CB bars feel little more luxurious. Also, Shea bars make my hubby break out while the CB bars don't. No one else has that issue though.
Shea also makes me break out. Some people are just sensitive to it. It's weird because a patch test doesn't show an acute allergy, but if I use it over a period of time, in soaps or leave-on products, I break out in red bumps. Sometimes I seriously feel like the only person with this problem because shea is such a holy grail for so many people's skin and hair.

So it could just be that your hubby's skin isn't friends with shea. It's good he has a personal soap maker to formulate fantastic, luxurious bars without it because shea is a lot of makers' go-to for luxe products. It's actually part of why I got into making soaps and body products in the first place.

I like mango butter or tallow as a shea substitute in body butters and lip balm. I've made tallow soap, but haven't tried the mango butter yet.
 

snappyllama

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I like mango in B&B since cocoa butter makes me break out. In soap, mango causes some people sensitivity issues. I've heard shea can too - especially if they latex allergies. I like to soap with shea anyway since my friends and family are okay with it.
 

afbrat

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Hm. Maybe I'll stick with cocoa for my soaps and just get some Shea to try in other products. I really love the smell/feel of cocoa though
 

The Efficacious Gentleman

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Don't forget that cocoa butter does not equal cocoa butter soap - a saponified oil and an unsaponified oil are not the same thing at all
 

afbrat

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Just retread my last post. It sounded like I meant I like the feel/smell in my soap. I meant in my other products such as body butter. But thank you for the reminder
 

The Efficacious Gentleman

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Aye, but you do mention using cocoa butter in soap. I think a lot of people choose to use butters in soap because they like the butters in other products, but it doesn't always work that way
 

snappyllama

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Aye, but you do mention using cocoa butter in soap. I think a lot of people choose to use butters in soap because they like the butters in other products, but it doesn't always work that way
I can attest to that. Mango in soap bothers me, but I like it in B&B.

I love shea in everything. You could say I'm... NUTTY about it. hukhuk
 

Obsidian

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Obsidian, is there a certain smell to Shea butter as well that contributes to the scent of body butters, etc?

And is the creamier lather in soap extremely noticeable?
Raw shea actually smells bad, at least to me it does. Some people say it smells nutty or earthy but I just smell rotten onions. I either use refined shea for body butter or a stronger EO to cover the smell of the raw.
Coco butter definitely smells better in lotions/body butters.

Not sure if the creamier lather is hugely different between the two but coco butter really seems to reduce the lather for me. I'd rather save the coco for a nice lotion.
 

not_ally

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I *hate* the smell of raw shea. When I started soaping I bought a lb or two of it and was so grossed out that I ended up just throwing it away and getting the deodorized stuff. I'm sure opinions differ here, though.

ETA: I never even used it in CP (I had bought it for something B&B'ish) so I should have kept it, put it in CP and seen how I felt after it cured out, I guess. This is funny, I always tell people that do not like the smell of lard to try it, hold on through the cure and see, but I guess I am better at preaching than practicing :)
 
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