Yellow African Shea Butter Soap

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Mobjack Bay

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I made soap last night using yellow African Shea butter purchased on a whim at Walmart (link to product). At only 10% of the recipe, it produced a lovely pale yellow soap. Has anyone else used yellow Shea? I haven’t been able to turn up much about it on SMF. The container lists the ingredients as Butyrospermum Parkii, but I wondered about the yellow color and found this information about the color coming from the Borututu Tree, which is used in parts of Africa for its medicinal properties. I also turned up research papers in a google Scholar search which suggest that Borututu has antioxidant and other beneficial properties.

Based on what I read on SMF, I was prepared for the possibility of some foreign matter in the butter (which I understand is a possibility with any unrefined Shea). I melted it and then decanted most of the liquid butter before I weighed it, leaving a tiny bit of fine grit at the bottom of the original container. The decanted liquid appeared to be clear of particles.

So, here’s the soap this morning. I put some Calendula petals on top for visual appeal.

2BBD5107-A794-4A7C-BF36-C0884177FD45.jpeg
 

Kari Howie

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I made soap last night using yellow African Shea butter purchased on a whim at Walmart (link to product). At only 10% of the recipe, it produced a lovely pale yellow soap. Has anyone else used yellow Shea? I haven’t been able to turn up much about it on SMF. The container lists the ingredients as Butyrospermum Parkii, but I wondered about the yellow color and found this information about the color coming from the Borututu Tree, which is used in parts of Africa for its medicinal properties. I also turned up research papers in a google Scholar search which suggest that Borututu has antioxidant and other beneficial properties.

Based on what I read on SMF, I was prepared for the possibility of some foreign matter in the butter (which I understand is a possibility with any unrefined Shea). I melted it and then decanted most of the liquid butter before I weighed it, leaving a tiny bit of fine grit at the bottom of the original container. The decanted liquid appeared to be clear of particles.

So, here’s the soap this morning. I put some Calendula petals on top for visual appeal.

View attachment 40831
I love the color and the gentle spoon textures. It’s relaxing just to look at it.
 

Obsidian

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I've used a unrefined shea that was very yellow in color but wasn't labeled yellow. It didn't color the soap at all.

There has to be some sort of color added.
 

Mobjack Bay

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I've used a unrefined shea that was very yellow in color but wasn't labeled yellow. It didn't color the soap at all.

There has to be some sort of color added.
Yes, the color is from the Borututu tree, which has orange wood. You can see a pic at the second link in my original post, but you will need to scroll down a bit. The tree is used in traditional medicine in Africa.

ETA: or maybe not, keep reading...
 
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Mobjack Bay

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It's gorgeous!! That's a very pretty yellow color, and it looks like you got the sculpted tops you've been wanting too.
:):hippo::):hippo::):hippo:
Thank you! I love the color, and yes, I am getting very close on the tops :). I will try to pour the next batch just a tad earlier or lower the temp a little depending on how the soap looks when I cut it. This batch was not quite at trace when I started pouring, but then moved a tiny bit faster than I expected.
 

cmzaha

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My yellow shea does not color my soap either. I use either yellow or cream color depending which is available at the time I do a shea butter run. Shear butter can be different colors, from beige to light yellow depending on climate, time of year seeds are collected and even the trees. Kpangnan butter is yellow and is very similar to shea, but not true shea. I personally like Kpangnan Butter since I don't find it as greasy, more powdery, but use either. Kpangnan comes from the Butter tree.

Do not depend on the color coming from just Borututu tree extract. Yellow chili type peppers also used as colorants and Kpangnan Butter is also colored with peppers to up the yellow. I also purchase my shea and or Kpangnan from direct importers and believe me you would be very surprised what you find, but in the yellow butter, I always find peppers. I also know when I hopefully buy Kpangnan I get dyed Shea.
 

Mobjack Bay

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I love the color and the gentle spoon textures. It’s relaxing just to look at it.
Thanks Kari! I’m working hard to get a recipe that will let me produce soft billowy tops on my soap. I have a good feeling that this one is going to get me all the way there :).
 

Mobjack Bay

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My yellow shea does not color my soap either. I use either yellow or cream color depending which is available at the time I do a shea butter run. Shear butter can be different colors, from beige to light yellow depending on climate, time of year seeds are collected and even the trees. Kpangnan butter is yellow and is very similar to shea, but not true shea. I personally like Kpangnan Butter since I don't find it as greasy, more powdery, but use either. Kpangnan comes from the Butter tree.

Do not depend on the color coming from just Borututu tree extract. Yellow chili type peppers also used as colorants and Kpangnan Butter is also colored with peppers to up the yellow. I also purchase my shea and or Kpangnan from direct importers and believe me you would be very surprised what you find, but in the yellow butter, I always find peppers. I also know when I hopefully buy Kpangnan I get dyed Shea.
I kept an eye out for anything that looked like pepper parts based on some earlier posts of yours that I found when I was doing my research. This particular product is sold for use on skin, so I assume it has “passed the test” for consumer use, especially given the volume of sales through Walmart. Now we will have to see if the color holds!
 

Obsidian

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That definitely has some sort of color added. I wonder if you could email the company and get a honest answer?

Explain that you are inquiring for allergy reasons. Whatever the coloring used, its probably natural and would have been added when the shea was made.

Edit: this made me wonder if anyone has tried sweet peppers to color soap? Could be another option if its stable.
 

Mobjack Bay

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That definitely has some sort of color added. I wonder if you could email the company and get a honest answer?

Explain that you are inquiring for allergy reasons. Whatever the coloring used, its probably natural and would have been added when the shea was made.

Edit: this made me wonder if anyone has tried sweet peppers to color soap? Could be another option if its stable.
I will email them. My guess is that they will tell me that the color is from the Borututu Tree, but we’ll see.
 

Mobjack Bay

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@cmzaha I also want to add that I truly appreciate the wealth of information you share here on SMF. There’s nothing like the voice of a knowledgeable and experienced teacher when learning. Although I still have a long way to go, searching out and reading your posts has moved me along more quickly on the path to competent soap making. Thank you!
 

cmzaha

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Thank you for the compliment I appreciate it.

But I doubt you will get an answer to your shea and it is very possibly Kpangnan they most likely do not know since they purchase from suppliers. Who are you going to email? Just curious. They even add more color to Kpangnan. Much of the shea, when it gets here is melted down and strained, not refined since it is being sold as raw, and I doubt you find surprises in the container shea. I honestly have never purchased butter in those containers since I only buy bulk from importers. My butters come in the original boxes from Ghana, so when I call that I want to pick some up I get whatever they have been sent. It is all nice.
 

cmzaha

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I just sent the sales office an email. Will report back if/when I get a response.
It will be interesting to find out, but honestly, they are really not going to know. Most of the shea is made in tribes although there may be a few factories and they just do not tell all.
 

Mobjack Bay

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it is very possibly Kpangnan.
If it is kpangnan, I guess my soap will have a lower SF than I planned, based on the Soapcalc NaOH SAPs 128 for Shea vs. 136 for kpangnan. My SF was only 3%, but I also only used 10% of the butter. Will definitely do a zap test when I cut it.

ETA: no zap.
 
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cmzaha

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If it is kpangnan, I guess my soap will have a lower SF than I planned, based on the Soapcalc NaOH SAPs 128 for Shea vs. 136 for kpangnan. My SF was only 3%, but I also only used 10% of the butter. Will definitely do a zap test when I cut it.

ETA: no zap.
It will be fine, I soap with a superfat between 0-3%, usually 2 %.
I also did not mention that I love the color of your soap. It looks really great :winner:
 

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