Shea Butter for Soap Making

Shea Butter is a great choice when it comes to soap making oils. Not only does it perform beautifully in the soap making process, it also has some fantastic natural skin loving benefits.

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Rich in vitamins and essential fatty acids, this oil forms a breathable barrier on your skin that helps to protect it from harsh elements like the sun and wind.

It is often used in products for soothing skin irritations, sun protection, healing minor cuts and burns and of course skin moisturising. 

Common Name: Shea Butter

Botanical Name: Butyrospermum Parkii

INCI Name: Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter

Common Extraction Method: Expeller pressed from the Shea nut.

Plant Origin: Ghana, Western Africa

Physical Description: You will find this oil refined and unrefined. The refined oil is a creamy white colour while the unrefined can range from off white to a grey tan shade.

Both oils have a solid paste like texture and will absorb quite well when used topically.

Aromatic Description: The refined oil has little in the way of scent but the unrefined oil can have a bit of a nutty odour.

Approximate SAP Value: KOH - 188; NaOH - 134

Soap Making Characteristics: High in Stearic and Oleic acids, this oil will produce a long lasting hard soap with a stable conditioning lather. I've used it in amounts up to 25% of the base oils without any difficulty.

Recipes using large amounts of this oil will trace quickly so be careful when combining it with other trace accelerating ingredients.

Cautions: None known.

Recipe Suggestions: There are quite a few recipes on this site using this oil. 

Goats Milk Soap Recipe

Shea Butter Coconut Milk Soap Recipe

Cocoa and Shea Butter Soap Recipe

Coffee Soap Recipe

...and pretty much most of the recipes on the Palm Free Soap Recipes page.

Fatty Acid Content: The chart below shows the approximate percentages of fatty acids present in this oil.

Lauric Myristic Palmitic Stearic Ricinoleic Oleic Linoleic Linolenic
    5 40   48 6  
Full Lather   F/L  
  Stable Lather  

This information is provided for reference use only and is not meant to substitute the advice of a licensed health care professional.

› Shea Butter

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