Butters (and not the kind that you put on your toast!)
Updated: Oct 30, 2022
One of my friends told me a story about the time she bought some body butters (cocoa, shea, etc.) for her grandma. Her grandpa, seeing them sitting on the counter, thought they were one of those new, fancy butters like almond butter or cashew butter… and put it on his toast! Thankfully he was caught in the act before he ate it.
So the lesson here, dear readers, is that when SaltZ&Co refers to butters, we aren’t talking about the ones you eat, but the ones you put in wonderful natural skin care products!
Facts about skincare butters
Butters and oils used for cosmetic purposes are categorized as emollients
Emollients help to improve the skin’s appearance by softening, smoothing, and increasing its flexibility.
Different types of butters that are great emollients include: Shea, cocoa, mango, and babassu.
Shea butter is the thickest and creamiest and makes the best lip balm.
Cocoa butter is an essential ingredient in most recipes because it adds firmness but melts instantly with contact on the skin.
Mango butter is pressed from the kernel of the mango fruit and is used in skincare products for its emollient and moisturizing properties.
Source: Natural Beauty by Karen Gilbert
Historically, it was called “cacao” butter. But through time, we lost the original pronunciation, and it became “cocoa” butter.
In 1828, Conrad Van Houten developed a way of mechanically extracting most of the fat from the cacao liquor, resulting in cacao butter; which could be used for anything from soap to suppositories.
“Cacao butter is one of the most chemically intricate and challenging fats in nature. Like other fats, it consists mostly of triglycerides or compounds formed when three fatty acid molecules hook onto a glycerol molecule. The intricate part is that the three fatty acids on the resulting triglyceride molecule are almost always different kinds and would become solid or liquid at three slightly different temperatures. This is why the sensation of chocolate literally melting in your mouth is so unlike anything else. It is also the reason that people can have so much trouble working with melted chocolate” -Maricel Presilla
Source: The New Taste of Chocolate: A Cultural and Natural History of Cacao with Recipes by Maricel Presilla
Many commercial producers of skincare products make a nod to these butters due to the increasing popularity of natural vegan butters, but it's important to read the ingredients lists on the label. In most cases, the natural butter appears very far down, almost as an afterthought - in fact, they only contain trace amounts, even when those moisturizers prominently feature these butters in their marketing. The reason is that premium moisturizing butters made from plant sources are very costly.
That doesn't bother us! Quality natural, plant-based ingredients are all we work with... and with super-rich vegan butters like our mango hand & body butter, a little goes a long way. Now that you know a bit more about effective alternatives to traditional, mass-produced moisturizers, which are overwhelmingly made of water, animal fats and petroleum derivatives, why not try out some of our rich products for yourself? Check out all our natural skincare offerings and see what goodies you can find!