Shea on me. Even though I has been entrenched in the making of homemade soap for nearly 3 years,
I have never used Shea Butter until last week. .
No real good reason other than it is costly, averaging $1.50/oz compared to coconut oil which averages .08 cents/oz bought in bulk and the fact that my basic recipe seemed pretty good. If you are not familiar with Shea Butter, it is a slightly yellowish or ivory-colored fat extracted from the nut of the African Shea tree.
Used often in cosmetics it is known to be a great moisturizer as well as healer of a multitude of skin issues such as eczema, sunburn, rashes, itching, wrinkles etc...Normally soap makers use it in the range of 5-7% of their recipe but I have heard of others going much higher. It is even used to soften leather straps. Hmmmmmm.
So,in the mood to experiment I bought some and used it. My first batch I used 15% Shea butter along with my usual Coconut, Olive, Castor and Sweet Almond. oils. In the second batch all the ingredients were the same except I bumped the Shea up to 30%
I only let the bars cure for a week before playing with them comparing them to a bar of store bought Shea butter soap I picked up at Barnes and Noble. The bar was real cute with it's little elephant imprint and dry, it felt very smooth in my hand, but the lather really bombed.
5 minutes after rinsing my hands were tight and my skin felt dry. So much for "Triple Milled Shea Butter Luxury Soap" Granted the package was adorable but no where did it state how much Shea butter was actually used. I'm guessing in the 2% range.
The first batch of my own Shea soap took well to my alkanet coloring, just a little for a ight pink swirl and the peppermint EO I choose. With 15% Shea I was surprised to get the amount of lather I did.
Several minutes after using, my hands felt wonderful! So then it was on to batch number 2 with 30% Shea Butter. The lather was slightly less the first batch, each bar got a brisk 10 second scrub...
But still it was very adequate and left my hands very VERY soft without them felling greasy or oily at all. Both bars. although somewhat soft when cut at 24 hours after molding, were moderately firm after a week.
Final opinion. Shea Butter is good.
Now tell me, how do you balance out the cost of Shea in your soap bars? Do you save it for special bars only? Do you use it all your bars and increase your price per bar accordingly? If you don't use Shea butter why not? Would love to hear your side of the story.