Vegetable butters are obtained by blending the nutritive natural fatty fractions of a vegetable oil. Depending on the butter, the fractions come directly from either the oil or hydrogenated oil or the unsaponifiable fraction. Vegetable butters are solid at room temperature. The percentage of the unsaponifiable fraction of a vegetable oil is usually very low. It requires a large quantity of processed oil to yield a significant quantity of butter.
Vegetable butters are becoming more wildly incorporated into cosmetics and skin care products as they are rich in beneficial nutrients. Butters such as cocoa butter contribute to the viscosity and stability of emulsions, and they give rigidity to stick products such as lotion bars and balms. There are quite a few types of vegetable butters but these three are of the most commonly used in personal care products.
Shea butter is a skin superfood that comes from the seeds of the fruit of the Shea (Karite) tree and that is naturally rich in vitamins A, E and F. Research suggests it may offer UV protection and provides the skin with essential fatty acids and the nutrients necessary for collagen production. Shea butter has been used in Africa and other countries for years to improve skin and hair.
Cocoa butter, which is made from the beans of the cocoa tree, contains triglycerides of fatty acids. Its rich formula is easily absorbed into the skin, and it contains natural antioxidants that help the body fight free radicals. Cocoa butter is a superb emollient that softens and protects skin and helps diminish the appearance of fine lines and stretch marks. It is also helpful as a binder or thickener in natural cosmetic formulas where chemical thickeners are not used. Its sweet chocolate smell makes a yummy treat for your nose, too.
The cocoa tree (Theobroma cacao) is native to the tropical regions in Central and South America. Culturally, this “food of the gods” had monetary value in these regions. The Mayans developed a drink concocted of ground cocoa beans, water, black pepper, vanilla and spices that were shared during wedding ceremonies. The Spaniards introduced the cocoa bean to Europe, and by the 18th century, many countries were enjoying the sweet fruit of the cocoa tree.
Mango Butter is extracted from kernels of the mango. The mango originates from southern Asia and can be found in warmer tropical climates such as Burma and India. Indigenous people of the rainforest have been reaping the hair and skin care benefits of this magnificent fruit for many centuries.
Mango butter contains natural emollient qualities that help keep the skin moisturized, therefore when applied to the scalp it restores and maintains the moisture and promotes cell regeneration. This all contributes to a healthy scalp that in turn results in healthy hair growth. Mango butter possesses similar qualities to cocoa butter and Shea butter in the way of consistency and benefits, however it contains higher levels of fatty acid making it a more intensive moisturizer. Lack of moisture in the hair can result in weak, brittle hair and in turn leads to breakage and ultimately hair loss. Mango butter contains high levels of antioxidants and beneficial vitamins A, C, and E.
You can use it alone or add it to your favorite conditioner to give you extra moisture. It’s also a great additive for shampoos and hair creams.