The word refined has come to mean lower quality, inferior, chemically processed and simply less effective. In this post, I will attempt to delineate the real issues that people should have with refined products and when refined could actually be a good thing. Many people that want to take their skin care to the highest and best quality possible prefer to opt for plant butters in their most natural and pure state. As a business, we love to see that. It inspires us to do more to provide the best available quality we can find. However, it is important to be clear and realistic about the expectations of our customers and what is actually obtainable. Plant butters require some degree of processing in order to be usable. Even though we love nature so much, we also have our smell sensors and skin sensors. Unprocessed plant butters can cause irritation and allergic reactions too. Just because it is listed as unrefined and pure doesn’t mean you can use it. For example individuals with nut allergies can not use Shea nut butter as well as other nut based butters. Severe reactions can occur and that doesn’t mean the product has any dangerous ingredient in it.
Why not just make your mango or Shea nut butter at home from scratch? I wish it were as easy as that but the process of extraction requires machinery, technical skill and expertise. Mango kernels are almost as “hard as a rock” and Shea nuts are no joke either. We therefore need machines to process these wonderful natural products. The entire manufacturing process can also introduce impurities which need to be removed carefully and entirely. In the end, the product needs to be tested in the lab to ensure that it is actually pure and safe to use.
Some ill-informed people easily get deceived by unethical companies to believe that unrefined products should be brown or greenish in color. As a matter of fact, this is clearly not true. Some unrefined products lose color vibrancy during natural filtering. The natural filtration process often involves the use of clays and this does not affect their efficacy in any way. It just ensures that the end product is free from impurities, particles and other unnecessary items. For example, our Tamanu and Murumuru butter do not present in dark vibrant colors but they are unrefined and pure. It is important to understand that what makes a butter unrefined is the natural chemical components it contains which include: vitamin E, omega 3 fatty acids, oleic acids and more. These components are endowed on plant butters by nature and they enable the butter perform its wonders on the skin and hair. It therefore becomes important to pay attention to what really matters as far as natural butters are concerned, the method of processing.
While you may not be able to ascertain the amount of nutrients left after the butter is processed, you may be able to successfully predict how effective a butter will still be based on how it was processed. Refined butters have there own uses. As a matter of fact, they are relatively more expensive due to the extra processes they go through. Unrefined Shea Butter is an incredible gift of nature to us. I am sure many will agree with this statement. However, it is not for everyone. We carry “the best premium quality on the planet”. Ours is sourced from a renowned certified organic supplier and is superb for skin and hair care. While most of our customers love it as it is, with the most natural processing techniques, some do not just like the smell and its natural color. This is possibly due to how it interferes with the end product you make. For body butters, unrefined Shea butter works great but for some other beauty products like natural deodorants, bath products and balms, some people prefer a product that can absorb color and doesn’t interfere with the desired end fragrance. Our organic refined Shea butter is produced without chemical solvents and retains the creamy texture of Shea butter. As a matter of fact, if you close your eyes and handle both our refined and unrefined organic Shea butters, you won’t notice any difference in the texture. the only difference is the color and smell.
The main Shea nut producing countries are Nigeria, Ghana and Burkina Faso. The first process typically involved in the processing of Shea nut butter is the wild collection of the Shea nuts. After being picked, the green peel is removed from the Shea nuts. The nuts are then sun dried, washed and ground. This is followed by roasting, pressing and oil washing. The fat extracted from the nut is then melted and filtered to result in pure organic Shea butter. This is the only melting our Unrefined organic Shea butter goes through before getting into your hands.
Our refined organic Shea butter goes through a few additional processes, different from our unrefined organic Shea butter. Our refined organic Shea butter goes through bleaching and filtration. It further goes through the deodorization and cooling phase which ensures that it gets to you white and odorless. It therefore has the unique ability to absorb the pigments you add because of its pure white color. The odorless butter is also ready to champion the beautiful fragrance you incorporate into it. Many people think that refined Shea butter has lost all its qualities but I can tell you ours is still very rich and creamy. It is bleached, deodorized and filtered using organic clays. The process used in refining our organic refined Shea butter is the same one used in edible oils. It involves bleaching clays and diatomaceous earth (DE). The main job of the bleaching clays is not only to remove color, it also significantly improves the flavor and stability of the butter. The two components work together exceptionally well in filtration to remove unwanted contaminants and particles. This ensures the integrity remains the same and the overall butter remains highly potent.
Most companies that mold their butters into beautiful squares have to heat their butters quite significantly after they receive it from the manufacturers. They have to first melt the butter down completely by raising it to a temperature of atleast 180 degree Fahrenheit so as to avoid crystallization (grainy texture). Once we receive our butters from the manufacturers, no further melting is done, ensuring you receive your butters with an uncompromised intergrity. Once again, the main question to ask is how the butter was processed because even unrefined Shea butter from some suppliers doesn’t guarantee top quality if it has been melted down several times. All the butters we offer for sale at Oslove Organics are tested. We also do a lot of comparison and experimentation to ensure it works just the way you expect it would. We are happy to say that the only difference between our unrefined organic Shea and the refined organic Shea is color and smell. The rest is not noticeable if any. Please direct any inquiries to [email protected].