Now, on to something really, really exciting, butters. You would not believe how much Kerrygold I put in the beard balm. OK, that's a lie. What I'm talking about is Shea and cocoa butter. Shea and Cocoa butter make up a significant fraction of our balm. Let's look at each, one at a time.
Shea butter is derived from the seed of the African Shea tree (Vitellaria paradoxa). The process of acquiring the butter (fat) from the seed consists of five steps:
- separating and cracking
- separating the oils from the husk and water
Furthermore, Shea butter comes in several grades, ranging from unrefined (A) to very refined (D). Our Shea butter is unrefined, which means it has undergone the five steps mentioned above without any added chemicals. In fact, when we receive our Shea butter we melt it and run it through cheese cloth to filter out small pieces of residual husk. Side note: if you ever find a black spec in your beard balm, it's husk. We both apologize for not catching it and encourage you to think of the history of that piece of husk—from a tree in the Sahel to a tin in your hands. Wild, right?
I'll discuss why we use Shea butter next week but instead will talk about the benefits of Shea butter. There are two primary benefits. First, it is a great moisturizer. Healthy skin equals healthy beard, so well-moisturized skin is a must. Second, it smooths skin, which is great for us *cough* aging Savants. A third lesser reason is inflammation reduction. These three characteristics make Shea butter a great edition to any quality balm.
The second butter we use is cocoa butter. Cocoa butter is derived from the large seed pods of the Cocoa tree (Theobroma cacao). At room temperature the butter is harder than Shea butter. In fact, at room temperature you can break it into pieces whereas Shea butter will deform.
One of cocoa butter's best qualities yet often overlooked is its stability. It is the oak of our balm. Raw cocao beans are fermented, roasted, then separated from their hulls, of this separated content over half is cocoa butter. Cocoa butter has a fairly strong scent, because of this we use a deodorized cocoa butter. This process consists of injecting steam into the butter to drive off the aromatic vapors (which are volatile) without removing any color (which requires less savory techniques, e.g. chemicals).
Cocoa, like Shea butter, is a terrific moisturizer. Not only does it moisturize your skin, but your hair is well—two birds, one stone. Like Shea butter it also reduces inflammation while acting against the tell-tale signs of aging. I mean, this isn't the fountain of youth, but it helps.
The combination of Shea and cocoa butter are a one-two punch against dryness and discomfort. These are two quality ingredients that we source from quality producers. Rest assured, we are always working to create the best for you.
Tomorrow join us for an exciting journey into the world of beeswax!