Natural Butter Vs. Hydrogenated Butter: What is the Difference?
The rise in demand for natural personal care products has led to the inevitability of altering the physical properties of natural oils and fats. More so, it has a common practice for cosmetic firms to invent new types of aesthetics, especially aromatherapy products. Consequently, a popular approach has resulted to the altering of natural oils and fats to produce butter. Butters are solid but they liquefy under pressure. Butters are becoming more and more essential in personal care products especially on materials that require natural oils in solid form.
There are therefore two broad categories of butter; natural butters or hydrogenated, also known as chemically altered.
These butters are extracted and refined from a natural source and there is no chemical modification in their molecules. They are butters by the virtue of that they are composed of fatty compositions. Examples of natural butters include cocoa and Shea butter. Shea butter is a natural fat widely used in the cosmetic fields as lotion, moisturizers or salve. Shea is extracted from the nut of the African Shea tree.
Many natural oils that are liquids have a wide range of instauration in the alkyl group. Since the oils have different ranges of saturation, they can exist as monosaturated or polysaturated which means that the steric double bonds hindrance will prevent the molecules from closely packing together. This means they will remain liquids since they cannot change to solids. They are very common with aromatherapy products.
Chemical alteration also referred to as hydrogenation has been the most common and popular way that have been used by chemists to alter natural unrefined oils. Through hydrogenation, the chemical structure of the oil molecules is changed and the liquid oil changes to solid or a semi-solid state. The process often involves changing the fat’s degree of saturation. Consequently, this results to the altering of physical properties such as the melting range and the liquid changes to a semi-solid state. It has also been defined as the process that combines two hydrogens without changing the molecule. An example of a hydrogenated butter is margarine. However, the trans fats produced by the chemical change during the hydrogenation process have been found unhealthy.
It is a butter making approach that uses gelation agents. These additives provide structure to the natural oils and turn them into solid butter. To enhance butter spread properties, the gelation agents are added at a low concentration of less than 10%.
Therefore, formulation of butters has not been an easy task, especially to the cosmetic chemists. They have to ensure that they achieve the desired physical characteristics as trying to make the products to be natural. For example, the addition of natural oils and additives has proved a challenge when achieving the structural integrity of the product. However, the use of butter formulation methods like hydrogenation and refining of hydrocarbons have aided in the manufacture of butter but still, natural butters are still very popular.
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