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What's a good sub for shea in my lip balm?


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I still get grainy balm even using cera belina wax in my lip balm formulation. So want to swap it out with something that does not go grainy. I would prefer a butter rather than an oil. Would either mango or cocoa butter be a good swap? I even have cupuacu and kokum butters I could use. Or perhaps I should up my coconut oil or use something else altogether? Looking for ideas. Thanks.

Edited by Candybee
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Anything high on stearic will have a tendency to become grainy over time. 
 

I use cocoa butter at a fairly small % and have been lucky with my formula.  I do still have the butterez which likely helps quite a lot. 

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I was also thinking cocoa butter might be the way to go. I'll start out at 5% and adjust from there. Thanks for the tip.  

 

Lucky you still have some butterez. I loved that stuff. It's been a pain to reformulate my lip balm without it. I can get a nice smooth creamy balm but eventually over time the shea gets grainy again. Cera Bellina helps with a smooth creamy texture but doesn't stop the shea grainies, just delays it. I have been finding that out over time. Sigh... 

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A formulation I made for a client has coco and shea at 3% and is smooth and glossy without butterez. Beeswax is the backbone  with almost 70% very light  liquid oil. For my own use, I would lean on a bit of candelila too. 

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  • 3 weeks later...
  • 2 months later...

I have two products with butter in them. One is my lip balm with shea butter, and the other is my lotion bar with mango butter. While my lip balm definitely goes grainy after a while, the lotion bars take considerably longer to hit that point and the grains aren't nearly as big.

I've had moderate success with simply reducing the amount of butter in my formula. My old lip balm formula had ~28% shea butter and ~5% cera bellina wax, and it got these huge grains in them after a few weeks to a few months. My current recipe is closer to 18% shea butter with ~6% cera bellina, and while it does sometimes go grainy after a few months, the grains are way smaller and they usually disappear after a single application on the lips.

 

Supposedly, heating above 165f and quickly cooling the product helps with the stearic acid dispersal, but even "pouring then immediately moving to the freezer" doesn't seem to change the outcome. Maybe "quick cooling" means like, "industrial flash freezer"? Because I don't have that 😅

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  • 3 weeks later...

Forgot about this old thread. My shea butter is down to 5% in my formulation. I don't think I ever had it above 10%. It still gets grainy but over a longer period of time. I sell outdoors and craft shows and markets so my product is exposed to weather changes from high 95 degree+ heat in the summer to below freezing temps in the winter. Its during or following freezing weather that I notice the balm has turned grainy.

 

I don't experiment with it much as I only make lip balm maybe 2-3 times a year. I just make enough to last me all season and beyond. What I don't pack for my market I have sitting at home on the shelf in a climate controlled room.

 

I have found though that even small 5% shea in my formulation will at some point turn grainy. The grains don't have to be large. Any size grains even very small ones feel like sandpaper across the lips. Not the feeling I want my customers to experience.

 

I am going to keep experimenting until I come up with the right formula. I am thinking about going an entirely different route and eliminating shea altogether and maybe even all or most butters. I am curious about a blend I read about in another long ago post about using lanolin. Will try to find it if I can.

 

 

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