kokum-butter-in-a-jar

 

 

 

Kokum butter

Sep 8, 2023 | Ingredients

kokum butter

1. WHAT IS KOKUM BUTTER AND WHERE IS IT USED?

Kokum butter is an oil that is solid in room temperature and it is obtained from Garcinia indica fruit kernels. The tree grows primarily in India, in Western Ghats, especially the Goa and Konkan region and can grow up to 18 meters height.

Kokum tree has several different common names. It can be called: Goa butter tree, Indian tallow tree, Indian butter tree, Indian berry.

Marula-fruits
dried-marula-fruits

The kokum tree grows kokum fruit which when ripe are dark purple or red tinge with yellow. The fruit has a red acid pulp with 3-8 seeds inside. The fruit itself is used in many culinary ways to make syrups, drinks or used in many Indian dishes.

Kokum fruits should not be confused with mangosteen (as they look very much alike), but the scientific names are actually different. For kokum it is Garcinia indica and for the mangosteen Garcinia mangostana.

Skin benefits of kokum butter: good emollient and it is used everywhere where one would need to lock moisture. It softens the skin, has a very light and not greasy feeling and forms a thin layer on the skin. It is usually used in lip balms, balms and to heal chapped skin.

Kokum butter benefits for hair are manily softening and locking moisture. When this ingredient is used in conditioner or an oily hair mask, it forms a thin layer on hair fibers and smoothens them as well as locks the moisture in.

two-face-gels-in-white-jars

2. HOW KOKUM BUTTER IS OBTAINED?

The butter is made from the seeds of the fruit and the yield from them is about 33-44%. There are two methods to extract the butter from the seeds.

The first is boiling the crude oil in the water and the other is to churn the crude oil into a butter. The latter method yields an unrefined kokum butter which can have a nutty scent and beige, darker color. You can see the process here and here.

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3. FATTY ACID COMPOSITION OF KOKUM BUTTER

As this ingredient is a butter it will definitely have quite high amounts of saturated fatty acids. The fatty acid composition may vary.

But it should be within these ranges:

Palmitic acid (C16:0) – 2-8%

Stearic acid (C18:0) – 50-67.4%

Oleic acid (C18:1) – 27-42%

Linoleic acid (C18:2) – 0.5-2%

Arachidic acid (C20) – 0.7%

However, the one that I have from Aroma-zone consists of:

Palmitic acid (C16:0) – 20.42%

Stearic acid (C18:0) – 36.86%

Oleic acid (C18:1) – 35.18%

Linoleic acid (C18:2) – 4.46%

kokum-butter-fatty-acids

You can tell, that the difference of palmitic acid is huge! It may be that in Aroma-zone website there is a typo as I could not find any other supplier who claimed that kokum butter had such a big amount of palmitic acid.

kokum-butteer-in-a-spoon
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4. Basic properties of kokum butter

INCI Garcinia indica seed butter
Function It is an emollient that moisturizes, softens the skin and hair
Usage rate 1-3% in lotions, up to 20% in balms, salves, butters
Origin From the kernels of Garcinia indica seeds
Appearance A solid ingredient. Unrefined would be brown while refined would be yellow/white
Iodine value 32-42
Solubility Oil
Skin type All skin types
Shelf life Store somewhere in a cool, dark and dry environment. It should be good at least for 2 years.
When to include it Depending on the room temperature could be used in cold or hot process. But mainly it should be heated in advance.
How much do you need it? 100g (1.7-3.3 oz.) would be enough as it is quite expensive butter
Alternatives Mango butter, cupuacu butter

5. APPEARANCE AND SKIN FEEL OF KOKUM BUTTER

As the name suggests – it is a solid ingredient in room temperature. The butter may be white, bit yellow if refined and does not smell much. If you come across the unrefined version, it will have a bit darker color and will have a nutty scent.

In formulations kokum butter gives a light, rather dry skin feel that is not greasy at all. Though when compared to cupuacu butter, kokum butter is heavier. You can feel it lingering on the skin, but it is not annoying or sticky.

You can try kokum butter directly on the skin – it should fairly quickly melt between your fingers. But upon application I do feel some drag. I can rub it in, but the application area is not very wide (compared to light esters).

As you can tell, mine has got grainy over time and you can see big clusters of saturated fatty acids. If we believe the chart from Aroma-zone, those grains should be palmitic and stearic fatty acids. If we believe the CIR information – then it should be primarily stearic acid.

If you are interested how to get rid off those grains, check these post about tempering butters:

Pracaxi-oil

6. STABILITY AND HOW TO WORK WITH KOKUM BUTTER

As the butter has a lot of saturated fatty acids, it is a stable ingredient and should be good to use for at least 2 years After that it should be reassessed.

For most formulations kokum butter should be heated in the oil phase. As it is a fairly hard butter, I don’t think you will use it as it is, unless it is quite hot where you are and the butter is soft. Though at the 25°C kokum butter is rather hard.

The version that I have is grainy and should be tempered. Especially if used in anhydrous products.

For the emulsions you can add kokum butter 1-3%. But you may try higher amounts just to see what happens then.

For body butters and balms you can use it up to 20%. You could probably use it at higher usage rate if you want,  but the end product may be too hard.

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7. WHAT CAN YOU MAKE WITH IT?

You can use it in a lot of cosmetic formulations where you would use cocoa butter or shea butter, but the end formulation would be much lighter.

Some ideas where to use it:

  • Lip balms
  • Salves
  • Whipped anhydrous body butter
  • Lip butter
  • Hand lotion, body lotion
  • Conditioner
  • Bath bombs
  • Shampoo bars
  • Solid conditioners

8. WHERE TO BUY THIS INGREDIENT?

This is a bit pricey ingredient compared to cocoa butter or shea butter and because of that it is not as easily available. However, there are still plenty of suppliers where to get it. My list is not finite and there are definitely more places where to get it, so if you need some other place – keep looking. I am sure you will find one.

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