Kokum, "Kokam," or Goa butter is obtained from the kernels of mangosteen, the fruit of the Kokum (Garcinia Indica) or "Kokam" tree. Our raw, Unrefined Kokum Butter comes from Western Ghat, the region in India where Kokum trees are most abundant. There, Kokum trees grow wild in the forests and wild-lands where no chemical fertilizers or pesticides can reach.
Those of us who make these gorgeous, wholesome skin and bath products sometimes feel restricted by the limited variety of butters, as well as the difficulty of finding the unrefined butters we love. We here at Celebratio Vitae are always searching for new butters from which we can create new whole products.
We have been searching for a supplier of raw, unrefined Kokum butter for a long time, and we have finally found it. And, I have to tell you, we are so in love with this butter!
The Kokum fruits are bought from collection centers organized by tribal people and villagers, and the butter is extracted by a small familial company using the traditional method: by physical/mechanical extraction.
After extraction, our raw Kokum Butter is then filtered to remove kernel particles and impurities. Among the great characteristics of Kokum butter is that despite being raw and unrefined, it has almost no scent.
Using a physical/mechanical extraction method, the Kokum fruits yield only around 25% of Kokum Butter. Using a less natural chemical/solvent extraction method, the seeds yield around 44% butter. Hence, chemically refined Kokum butter is cheaper and constitutes most of the commercially sold Kokum Butter. But that butter is solvent extracted, chemically refined, neutralized, bleached, deodorized and often modified with the help of chemicals and solvents, leaving behind traces of chemicals and solvents in the refined Kokum Butter.
Traditionally, raw Kokum Butter has been used in India to soften and nourish the skin, softening lines and wrinkles by restoring elasticity and improving the ability of the skin to retain moisture.
It is a nutritive, astringent, and emollient butter, rich in essential fatty acids and antioxidant vitamin E. It is also non-comedogenic. Its high melting point makes it a suitable substitution for the beeswax in balms and ointments, and with its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties it is a great ingredient for healing skin ulcerations.
We ran some tests with our unrefined Kokum Butter before selling it, and here is what we have found so far:
Kokum butter is a “dry butter” - with a melting point of 39/40 C (98.6 °F/104°F), has a chalk-like texture and, contrary to common belief, it does NOT melt readily on contact with the skin like Cupuaçu, Cocoa Butter, or Shea Butter.
If rubbed directly to the skin, the butter crumbles. It does not melt and glide and is, therefore, not quickly absorbed by the skin. It is definitely not a butter that can be applied by itself directly to the skin as you can do with a softer butter such Cupuaçu.
Products made with a high percentage of Kokum Butter plus soft oils leave behind a lovely matte soft finish on the skin.
It is very stable due to its high content of Stearic acid (close to 60%) and a high melting point and blends wonderfully with soft to medium-soft oils. It is a great addition to lipsticks if you want to use less or no animal ingredients, such as beeswax.
You can easily make a luxurious body balm using 50/50 soft oils/Kokum Butter and some drops of EO. It will not melt easily in hot temperatures and the final texture is absolutely gorgeous -- smooth and silky.
It is a great option for replacing Stearic acid as the emulsifier in a formulation. It has the advantage of being not just a filler (like Stearic acid) but an active ingredient in your formula that actually replaces the emulsifier and improves stability with a lovely, luscious, silky texture. It is actually good for the skin.
It is a wonderful ingredient to add to face creams, leaving a lovely matte finish.
It is wonderful for creams, balms, and lotions for sensitive acne-prone skin.
Unrefined Kokum Butter has a chalk like texture - softer than refined Kokum butter, has a light to medium brown color, and melts at high temperature.
We are very exited to discover still more about this unrefined Kokum Butter, and we'll post some comments here when it happens (:
So, enjoy the pure unrefined Kokum Butter with all of Mother Nature's healing power it has to offer.