Why are some beard balms and butters grainy? How Do I fix it?

Why are some beard balms and butters grainy? How Do I fix it?

Introduction

When it comes to beard grooming, beard balms and butters are an important factor in maintaining your facial hair to make it look and feel great. They are also awesome products to prevent itching and dry skin. If you've ever made or purchased balm or butter before, you may have come across the frustrating issue of grainy products. In this blog post, we will dive into this issue, why it happens and how you can fix it while dealing with raw natural ingredients

Understanding raw natural butters

Mango and shea butter are great choices for beard balms and butter due to their superior moisturizing and conditioning properties. Due to the rawness and pureness of these ingredients, however, they also have the tendency to become grainy under specific conditions. Here are the main factors that can affect whether butter or balm is grainy or not. 

1. Raw Ingredient Quality Consistency: When using natural ingredients as opposed to man-made chemicals, the quality of each ingredient when working with it can vary greatly. This might be due to the environment in which the ingredients were grown or extracted, the age of the ingredients, or the method used. This can mean that during production, each ingredient might need to be adapted slightly for different batches; this is quite often not known until the product is made and then used.

2. Production: Overheating, Under Heating, and Delayed Cooling: Each step is important when making butter or balm and can also factor into whether a butter or balm results in a grainy texture. When working with these types of butters, they need to be melted with consistent, low, and indirect heat, followed by rapid cooling. This is to ensure the fats and binders solidify while at the same time stopping separation.

3. Temperature Changes: One of the downsides of working with natural ingredients like shea and mango butter is that they can be highly affected by temperature changes. This can be something like when the butter is left in a warm or hot environment, like direct sunlight, next to a heater, or in a hot car, are just a few examples to mention. These temperature fluctuations can cause the product to melt and become a liquid. Once the product has liquefied, it is likely to be cooled unevenly, resulting in the different fats solidifying at different speeds, thus resulting in separation, crystallization, or a grainy texture.  

Are Grainy Beard Butters and Balms OK to use?

Yes, most grainy beard butters and balms that are home-made or purchased online are a pain to some users, but they are still 100% OK to use; generally, they just require a bit more "elbow grease" to break down. You can do this by working the product between your palms, not your fingers, and with more pressure than usual to increase the friction and heat needed to break down the molecules. If this is not suitable and you want to fix the entire product, read on to find out how. 

How to Fix Grainy Beard Balms and Butters

Now that we've discussed and that we understand the reasons that a beard balm or beard butter might be grainy, and in the event that this has occurred, let's look at some ways that we can fix it at home with items that we have around the house! 

Double Boiler Method (Preferred method but slower)

Items Required

  • Pot 
  • heat-resistant bowl with a snug fit to the pot (See picture below)
  • Teaspoon
  • Fridge or Freezer
  • Tap Water
  • Gas burner or electric stove top

Method

  1. Fill the pot 1/4 full with cold or hot water.
  2. Turn the burner onto the low setting.
  3. Sit the bowl on the pot, ensuring the bottom does not touch the water.
  4. Spoon the product into the bowl and allow it to melt gently.
  5. Stir with a teaspoon.
  6. Pour the melted product back into the original container. 
  7. Place in the fridge or freezer for 15 - 40 minutes until solid.
  8. Allow to come to room temperature and use.

  

Double boiler made with pot and bowl

Above: a snug-fitting bowl that is slightly too wide for the pot and ensures there is a gap of air between the water inside the pot and the bottom of the bowl. This allows for an indirect and lower heat from the steam in between that will gently melt the ingredients down. If the bottom of the bowl is touching the water inside the pot, tip some of the water out or use another bowl that is more shallow that allows for an air gap to be present between the two.


Microwave Method (Faster method but can decrease ingredient properties slightly)

Items Required

  • Microwave-safe container 
  • Teaspoon
  • Fridge or Freezer
  • Microwave

Method
Different brands have different packaging; only use glass containers in short bursts and at your own risk in the microwave. Do not use unsafe materials like plastic or metal.

  1. Spoon into a microwave-safe container if the current container isn't suitable.
  2. Short burst for 10 - 20 secs and check.
  3. Repeat in 10 - 20 sec intervals until fully melted.
  4. Stir with a teaspoon.
  5. Pour the melted product back into original container. 
  6. Place in the fridge or freezer for 15 - 40 minutes until solid.
  7. Allow to come to room temperature and use.

Conclusion

Shea and mango butter are fantastic ingredients for beard balms and butters due to there amazing properties. The benefits when compared to man-made chemicals far outweigh the steps required to produce them, and in our opinion, they are totally worth it. The downfall is that they can be a bit temperamental when it comes to temperature changes. By reading and following the tips in this guide, we hope to have equipped you with the knowledge to fix this issue if you come across it at all in the future.

That's all for today! If you're looking for a top-up or have only just found out about us, check out our beard balm collection and our beard butter collection.

Until next time! 

The Lejonjon Team

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