Mokosh creams are pretty wonderful things, as many of our customers will attest. They are extremely stable, and will remain in perfect condition for many years if stored below 30ºC. I say this with confidence because I have discovered jars of our face and body creams amongst our retained samples that are 5 or 6 years old, still in perfect condition and without a hint of rancidity. Storing below 30ºC is not difficult to achieve in most Australian homes. But when something untoward happens - they are left in the car, in full sun, or the temperature of your bathroom creeps up to 35ºC for a few hours - things can change.
In the same way that chocolate melts, our creams, being made of similar stuff, will melt too. And just like melted chocolate, our creams will not always return to exactly the same form. While melted chocolate typically forms a white ‘bloom’ on its surface, our melted creams may become ‘gritty’ due to the formation of tiny shea butter crystals after they cool down.
This is annoying when it happens, but the good news is that your gritty cream is not destroyed. It is still perfectly safe to use, and if you are prepared to spend a bit of time tinkering in the kitchen, you can return it to its original creamy state. But first, here’s the ‘why it happens’, and how to take control if it happens to your precious cream.
Shea butter crystals form when your cream cools slowly
The backbone of our creams is shea butter - the beautiful organic, unrefined, fair trade shea butter that is packed with the nutrients your skin loves. Shea butter, like its chocolatey cousin cacao butter, contains a mix of saturated and unsaturated fats. It’s the saturated fats that make them buttery and solid at room temperature, and the same saturated fats that aggregate and form solid crystals after melting.
Fortunately, the fix is extremely straightforward.
Simply melt the cream gently so that the crystals melt again. Mix thoroughly to redistribute the melted fats evenly, and then cool rapidly, stirring occasionally. The rapid cooling will prevent the saturated fats from forming clumps of crystals, and your smooth, delicious cream is back!
The Mokosh method for reconstituting your cream while preserving its nutrients
Because we consider it important to preserve the nutrients in your cream, exposing it to extremes of hot and cold is not the best idea. So, here is how we suggest you go about it:
Firmly close the lid on your jar to seal it. It’s extremely important to stop any water from entering the cream, because water will allow microorganisms to grow.
Place the sealed jar in a bowl of warm water. A temperature of around 45ºC will slowly melt the shea butter without damaging it. Depending on how full your jar is, this will take between 10 minutes to an hour. If it’s a very full jar, you might need to top up with hot water during that time.
Your shea butter must be fully melted so that no solids particles are present. It should be completely clear, and will probably be tea coloured.
Mix it by swirling it in the closed jar, turning the jar upside down a few times or with the stainless steel spoon.
Now to cool it rapidly. You can choose one of 3 options:
Place in the fridge for around an hour, mixing it every 15 minutes or so, until it’s solid.
Place it in the freezer for around 20 minutes
place in a tray of ice or iced water for around 20 minutes.
Your cream is now smooth again, and will continue to firm up over the next few hours. If you need to, you can store your cream in the fridge for as long as you need to during hot weather.
Can I still use gritty cream?
Yes you can! Those crystals are just little balls of saturated fat that will melt on the skin almost instantly. So if all this re-melting, mixing and cooling sounds like a little too much trouble, you can simply use the cream as it is. It will not have the same luxurious feel, but it will still be beautifully nutritious.
Mokosh creams are made without the synthetic preservatives, emulsifiers, thickeners of standard creams. They are also free of the water which may constitute as much as 80% of a standard moisturiser, and which quickly evaporates from your skin. This means our creams are in a class of their own - for potency of nutrition, health of your skin and value for money. So when the worst happens, and yes, the worst that can happen to a Mokosh cream is a melt, don’t despair. Use the cream as is, or use the above method to return it to its former state. Perhaps while nibbling on a bar of chocolate…