Stearic acid is found in cocoa butter, derived from the cacao tree, istockphoto, used with permission
Stearic acid is found in cocoa butter, derived from the cacao tree, istockphoto, used with permission

If you make your own aromatherapy products, you will come across a number of different ingredients which you may, or may not, wish to incorporate into your products. One such ingredient is stearic acid. Here is a bit of information about stearic acid, where to find it and what it is used for in aromatherapy product making.

 

Natural Sources of Stearic Acid

Stearic acid is naturally found as a chemical constituent in a variety of animal and vegetable sources. Two of these plant sources are cocoa butter and shea butter; cocoa butter and shea butter are perhaps the most popular types of aromatherapy butters used in aromatherapy product making. Other principal chemical constituents of coca butter are palmitic acid and oleic acid. The other principal chemical constituent in shea butter is oleic acid

 

What is Stearic Acid?

According to Britannica.com, stearic acid is “ one of the most common long-chain fatty acids, found in combined form in natural animal and vegetable fats” and…” in nature stearic acid occurs primarily as a mixed triglyceride, or fat, with other long-chain acids and as an ester of a fatty alcohol.

 

Stearic Acid in Aromatherapy Product Making

Stearic acid is used by some natural product makers in the manufacture of soap, candles and body products. It is used in aromatherapy body products to help to stiffen and harden the mixture. It is useful in making

 

Stearic acid is more common in animal fats than vegetable fats – with the exception of cocoa butter and shea butter. Cocoa butter and shea butter can be used to “thicken” up aromatherapy lotions and creams – but you can also purchase commercial stearic acid. Commercial stearic acid (available for purchase from cosmetic body making products suppliers) can sometimes be a mixture of both stearic and palmitic acids. Check with suppliers as to the source of their stearic acid too – i.e. is it vegetable or animal fat derived?

Make Your Own Aromatherapy Products

If you would like to learn more about some of the ingredients used in making aromatherapy products, watch out for the new Sedona Aromatherapie Professional Aromatherapy Tutorial for Beginners course Basic Butters, Balms, Creams and Lotions. This short course is a natural add-on to the Sedona Aromatherapie Foundation Course in Aromatherapy. However, it can also be studied as a stand-alone course, with no previous experience in aromatherapy product making required.

I expect to release this new course by late Fall/early Winter 2012; the price has yet to be determined, depending upon the final written content

 

In the meantime, you might also be interested in one of the basic Sedona Aromatherapie Make-Your-Own Products Kits, available in the webstore from $24.95 to $69.95 each (plus shipping).

Have fun!

References:

  • Britannica.com, Stearic Acid, accessed 7/9/12
  • Carrier Oils for Aromatherapy and Massage, Len Price, 1999, Riverhead: UK
  • The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Making Natural Beauty Products, Sally W. Trew, Zonella B. Gould, 2010, Penguin Group: US
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