Learn why we love cocoa butter + how to make an easy whipped body butter at home
Deeply nourishing with a soft cocoa scent, chances are, you’ve used cocoa butter at some point in your life. While perhaps not quite as exotic as other ingredients we’ve covered in our Wellness Encyclopedia series, vitamin-rich cocoa butter proves itself just as valuable through it’s incredible moisturizing and healing capabilities. With a scent akin to chocolate and creamy texture, cocoa butter, which is extracted from ground fermented cocoa beans, is super emollient, making it ideal for people who suffer from dry skin and other skin conditions. Learn all about this incredible healing “butter” (it’s actually a plant-based saturated fat) below, then be sure to try out our easy recipe for whipped cocoa body butter!
What is it? Cocoa butter, also called theobroma oil, is the pale yellow plant-based fat extracted from the cocoa bean. Used in chocolate-making and beauty products, cocoa butter is prized for it’s high levels of saturated fat, vitamins, and minerals, which benefit the body internally and externally. Extracted from ground fermented cocoa beans through a process called the Broma process, cocoa butter contains none of the caffeine or theobromine present in chocolate. Containing a multitude of vitamins, including A, B1, B2, B3, C, and E, cocoa butter is highly emollient, causing few allergies, which makes it a fantastic moisturizer for dry or damaged skin.
What are the benefits? Cocoa butter is high in saturated fat, making it an ideal moisturizer, especially for those who experience dry skin or are suffering from skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis. Additionally, cocoa butter contains cocoa mass polyphenol, a compound that has been shown to inhibit the production of immuno globulin IgE, which can exacerbate the same conditions. For those simply looking for a good moisturizer, the high vitamin content in cocoa butter provides deep nourishment for skin and hair when applied topically, either as a lotion or deep conditioner.
How do I use it? To reap the maximum benefits of cocoa butter, it’s best to choose a 100% organic, raw and unrefined option, available at most health food stores. Once you have the raw product in hand, you can melt it down and combine it with other oils to be used in DIY beauty recipes, like the one below. If a pre-made option is best for you, choose an organic option with as few ingredients as possible. Use it after sun, after showering, or whenever your skin is feeling particularly parched. Cocoa butter has been shown to assist with the prevention of stretch marks, especially in pregnant women, to use it in the manner, apply liberally as your baby bump grows to keep your skin soft and supple.
Whipped Cocoa Body Butter
Makes slightly more than 1/2 cup
3 oz. cocoa butter
1 oz shea butter
1 tsp sweet almond oil
1 tsp vanilla essential oil or extract (or scent of choice)
**Note: This recipe is fairly forgiving, you can experiment with different measurements to achieve different consistencies
Place all ingredients in a double boiler or in a bowl nested in a small pot filled with water. Heat on low until all ingredients are just melted and combined.
Pour oil mixture into a glass or metal mixing bowl and allow to cool until opaque but still soft. Once cooled, mix on high until light and fluffy, about five minutes. Transfer to a resealable glass jar and store in a cool dry place out of direct sunlight. Apply liberally to dry skin as needed.
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