The Origin, Benefits and Uses of Cocoa Butter
Cocoa butter is a natural, pure vegetable fat that comes from the cocoa bean. Cocoa beans are found inside the cocoa pods, which grow from the cacao tree. Cacao pods are also where we get cocoa from to make chocolate.
Cocoa butter has a pale yellow colour and, if it’s good quality, an irresistible chocolate scent and aroma. It is rich in antioxidants and vitamins, such as A, B1, B2, B3, C and E, making it an amazing natural moisturiser for healthy and smooth skin.
How is cocoa butter made?
The most natural way to obtain cocoa butter is a long process. First, the cocoa beans are fermented in banana leaves, dried and then roasted. Then, they are grinded into a fine powder. This powder is poured into a pot containing boiling water and stirred for a while, mixing it properly. While boiling, the vegetable fat present in the cacao beans will naturally start to rise on the surface, and it is then collected and placed into containers, where it will solidify when cold.
Other ways to produce cocoa butter is by roasting the beans and pressing them (instead of boiling them), which releases the vegetable fat faster.
Alternatively, the beans can be cold-processed. Cold-pressed cocoa butter is made in a factory, by pressing the whole bean. The heat that emerges from the friction when the bean is pressed helps keep the antioxidants present in the vegetable oil. We can see the process in this video:
What are the benefits of cocoa butter?
Cocoa butter is well known for the benefits it can provide to your skin, because it is high in natural fatty acids. These acids can penetrate easily deep down into your skin, hydrating it. Read on to discover in detail what this amazing product can do for you.
1. Keeps your skin looking young
Cocoa butter is a great source of antioxidants, which help prevent signs of ageing. Some of these are dopamine, tryptophan, zinc and omega 6 and 9, and all of them are present in cocoa butter. So by applying it regularly into your skin, you will be helping keep your skin look its best.
Pure cocoa butter is a very powerful moisturiser, and it creates a barrier between your skin and the environment. However, it is always advisable to do a test patch first, just to be safe.
3. Easier shaving sessions
If you’re one of those people whose skin gets a little bit irritated after shaving with soap in the shower, cocoa butter is here to help you! To make this not-so-enjoyable process smoother and simpler, replace soap with cocoa butter.
4. Helps manage your hair
Whether you want to add volume, strength, moisture, or make your hair more manageable, cocoa butter can help penetrate all fibres of your hair and make it look more beautiful. The best part? Your hair will end up having an irresistible chocolate-y scent.
Ways to use cocoa butter
Here are some more ways that you can use this amazing natural product:
Add hot water
Applying it raw can get hard at times, because cocoa butter is really solid. That’s why you should always keep it at room temperature. In addition, a little bit of hot water always makes the application easier.
To have your whole body moisturised by cocoa butter, the easiest way is to use it while you’re having a bath. Simply throw a little bit of the butter in the water while filling the tub and it will easily melt, giving your bath a silky feel and great scent.
If you want to experience the benefits of cocoa butter in hot water but don’t have the time for a bath, you can grab a little chunk and use it in the shower too – it will spread easily.
DIY body butter
You can always mix cocoa butter with natural oils to obtain a homemade body butter, which will make application a little bit easier. Simply melt the cocoa butter in a bain-marie (double boil), mix it with the oils of your choice (coconut oil, almond oil) and put it in the freezer for 20 minutes. When its semi-soft, mix it with a blender and you’ll have the perfect homemade body butter for an easy cocoa butter skin application.