Author: Jenny Ivy
Cocoa butter, also known as theobroma oil, is a natural (and edible) fat extracted from cocoa beans. Because of its silky texture, mild cocoa fragrance, hydrating benefits and emollient properties, cocoa butter is used to make chocolate, as well as ointments, pharmaceuticals, toiletries and food products. Cocoa beans are rich in antioxidants, and some of these antioxidants remain in cocoa butter even after it is extracted.
Cocoa butter offers several health benefits for skin and hair. Here are 10 ways you can boost beauty naturally with this super ingredient.
Help repair skin at night
Cocoa butter is rich in vitamin K and fatty acids. Applying it at night can help your skin repair itself. It’s not ideal, however, for people with acne or oily skin, but it may help repair skin that is dull, mature, dry or flaky or scarred skin.
Heal chapped lips
Cocoa butter is often used for lip care because it adds a protective layer of hydration. To make a homemade lip balm using cocoa butter, check out this recipe from blogger Tanya at Lovely Greens:
1: In a saucepan or double boiler over gently simmering water, combine beeswax, cocoa butter and almond oil. Stir gently until melted.
2: Add essential oil (if using) and vitamin E oil. Remove from heat and pour into tubes or pots.
3: Set aside until cool and hardened. Apply labels and store away from heat.
Reduce stretch marks
Apply cocoa butter to a pregnant belly or other stretched skin to reduce the look of stretch marks over time. After a bath or shower, rub cocoa butter liberally over stretched skin every day.
Soothe burns and eczema
Rub a small amount of cocoa butter on eczema, dermatitis, rashes and burned skin to soothe it and expedite healing. For this application, use pure cocoa butter that doesn't contain any alcohol or fragrances. Also, use cocoa butter together with aloe vera gel or tea tree oil to help heal burned or irritated skin.
Make your own shaving cream
Shave your legs and hydrate your skin at the same time with DIY shaving cream made cocoa butter. Try this refreshing shaving cream recipe from Wellness Mama:
Rub a dime-size amount of cocoa butter into dry hair before styling to help reduce frizz. Cocoa butter also makes a great pre-shower conditioning treatment if you melt it and apply quickly (make sure not to leave it in hair longer than 20 minutes before rinsing out as it will solidify).
Make your own bath oil
Cocoa butter melts easily in hot water, making it a luxurious addition to your bath. Try this simple recipe for a cocoa butter drizzle, from bathaddicts.com, by pouring directly into hot bath water or over top of a fizzing bath bomb:
1. In a saucepan or double boiler over gently simmering water, melt oil. Stir gently.
2: Stir in baking soda, mica and polysorbate 80 (if using).
3. Transfer to jar or container and store at room temperature.
4. To use, drizzle a small amount into hot bath water or pour over a fizzy bath both. Makes enough for 15 baths.
* Prevents color from sticking to your tub
Cocoa butter can boost your body's collagen retention for healthier, more elastic skin. Make a topical lotion by combining ½ cup cocoa butter, ½ cup of shea butter, ½ cup coconut oil and ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil. If desired, stir in a few drops of essential oil. Store at room temperature in a mason jar and apply topically to keep skin supple and hydrated.
Soothe tired feet
Pamper your hard-working feet and toes by soaking them in a tub or bowl of warm water infused with cocoa butter. Stir 2 tablespoons cocoa butter into hot water and let cool slightly until you can soak feet comfortably.
Make an all-natural body butter
Cocoa butter is a perfect ingredient for making buttery blends that are all natural (and edible). Try making this Cocoa-Coconut Love Butter from Making Love Potions by Stephanie L. Tourles (Storey Publishing, 2016).
Combine the coconut oil, almond oil and cocoa butter in a small saucepan or double boiler and warm over low heat until all the solids are just melted. Remove from the heat and let cool for 5 to 10 minutes, stirring a few times to blend. Pour into a 4-ounce jar or tin. Cap and label. It’s best to use it within one year stored at room temperature. It’s slow to thicken, so it may require up to 24 hours to reach its final creamy, buttery texture.