You might have seen cocoa butter listed in the ingredients of a product, but what uses does it have?
Although the name contains the word ‘butter’ cocoa butter is not something that you would spread into a sandwich, or whip into a cake. Unlike butter, cocoa butter is completely plant based, as it comes from the commonly known cacao bean. Once the cacao beans are extracted from the fleshy cacao fruit, they are cleaned, roasted and then pressed. After the cocoa butter is extracted from the pressing process, the remaining solids are processed into cocoa powder.
Top tip: We call it cacao when it’s raw, and cocoa when it’s roasted. Learn more in our cacao vs cocoa blog!
Whilst the uses of cocoa powder are commonly known, the uses of cocoa butter are a little more obscure. However, it is a common ingredient: it helps to form the smooth, creamy texture of good quality chocolate bars, and it is increasingly being used in beauty products such as cocoa butter lotions.
Enriching the skin
Like most natural moisturisers, cocoa butter is made up of fatty acids. The fats create a protective layer on the skin, which locks moisture in and stops the skin from drying up. This means that cocoa butter is a great moisturiser: cocoa butter body lotions, cocoa butter lip balm, or cocoa butter oil can all be used to nourish dry skin.
If you want to find a product with raw cocoa butter – sometimes referred to as pure cocoa butter – in it, then it is even more nourishing for the skin. This is because, during manufacturing, the cocoa butter isn’t heated to high temperatures, so it retains more of the healthy fats.
If you want a body butter which nourishes your skin with a mouth-watering scent, then our Cacao and Almond Body Butter sinks in effortlessly, leaving you with revitalised, fresh skin. If you want to add some extra hydration, our Cacao and Kaolin Thermal Clay Body Mask combines cocoa butter and macadamia seed oil with mineral-rich kaolin clay to quench even the thirstiest of skin types.
Soothing dry lips
As cocoa butter is an emollient, it adds an extra protective layer of hydration to your lips. This is useful for both cold and hot temperatures: your lips often become chapped and crack in cold conditions, and sun damage can also dry your lips out. By keeping your lips hydrated with a high-cocoa butter lip balm, you can protect yourself against these harsh weather conditions (although if you’re constantly in sunlight then it might be a good idea to use a lip balm with a high SPF to shield your lips from UV rays). Our Chocolate Almond Lip Balm is the perfect way to hydrate your lips – the delightful pairing of chocolate and almond revives any smile.
Boosting skin health
There is some evidence that cocoa polyphenols can improve skin elasticity and have anti-aging qualities. However, this is such a small-scale study that scientists need to conduct more research into this to ensure the validity of this claim.
There have also been claims that cocoa butter can reduce the visibility of scarring or stretch marks. However, the research around this has been inconclusive, with some results showing that cocoa butter has the same effect as a placebo lotion. Whilst there still needs to be more research surrounding the health benefits of cocoa butter for skincare, the fact that it nourishes the skin means it is less likely to crack from being dry.
Eating! Although you probably wouldn’t want to munch down a slab of cocoa butter on its own, its creamy texture means it gives chocolate a wonderful melt. We use a high cocoa butter percentage in our white chocolate products to achieve the silkiest of finishes, ensuring the highest possible quality.
As it is so hydrating, cocoa butter can be used in a number of other beauty and skincare products. A product which can be both eaten and worn, cocoa butter is truly an ingredient that we couldn’t live without!