Author of Ed Engoron’s Choclatique, Running Press, 2011
A couple of weeks ago I was getting my haircut at Umberto in Beverly Hills. This is an ultra-chi-chi hair salon that is always in the forefront of “everything beautiful.” (Side note: I’m hardly beautiful and have very little hair left. I just go there because they make what I have look like so much more.) I digress! As I was getting ready to leave, everyone was going over to the make-up area because they had just received a shipment of coconut oil cosmetics. So I figured if you can do something that great for your skin with coconut derivatives, you should be able to do something with cacao, right?
I was particularly interested in cocoa butter as that is the closest to coconut oil. Cocoa butter is not a decadent chocolate spread you slather on a warm croissant, although the young ladies on the beaches in Santa Monica used to liberally apply it as a suntan lotion before we knew about such things as sun block.
Cocoa butter is from the cacao bean which is found inside the cocoa pod that grows on the cacao tree (pronounced ca-cow). The cocoa pod (pictured here with yours truly) is a large gourd-shaped fruit filled with cocoa beans. The beans are dried, roasted and when pressed, the cocoa butter or fat from the beans is released. Cocoa butter has many possible uses, one of which offers positive benefits to your skin. (Another side note: you do not get pimples from eating or applying chocolate to any part of your body.)
Cocoa butter is packed with antioxidants, which help fight off free radicals. Free radicals cause skin stress which can accelerate signs of skin aging (wrinkling and lines). Cocoa butter is widely known as a stretch mark eraser and is one of those secret mommy tips shared by pregnant woman around the world. Many women claimed that regular use of cocoa butter kept their stretch marks away. Many claim the cocoa butter also helps heal scars. Cocoa butter is high in fatty acids and hydrates the skin deeply and has reportedly helped skin irritations such as eczema and dermatitis.
Cocoa butter is easy to find and inexpensive. While not offered on our website you can place a call or send an email and we can provide you with some from our secret stash.
Like chocolate, cocoa butter melts at body temperature (98.6º or so). Its texture is hard at lower temperatures and difficult to work with. When warmed it immediately starts to melt. This is why it is a perfect additive to products like lip balm. It helps keep it thick, but melts and deeply moisturizes upon contact with your lips.
We asked the ladies in the Chocolate Studio to take a shot at making an all-purpose body butter using both cocoa butter and coconut oils. It only takes about 30 minutes to make. Here are their fantastic results.
1 cup cocoa butter
1/2 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup sweet almond oil
Wow, this sounds good enough to eat. It is so simple to make.
- Using a double boiler, melt the cocoa butter and oils until fully liquid.
- In a large bowl, blend together the melted mixture and set in the freezer to harden for about 20 minutes.
- When the mixture is solid again, but not too hard, whip it using an electric mixer or a food processor fitted with a whisk attachment; whisk until you have fluffy white peaks (it should look like whipped cream).
- Spoon it into a clean fancy jar. It will keep for months. Now just slather it on! The richness of this mixture makes it a great night-time moisturizer.
ChefSecret: Depending on where you live and what the climate is you may want to experiment with the ratio of cocoa butter and coconut oil to suit your texture preference.