Chocolate is more than just a kid’s confection—it’s a magical savior for many of us (hi, fellow moms!). Some chemicals in chocolate have been shown to provide a legit feel-good boost in mood; and that silky, smooth, and creamy texture is the perfect delivery mechanism for, well, pretty much anything, right? But while eating chocolate is likely always to be the preferred way to engage with this potent bean, there are notable benefits to digging into the creamy goodness of cacao butter (also often “cocoa butter”) and slathering it all over your body.
What is Cacao Butter?
All chocolate comes from a fruit—cacao. Shaped like a small football, cacao pods are filled with a white fleshy fruit pulp and dozens of quarter-size beans. The purple beans are dried, fermented, and ground down into chocolate. But there are really two notable components to these beans: what’s often called cacao (or cocoa) powder and the fat that’s leftover, called cacao butter. In making chocolate, you often separate these two parts of the bean and then reintroduce them in making a chocolate bar. When extracted from the cacao solids, the butter is void of the signature dark brown color of chocolate. It’s often off-white or cream-colored. Like coconut oil, cacao butter can be eaten as a healthy fat source. And, also like coconut oil, cacao butter can find its way into many of your personal care needs. Technically speaking, cacao butter is more similar to shea butter than coconut oil, but it performs like either of them, offering moisturizing benefits aplenty.
Benefits of Cacao Butter
- Moisturizing: Like most any topical oil, cacao butter is great at hydrating the skin and locking in moisture. Because it’s rich in saturated fats, it’s easily absorbed into the skin and can keep it feeling soft and smooth for hours after application.
- Healing: Cacao butter doesn’t just moisturize, it helps to protect it from dryness and may speed healing of dry, cracked skin or chapped lips. Apply liberally and generously—and yes, if you put it to your lips you will taste chocolate!
- Reverse Aging? Call it chocolate’s magic, or call it the Willy Wonka Effect, even. But there’s some truth to the rumors that chocolate is a bit of a fountain of youth. We all know that eating chocolate is preferred by our inner child, but did you know cacao butter can help to keep skin looking as young as you feel? Credit the cocoa mass polyphenols in cacao butter that may help to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. And , yes, even eating chocolate helps fight free radical damage, thanks to chocolate’s antioxidant-rich polyphenols.
How to Use Cacao Butter on Your Skin
You can purchase cacao butter in its raw state, and you can often find it whipped or softened for easier use. You’ll also see cacao butter listed as an ingredient in numerous skin care products. To use cacao butter by itself, apply a generous amount to clean, damp, or dry skin and massage in until absorbed. If using cacao butter in a skin care product, follow instructions on product package.