Cocoa butter-doesn’t it just sound delicious? Although cocoa butter’s consistency as a pale-yellow, edible vegetable fat won’t exactly water your sugar-craving taste buds, the ingredient might arouse your sense of smell, because it emits a sweet chocolate-y aroma. That’s because cocoa butter comes from the cocoa tropical tree, whose seeds are the cocoa beans. Grinding the bean breaks the cell walls of the nib, which releases the fat we refer to as cocoa butter.
As a stable fat, cocoa butter contains antioxidants that prevent rancidity and also increases the stability of other fats when they’re used in tandem.
In addition to its sweet fragrance and stable nature, cocoa butter is also an effective emollient – meaning it softens the skin by keeping water from evaporating – making it a common ingredient in skincare products.
Benefits: Cocoa butter is particularly popular in moisturizers, lip balms and soaps, because it prevents water loss in the skin and lips, keeping them happily hydrated and silky smooth.
Quality moisturizers basically fill in miniature grooves in your skin and form a protective film that prevents moisture from escaping. Cocoa butter is one ingredient that helps to form this film, but dermotologists recommend looking for other emollients to accompany it, Recommended allies include “plant and minerals, shea butter, petrolatum, cholesterol, silicones or animal oils (including emu, mink and lanolin),
If you experience a sunburn, cocoa butter is great for relieving the resulting dryness, but keep in mind that it doesn’t offer any protection from the sun on its own. To get the best of both worlds, simply look for moisturizers that contain sunscreen in addition to cocoa butter.
When it comes to lip balm, though our lips are more sensitive than our skin, cocoa butter is still effective. Dry and chapped lips typically become healthier and more supple after daily use. It’s also effective for cold sores: Lip moisturizers with cocoa butter keep cold sores moist and guard the lips from irritants.
Cocoa butter is also added to soap. Most soap contains lye, a powerful cleansing ingredient that can irritate dry skin. To counterbalance this effect, many soap manufacturers add extra amounts of fatty substances like cocoa butter. And it works: Soaps featuring cocoa butter tend to be less irritating to the skin