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A leaf with butter on surrounded by cocoa beans.

Cocoa butter benefits for the skin & hair

07 Apr 2021 • 3 min read

Although cocoa butter is one of the main ingredients in chocolate, most people know it – and use it – as a beauty cream. Cocoa butter has legions of loyal users who praise it as a fix-all, wonder treatment for dull skin and hair. In this article, we’ll investigate how good a beauty treatment cocoa butter really is. We’ll explain what cocoa butter is, then relay its benefits for skin and hair. Next, we’ll advise you how to incorporate cocoa butter into your beauty regime – and who should avoid it.

What is cocoa butter?

The technical name of cocoa butter is Theobroma oil, and it’s extracted from the cocoa bean. First cocoa beans are fermented, then dried, roasted, and pressed, to make Theobroma oil. This oil gives chocolates the deep, creamy quality which makes them so moreish. As well as being used in the production of chocolate, cocoa butter is used in body care products, including lip balms, hair masks, and treatment creams.

Cocoa butter benefits for skin

Cocoa butter is popularly associated with skin health. Here’s what the science has to say about its benefits:
  • Protects against UV rays. The antioxidants in cocoa butter help to mediate the harmful effect of UV rays which contribute to premature ageing1.
  • Healthy-ageing properties. Cocoa butter has been known to reduce the skin’s oxidative stress, which is one of the major factors in premature ageing2.
  • Moisturising- Cocoa butter has also been known to provide a moisturising benefit to the skin and promote skin health.
Many people anecdotally report that cocoa butter encourages stretch marks and scar fading. However, no scientific studies have proved that cocoa butter is an effective treatment for reducing the appearance of stretch marks3.

Is cocoa butter good for hair?

People with naturally curly hair often report that cocoa butter helps them to tame their tresses. However, people with thin or lank hair will likely find that cocoa butter is too heavy to provide benefits. Here’s how cocoa butter can benefit curly hair:
  • Deep conditioning treatment. Cocoa butter’s fat content gives it a density and luxurious feel that makes it the perfect deep conditioning treatment to use once or twice a week.
  • Combats frizz. Put a small amount of cocoa butter on your hand and work it into frizzy tendrils to smooth them.
  • Colour treatment. Mix cocoa or cacao powder with cocoa butter to make a hair mask which adds depth and shine to brunette hair.

Cocoa butter uses

Cocoa butter is best applied to lips, skin, or hair. Avoid using cocoa butter on your face, as although it’s effective at sealing moisture in the skin, it can also result in clogged pores4

Who should avoid cocoa butter

Anyone with cocoa sensitivities should avoid cocoa butter, as it may cause skin irritation or a rash.
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