Why do we love to use cocoa butter? Because it’s a wonderful multi-tasking material! Not only does it moisturise the skin and hair, but it also helps with preservation and packaging.
Where do we get it?
Lush UK sources Fair Trade and organic cocoa butter from the Dominican Republic, Peru and Sierra Leone.
What are the benefits for people and the planet?
Each of the sources for this cocoa butter is child-labour free, organic and fair trade. Moreover, the supplier who provides us with Sierra Leonean cocoa butter has been investing to help restore the Gola rainforest by opening farmer field schools that teach regenerative agriculture and by supporting local farmers. This support ranges from access to these schools, helping obtain Fair Trade and/or organic certifications, to selling the butter worldwide at a fair price. Learn more about their amazing work here.
What are the benefits of cocoa butter for your skin and hair?
- As an emollient, it softens and moisturises the skin.
- Conditions the hair, improving shine and combability.
- Contains oleic acid, a mono-unsaturated fatty acid that is highly compatible with our natural sebum and allows the butter to be more easily absorbed into the skin.
What are the benefits of cocoa butter for Lush formulas?
The butter contains stearic acid, a skin-softening fatty acid that acts as an emulsifier. This means that it helps bind oil and water together, preventing products from separating. Combined with the solid nature of the butter, this emulsifying property creates tight emulsions that leave no room for microbes to move and grow, helping products to remain fresher for longer and thus lower or prevent the need for synthetic preservatives.
The fact that the butter is solid at room temperature but melts in the hands also benefits Lush products tremendously. Indeed, we are constantly trying to minimise our packaging and cocoa butter helps create a fair amount of solid, naked products. It can also be mixed with other butters to obtain different textures, such as shea, a tenderer butter that lightens cocoa’s hardness.
How is it made?
The cacao tree (Theobroma cacao) grows in warm, humid forests near the equator. It yields large dark red or yellow pods containing up to 50 seeds each, coated by soft, edible flesh. The seeds, also called cocoa beans, are covered to ferment and then dried. During this process, they lose their acidic taste and develop their familiar chocolate scent.
To obtain cocoa butter and powder, the prepared beans are cleaned, dried and roasted and then ground into a thick, oily paste called chocolate liquor. The liquor can be used as such for chocolate-making or subjected to high pressure to separate the cocoa powder from the butter. An additional step can be carried out to deodorise the butter and remove any trace of the chocolate smell. This often happens for its use in cosmetics as it could interfere with the other scents of a product.