A key ingredient in chocolate making, cocoa is also a staple on Lush shelves for its amazing effect on the skin, body and mind.
What is cocoa?
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 in 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, 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. This often happens for its use in cosmetics as it could interfere with the other scents of a product. The powder, which contains almost all of the scent and flavour of cocoa, can be used pure or put through solvent extraction to obtain a fragrant absolute.
What are the benefits of cocoa-derived ingredients?
- The butter is an excellent emollient that moisturises the skin and hair. It also plays an essential role in product formulation, helping to achieve stable blends with longer shelf life or to create solid products that do not require packaging.
- The powder gives products a natural tint and a delicious scent and taste.
- The absolute delights the senses and uplifts the mood. Cocoa’s scent is also said to be a great aphrodisiac!
Did you know?
In 2017, a new type of chocolate was patented, called ruby cocoa. It has a dark pinkish colour, due to a special variety of cocoa trees that produce ruby-coloured beans.
Where does Lush source cocoa?
The sources will vary depending on the ingredient, but we make sure that they never involve child labour. The Lush buying team always tries to make purchases that contribute to the well-being of people and the planet’s regeneration. To find out more about each of the cocoa suppliers, browse your Lush product’s list of ingredients and click on the ones you are interested in. This should take you to a page full of details!