I came across cocoa butter when I walked into BodyShop a couple of years ago and bought a huge tub of it.
After that, I started hearing about the benefits from curly girls who swore that cocoa butter was good for natural hair (especially curly and textured hair).
That’s when I started experimenting with it and I discovered that it not only smelled good, it was amazing for hair.
So, I decided to write this post – to share all my findings with you.
It actually has a lot of benefits for both skin and hair.
So, in this post, we are going to cover the multiple benefits of cocoa butter for hair and also look at how we can use it to get soft, smooth, healthy hair.
I’ll share my recipe for cocoa butter and my DIY hair care recipe using cocoa butter.
At the bottom of the post, I’ll answer some questions about cocoa butter for hair.
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What is cocoa butter?
Cocoa butter also known as Theobroma Oil is a natural fat that is extracted from cocoa beans (seeds from a cocoa tree).
Cocoa butter is the key ingredient in chocolate production and it’s also used in skincare and haircare products.
Cocoa butter has a creamy texture and a mild, pleasant aroma very similar to chocolate and that’s why it’s so appealing. It has a high melting point, which allows it to melt in on contact with skin or hair – and this makes it super easy to apply and absorb.
Since cocoa butter contains saturated fats and vitamin E, it adds shine, smoothness, and softness to hair – basically, it reduces frizz. I’ll explain more about this in a bit.
How to make cocoa butter at home? DIY Cocoa Butter Recipe
Now, you can either get store-bought raw organic cocoa online here (this is much easier than what I do) or you can make it at home. This is my favorite brand if you’re getting store-bought:
The process is slightly more time-consuming, but if you like DIY projects, then I’m attaching my process here below.
Skip this if you want to go to the benefits.
1. Select high-quality cocoa beans
Choose cocoa beans that are fresh and free from any signs of mold or damage. Raw cocoa beans are preferred, but you can also use roasted beans for a slightly different aroma and flavor.
2. Roast the beans (optional)
If using raw cocoa beans, you can roast them to enhance the flavor and aroma. Preheat your oven to 250°F (120°C). Spread the cocoa beans in a single layer on a baking sheet and roast them for about 20-25 minutes, or until they become fragrant. Be careful not to over-roast, as it can affect the quality of the resulting cocoa butter.
3. Remove the husks
Once the roasted beans have cooled down, gently remove the husks. You can do this by cracking the beans and separating the husks from the nibs inside. The nibs are what we’ll use to extract cocoa butter. This is what it will look like:
4. Grinding the nibs
Grind the cocoa nibs using a food processor, grinder, or mortar and pestle until they form a smooth paste or thick liquid. The heat generated during grinding helps liquefy the cocoa butter within the nibs.
5. Separating the cocoa butter
Transfer the ground cocoa nibs to a fine-mesh strainer or cheesecloth placed over a heat-resistant bowl. Apply gentle pressure or squeeze the cloth to separate the cocoa butter from the remaining solids (cocoa powder). The extracted liquid will be cocoa butter.
6. Cooling and solidifying
Allow the cocoa butter to cool and solidify at room temperature or in the refrigerator.
Once solid, it will have a creamy, butter-like consistency.
7. Store and use
Transfer the homemade cocoa butter to an airtight container or jar.
Keep it in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight. This homemade cocoa butter can be used for your skin and hair (either by itself or mixed with other ingredients).
Now that you know how to make cocoa butter, let’s look at its benefits for hair.
5 Surprising Benefits of Cocoa Butter for Hair
1. Cocoa butter is a very good moisturizer for hair
Because cocoa butter has a high content of fatty acids (including oleic acid, palmitic acid, and stearic acid), these fatty acids are very easily absorbed into the hair shaft and provide deep hydration and moisture to dry, damaged, or textured hair.
This is why it works for people with curly/wavy/coily hair.
Additionally, cocoa butter creates a protective barrier on the hair strands – helping it lock in moisture and preventing moisture loss.
This is another reason why a lot of curly hair products contain cocoa butter or shea butter – because this barrier helps retain hydration.
2. Cocoa butter helps with hair elasticity
Hair elasticity basically is the ability of hair to stretch and come back to its original form – it’s the strength in terms of flexibility.
So, when hair becomes dry and brittle, it’s more prone to breakage.
Meaning, you cannot style it, or do any chemical treatments, because your hair will snap off.
Cocoa butter moisturizes hair so much, that it helps your hair get back that elasticity.
Just by moisturizing the hair, cocoa butter helps strengthen the hair strands. Now, your hair can withstand stretching, styling, and tension without breaking.
3. Cocoa butter adds a nice shine to hair
If your hair looks dry, frizzy, or just overall has a lack of luster, then cocoa butter is the best way to remedy that.
Because it hydrates the hair and helps moisturize it intensely, it ends up making your hair look a lot smoother and of course, more glossy.
Give it a try.
Cocoa butter smooths the hair cuticles (which are the outermost layer of the hair strand) and since smooth cuticles lay flat and allow more light to reflect off the hair evenly – your hair starts to look more shiny.
Cocoa butter will make your hair look healthy, well-nourished, and really shiny.
4. Cocoa butter soothes dry and itchy scalps
If you’ve been suffering from a dry and itchy scalp, just put some cocoa butter on your scalp.
Cocoa butter has natural soothing properties that can calm your scalp and alleviate irritation and discomfort because the emollient nature of cocoa butter will moisturize your scalp.
Moreover, cocoa butter does contain antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds that will help reduce scalp inflammation (which may be causing the itchiness). So, it can soothe irritated scalp conditions like dry scalp, eczema, or psoriasis by reducing redness and inflammation.
Do this every single day and see if it reduces the itching and flaking.
Cocoa butter is generally well-tolerated, so you should not have issues. It is also non-comedogenic (meaning it won’t clog the hair follicles).
I suggest, gently massaging it into your scalp and leaving it on for a few minutes to allow it to do its work.
Rinse thoroughly after that.
Please note that cocoa butter is extremely natural and organic, if your scalp issues aren’t going away – please consult a doctor (a dermatologist to be more specific).
5. It softens and smooths hair
It does make your hair very soft and manageable and I highly recommend this to anyone with frizzy hair or curly hair.
Curly hair requires a lot of moisture – and cocoa butter is as natural as you can get.
6. Cocoa butter reduces frizz
Because it adds so much moisture to the hair, you can cocoa butter to your hair to reduce frizz and even tame flyaways and stray curls.
It works great for anyone with wavy or curly hair that doesn’t really abide by the rules.
Not to mention, since the texture is so buttery – it smooths down hair and seals the cuticles which reduces roughness and creates a more smooth surface.
Cocoa butter has a slightly heavy consistency, and this adds weight to the hair and helps control frizz.
I have noted that it also helps reduce tangles and it’s more easier to detangle my curls if I use cocoa butter regularly.
7. It nourishes and strengthens hair
Now cocoa butter does have small amounts of protein which are the building blocks of hair since our hair is made of Keratin (that’s a protein).
So, when you apply cocoa butter to your hair, you are strengthening your hair strands and making them less prone to breakage.
Cocoa butter is a very rich moisturizer so, it will not only help your hair become stronger, it also helps your hair retain moisture.
Additionally, because cocoa butter provides a strong protective layer to your hair, it helps protect hair from environmental stressors like sun exposure, pollution, and heat styling (all of which weaken and damage hair).
So, cocoa butter is honestly an all-rounder.
Bonus: Cocoa butter makes your hair smells great
Honestly, if your hair is sorted, then use cocoa butter just for the smell.
I like nutty, chocolatey fragrances – I keep applying creams to my skin and nice-smelling hair products to my hair because it genuinely makes me feel good.
It’s a very calming scent and it honestly makes me feel so grounded and calm.
DIY cocoa butter hair mask recipe
- 2 tablespoons of pure cocoa butter
- 1 tablespoon of coconut oil
- 1 tablespoon of honey
- Optional: a few drops of essential oil for fragrance (such as lavender or rosemary)
- Melt the cocoa butter: Place the cocoa butter in a microwave-safe bowl or double boiler and gently melt it until it becomes a liquid. If using a microwave, heat in short intervals, stirring in between to prevent overheating.
- Add coconut oil and honey: Once the cocoa butter has melted, add the coconut oil and honey to the bowl. Mix well to combine the ingredients thoroughly. Coconut oil helps moisturize and nourish the hair, while honey provides additional hydration and promotes smoothness.
- Optional: Add essential oil: If desired, add a few drops of your favorite essential oil to the mixture for a pleasant fragrance. Stir well to incorporate.
- Let the mixture cool: Allow the mixture to cool down slightly so that it is comfortable to apply to your hair. It should still be in a liquid state but not too hot to avoid scalp or hair damage.
- Apply the mask: Start with damp, freshly washed hair. Section your hair and apply the mask from roots to ends, ensuring that all strands are well-coated. Gently massage the mask into your scalp and hair to enhance absorption.
- Cover and rest: Once the mask is applied, cover your hair with a shower cap or wrap it in a warm towel. This helps to create a warm environment that allows the mask’s ingredients to penetrate the hair shaft effectively. Leave the mask on for about 30 minutes to an hour.
- Rinse and cleanse: After the desired duration, rinse out the mask thoroughly with lukewarm water. Follow up with a gentle shampoo and conditioner to remove any residue.
- Style as usual: Once your hair is clean, style it as you normally would. You may notice that your hair feels smoother, softer, and more manageable, with reduced frizz.
What are the side effects of cocoa butter?
I haven’t experienced any side effects with cocoa butter and I’ve been using it for years with no issues.
However, there may be some side effects so, please read them:
- Allergic reactions: Sometimes, some people are allergic to cocoa butter. So, please do a patch test first and check to see if you are allergic. If you have a known allergy to chocolate or cocoa, don’t use it.
- Greasiness or heaviness: Cocoa butter is a rich and thick butter, and its application can leave a slightly greasy or heavy feeling on the skin or hair. This may not be suitable for individuals with fine or thin hair, as it can weigh down the hair and make it appear greasy. So, please use cocoa butter sparingly if you have very fine hair or hair that gets weighed down easily. My hair does tend to get weighed down, so I don’t use that much. I prefer using it as a mask, to be honest.
Can I use store-bought cocoa butter?
Yes, you can buy store-bought cocoa butter online too. It’s what I recommend especially if you don’t have the time to make it from scratch.
However, if you are buying store-bought cocoa butter make sure that there are no added fragrances and preservatives.
That’s why I love this brand of cocoa butter – it has no additives.
I’m sure this post has given you some great ideas on how you can use cocoa butter for your hair and even given you my homemade cocoa butter hair mask recipe.
And I’ll bet you’ll want to try this after reading all the benefits of cocoa butter for hair!
So, give it a shot.
And let me know how it works for you.
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