Friday, October 7, 2011

Know your Oils: Cocoa Butter

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Cocoa Butter has been around a very long time in the culinary world as well as the cosmetic world. Cocoa butter is one of the main ingredients used in both milk chocolate and white chocolate. It is completely edible, and can be used in baked goods as well. The natural form of cocoa butter is a creamy color and has a slight chocolate smell to it!
In the world of cosmetics, cocoa butter has always been reccomended for pregnant women to help reduce stretch marks. It's also found in lip balms and products used to heal dry and cracked skin. It is a fantastic moustiruzer, and a pot of it can last for years!

When used in soap, cocoa butter helps to add hardness to the bar, as well as creamy lather when used. Its lovely moisturizing property can be found in soap when used to superfat, and it helps to create a barrier between the skin and the envorinment. And in regular cocoa butter, the cocoa smell will sometimes come through! Yummy! (Unscented cocoa butter can be found as well!)

You can find cocoa butter at most stores, but I buy mine from my local health food store. I actually try to look for the "Fair Trade" logo on most special oils that I buy. "Fair Trade" simply means that companies are committed to buying products (like cocoa butter and palm oil) from developing countries at fair prices. Fair Trade is also applied to other items, like fruit, wine, coffee (probably the most well known fair trade product), and gold, among others.

As of this writing, I have only used cocoa butter in one soap, which is currently in the "curing" stage. In the curing stage, cold process soaps are losing water and becoming hard. This soap (see right) was made with cocoa butter, colored with cocoa powder, and is scented with a fragrance oil called "Chestnuts and brown sugar", which is a sweet, rich, warm smell that goes along perfectly with the undertones of cocoa!

Happy creating, everyone!!

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