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I bought Naissance Cocoa butter (refined) in a bundle of products from the company on Amazon, partly to stock up on essential oils and partly to grab the bits needed to make some solid body butter bars. I used this along with some unrefined Shea and the bars are stable, held their shape, melted properly (but not so enthusiastically that I ended up covered) and did not seperate with the addition of other ingredients.
(If you want to see how these have turned out then have a look here http://i.imgur.com/bO1TwzG.jpg)
We have all heard of it. It is in our favourite skin products, lip products and even chocolate. It is a superb product for the skin as it moisturises and forms a protective barrier which makes is useful for conditions such as eczema. Cocoa butter is a solid fat which comes from cocoa beans and the Naissance one contains no parabens, sulphates, colours or fragrances.
WHY USE REFINED?:
Unrefined cocoa butter retains that lovely chocolate scent and is a creamy yellow colour. Refined butter has next to no scent which is very useful if you want other scents to feature in your final product and not be overtaken by the chocolate aroma.
There are a few ways to refine cocoa butter including expeller pressed where the butter is mechanically extracted and heat is used to purify. Clays are often used to purify in this method. Other methods include solvent extraction which gives a butter free of impurities, microrganisms and scent.
Deoderising is another way to process the neat butter which involves the removal of the chocolate smell. This often removes a lot of the creamy yellow colour too and if over-zealously completed can deplete the healing properties of the butter, namely vitamins and minerals. So generally speaking, refined cocoa butter will contain less of the good stuff but this can be balanced by adding nutrient rich oils and butters, in my case I used unrefined Shea, Avocado oil, Hemp oil and Coconut oil in the base.
I much prefer the unrefined cocoa butter to the refined stuff because I just LOVE that rich and chocolatey scent that wafts up your nose when you sniff it. However for a product which will contain certain fragile essential oils, I needed something as a base that did not overpower these amazing oils.
NAISSANCE COCOA BUTTER:
The refined cocoa butter that I purchased was very high quality which can be judged by the way that it looks, smells and melts. It has a low odour and a lovely consistency which melts as soon as it hits your skin. It came in a white tub with a secure clip lid and unlike the shea (which was in raw chunks) this was a waxy solid.
If you are not familiar with this product in its natural form, then you may find it a challenge to remove it from the pot. However, if you place a hot teaspoon on to the waxy surface then you will see it "give" immediately. The whole tub can be placed in a bowl of hot water (a couple of inches is enough, obviously you want no water getting into the product) which will loosen and melt it so it is easier to work with.
As I needed to use a lot of this, I melted mine by standing it in a bowl of very hot water for ten minutes. The whole lot could then be cut into smaller pieces to aid melting. Once liquid it was clear and remained scentless. It coped with the addition of melted Shea, base oils, Oat infusion, essential oils and exfoliants, and the results of the batch of body butter bars were superb.
If you want to try cocoa butter out then go for a small 100g tub to start with and choose unrefined if you love the chocolate scent, refined if you want scentless.
100g of unrefined cocoa butter is £4.59, 100g refined is £4.09 on Amazon.
Just like the Shea that I bought from this company, this was an excellent product that arrived quickly and was easy to use. The pot that it came in is solid, did not crack and has been washed ready for the next bit of hubble bubbling that I do in my kitchen....
I am NOT affiliated in any way with this company but I am impressed with them so have used Dooyoo product suggestions to add them into the inventory.
BENEFITS OF COCOA BUTTER:
The obvious benefit is moisturisation on a big scale, this stuff is great for dry and sore skin. Not only will it soften and moisturise, cocoa butter will lock moisture into the skin and form a protective barrier over fragile or damaged skin.
The second obvious benefit is that it is essential for the production of chocolate and who could live without that?
This amazing substance is the reason that chocolate melts the way it does in your mouth, it hits body temperature and then becomes a warm pool of bliss. On a less delicious note, this delectable melting quality also makes cocoa butter the ideal agent to carry the active ingredient in a suppository....
Cocoa butter is a very stable fat and therefore has low spoilage rates. It is high in antioxidants which adds to it's longevity. It is a popular ingredient in stretchmark creams, lip butters, soaps and of course the company Palmers sell a whole range based just on Cocoa butter.
The uses and benefits to skin are well known these days but most people tend to buy it as part of a product rather than the raw stuff in a pot like this one from Naissance.
So what can you do with it?
Being high in Vitamin E, this product can be used straight from the pot on to the skin. If you prefer the chocolatey vanilla deliciousness then go for some unrefined butter but if you want a heavy moisturiser which will not overpower your perfume, this is the one to get.
Use your fingers (clean obviously) to remove a little bit from the pot or you can scrape a little up with a spoon or knife. The product is harder and waxier than Shea so you will not pull out too much. When placed on the hands it will start to melt and then you can apply it- lips, face, legs, arms, hands and even tips of your hair.
You can carve a blob of this stuff out of the pot and throw it neat into a hot bath, where it will melt into nothingness and coat your entire body with silk.
Put it neat on scars and stretchmarks to help them reduce, adding a little lavender essential oil if required.
Cocoa butter is often found in hair conditioners but I tend to use it neat. I melt in it my hands (you only need a little bit) and then rub it through the very tips. This adds shine and protects the hair. For a (very) intensive conditioning treatment you can melt a blob in the microwave and add it to 50ml of coconut oil. Massage into damp, clean hair and leave overnight. Then simply shampoo out. Your hair will be glossy and conditioned. You may wish to put some form of supermarket plastic bag on your head to avoid grease all over your pillows, so don't expect any carnal shenanigans (unless you are into that kind of thing of course).
This amazing substance makes the hair stronger and gives it some volume as well as deep conditioning it. It is also good for dry scalps and psoriasis as it will moisturise without clogging pores.
For swimmers, this stuff protects the hair against chlorine .
I was happy with this product and will be using it for many things including soap and the solid bars (some of which I have already made). Although I prefer the texture and scent of Shea in the raw, this was an essential ingredient for my body butter recipes and it did the job.
1kg costs £14.99 on Amazon with free delivery.