Cocoa butter is the natural fat derived from cocoa beans (a plant from the Cacao family). It is renowned for its unique combination of fatty acids that give it a luxurious texture. It also has an amazing flavor and aroma—which makes it popular in the confectionery industry.
Botanically, cocoa butter is classified as a triglyceride fat.
It consists of different fatty acid molecules, such as oleic, palmitic and stearic acids. This unique combination gives it its solid-state at room temperature, making it an ideal ingredient for some cosmetic products like lotions and creams.
An interesting fact about cocoa butter is that it is also a powerful moisturizer. Because of its high saturated fat content, it helps to form a protective barrier on the skin and locks in moisture. This comes in handy for one particularly popular spa technique—body wraps.
Cocoa butter body wraps involve the full body being swathed in cocoa butter. A heating blanket is then used to help the body absorb the cocoa butter’s nutrients and moisture. This leaves skin feeling soft, supple, and hydrated.
If you’re a DIY lover who’d like to save money on spa visits, here’s a detailed guide to how you can conduct your own cocoa butter body wrap at home.
Step 1: Get The Best Cocoa Butter Cream
A high quality cocoa butter cream should be your top priority. Read the ingredients to make sure that it contains pure cocoa butter, and no other additives or fragrances.
Ideally, you want to see the following beneficial ingredients listed on the label:
- Raw, unrefined cocoa butter
- Essential oils, such as lavender, rosemary or peppermint
- Natural botanical extracts like aloe vera
- Vitamin A, C, and E
- Natural moisturizers, such as glycerin or shea butter
Be cautious when you spot the following ingredients:
- Petroleum-based mineral oil
- Artificial fragrances or dyes
- Parabens and sulfates
- Silicone or alcohol
- Synthetic preservatives
Other considerations when choosing a cocoa butter cream for your body wrap include its smell and texture. A good quality cream should have a natural, pleasant aroma, as well as a creamy consistency that’s easy to spread and massage into your skin.
Buying organic is another option. It may be slightly more expensive, but it will contain a higher concentration of nutrients and have fewer potential allergens.
Environmentally-conscious shoppers should also look for cocoa butter creams that are cruelty-free and sustainably sourced.
If you’re keen to skip the store-bought creams, you can always make your own cocoa butter cream from scratch. Here’s a simple recipe (3):
- 4 tablespoons organic raw cocoa butter
- 6 tablespoons organic Camellia seed oil or safflower oil
- 1 tablespoon of organic pure aloe vera juice
- ¼ teaspoon of raw natural silk protein powder (optional)
- 10 drops of organic lavender oil
- Glass, plastic, or aluminum containers
- In a double boiler, combine the cocoa butter and camellia seed oil.
- Turn the heat low and stir until both ingredients are completely melted.
- Add the aloe vera juice and silk protein powder (if using).
- Whisk the mixture together until all the ingredients are incorporated.
- Turn off the heat and put the bowl in the freezer to solidify the mixture. This should take at least 10 minutes, at most 15 minutes depending on how cold your freezer is.
- Once solidified, take the bowl out of the freezer and whip the solidified mixture with a hand mixer or whisk until it becomes soft, creamy and fluffy.
- Finally, add the lavender oil and mix one more time.
- Transfer the cream into the containers and store in a cool, dry place. The cream is ready to use.
This recipe is courtesy of organic-beauty-recipes.com
Step 2: Get A Heating Blanket
A heating blanket is a key item that you’ll need to conduct your own body wrap at home. This should be easy enough to find online.
Look for one that is adjustable and has a timer so you can control the heat intensity level and duration of your wrap. Make sure the blanket is big enough to cover your entire body.
A more affordable option is to use regular towels. Dip them in hot water and then wrap yourself up like a burrito.
The heat from the towels will help you relax and soothe any aches. Cling film, or plastic wrap, works similarly, but this method will take much longer to warm up, so it’s best saved for short body wraps.
Step 3: Prepare Yourself And Your Space
Body wraps work best if you’re clean and your skin is free of any oil, so take a shower before you start. Exfoliate your skin to get rid of dead cells and then pat your body dry with a towel.
Choose a room where you won’t be interrupted for at least an hour or two. You’ll want to relax, so pick a spot with a calming atmosphere.
Minimize electronic devices and switch off your phone. Put on some soothing music or an audiobook to help you drift off into a relaxed state of mind. Cover your bed or floor with towels to avoid staining or sticking to your blanket.
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Step 4: Apply The Cocoa Butter Cream
Once you’re clean and comfortable, it’s time to apply the cocoa butter cream.
Take a generous amount of the cream and massage it into your skin, paying extra attention to areas such as your elbows, knees and feet. Make sure to cover every inch of your body for a truly luxurious experience!
Step 5: Wrap Yourself Up
Lay your heating blanket (or towels) out on the bed or floor and turn it on. Once it’s at the desired temperature, carefully wrap yourself up in the blanket. Make sure that no parts of your body are exposed and that the blanket is securely tucked in around your body.
Step 6: Relax And Enjoy
Lie down, close your eyes and just relax for at least 20-30 minutes or sso. During this time, your skin will be absorbing the cocoa butter cream and its nourishing ingredients. Once the timer goes off, turn off the heat and carefully unwrap yourself from the blanket.
Step 7: Shower And Moisturize
Once you’re done, it’s time to rinse off the cocoa butter cream with a shower. Pat your skin dry and apply a light, unscented moisturizer to seal in the goodness. Enjoy your soft, supple skin!
Why Is Cocoa Butter Cream Perfect For Body Wraps?
Cocoa butter is a great choice for body wraps for many reasons, like these explained below:
Cocoa butter is rich in fatty acids and has emollient properties that help to lock in moisture. This makes it an ideal choice for dry skin, as it helps to prevent water loss while keeping the skin soft and hydrated (2).
Improve Skin Elasticity
The fatty acids found in cocoa butter are known to improve the skin’s elasticity, which helps keep it looking youthful and vibrant. These fatty acids, like oleic and stearic acid, help to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, making your skin look smoother (1).
Protection From Harmful UV Rays
Phytochemicals, aka plant compounds, found in cocoa butter have antioxidant properties that help protect the skin from the harmful UV rays of the sun. These phytochemicals, like polyphenols and flavonoids, also help to fight free radicals that can cause premature skin aging (2).
Improved Blood Circulation
The massage-like action during a cocoa butter wrap helps to improve blood circulation and give your skin an even tone. This can help to reduce the appearance of dark spots and give you a healthy glow (5).
Some compounds present in cocoa butter, like caffeine and theobromine, further enhance this effect (2).
Heal And Soothe Dry Skin
Cocoa butter has nourishing properties that help to heal and soothe dry, cracked skin. It helps to heal rashes caused by eczema and psoriasis, as well as relieve the itching and irritation caused by insect bites. It also helps to reduce inflammation and redness due to sunburns (4).
Furthermore, when you take care of your appearance, it can also help to boost your confidence and self-esteem.
Are There Any Risks Associated With An At-Home Cocoa Butter Wrap?
Generally, an at-home cocoa butter wrap is a safe and non-invasive way to improve the appearance of your skin. However, it’s important to follow the instructions carefully and be aware of the following risks:
Depending on how and what type of heating blanket you use, it’s possible to get overheated. Make sure to check the temperature settings and start with a lower setting first.
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Cocoa butter can cause an allergic reaction in some people, so it’s important to do a patch test before using it. If you experience any redness, itching, swelling or other skin reactions after the wrap, stop the treatment and seek medical attention immediately.
It’s important to stay hydrated during a cocoa butter wrap, as it can cause dehydration. Make sure to drink some water before, during and after the treatment.
At-home cocoa butter body wraps offer many benefits for the skin, from improved hydration and elasticity to protection from UV rays. However, it’s important to follow the instructions carefully to avoid any risks and always do a patch test before using cocoa butter.
This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!
- Bioactive Compounds for Skin Health: A Review (2021, nih.gov)
- Cocoa Bioactive Compounds: Significance and Potential for the Maintenance of Skin Health (2013, mdpi.com)
- Cocoa Butter Lotion Recipe (2014, organic-beauty-recipes.com)
- Moisturizer in Patients with Inflammatory Skin Diseases (2022, mdpi.com)
- Skin Blood Perfusion and Oxygenation Colour Affect Perceived Human Health (2009, nih.gov)
- The Effectiveness of Aromatherapy for Depressive Symptoms: A Systematic Review (2017, nih.gov)