Cocoa butter’s skin-softening fatty acids and free-radical-fighting antioxidants help moisturize and protect the skin, but before you reap its benefits, you have to start with unrefined butter. Unrefined cocoa butter — available at online and brick-and-mortar cosmetics shops and health-oriented stores — starts as a solid, chocolate-scented block. To whip up a creamy, inexpensive and all-natural alternative to off-the-shelf body butters, you’ll need to soften up the salve with skin-friendly oils.

Things You'll Need

Fill the bottom pan of your double boiler with an inch or two of water and set the shallow pan on top. Add about a cup of unrefined cocoa butter and half a cup of coconut oil to the top pan. Set the boiler on your stove’s burner at medium-low heat, stirring occasionally with a spoon until the cocoa butter becomes completely liquefied. Check and refill the boiler to maintain a consistent water level, as needed.

Stir in your choice of almond, jojoba or extra-virgin olive oil, in equal amount to the coconut oil. Olive oil caters to dry skin and serves as an anti-aging agent, due to its antioxidant, polyphenol and squalene content, while almond oil — a great fit for normal skin — has emollient and anti-inflammatory properties. Choose jojoba for oily skin, as this antimicrobial agent helps balance the skin’s oil production.

Allow the pan to cool, then chill the mixture in the refrigerator until it firms. This process sometimes takes many hours, so check the pan regularly — remove it from the fridge before it solidifies.

Transfer the mixture into a blender. Blend at high speed, pulsing in roughly 10-second intervals, until it takes on a fluffy, light texture, similar to a very thick whipped cream.

Scoop the whipped body lotion into a glass jar and seal the jar. If your house stays moderately cool, you can store it at room temperature, ideally in a dark place. Otherwise, keep the jar refrigerated in a warmer section of the fridge.

Tips

  • If you choose extra-virgin olive oil, look for “first cold press” on the label to ensure a pure product with a high antioxidant content.

  • If your cocoa butter cream melts, refrigerate it until it firms up and whip it in the blender once again.

  • For a DIY double-boiler, fit a glass or metal mixing bowl snugly onto a saucepan filled with a few inches of water — make sure the water doesn’t touch the bottom of the bowl and ensure there are no gaps, so the steam is trapped. Bring the water to a simmer and heat your unrefined cocoa butter in the bowl.

  • When properly stored, unrefined cocoa butter has a shelf life of about 2 to 5 years, while the oils have shelf lives of about 1 to 2 years.