Cocoa butter, used either alone or in combination with one or more natural oils, has long been used for skin care and beauty maintenance. The properties it contains help soften and add suppleness to dry skin, even in environments with extreme temperatures. When mixed with oils, cocoa butter helps to create an even more effective blend that is useful in numerous types of skin care regimens. Combined properly, oils in varying amounts soften the more solid cocoa butter into a creamier substance that is easier to apply and more quickly absorbed. This is an essential preliminary step in many retail skin care products available today. Learn to blend cocoa butter with oil, and you can soon be creating your own personalized skin care products at home.
Pour one or two cups of water into the lower portion of a double boiler and place it on the stove.
Place a quarter cup of cocoa butter into the upper portion of the double boiler and suspend it over the lower half of the apparatus.
Turn the stove on a setting of low to medium heat in order to bring the water to a steady boil. The cocoa butter should begin to soften and melt.
Stir the softened cocoa butter lightly to encourage it to dissolve evenly. Remove the liquefied cocoa butter from the heat source. Add at least two to three times the amount of natural oil as cocoa butter to the melted cocoa butter. In this example, you would need to add a half to three quarters of a cup of oil.
Proceed to stir well for sixty seconds to mix. You may add as little or as much essential oil as you find pleasing (up to 25 drops) to further personalize your cocoa butter and oil blend. This mixture can now be used alone as a skin moisturizer, or as a base for skin care products requiring a rich and creamy consistency such as lotions or lip balms.
Always remove the melted mixture from the heat source and allow it to cool slightly before adding any type of essential oil. The volatile compounds in the essential oil can be destroyed if allowed to "cook" on the stove. This could alter the fragrance in an unpleasant way and ruin the overall product.
Cocoa butter in its pure state smells strongly of chocolate. If you choose to add an essential oil to this mixture, use one that harmonizes well with this kind of scent. Use citrusy or fruity aromas to enhance, rather than attempt to mask, the fragrance of the cocoa butter. Lemon-, orange- and berry-scented oils work best.
When combining cocoa butter and oil, keep in mind that a 1:4 ratio of cocoa butter to oil is generally used in order to make sure that the finished product can be easily spread onto, and be readily absorbed, into, your skin. This consistency will be of a soft and creamy texture. If a firmer product is desired, reduce the amount of oil so that it represents half or less of the total blend. Experiment with various types of recipes for lotions, creams, moisturizers and body butters to determine how thick you would like your products to be.
Work carefully to avoid burning yourself with the melted cocoa butter and oil mixture.
Genae Valecia Hinesman, former banking executive, entrepreneur and fashion model, began writing professionally in 2002. She is a Cum Laude graduate of the University of Southern California where she studied business, finance and exercise physiology. Her articles featured in Living Healthy: 360, Life 123, the American Chronicle and Yahoo Voices.