Today we’re talking about butter! But not the kind of butter you might find in a cookie or spread on your morning toast. Today we’re taking a deep dive on two of the most important butters you can apply to your skin: shea butter and cocoa butter. Using skincare products made with plant-based butters is a gentle way to give your skin a surge of moisture and keep your skin soft, strong, and healthy. When you have dry skin, chapped lips, or need some relief from irritation, you can bet on these butters to help soothe even the most delicate types of skin.
Both shea and cocoa butters come from trees. Shea butter is from the African shea tree, Vitellaria paradoxa, and the butter is extracted from the kernel of the fruit. Cocoa butter smells faintly of chocolate and comes from the tropical growing Theobroma cacao L tree. Cocoa butter comes from the cocoa bean (yep, the same one used to make chocolate!) You’ll see cocoa butter used in baked goods and other treats (so okay I guess this butter is in cookies).
You can probably guess that shea and cocoa butter are high in saturated fatty acids, mainly oleic (omega-9) and stearic acid. Shea butter also has high levels of antioxidants as well as vitamin E and A. Vitamin A aids in collagen production, that thing that keeps our skin young looking, and vitamin E is a particularly potent antioxidant that can diminish the appearance of UV damage to the skin, so you could also classify shea and cocoa butter as anti-aging ingredients!
Cocoa butter contains vitamin E and K, as well as omega-3, 6, and 9. Vitamin K is known for helping the blood in its ability to clot effectively reducing bruising and swelling. If you suffer from acne, vitamin K can be a powerful ally to heal and prevent scarring.
If You Shea So: Origin Stories of Shea & Cocoa Butter
Shea butter (along with other rich, Bend Soap Company favorite ingredients like milk, olive oil, and honey) was known to be used by Cleopatra. It is said that she would keep jars of unrefined shea butter on-hand for moisturizing her skin. Evidence of shea butter dates back to at least the 14th century in the medieval village of Saouga. Shea butter was then imported to Britain by the mid-1800s and its popularity only grew from there. Today, it remains one of the most nutritious ingredients you can use on your skin
Cocoa butter has a rich history (get it?) and has been harvested for centuries in West Africa for skincare uses outside of the chocolate-making process. Cocoa beans became known among the Mayans and the Aztecs as a healing, medicinal, and sacred ingredient, even representing abundance in their cultures. Cortez first imported them to Europe after sampling a chocolate drink in 1528. It wasn’t until 1828, after being cultivated and pressed in Europe, that they realized what cocoa butter was and began to widely use it.
The Many Benefits of Butters in Your Skincare
Both shea and cocoa butter are beloved for soothing tight, itchy skin, and preventing stretch marks. Know any pregnant mamas? Our Soothing Salve contains both shea and cocoa butters and gives fast relief to skin being stretched to the max on those full, growing bellies. Our safe and effective salves can also be used as ointments for treating diaper rash, protecting cuts and scrapes, and soothing skin conditions like psoriasis and eczema.
If you’re looking for a product that’ll help slow the process of aging gently and effectively, look no further than our shea butter-packed goat milk lotions. These light-weight moisturizers can be used on the body and the face. Our all-star ingredient, goat milk, naturally contains lactic acid to remove dead skin cells by weakening the bonds between them. When working in tandem with shea butter, these ingredients can navigate past the layers of dead skin and deliver moisture and nutrients to the healthy tissue beneath. The result? A product that helps to reveal younger, more supple-looking skin. We’re loving the subtle, tropical aromas of the Island Coconut Goat Milk Lotion for spring, but if you have a specific scent preference you can find our entire collection here.
One of the best things about using butters in your skincare products is that they melt at body temperature, making them ideal ingredients in our salves, lip butters, and aluminum-free deodorants for smooth application to the skin.
When shea and cocoa butters are used in natural deodorants, such as the ones we make at Bend Soap, they can help to soften the feel of baking soda on the skin for an easy application with every swipe. The combination of high-quality oils and butters creates a deodorant that easily glides on the skin and actually works to prevent odor! And for those that can’t handle baking soda in their underarms, we have a few baking soda-free options for you, too. View the entire collection here.
Shea and Cocoa Butter Ingredient Takeaways
These butters are loved and used in many of our products because they…
- Deeply moisturize and soothe skin.
- Are easily absorbed into the skin and provide deep moisture for hours.
- Create a light protective barrier on the skin.
- Have been known to boost collagen production and help maintain moisture and elasticity.
- Ease uncomfortable, dry, itchy skin.
- Smell amazing! Cocoa butter smells faintly of chocolate (yum!) while shea butter smells slightly nutty.
Back to You
Next time you’re in need of deep moisture or just want to give your skin some extra love, reach for an all-natural lotion product made with shea or cocoa butter. Your skin will thank you for it!
What’s your favorite shea-butter-packed Bend Soap Co. product? Share your thoughts and inspire others in the comments.
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