NCR: Chocolate and It's Benefits For Hair and Skin

10:22 AM

Article written by Stephanie Rose Bird via

The cacao tree is as beautiful and intriguing as it is useful. One of the top economic botanical plants, theombroma cacaos pods yield cocoa butter, cocoa powder and that confection we desire most of all during February—chocolate.

Savoring cacao’s numerous health benefits is a nourishing treat for skin and hair—adding shine, vibrancy and improving the general health of both. By using chocolate and cocoa butter products on your hair and skin, you get to enjoy the delightful chocolatey aroma and reap the benefits of antioxidants, vitamin and mineral, while skipping the fear and guilt of overindulging this February 14th.

The obroma Cacao tree grows in the tropical rainforests of Central America and Africa (particularly Ghana), where it makes a significant impact on the local economy. The tree is a remarkable sight. It has dark brown bark, resembling the color of chocolate. White flowers grow directly from the branches and trunk of the tree. The delicate, light-colored blossoms create a sharp visual contrast against the deeply colored, rough-looking bark. In fact, the cacao tree is one of the more unusual trees that I’ve seen. The scent emitted by the trees subtle - not the rich chocolate aroma you might expect.


Chocolate itself is a newer arrival onto the skin and hair-care scene. Chocolate is derived from the same parts of the cacao tree, but is processed adding in other ingredients, such as milk, which is also good for the hair and skin. This derivative of the cocoa pod contains flavonoids called catechins—very effective antioxidants. Dark chocolate, which has hardly any sugar, is preferred for health benefits taken internally or applied externally in a spa treatment or hair-care formula. Dark chocolate has 35 percent more of the brown paste of ground cocoa beans than other chocolate so it is a concentrated formula. Lactose acid in milk has been shown to help deter wrinkles as well as smooth and refine skin texture.

For hair, lactose acts as a good humectant that helps curly tops retain moisturizer. The protein in chocolate is boosted by the milk, making it good for “natural” (without chemical relaxers or permanent colorants) hair.


Black cocoa butter is one of my newest obsessions. Most of you are probably familiar with the eggshell-colored cocoa butter that has been widely available for quite a while. Most of the ordinary cocoa butter that comes from Africa is processed before the seeds are allowed to germinate. With black cocoa butter, the cacao pods are germinated first, which produces a deep, espresso-colored butter that smells like roasted cocoa. As body butter, it truly lives up to the botanical name Theobroma cacao - “food of the gods.”

If you want to try something a little different in your skin-softening regimen. consider black cocoa butter because it is softer and more readily malleable than the cream-colored type. Black cocoa butter[2] is very easily absorbed by the skin,* and a nice addition to soaps, lip balms and body butters. It is useful as a hot oil treatment to condition the hair. I purchase this from Shea Terra Organics, Inc., a supplier that buys oils and butters directly from African cooperatives.


Many of you are already familiar with the health benefits of green tea, and you may have noticed that it’s showing up in a growing number of hair and skin-care products. You might not be familiar with the fact that cocoa has more flavanoids, which means you are gaining a huge antioxidant boost from cacao-imbued products. In fact, chocolate may well be the best available source of flavanoid to use as a dietary ingredient, so just think of what that could do for your hair and skin.

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