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Cocoa Butter in California and in Cosmetics (with recipes)

Cocoa Butter in California and in Cosmetics (with recipes)

TKB Trading is located in the heart of the San Francisco Bay Area, in the city of Oakland, California.  One of the Oakland’s most famous entrepreneurs is the founder of world-famous Ghiradelli Chocolate, Mr. Domingo (Giuseppe) Ghiradelli.  Have you heard of Ghiradelli Chocolates? Yum!

Mr. Domingo was an Italian immigrant who came to the San Francisco Bay Area when he was 35 years old to join the California Gold Rush (1849).  

While his training was in candy and confections, his first shop in California was for general merchandise to the gold miners.  With the strong sense of flexibility of an entrepreneur, Ghiradelli evolved, expanding his candy empire, until he was one of only two chocolatiers in the USA, importing 450,000 pounds of cocoa beans from South America every year.  Mama Mia!

As he got older, he allowed his sons to run the company.  However, local urban lore asserts that Mr. Ghiradelli had a habit of working the counter of his store, and in particular to demonstrate to people how cocoa butter could be used not only to make chocolate, but to smooth and soften roughened hands.

While I can’t confirm the truth to this legend, it makes sense that someone who worked with cocoa beans would become an advocate of the butter’s use to soften skin.  Emolliency is the #1 reason to add cocoa butter to a cosmetic recipe, and cocoa butter is found in a lot of recipes!

Second to emolliency, cocoa butter has a body-temperature melting point (86 - 95 F)  This means that it can be solid at room temperature but melt and sooth when it is in contact with your warmer skin.  This kind of trait makes is perfect for adding to such projects as a massage bar or lotion bar, but also as an additive to color cosmetics required to have some stick strength before application but to be readily absorbed into the skin with a smooth emolliency when it is applied to warm skin.  

Finally, Cocoa Butter is also naturally rich in anti-oxidants and it is a natural preservative.

A checklist of further details about the Cocoa Butters sold at TKB:

  • Derived from cocoa beans. First extraction, expeller-pressed.  Deodorized version done by use of superheated steam under vacuum to reduce, but not to completely remove flavor.
  • Considered Vegan, Lactose Free, Gluten Free, Glutamate Free, BSE Free, Not Hydrogenated, No Preservatives
  • Imported from Africa, Indonesia, Dominican Republic, Central America, and South America; the deodorized version is processed in Spain.
  • Best if used within 12 months from the date of manufacture in unopened containers.

Here is a basic recipe for a cream base that you can make at home from ingredients you probably already have.  It may be used for an eye shadow or a lip gloss. The main ingredient is Petroleum Jelly (Vasoline).  Note that the product is a cream shadow. It will not dry down to a complete “stay in place” color.

"Made from your Medicine Cabinet"

Cream Base for Eye Shadow or Lip Balm


%(by weight)

Petroleum Jelly (Vasoline)


Cocoa Butter (our star!)


Beeswax or Sunflower Wax


Preservative 1%

Color additive


For an eye shadow, you will want to do 2 parts base plus 1 part pigment blend.

For a Lip Color, you will mix about 5 parts base plus 1 part pigment blend.

Instructions:  Melt the first three ingredients together (about three minutes in the microwave).  Once melted, pour the blend into a small zip lock bag and add the colors.  Zip the bag closed and rub the colors into the blend.  I use an old credit card or similar to push the colored mass to the bottom of the bag.  Then I snip the corner of the bag and "pipe" the mass into a container.  Then I reheat in the microwave to melt it flat into the container (about three minutes).

Here is a recipe which takes advantage of the emollient qualities of cocoa butter. Leave it uncolored and it acts a a quickly melting, soothing butter for anyone to use.  Add sparkly colors and it is a way to bring a dramatic effect to your legs, decolletage or other areas of the body. Not really recommended for use on the face as it would probably be too oily.

Body Balm with (or without sparkle)


%(by weight)

Shea Butter


Cocoa Butter


Jojoba Oil


Avocado Oil


Synthetic Jojoba Wax



q.s.probably about  2%

Instructions:  Melt together. Cool as quickly as possible to keep the product smooth (Shea Butter can become grainy if it is cooled slowly).  Also, if you add pigments they will tend to sink and separate, so be sure to add them at the last moment (or else they will settle to the bottom of the container).


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Jordan Beauchamp - August 1, 2018

How would you convert these percentages for each ingredient into ounces or grams?

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