This divine, lightweight, Heavenly Cocoa Lotion went straight into my purse, and that is high praise. Jasper requested a “simple yet effective facial moisturiser. Something a little bit like the LUSH Celestial Moisturiser… I worked for the company a while back as a product trainer and it is their best selling moisturiser, so I feel a formulation based on this cream would be really useful for your subscribers too!” The original ingredient list had some really lovely things in it—almond oil, cocoa butter, and lots of vanilla—and we all know I’m a total sucker for cocoa and vanilla, so how could I resist?
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Something I often read in LUSH-type recipe requests is that the requester wants something without parabens in it. They’re used in this formulation, and it’s pretty clear why—there is some majorly delicious bug food in the original in the form of almond milk, and parabens (blended by professional formulators with labs and testing equipment) are potent enough to fend off those bugs. Almond milk has a longer shelf life than dairy milk, but that’s not saying a whole lot, especially when its stored at room temperature, and blended up with delicious things like cocoa butter. So, in order to drop the parabens, the almond milk has to go, too.
I elected to include some cocoa bioferment as a sort of luxxy swap for the almond milk. They don’t do the same thing, but I’ve had some cocoa bioferment burning a whole in my cabinet for a while and this seemed like a great place to use it. Cocoa bioferment is included in concoctions to help firm up the skin, combat inflammation, and treat under-eye circles. If you don’t have it (it is rather weird), you can use a different bioferment, like sea kelp, or a hydrolyzed protein, like silk.
The original includes dove orchid extract, and you are likely thinking what I was thinking, which is “where on earth would one get that?!” The Formulator Sample Shop has two different kinds of orchid extract, but not that one, and in any event… I didn’t have orchid anything in my pantry. Apparently it is included for skin-soothing, and there’s plenty of other things we can use for skin soothing, like my brand new chrysanthemum extract. You could also use green tea extract or chamomile extract, or leave it out altogether if you want.
A blend of sweet almond oil and cocoa butter creates a stunning, creamy lotion. A bit of cetyl alcohol adds some thickness and body without the lotion getting a bit spongy (which can happen when you use lots of cocoa butter). If you don’t have cetyl alcohol you could use stearic acid or more cocoa butter instead. A hefty dose of vanilla essential oil gives a really lovely true vanilla scent that’s not quite as sweet as benzoin. You could use benzoin instead, or some vanilla fragrance oil, but this is a good place to use vanilla essential oil—since it’s water soluble I don’t use it often, and I’m loving it here.
You’ll likely notice the inspiration is prescribed as a facial lotion, but it is worth noting that cocoa butter can clog pores, so if you are acne prone you may want to proceed with caution (this is also a good read). In any event it makes a divine hand lotion!
If you like silky, creamy, cocoa and vanilla scented things, you should make this Heavenly Cocoa Lotion. As I said, it’s already in my purse, ’cause it’s the bomb. Like body frosting, or something to that effect. Swoon.
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Heavenly Cocoa Lotion
0.5g | 0.017oz Vitamin E MT-50 (USA / Canada)
15 drops vanilla essential oil
1g | 0.03oz cocoa bioferment (USA / Canada)
0.5g | 0.017oz Liquid Germall Plus™ (USA / Canada) (or other broad spectrum preservative of choice at recommended usage rate [why?])
Prepare a water bath by bringing about 3cm/1″ of water to a bare simmer over low to medium-low heat in a wide, flat-bottomed sauté pan.
Weigh the water, chrysanthemum extract, and vegetable glycerin into a small heat-resistant glass measuring cup. Weigh the emulsifying wax, sweet almond oil, cocoa butter, and cetyl alcohol into a second heat-resistant glass measuring cup. Place both measuring cups in your prepared water bath to melt everything through.
After about 20–30 minutes the oil part should be completely melted and the water part should be thoroughly dissolved. Remove the water bath from the heat, and pour the water part into the oil part. Stir with a flexible silicone spatula to incorporate.
Grab your immersion blender and begin blending the lotion, starting with short bursts so the still-very-liquid lotion doesn’t whirl up and spray everywhere. Blend for about a minute, leave to cool for ten, blend for another minute or two, and repeat this blend-cool-blend cycle until the outside of the glass measuring cup is barely warm to the touch and the lotion is thick and creamy.
Shelf Life & Storage
Because this cream contains water, you must include a broad-spectrum preservative to ward off microbial growth. This is non-optional. Even with a preservative this project is likely to eventually spoil as our kitchens are not sterile laboratories, so in the event you notice any change in colour, scent, or texture, chuck it out and make a fresh batch.
If you don’t have chrysanthemum extract, you can use chamomile extract instead, or another botanical extract you have that your skin likes, or leave it out entirely. As an alternative for cocoa bioferment you can use a different bioferment, like sea kelp, or a hydrolyzed protein, like silk. If you don’t have cetyl alcohol, you can use more cocoa butter instead.
Want to learn more about these ingredients, including information on substitutions and where to buy them? Check out their entries in the Humblebee & Me Encyclopedia!