Have you ever seen Chocolat, with Juliette Binoche and Johnny Depp? The lingering shots of luscious chocolate being tempered, stirred, and coaxed into the most divine creations are enough to send you off to your nearest chocolatier mid-movie for a box of indulgence. Anyhow, that’s what I thought of as I devised this lightly spiced, warming cocoa Mexican chocolate body butter that’s inspired by Mexican chocolate.
It shouldn’t surprise you that the majority of this recipe is cocoa butter. Cocoa butter melts at 34°C, just below body temperature. This fortuitous melting point is what gives chocolate its divine melt-in-your-mouth consistency, and it’ll do the same on your skin. You can purchase white or dark cocoa butter, and in this recipe you can use either (or a blend of the two), but do be aware that the dark variety can leave dark streaks on fair skin (though I’ve found a thorough massaging will prevent that) and stain lighter fabrics.
Since cocoa butter goes from brittle to liquid with little to no soft stage in between, I’ve added some silky capuacu butter. Cupuacu is related to cocoa, though it’s softer and almost silicone-like in its feel. I adore it massaged into the skin on its own, but it’s also lovely in body butters. Along with cupuacu’s relation to cocoa comes a slight cocoa scent that seems to be mixed with a bit of sour milk, so I’d recommend sticking to the unscented version for this recipe. If you don’t have capuacu butter (it can be a bit pricey), shea or mango butters are both good alternatives.
And now for the essential oils. A hit of cocoa absolute ups the ante on the cocoa scent, and to that I’ve added spicy cinnamon bark essential oil and warming chilli essential oil. The Aztecs added both to their cocoa for a divine, warming, spiced cocoa that’s delightfully different from the chocolate I grew up with in Canada.
Both these essential oils do have the potential to be irritating to the skin (especially in large quantities), so I recommend sticking to the recipe as written, or even reducing the amounts called for if your skin is sensitive. You can even opt to leave out both essential oils if your skin is particularly sensitive—it’ll still be a lovely body butter.
Mexican Chocolate Body Butter
2020 update: Given the irritation potential for this essential oil blend, I’d recommend using a cinnamon spice fragrance oil rather than the chili and cinnamon essential oil blend. Please refer to supplier documentation for maximum usage rates for the particular fragrance oil you’re using when used in leave-on products; 0.1–0.2% should be more than enough to adequately scent the product.
Once the oils have melted, remove them from the heat and stir in the essential oils. Pour the mixture into a 30g/1oz tin and let it set up before using. Enjoy!