Keeping your skin correctly hydrated is probably the most important goal of a healthy skin care routine. It’s no wonder then that Cupuaçu butter is becoming one of the most sought-after vegetable butters in the natural beauty industry. Highly moisturising, jam-packed full of antioxidants and even sustainable, all make Cupuaçu and its amazing skin benefits one of the rainforest’s best kept secrets…
What is Cupuaçu butter?
The Cupuaçu fruit (Theobroma grandiflorum) has been used for generations by many indigenous Amazonian tribes. In fact, it’s still used today in many South American countries to make ice creams, juices and more, like in the case of Brazil, where it’s even the national fruit.
The butter-like substance is made by cold-pressing the fruit’s large and plentiful seeds, which contain high levels of fatty acids including stearic acid, oleic acid, palmitic acid and arachidic acid.
Is Cupuaçu butter sustainable?
Where plant-based ingredients are concerned, important factors such as low environmental impact when cultivating and harvesting, need to be taken into consideration before an ingredient can be labelled as truly sustainable.
Each Cupuaçu tree yields between 20-30 fruits per season and each fruit contains around 30-50 seeds that would otherwise be discarded when the fruit’s pulp is extracted to make desserts and beverages. By using the seeds to make butter, growers can get the most out of each plant, each year. What’s more, when compared to the likes of palm oil and acai production, studies have shown that Cupuaçu can be farmed sustainably without causing further harm to the world’s already dwindling rainforest and still be an effective source of income for local farmers.
What are the skin benefits of cupuaçu?
Containing an ideal balance of both saturated fatty acids (57%) and unsaturated ones (43%), research has proven that Cupuaçu butter not only keeps skin moisturised for up to 8 hours after application, but that with just 28 days of continuous use, skin hydration levels are increased further still, reducing TEWL and strengthening the skin’s protective barrier. It’s ability to retain moisture even beats more well-known and commercially used hydrating butters (like shea butter) and it also offers a much more effective (and less allergy-triggering) alternative to lanolin.
Other amazing skin benefits of Cupuaçu are:
- Its low melting point, meaning it absorbs very quickly without leaving a greasy or heavy residue.
- It soothes dry, sunburned and ageing skin.
- It improves skin elasticity and firmness.
- It’s rich in many B vitamins and antioxidants, including vitamin A and C.
Furthermore, Cupuaçu butter does all of this completely naturally, without the need for additives, synthetic or otherwise.
Why I love Cupuaçu butter
I remember the first time I came across Cupuaçu butter on a botanical trip in northern Brazil. One of the guides gave me some raw butter for my hands, and I must confess that at the time, between the heat and high humidity, I thought it was probably not the best idea. However, I quickly realised how it melted into my skin and how hydrated and restored my hands were once we got to camp in the evening. Needless to say, I became obsessed with it.
Ilustration: Emma’s Botanicals
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