There are often some very similar sounding products used in aromatherapy product making. However, even if an ingredient is derived from the same plant, it might actually be a different product – with a different use or property. Here’s a brief look at the difference between cocoa butter and cacao absolute.
The Basics of Cocoa Butter
Cocoa butter is a popular ingredient used in making aromatherapy butters, balms, and other cosmetic products. Cocoa butter is derived from the Theobroma cacao tree, albeit not quite in the form in which it is used for bath and body products. The fruits of the Theobroma cacao tree contain seeds that are more commonly known as cocoa beans. The cocoa beans are fermented, washed, dried, hulled and roasted before cocoa butter is finally hot expressed in the form of a solid fat.
It is this fat (as shown in the photo) which is used to make many bath and body products such as whipped butters, creams, lotions, melts and scrubs. You will need to melt it before adding it to products.
The Basics of Cacao Absolute
Cacao absolute is also derived from the cacao bean of the Theobroma cacao tree. It is often added to bath and body products if you want an intense chocolate aroma! There are actually two types of cacao (oils) used in bath and body products – the absolute and the essential oil. The pure absolute is extracted from the cacao beans. The essential oil is extracted by CO² – a newer method than that of traditional distillation.
In the case of absolutes, a solvent extract is used to extract the “oil.” Although the absolute may contain some therapeutic properties, it is not a true “essential oil.”
The use of cacao absolute is probably more common than the use of cacao CO² oil. The absolute is often easier to work with and is less sickly-sweet in aroma than the CO² oil. You will need to warm up the absolute before pouring and mixing it into your products because it is thick in texture. The absolute is a rich, chocolat-y color.
Use cacao absolute to make luxurious bath and body products such as creams, lotions, butters, melts and scrubs.
Combine Cocoa Butter and Cacao Absolute for Chocolate Bath and Body Products
If you love the aroma of chocolate, you can combine both cocoa butter and cacao absolute to make your own chocolate bath and body products! If you want a more subtle aroma, combine cocoa butter with other butters and oils in bath and body products.
If you want to get started on making your own chocolate bath and body products, you might be interested in the Sedona Aromatherapie Chocolate Aromatherapy Make-Your-Own Kit.
Price, Len, 1999, Carrier Oils for Aromatherapy and Massage, UK: Riverhead
Author’s experience and practice as an aromatherapist and in making bath and body products