Chocolate, with a long history linked to beauty and love, is not just pleasing to the palate— the cacao bean from which it is made offers impressive benefits to the skin when consumed and applied. While chocolate in all forms provides some measure of antioxidant value, it’s raw cacao, which you can readily find in powdered form, that provides powerhouse benefits for skin and body. If it’s skin benefits that you really want, make sure that you’re using or consuming raw cacao rather than cocoa powder or dark chocolate, which can be more processed forms of the cacao bean. The additional processing that it takes to create cocoa powder and chocolate can take away from raw cacao’s extremely concentrated antioxidant value—one of the highest in nature. In this case, less processing yields more skin benefits!

Raw cacao as a topical ingredient

Using raw cacao as a topical ingredient offers many of the same skin benefits as eating it. Topical raw cacao is an anti-inflammatory skin soother that increases blood flow to the skin, bringing additional nourishment and glow. Applying flavonoid-rich raw cacao provides powerful antioxidant benefits to slow the aging process, repair and prevent additional damage, and support healthy collagen. Raw cacao contains omega 6 fatty acids , as well as an array of minerals to nourish skin. You can easily make your own skin care products with raw cacao, like the Chocolate & Roses Whipped Facial Butter below, or purchase them; you’re most likely to find raw cacao in masks and body products.

Chocolate & Roses Whipped Facial Butter

  • 1 part raw cacao powder
  • 1 part rosehip fruit oil
  • 1 part shea butter
  • OPTIONAL: 2% Vitamin E oil (calculate this from the total gram weight of your combined ingredients)
  • OPTIONAL: Bulgarian rose (rosa damascena) essential oil (2% or less)


  • Gently melt the shea butter in a simmering double boiler.
  • Once liquefied, remove from heat and stir in cacao powder until dissolved and your liquid is dark brown.
  • Then gently stir in your rosehip oil and Vitamin E oil (if using).
  • Move your pot to a cold water bath (be sure no water gets into your mixture) and gently whip the mixture as it cools with a stick or immersion blender on a low setting. Mixture will become opaque, and volume will increase.
  • Add rose essential oil if using.
  • Stop blending when you start seeing peaks and valleys in your mixture. Pour into dark glass jars and close tightly.
  • Label your jars with the date, and use within 3 months if no vitamin E is added (good for up to a year with the addition of vitamin E).

Raw cacao as a skin superfood

After you’re done applying raw cacao, you can reinforce its benefits by consuming this antioxidant-rich skin superfood. We love it in smoothies and desserts. Cacao has been shown to reduce skin redness and increase the skin’s moisture content, in addition to its nutritional benefits of minerals like magnesium and iron, fiber, and phytochemicals like theobromine. Raw cacao and chocolate in its many forms provides a mood boost that can additionally help you to feel your best. And don’t believe the myth— cacao is not often a cause of breakouts!


We want to hear from you!

Have you ever applied, or cooked with, raw cacao?

What’s your favorite way to use chocolate in skincare?



*Chocolate & Roses Whipped Facial Butter recipe ©Rachael Pontillo/Holistically Haute™