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cupuacu butter benefits

All About Cupuacu Butter

Cupuacu Butter is an exotic, firm and fast-absorbing butter native to Brazil. It is used as a toning and firming body butter, or as an ingredient for DIY creations. This exotic butter is pronounced “koo-poo-ah-SU”

What is Cupuacu Butter

Cupuacu Butter is made from a fruit that comes from the cupuacu tree. This tree is widely grown throughout the northern Amazon rainforest. The fruit itself is about the size of an elongated football with a rough, brown exterior. When cut open it reveals a creamy white pulp which surrounds the seeds of the cupuacu fruit. These seeds are mechanically pressed to extract the fat, which solidifies into the light beige cupuacu butter (theobroma grandiflorum seed butter). It is fast becoming a star in the cosmetic world because of its array of benefits and skin revitalizing nutrients. 

Cupuacu is actually in the theobroma fruit family and is related to cacao, which is beloved for producing chocolate, cocoa products, and unrefined cocoa butter. What does it mean to be in the same fruit family? It is similar to the citrus family – think of how an orange and a lemon are related. It has a natural aroma that is somewhat chocolatey, similar to cocoa butter, but with a distinct creamy and fruity note similar to pineapple.

Benefits of Cupuacu Butter

Cupuacu is a deeply moisturizing butter for the skin and hair by being both ultra-humectant and ultra-emollient. 

Humectants attract and bind water in skin, and emollients deliver lipids and nutrients into layers of the skin to help repair and soothe it. What makes raw cupuacu butter a true superstar in the beauty world is that it can hold anywhere from 200-450% of its weight in water when applied and absorbed into skin, and its plant fats are second to none for their revitalizing properties. 

This is why it’s the creme de la creme of cosmetic ingredients  in many of your favorite brand products, such as Sol de Janeiro’s Brazilian Bum Bum Cream and products from Burt’s Bees. 

It also helps firm and repair skin from the inside out by delivering nutrients into the deeper layers of skin, such as phytosterols and fatty acids (the main plant lipid components), and antioxidants that combat everyday wear and tear and/or environmental damage. This allows skin to rebuild and repair itself over time with continued use.

Besides those qualities, other benefits of cupuacu butter include its ability to sink into the skin quickly without leaving a greasy residue. It only takes a little bit of an unrefined, raw product for full moisturization, typically a pea sized amount of butter. 

Are you familiar with the concept of an “active” ingredient in skincare? It means the isolated component that performs a cosmetic function, such as salicylic acid for acne and clogged pores. With raw cosmetic butters, you’re getting double-actives: the active moisturizer itself that isn’t watered down with fillers, and the antioxidants and nutrients present in the plants, which help protect and rebuild skin over time. This is very different from the typical tiny amount of moisturizer or a sprinkle of a natural plant component at the end of a long ingredient list.  

If you’re familiar with our most popular cosmetic butters for skin and hair, such as shea, mango, and cocoa, you may be curious to buy cupuacu butter to test in your beauty routine. It performs similarly to cocoa and shea butters. It has the deep moisturizing action of cocoa and the skin smoothing and moisturizing capabilities of shea. Both butters are very high in antioxidants as well, and cupuacu is no different.

These powerhouse traits are why we made it the star ingredient in our natural version of Bum Bum cream, available here. As a side note, “Bum Bum” (pronounced “boom boom”) is a cute way to reference the backside in Brazil, and a “Bum Bum cream” isn’t just for that one area. It’s great for full-body toning, tightening and firming over time by supplying the skin with the natural plant-based nutrients. With beach life being a way of life in Brazil, it’s no wonder that Bum Bum creams and cupuacu butter are some of the most popular body care products.

Lastly, a 1lb block of cupuacu goes a long, long way. Stored correctly (away from heat or moisture) this butter will typically last over a year or two from production. This makes it extremely cost effective, especially since it is such a concentrated moisturizer. 

Other Facts About Cupuacu Fruit and Butter

The pulp that surrounds the seeds is edible and a popular addition to desserts and smoothies.  Cupuacu butter itself is also edible and can be used for cooking, and being related to cacao means it has many of the same nutrients and antioxidants you will find in the cocoa plant, such as Vitamins A, C, and E, heart-healthy plant fats, and epicatechin, a particularly beneficial antioxidant that is also found in wine, dark berries, and chocolate. (Side note: I am particularly a fan of acai, another Amazonian antioxidant powerhouse fruit that is typically paired with cupuacu). 

Cupuacu and cacao are also crops that support the Amazon rainforest and the farmers who live and work in the area. Last year, the Amazon showed high levels of recovery and reforestation due to more restorative crops being planted. With increasing demand for plant-based, whole and healthy foods, cupuacu is becoming more widely known and beloved. 

How to Use Cupuacu Butter

Cupuacu butter is on the firm side, but not quite as hard or brittle as cocoa or kokum butters. It’s fairly similar to mango butter, and while it is at first firm it will soften quickly if you rub it into your skin. It leaves behind a particularly elegant semi-matte feel after use which is very popular among beauty consumers.

It’s beloved as a hair and scalp tonic in Brazil, and can be used on its own as a deep moisturizing hair pack or mask, or a styling butter. 

Its high content of stearic acid makes it a butter that combines well with many other butters and oils, and produces an almost emulsifying effect on its own without water or a separate emulsifying wax. It whips up easily and lends itself very well to the creation of balms, whipped butters, and soaps. 

There are many other great uses for cupuacu butter. Try a cupuacu scrub made with sugar or salt to firm and exfoliate your skin for the summer months, or incorporating an emulsifier and preservative to make your own cupuacu cream!

Recipes with Cupuacu Butter

If you’re wondering how to use cupuacu butter in your DIY skin care and hair care creations, you can substitute it into any recipe that calls for cocoa butter! Here are two recipes we’ve formulated to make easy, super-moisturizing whipped butters that will leave your skin looking firmed, toned, and radiant:

Tropical Cupuacu Body Butter Recipe

  • 4 oz Cupuacu Butter
  • 4 oz Coconut Oil
  • 4 oz Jojoba Oil
  • Optional: 1 tbsp of your favorite gold mica
  • Optional: 20 drops of orange EO
  1. Melt your cupuacu butter and coconut oil in a double boiler setup on low heat until liquid
  2. Remove from heat and wait one minute
  3. Add your jojoba oil and stir
  4. Place in fridge until 50% solid
  5. Fold in mica and essential oil
  6. Whip to perfection

This body butter will give you all the benefits of cupuacu butter in a simple formula, and has the natural fruity/chocolate scent of cupuacu butter blended with the tropical aroma of coconut oil and orange. 

Skin Firming Body Butter Recipe

  1. Melt your cupuacu butter and unrefined shea butter on low heat in a double boiler setup
  2. Wait one minute
  3. Add your carrier oil, rosehip oil, and optional essential oil and stir
  4. Place in fridge until 50% solid
  5. Whip to perfection

I hope this blog post has helped you learn more about this beloved cosmetic butter and the hair and skin benefits it possesses. Please comment below with any questions or feedback you may have. 

Author: Natalie, Natural DIY Enthusiast