Cupuaçu - New Trend in Natural Beauty
I have heard a lot lately about cupuaçu butter, especially from reading various forums on hair and skin natural care.
Many people declare it is their favorite, surpassing even the super famous shea butter.
Due to its limited area of production, it is not yet as popular as other butters. However, due to the excellent properties, it has the potential to become one of the trendiest products in natural beauty care.
What is Cupuaçu?
Cupuaçu is a tropical rainforest tree that is widely cultivated in the Amazon basin - in Brazil, Peru, Colombia, and Bolivia. It is related to cacao. The most commonly used part is the fruit, which is approximately the same size as a pineapple. It has a white pulp and large seeds. Many consider cupuaçu a superfruit, due to a plethora of phytochemicals, anti-oxidants, vitamins, and essential nutrients that abound in this fruit.
The phytochemicals are chemical compounds of biological significance, which are not yet established as essential nutrients, but have been considered as drugs for millennia.
The Cupuaçu Fruit and Culinary Uses
Cupuaçu Trivia - National Fruit of Brazil
During the 90's, a Japanese company registered a patent for the cupuaçu fruit. Brazil disputed the patent with the World Trade Organization, and was able to recover the free domain of the fruit.
In order to avoid the misuse of this name by third countries, the Brazilian authorities approved the "cupuaçu" as the national fruit in 2008.
As a result of this dispute, the cupuaçu came to the attention of many westerners who started to learn about it and appreciate its superfruit qualities.
Brazil, the Official Land of Cupuaçu
Cupuaçu Butter Properties
Cupuaçu Butter is a hard butter, similar in properties with the cocoa butter. The smell is similar as well, but with sweet-honey accents. It is stable, and highly suitable in skin care formulas.
Cupuaçu Butter has nutritive and healing properties for dry, damaged skin. It combats free radicals, has anti-inflammatory properties, it protects and moisturizes.
It is often compared to lanolin in its superior capacity to attract water, which makes it an effective skin hydrator and plumper.
It is commonly used as skin protector against UVA and UVB, and for sun and weather damaged skin.
- Anti-Oxidants Protect against Environmental Damage
- Restructuring Activity on Tissues
- Natural Sun Protection
- Improves Skin Moisture Levels
- Improved Elasticity
Cupuaçu Butter vs. Shea Butter
I've personally had extended experience with both cupuaçu and shea butter. I am a great believer in natural, homemade products for hair and skin. Chemicals are too harsh for my skin especially. For a while, I used single butters, not in any combination. I used raw shea butter on my face for an extended period of time, about three months. And then I used cupuaçu butter for about one month. I discovered that shea butter is too greasy for my skin, but the after-effect was to dry my skin. With so much hype about shea butter, I wondered how that's possible. So I tried other single butters. I especially liked the cupuaçu butter, and that's how I started to research about it. I found that cupuaçu is not as greasy on my skin, and it does not give me the drying after-effect. I felt that somehow is more gentle and penetrating.
So for me, the winner is... cupuaçu butter. Anyway, after experiencing a lot with single butters and homemade creams and lotions, I concluded that the best product is made from a combination of oils and butters, mixed with water and some emulsifier. I am still working on a perfect recipe for my skin and I will publish it here. The emulsified combination of various oils/butters and water penetrates better into the skin, is lighter (less greasy), and combines the properties of various fatty acids found in the oils and butters.
Expert Opinion - Cupuaçu vs. Shea Butter
"We've all heard of Shea Butter. With extremely high contents of omega-3 and omega-9 fatty acids and proven benefits in the areas of moisturization, scar reduction, and SPF enhancement, Shea Butter has earned its reputation as the workhorse natural butter. However, another butter has risen from the dark and mysterious interior of the Amazon Rain Forest to give Shea Butter a run for the crown: Capuaçu Butter from Beraca Ingredients.
When put to the challenge, Cupuaçu Butter comes out ahead of the Shea Butter time and again, even in many of the criteria where Shea Butter had here-to-fore enjoyed stand-alone anonymity. In the arena of moisture and moisture retention, where Shea Butter first rose to prominence, Cupuaçu is decidedly more effective. Sporting a documented water-retention capacity of 240% it's own weight, Cupuacu Butter embarrasses the best results we could find that involved Shea Butter. Lanolin, famous for its water-retention capacity, is effectively made obsolete in this regard. Transepidermal Water Loss Test results further substantiate Cupuacu Butter's moisturizing superiority with significant improvements shown in both a seven hour short-term test, and a 28 day long-term test.
Cupuacu also flaunts an impressive share of omega fatty acids (primarily a healthy ratio of 3 to 6), but even more impressive is the abundance of anti-oxidizing polyphenols found to exist nowhere else in nature. This has prompted scientists to dub the newly discovered scourge of reactive oxygen species everywhere 'theograndins' in reference to Cupuacu's Lenain binomial: Theobroma Grandiflorum. This also gives Cupuacu Butter greatly improved oxidative stability which translates directly to a longer shelf life as a material." (The above opinion belongs to Ross Organics).
- If the butter is hard, break it into small pieces.
- Mix the hard butters and the oils.
- Bring a pot of water to boil.
- Place the mix in a heat-safe container, then place it into the boiling water pot. Maintain a low temperature of the mix, just to soften it a little bit. The low heat will avoid destruction of enzymes, vitamins, and other important nutrients.
- Using a hand mixer, whip the butter mix until fluffy and the chunks are gone.
- Add the essential oil, mix.
- Store in a fridge.
How to Make Your Own Hair Butter
The ingredients used in a hair butter fall in three categories:
- Hard butters: shea, cupuacu, mango, cacao, brazil nut, macademia, etc.
- Oils: olive, almond, castor, etc.
- Essential oils for smell: lemon, orange, lavender, etc.
Regardless of the ingredients, all do-it-yourself hair butters follow the same method.
Use a mix of hard butters and oils, so the final product will have the combined properties of the ingredients.
Do not use too many base butters and oils. As a rule of thumb, choose two or three butters, same goes for the oils.
The castor oil is extremely sticky, use in small quantities.
Choose just one essential oil per finished product. In rare situations, and only if you are an expert, mix fragrances.