Cocoa Butter vs Coconut Oil: Which is Better for Skin Care?

Coconut oil and cocoa butter are both saturated fatty acids with outstanding benefits for your health and skin. 

But do you know which is best for your skincare needs? In this ultimate guide, we discuss the best cases of using both ingredients, and which is best for you.


Cocoa Butter vs Coconut Oil

2 Lb Cocoa Butter: Pure, Raw, Unprocessed. Incredible Quality and Scent
2 Lb Cocoa Butter: Pure, Raw, Unprocessed. Incredible Quality and Scent
Liquid Coconut Oil, Light and Nourishing, Promotes Healthy-Looking Skin and Hair
Liquid Coconut Oil, Light and Nourishing, Promotes Healthy-Looking Skin and Hair

What is cocoa butter?

Cocoa butter is yellowish in color, fat from cocoa beans during cocoa powder extraction. Although saturated, it is a healthy fatty acid with many skin care and nutritional benefits.

Raw cocoa butter may also turn out creamy in color, possessing a sweet aroma akin to chocolate, and the only fat found in chocolate, due to its unique feature of being brittle at temperatures below 25 degrees Celsius.  

It is mostly solid at room temperature but melts at 35-37 degrees Celsius. Cocoa butter is mostly used as skin moisturizers globally, yet its health benefits are influencing its use in the kitchen as well as in the food processing industries.  

Cocoa butter serves, also, a moisturizer for dry hair, working on African strands to make them easy to comb.

Also Read: Everything You Need to Know About Cocoa Butter!

Best cases of using cocoa butter 

Cocoa butter has been used for centuries to make various products. Cocoa butter is a great moisturizer and can be used as a replacement for petroleum jelly, as it is easily absorbed by the skin. Here are some great use cases for cocoa butter:

1. As an anti-aging moisturizer

Cocoa butter has high levels of antioxidants that deactivate free radicals formed as a result of cell breakdown. The high presence of radicals on the skin is the reason why you have damaged skin cells and more wrinkles. 

As such, cocoa butter which contains cocoa mass polyphenol (CMP), according to research, may help protect your skin from premature damage and aging. It may help promote the overall health of your skin.

2. For dry skin challenges

People with dry skin problems can use raw cocoa butter because of the ease of absorption into the skin and firm texture, significantly improving the appearance of the skin.

3. To soften skin

Cocoa butter consists primarily of saturated fats, including oleic acid palmitic acid and

Stearic acid acts as an emollient. When applied to the skin by lotions, creams or bath oils, emollients can soften the skin and help it improve its texture.

4. Fade dark spots and skin

Daily use of cocoa butter will help moisturize, smooth, and soften rough and dark elbows, knees, hands and feet, especially for black or Africans.  Regular use will also help to fade the darker skin on these areas, giving elbows and knees a more even skin tone.

Health benefits of cocoa butter

Cocoa butter has been known to have a wide range of health benefits. Some of these include:

1. Serves as an anti-inflammatory moisturizer

Cocoa butter is a moisturizer that offers relief to skin plagued with burns, dryness, eczema, stretch marks and irritation. It is believed to enhance the body’s immunity by promoting relaxation, and it is gentle enough to use for masseuse and infection treatment without causing further sensitivities.

2. Cocoa butter contains Oleic Acids

Also known as Omega 9, oleic acids in cocoa butter help to maintain the softness, and glow of the skin while nourishing the agility of skin. Oleic acid is the ingredient that stimulates the growth of thicker, stronger and longer hair for all hair types while reducing dandruff. 

Also, omega 9 reduces premature aging and skin wrinkling, preventing joint pains and stiffness.

Most commonly, it helps to keep firm cocoa butter from melting in unfavorable conditions.

3. It contains Stearic acid

Stearic acid in cocoa butter is known for purging dirt, sweat, and excess sebum from the skin and hair. Serving as cooking oil, stearic acid in cocoa butter serves as an emulsifying agent that binds water and oil, while helping products stay steady when stored for a long time.

Stearic acid protects the butter from melting too, by providing a compacted brittle. It likewise conditions hair from damage and softens skin.

4.Cocoa butter has a decent Palmitic acid 

The presence of palmitic acid, also known as saturated fatty acid in cocoa butter acts as an emollient that helps to soften the skin, protecting the skin from being dry by forming oily moisture.

What is coconut oil?

Coconut oil is an edible oil derived from the wick, meat, and milk of coconut palm fruit. Coconut oil is colorless as a liquid but appears white when solid.

It melts at warmer room temperatures of around 25 degrees Celsius.  Coconut oil comes in different types with the unrefined varieties having a divergent coconut aroma

Coconut oil is the safest oil to cook with. It will not form trans fatty acids during cooking, even at high temperatures, unlike other oils, including olive oil.

Also Read: What is Cocoa Butter: Benefits, Uses, Characteristics and Side Effects

Types of coconut oil

i. Pure virgin coconut oil

Pure virgin coconut oil (VCO) is made from fresh coconuts with a distinct taste and fragrance and is 100 percent organic. Unlike other types of extracting oil, Pure virgin coconut oil is extracted through cold pressing, thus retaining its natural ingredients.

The good news is, It’s the best form of coconut oil to use in your cooking or as a moisturizer but it has a short lifespan. Thus, you don’t have to keep it idle for long.

iI. Unrefined coconut oil

Also known as raw coconut oil, unrefined coconut oil is extracted from fresh, raw coconut meat.

This oil is extracted by processing coconut into coconut milk, bringing it to boil, strained, and fermented. The milk is then separated from the oil through a centrifugal process. This process of unrefined coconut oil extraction is called wet milling.

It is also extracted by drying the coconut meat and then mechanically squeezing out the oil from it.

III. Refined Coconut oil

Unlike raw coconut oil, refined coconut oil is derived from dried coconut kernels, called copra. Refined coconut oil has a high boiling point and is ideal for deep frying, although most nutrients might not be present.

iV. Hydrogenated Coconut oil

When refined coconut oil is exposed to high heat and high pressure, and has nickel and hydrogen molecules added, it becomes hydrogenated coconut oil. Coconut oil is hydrogenated so that coconut oil has a longer shelf life.

Hydrogenated coconut oil can remain in solid warmer temperatures, and is often used for making sweet products. However, this is a less healthy option to use in cooking as the processing encourages a large number of trans fats and saturated fat.

v. Organic coconut oil

Coconut oil extracted from coconut fruits cultivated without the use of pesticides are referred to as organic coconut oil. This oil has its 100 percent nutrients intact along with its natural aroma.

Best cases of using coconut oil 

i. As a healing moisturizer

With its nourishing and moisturizing properties, virgin coconut oil contains fatty acids that your body needs and may help improve cognitive function, metabolism, and hair and skin health. Thereby restoring damaged hair by treating dandruff and scalp conditions.

The antifungal, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory properties of virgin coconut oil also make it a potent source of healing from certain diseases and infections such as eczema.

II. As an anti-aging moisturizer

As a moisturizer, it prevents premature aging and wrinkles, protects against skin cancer while keeping the skin soft, moisturized and smooth.

Health benefits of coconut oil

1. Used as cooking oil

Carrying with it a natural aroma, unrefined coconut oil is simply great for cooking. Using organic, cold-pressed, unrefined coconut oil for cooking comes with all the nutrients it contains.

2. Low cholesterol

Findings on the benefits of virgin coconut oil indicate its low cholesterol content.  It is one of only two dietary oils (the other is omega-3 oil) that reduces blood stickiness that leads to heart diseases, actually helping to lower cholesterol levels because of its ability to stimulate metabolism.  

3. Used as stain remover

 Although refined coconut oil can be used for cooking, the best way to use it is as a stain remover, furniture polish, lubricant, or laundry detergent.

4. Improved Brain Function

Although studies are yet to conclude on coconut oil’s benefit to the brain,  the chemicals found in the oil, particularly ketones, have been associated with reducing Alzheimer’s disease symptoms by providing other energy sources for damaged brain cells. 

Health risks of using coconut oil

Increased Risk of Heart Disease and Stroke

Even though some studies have shown that coconut oil can boost good cholesterol and lower the bad, other studies have shown that compared to other oils like olive oil, coconut oil raises harmful LDL cholesterol levels. High levels of LDL cholesterol can raise your risk of developing heart diseases.

Thus one must not take more than 13 grams of coconut oil per serving according to the American Heart Association.

Comparing cocoa butter and coconut oil; which is best for your skin?

1. Fatty acids Properties

Fatty acids are the building blocks of the fat in our bodies and in the food we eat, according to KidsHealth. In simple terms, fatty acids help our bodies to store energy.

Coconut oil contains about 90 percent saturated fatty acids and 9 percent unsaturated fats. However, the saturated fats in coconut oil are different from saturated fats in animal fats. Research records over 50 percent of the fats in coconut oil are medium-chain fatty acids, such as lauric acid. Coconut oil is the highest natural source of lauric acid; which is excellent for acne treatment.

Similarly, cocoa butter has roughly 25 percent palmitic acid, 3 percent linoleic acid, 35 percent stearic acid, 35 percent oleic acid, and 2 percent other fatty acids. While stearic and palmitic acids are saturated fatty acids, oleic is a monounsaturated omega-9 fatty acid, and linoleic acid is an omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acid.

These fatty acids in cocoa butter aid in developing a protective barrier in moisturizing and keeping the skin from dryness. However, the saturated fatty acids in cocoa butter are not recommended for acne treatment as it may clog the pores on your face.

2. Anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial and anti-fungal properties

Lauric acid in coconut oil also contributes to wound healing, injury, aging, and repairing dead tissue in your skin. 

Thus, coconut oil is a great exfoliant when mixed with a granular substance like sugar or coarse sea salt. Just mix coconut oil with brown sugar, rub it all over your face, wash it with cold water after 15 minutes and wipe with clean cloth.

With antioxidant and phytonutrient plant compounds components, coconut oil for the face can help boost your nutrient factor and fight against environmental stressors that accelerate signs of aging.

On the other hand, cocoa butter is traditionally proven to aid in healing wounds and restoring the skin to its original state. Similarly, due to its rich moisture and protective oil-based,  it’s best used in treating skin conditions such as eczema, easing itching. 

Moreover, cocoa butter contains anti-aging properties that make your skin smooth, soft and wrinkle-free over prolonged use.

3. Hair treatment properties

Lauric acid in coconut oil does not only protect the skin, it contains enough protein for hair scalp treatment too. Thus coconut oil is an excellent ingredient for the treatment of hair loss due to ultraviolet exposure.

Cocoa butter is nourishing to use for natural hair as it helps in keeping the scalp moisturized. Its melting properties also help to deeply penetrate and keep hair smooth, shiny and soft.

4. Vitamins

While coconut oil contains a significant percentage of vitamins for skin health, Cocoa butter contains a high amount of vitamin D; the same vitamin needed by the body and most exposure to the early morning sun. Also, cocoa butter contains a small amount of vitamin K, helping to build strong bones.

While coconut oil has no minerals, cocoa butter is also rich in minerals such as potassium, iron, and zinc for lower blood pressure, supporting red blood cells’ immune health activities

Modern research has established that swishing coconut oil in your mouth for 10 to 20 minutes may reduce bad bacteria in the mouth, prevent gingivitis and tooth decay, and get rid of bad breath.

Whereas your skin treatment needs may completely differ from others, it is best to be informed to make the best choice, either for your hair or skin.

What Does the Research Say?

The main argument against coconut oil is its high saturated fat content that is believed to be unhealthy.

In June 2015, a Cochrane review found that, in some ways, saturated fats may be less harmful than previously believed. It did not suggest, however, that saturated fats were healthful, and the authors urged people to continue reducing their intake of saturated fat.

Fats and oil provide essential nutrients, but people should always use them in moderation. It is, therefore, best to opt for extra virgin coconut oil rather than the other types of coconut oil.

Frequently asked Questions about coconut oil

Q: What’s the difference between virgin coconut oil and the other types available?

A: Virgin coconut oil (VCO) is unrefined and typically cold-pressed coconut oil. It is much healthier for skin and overall health than other types, however, there is no difference between virgin and extra virgin coconut oil.

Q: What is “extra” virgin coconut oil?

A: There’s no definition or standard for the name extra virgin. Companies use the label extra virgin coconut oil due to the popularity of extra virgin olive oil. Extra virgin olive oil is the best grade of olive oil available in the market. However, when choosing coconut oil, the label extra virgin is just for emphasis.

Q: What is “raw” virgin coconut oil?

A: Virgin coconut oil, depending on its method of extraction, can be exposed to heat. Raw coconut oil is never exposed to heat. So not all virgin coconut oil is raw, but all raw coconut oil is virgin.

Q: Is Coconut oil a “seed” oil?          

A: No, coconut oil is vegetable oil. Coconut oil is an edible oil derived from the wick, meat, and milk of coconut palm fruit. Coconut oil is a white solid fat, melting at warmer room temperatures of around 25 °C.

Q: Is coconut oil healthy?

A: Coconut oil is 92 percent saturated fat and therefore raises cholesterol levels similar to animal fats. However, it contains a unique type of medium-chain saturated fat called lauric acid that research shows raise HDL or “good” cholesterol levels, which may lower overall heart disease risk.

Q: Is Virgin Coconut Oil high in cholesterol?

A: Despite some research on whether or not coconut oil is helpful for cholesterol levels. The result is not the meantime, coconut oil isn’t a widely recommended oil for cholesterol health in the way that other oils like olive oil are.

Q: How will I use the VCO?

For your face, pour an amount on your palm, rub and even on your skin. Use a warm wet cloth to wipe after a few minutes.

For your dry hair, apply evenly to your scalp 0ne to two hours before a regular wash to keep your hair moisturized.

Q: What is coconut oil good for?

A: Coconut oil has many nutrients that can contribute to your health through a good diet and skincare products. It’s full of fatty acids that your body needs and may help improve cognitive function, metabolism, and hair and skin health


Both coconut oil and cocoa butter have unique nutrients for your skin. Although these benefits overlap, using it depends on your skin conditions and sensitivity.

While coconut oil is excellent to exfoliate the face, cocoa butter is not so good for that purpose. Cocoa butter contains healthy saturated fatty acids that soothe your dry skin, giving it a moisturized shine.

Both oil and butter have healing properties and using them in their raw state is more result-oriented. For safer results though, use cocoa butter for your skin and coconut oil for your face for maximum skincare benefits.


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Hi, Nelson here... is the lead reviewer here at Cocoaness. A cocoa enthusiast and an ‘honest’ reviewer. I know cocoa more like you know your favorite fruit. I’m a farmer by birth because of my family’s vast cocoa farm in Ghana. In fact, I will be a chocolatier in the near future.