Cupuacu butter (pronounced coo-pwah-soo) is the solid fat which is expressed from the roasted seeds of the Theobroma grandiflorum tree. Cupuacu is from the same botanical family as the cocoa tree, so it holds similar skin-nourishing benefits. It is predominately grown in the Eastern Amazonian region of Brazil. This is where its fruit is commercially cultivated and processed into a thick, aromatic paste. This paste is used to make white chocolate and other sweet treats that originate from Brazil. The seeds contain a high amount of naturally occurring fat and protein.
Though cupuacu butter is a relative to cocoa, it is not anywhere near as hard as cocoa butter. The texture is definitely solid at room temperature but holds a creamy smooth consistency. It is similar to shea butter but even more velvety. Many formulators use this as a plant-based alternative to lanolin wax (the oil derived from sheep’s wool). It does not hold the same sticky texture as lanolin but it holds similar skin moisturizing properties.
Because cupuacu is naturally high in stearic acid, it can also help with emulsion systems. It is not a stand-alone emulsifier but it will lend its stearic acid value to your formulation to give it noticeable “body.” If you are looking for an exotic butter for your INCI panel, give this one a try! Sub for shea or mango butter, you will love its skins softening and plumping results!
INCI: Theobroma grandiflorum (cupuacu) butter