Food for Thought: The Benefits of Chocolate (Cocoa) on Natural Hair

I love chocolate.

Like, love love. Always have, and I always will. If I could eat chocolate every day, I would. But of course, having a Hershey bar as a pre-gym snack isn't really the smartest thing to do...but anyway, I digress.

As it turns out, there IS a way for me to enjoy the benefits of chocolate, without seeing the results on the scale: in my hair. That's right, chocolate is good for your hair! The benefits of chocolate on the hair include:
  • Antioxidants/Flavonoids: Chocolate is antioxidant rich, which combats free-radicals (those pesky little things that can make our hair and skin look aged). Youthful hair has more shine, body, strength, and elasticity - making it less prone to breakage and damage.
  • Moisture, Shine & Softness: Cocoa butter is a powerful emollient and softening agent. Not only does it possess amazing healing and soothing properties for the skin (scalp), it softens hair and promotes shine and elasticity.
  • Flavanols: Chocolate has flavanols, which are proven UV protectants. Natural sunblock that smells heavenly? Yes, please!
  • Vitamins & Minerals: Chocolate is rich in Vitamin A (antioxidants, thickness, strength), riboflavin (B2 = growth), Thiamine (B1 = shine, strength, growth), Potassium (stimulate growth), Phosphorus (prevent hair loss), Magnesium (strength and growth), and more.
  • Stress Relief: The aroma of chocolate is proven stress-reliever. Nothing halts hair growth like stress, so if you're feeling the burnout check out a few of the products on this list to help you idle out.
So, how can you get more cocoa in your hair diet?

If you like to DIY
If you've got a do-it-yourself spirit and a few ingredients handy, you can up your cocoa intake with these gems.
  • Cocoa Butter Hot Oil Treatment: To reap the benefits of cocoa, melt down (microwave not recommended) 2 parts cocoa butter and 1 part coconut oil (or other oil of choice), mix and apply as a hot oil treatment. Be sure to keep hair covered/insulated to prevent the cocoa butter from solidifying at room temperature.
  • Chocolate Hair Mask: Get in the kitchen with 6-8oz of plain greek yogurt, 2 tablespoons of pure cocoa powder, 3 tablespoons of your favorite oil(s), and 2 tablespoons of honey. Blend to an icing-like consistency, and apply to hair as either a pre-poo or deep conditioning treatment.
  • Of course, you can always take the easy road and just add a few tablespoons of pure cocoa powder to your favorite conditioner.
For the Product Junkies
There are tons of products that contain pure cocoa powder and/or cocoa butter. Here are some of my absolute faves. Note: products with an asterisk (*) next to them have a cocoa aroma as well!

For Cleansing
For Conditioning/Deep Conditioning
For Moisture/Detangling

Of course, you can always just eat chocolate too. But don't say I told you to do it.

What are some of your favorite cocoa powder and butter containing products?