Why Cupuaçu Butter Is The Skincare Ingredient You Need To Try

Ingredient Spotlight


Take a seat for a sec, açaí. There’s a new Brazilian superfood in town and it’s ready to spend a little time in the spotlight. We’re talking about cupuaçu – pronounced “kuh-pwah-soo” – a delicious fruit native to the Amazon rainforest that’s like a mashup between cacao, banana, and pineapple. If you haven’t eaten cupuaçu before it’s a real treat for your taste buds, but it turns out this tropical fruit is also a rock star when it comes to nourishing your skin and hair.

“Cupuaçu is a powerful moisturizer that’s closely related to cocoa,” says Dr. Debra Jaliman, a board-certified NYC dermatologist. “The oil is extracted from the cupuaçu seeds and is used to create a thick, but very soft butter that’s then incorporated into products. This butter contains a fatty acid called oleic acid, which helps improve your skin’s moisture levels to keep it soft and hydrated. It also helps seal the moisture in your skin and regenerates skin’s elasticity.”

In addition to providing the immediate benefit of hydrated, super soft, healthy-looking skin, cupuaçu butter also boasts some long-term benefits.

“The fruit has anti-aging and anti-inflammatory benefits due to its rich supply of antioxidants, including polyphenols and flavonoids, which can help curb premature aging. There is also continued ongoing hydration due to the phytosterol,” notes Dr. Jeannette Graf, a board-certified dermatologist also based in New York.

Keen on slathering some cupuaçu? We’ve got some solid picks that’ll cover you from head to toe.

For Your Hair: Klorane Nourishing & Repairing 3-in-1 Mask with Organic Cupuacu Butter, $28

Klorane Nourishing & Repairing 3-in-1 Mask with Organic Cupuacu Butter

We’re digging this hair mask for a few reasons. First, it really quenches parched locks thanks to a mighty mix of cupuaçu butter, coconut oil, and sunflower seed oil. Second, it’s approved for all hair textures. And third, it’s a major multi-tasker. You can use it like you would a regular in-shower hair mask (apply, set for five to 10 minutes, then rinse), you can wear it overnight, or you can use it as a leave-in, super-hydrating styling cream.

For Your Face: Farmacy Honey Drop Lightweight Moisturizer, $45

Farmacy Honey Drop Lightweight Moisturizer

Like cocoa or shea butters, cupuaçu butter can lean a bit heavy. That said, Farmacy has created an awesome lightweight gel moisturizer that’s infused with just enough cupuaçu to provide long-lasting moisture without weighing you down. It’s also made with antioxidant-rich soothing honey and moisturizing, plumping hyaluronic acid.

For Your Lips: Milani Rose Butter Lip Mask, $10

Milani Rose Butter Lip Mask

Formulated with cupuaçu butter, shea butter, hyaluronic acid, and rose oil, this nourishing mask by drugstore brand Milani works overtime to hydrate, plump, and soften your lips. It’s perfect as an overnight treatment, or you can apply at the beginning of your makeup routine so that your lips are prepped for your fave lipstick.

For Your Hands: Fresh Moisturizing Hand Cream, $14

fresh hand cream

With all the extra hand washing and sanitizer-dousing we’re doing lately, it’s important to look after the health of our hands. A rich moisturizer will def help. We’re shouting out Fresh’s Moisturizing Hand Cream not just because it’s made with cupuaçu and shea seed butters, but because it smells like honeysuckle and absorbs quickly to leave your hands soft and not greasy.

Body Moisturizer: Burt’s Bees Richly Replenishing Cocoa and Cupuacu Body Lotion, $9

Burt’s Bees Richly Replenishing Cocoa and Cupuacu Body Lotion

Both dermatologists we spoke to about cupuaçu recommended picking up this affordable, ultra-creamy body lotion. “It has a great combination of cupuaçu butter, cocoa butter, olive oil, sunflower oil, and glycerin for super moisturization,” says Dr. Graf.

Body Exfoliator: The Body Shop Brazilian Cupuacu Scrub-In-Oil Nourishing Body Scrub, $32

The Body Shop Brazilian Cupuacu Scrub-In-Oil Nourishing Body Scrub

A good full-body scrub down nixes stubborn dead skin cells to leave skin super soft and glowy. This dual-phase scrub from The Body Shop combines salt crystals with sunflower seed oil and cupuaçu butter to get the job done. It’s a real shower treat and perfect for summer where more skin is being exposed!

For Your Feet: Sol de Janeiro Samba 2-Step Foot Fetish Care, $27

Sol de Janeiro Samba 2-Step Foot Fetish Care

Brazil-based brand Sol de Janeiro puts cupuaçu in pretty much all its products, which makes sense since the ingredient is native to the country. This two-step dry foot care system includes a foot-smoothing board to help nix rough texture, and a quick-absorbing, cupuaçu-loaded cream to seriously soften your tootsies.

Have you heard of the cupuaçu fruit before? Better yet, have you tasted it or used it in a beauty product? We want to hear your thoughts, opinions, and feelings in the comment section below.