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It’s all about the Cocao Clay Mask

by | Last updated Sep 21, 2020 | Published on May 16, 2019 | Recipes

Chocolate is every girls best friend, no joke.  A little known fact, it’s also a pretty awesome skincare ingredient.  So guilty free, no calories, no added sugar, slather that chocolate all over your face girl.

This week has been pretty fun, I’ve been on an antioxidant rampage.  First with hibiscus mask and pomegranate mask.  Turns out both of these ingredients have double the anti oxidants as green tea or wine.  Continuing with our antioxidant celebration, let me introduce, cocao!

Cocao, on a per gram basis, has significantly greater antioxidant capacity than blueberry, pomegranate, acai, and cranberry. (source)

Why do we care about antioxidants?  Two words. Anti-Aging.  Antioxidants are responsible for protecting and repairing your cells from damage by free radicals.  Not too mention the cardiovascular health benefits cocao has when consumed. More on that below.

This It’s All About the Cocao face mask is great for:

  • Sensitive skin types
  • Anti aging
  • Uneven skin tone or redness
  • Sun damage and prevention

This divine chocolate mask is also uber simple to make.  Grab your favorite clay, we chose Kaolin, and a couple pantry staples for this recipe. But don’t grab just any chocolate bar, we are talking about the super food cocao.

It's all about the Cocao Clay Mask 1

I chose to go with simple pantry ingredients, like honey.  If you have already tried our manuka honey face mask, you know how amazing this special honey is.  So feel free to swap out your honey for manuka honey.    

Rich and divine chocolate just feels like a kaolin clay type of mask.  Kaolin is one of the 4 types of clay found in our facial clay assortment pack.  You can also try one of these 9 kaolin mask recipes with your purchase.

What is Cocao?

I know, this seems like a silly question.  In this context, we are talking about the superfood, cocao.  Which is derived from the raw cocao bean, a plant found in tropical regions near the equator.

I saw this quote while I was doing my research for this face mask and just had to share.

It's all about the Cocao Clay Mask 2

And you might have noticed the different spelling of cocao by now.  There is a substantial nutrition difference between cocao and cocoa.  Basically, cocao is the raw form made by cold pressing raw cocao beans while cocoa is made from roasted cocao beans.

This is where chocolate comes from, the cocao fruit.

Where does chocolate come from - Cocao Fruit

The resulting product looks very similar.  However, during the roasting process the high temperatures destroy most of the nutritional content.  Your average chocolate bar from the store is made with cocoa, and often with tons of added sugar too.

I recently learned this difference, have fallen in love with cocao.  I now even have cocao chia seed pudding for breakfast, it tastes like a rich chocolate pudding and it’s uber healthy for me.  Booyah!

What is the Nutritional Difference between Cocoa and Cocao?

There is a considerable difference in the nutrition values between cocoa and cocao, due to the roasting process.  Check out our comparison:

Cocoa VS Cocao Nutrition Comparison


CocAO powder nutrition values, per 2.5 tbps (14 grams), brand: Kiva Raw Organic

  • Fat: 2% of DV (daily values)
  • Sodium: 0% DV
  • Copper: 40% of DV
  • Magnesium: 48% of DV
  • Fiber: 20% of DV
  • Iron: 14% of DV
  • Zinc: 12% of DV
  • Protein: 8% of DV
  • Selenium: 6% of DV
  • Calcium: 4% of DV

CocOA powder nutrition values, 1 tbps (5 g) brand: Anthonys

  • Fat: 1% of DV (daily values)
  • Sodium: 2% DV
  • Fiber: 7% of DV
  • Iron: 4% of DV
  • Potassium 4% of DV

Quite the difference!  I will also note that there is also quite a difference in the nutritional values from brand to brand for cocao powder.

Kiva Cocao Powder was by far the most nutritionally dense, whereas a Viva Naturals, the best seller on Amazon has nothing close to nutritional values.  For example, their cocao powder only contained 4% iron.  I always try to check a couple brands before ordering.

Cocao is nutritionally dense, but it’s also packed with minerals that don’t appear on our daily value nutrition charts like polyphenols and flavonoids.  AKA fancy words for antioxidants.

Cocao VS Dark Chocolate Antioxidant Comparison

Research suggests that cocao has more phenolic antioxidants than most foods.  This is music to my hears! But make sure to reach for cocao powder or nibs.  The problem with reaching for a chocolate bar, even one with 70% cocao is that the remaining 30% is probably sugar.

You are here for a face mask and learned something about chocolate!  I myself have really enjoyed learning about the difference, and since have been adding in a cocao powder hot chocolate with manuka honey or maple syrup to my daily routine.  Good for my heart, skin and it’s seriously delicious.

For our chocolate face mask purposes we will only be talking about cocao for our recipe.  As we have (thoroughly) gone through, cocoa simply doesn’t have the antioxidants to be beneficial.

It's all about the Cocao Clay Mask 3


Benefits of Cocao for your skin:

Chocolate is amazing for our taste buds, but Cocao is also amazing for your skin.

1. Anti Aging and Skin Repair

There’s 2 major reasons our skin appearance starts to looked aged.  Lack of collagen production and damage to our skin cells by free radicals.  Free radical damages comes from external sources like exposure to X-rays, ozone, cigarette smoking, air pollutants, and industrial chemicals.

Because cocao is rich in a naturally occurring antioxidant called, polyphenols, it works to fight free radicals and repair damage already done.

This 24 week study, of women aged 46-80, found that ingesting a cocao beverage that participants had a positive effect on wrinkles and skin elasticity.

2. Acne

Flavanols, one of the antioxidants found in chocolate has potent anti-inflammatory affects.  Anti inflammatory ingredients can great for soothing and reducing acne and blemishes.

This comparison shows Cocao liquor contains 1400 mg per 100 grams of flavanols.  To compare, that’s 13x more flavanols (antioxidant) than an apple. And 111x more than a cranberry juice cocktail.

Roasting of the cocao bean can reduce the flavanol content by up to 50%, so regular cocoa powder doesn’t provide near the same antioxidants.

3. Prevents UV Sun Damage

Remember those nasty free radicals?  Antioxidants fight off those free radicals.  Taken orally, this study found after 6 and 12 weeks participants found a 15% to 25% reduction in redness resulting from lab induced UV exposure.  Those participants ingested high flavanol cocao, they also experienced and increase in skin firmness and hydration.

Many abstracts reference the power of cocao for not only preventing UV sun damage, but also repairing sun damaged cells.

4. Firms Skin & Collagen Production

The participants of the same study above found increased skin firmness and hydration by ingesting high flavanol cocao.   Not only did they experienced firmer skin, but also less roughness and scaling.

The previous studies all show the efficacy of cocao for your skin when ingested, but what about topical application?  This study with cocao topical application resulted in positively affecting skin elasticity and production of collagen types I, III, and IV.

More anti-oxidant rich clay mask recipes:

Hibiscus Clay Mask, beautifully colored face mask, also with double the antioxidants compared to green tea

Pomegranate Kaolin mask, contains 2 plant compound antioxidants unique to the pomegranate.

Matcha Clay Mask, a concentrated powder of green tea, matcha makes me feel like a green goddess.


Why Kaolin is great for your skin!

All of our face mask recipes use clay as a base.

I tend to get a little intense in the research area of any product that I consider adding to my face masks.  I try to never mention a benefit without first finding the science to back it up.  Clay has some super cool science behind how clay works.

Kaolin clay is one of my favorite clay’s to use because it a gentler on my skin than other types of clay.  I even use Kaolin as my everyday cleanser since I suffer from oily skin.

It’s super easy to notice Kaolin clay, it’s the only clay that’s pure white.  It’s nicknamed China clay for that reason. But you can also find other variations of Kaolin pink, yellow or red clay. Find out more uses in our kaolin clay definitive guide.

It’s very effective for absorbing excess oil, gentle enough to use on all skin types, provides a gentle exfoliation and remineralizes your skin.  For these reasons it’s one of the 4 clays we chose to include in our facial clay assortment pack.  

You may have experience redness after a bentonite clay mask if you accidentally left it on for too long.  First of all, redness after a clay mask can be normal, but can be avoiding if removing before the clay mask fully dries.  Kaolin clay does not reden your skin after application at all.   

Manuka honey clay mask and tropical papaya face mask recipes are a couple of our other kaolin clay mask recipes. 

It’s all About the Cocao Face Mask Ingredients

Recipe Yield: 1 face masks

You will need:  

*Sub honey with manuka honey for even more benefits.  Read more about why manuka honey is amazing for your skin in this manuka honey clay mask.

Equipment required:

  • 1 glass, wooden or plastic bowl (glass is preferred)
  • 1 plastic, or wooden spoon
  • 1 face mask brush (included in our facial clay assortment pack)

Mix How to Mix Cocao Mask

This recipe yields 1 face mask recipe. If you make too much, cover in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Step 1:  Mix 1/2 tsp of honey with 1/4 tsp of filtered water.  Mixing the honey with a bit of water will make the honey easier to mix with the clay.  You might need to add a bit more water accordingly.

How to Mix Cocao Face Mask

Step 2: In a separate bowl mix the kaolin and cocao powder together.  You can choose to skip this step and mix it direct into the honey and water.

Instructions to Mix Cocao Face Mask

Step 3: Mix the dry mix together with the honey and water.  Mix thoroughly until there are no clumps with a mini plastic spatula till smooth.  I found this mix with the honey needed a bit more mixing.

Repair and Protect Skin from UV Damage with Cocao Face Mask

How to apply Cocao Mask to your Face:

I love loved this face mask! It was so soothing and the honey made it so that I could keep it on much longer than kaolin mixed with water mask.

My skin felt so smooth and even a bit moisturized afterwards!

For application follow these instructions:

1. Cleanse your skin prior to applying a mask.  

2. Apply the mask to your face and upper neck with a face mask brush.

3. Remove the clay mask BEFORE it dries.  To remove, gently splash water to rehydrate the clay.  Then remove with water or face towel.  

4. Follow up with a toner like witch hazel.

5. Apply a moisturizer.  I followed up this recipe with a vitamin C serum and retinol cream to keep the anti aging goodness going.

For more frequently asked questions about clay masks, how to use a dry clay mask has lots more info.

Cocao DIY Face Mask Recipe with Kaolin Clay

Cocao DIY Face Mask Recipe with Kaolin Clay

Cocoa Clay Mask

Yield: 1
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes

Get the superfood cocao powder that is packed with antioxidants. Antioxidants = anti aging.


  • ½ tsp of cocao powder
  • 1 tsp Kaolin Clay
  • ½ tsp of raw honey*
  • ¼ tsp of purified water or rose water


  1. Mix honey and filtered water or rose water together in a small bowl.
  2. Mix cocao powder and kaolin clay together.
  3. Mix dry and wet ingredients together till smooth.
  4. Apply to a cleansed face.
  5. Remove before dry or leave on for approx 20 minutes.
  6. Finish with toner and moisturizer.

Disclaimer: Our content does not constitute a dermatologist or medical advice.

Did you try this mask? I would love to hear how it worked for you! Leave a comment below.

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