Kokum Butter Benefits for the Skin and Hair

Kokum Butter Benefits

Kokum butter is an alternative to cocoa and shea butter for helping regenerate and moisturize your skin and hair.

The various kokum butter benefits make it a powerful choice for anyone wanting to look and feel better.

In this post, we take a look at kokum butter itself and how it compares to common choices.

What is Kokum Butter?

Garcinia Indica

By Sagar.kolte (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 or GFDL], via Wikimedia Commons

Kokum butter is made from the seeds of the Garcinia indica tree, which is often simply known as kokum. The tree is native to India and is part of the mangosteen family. Like mangosteen, the kokum fruit offers many health benefits. The site Fitness-Spell discusses these in more detail.

Because the butter comes from the seeds of the tree, the benefits are different but equally appealing. Unlike cocoa butter, kokum butter is for external use only. It is common in cosmetic products and with good reason.

Kokum butter itself tends to look strange. It crumbles easily and has a powdery surface – not what you’d expect for moisturizing at all.

The butter is harder than most other natural butters. This makes it more difficult to use directly but kokum butter is very powerful in homemade products. For example, it is commonly used as a thickener in body butters and in lotions. 

Despite the hardness, kokum butter does melt on skin contact. This allows you to apply it directly with a little effort.

Kokum Butter Skin and Hair Benefits

  • Reduces skin dryness
  • Non-greasy, making it perfect for moisturizing and for the scalp
  • Quickly absorbs into the skin
  • Doesn’t make the skin feel greasy
  • Moisturizes the skin
  • Promotes skin cell regeneration
  • Helps to heal cracks and ulcers, especially on the lips and the feet
  • Is non-comedogenic, so it won’t clog your pores
  • Can be used as a conditioner to make your hair softer
  • Makes the skin softer
  • Promotes skin flexibility and elasticity
  • Can be used to treat dandruff, dry hair and split ends
  • Uniform triglyceride composition
  • Contains garcinol, which has antibacterial effects
  • Is stable, with a shelf life of up to 2 years

Fatty Acid Composition

Kokum butter is high in stearic acid. This is responsible for many of the observed benefits, including skin firming. The moisturizing comes from the oleic acid content. The general composition is as follows, although exact numbers vary from batch to batch.

  • Stearic Acid: 40-65%
  • Oleic Acid: 30-50%
  • Palmitic Acid: 5-8%
  • Linoleic Acid: 2-4%

In contrast, the composition of other butter types is as follows:

Cocoa Butter

  • Stearic Acid: 31-35%
  • Oleic Acid: 34-36%
  • Palmitic Acid: 25-30%
  • Linoleic Acid: 3%

Shea Butter

  • Stearic Acid: 35-45%
  • Oleic Acid: 40-55%
  • Palmitic Acid: 3-7%
  • Linoleic Acid: 3-8%

Mango Butter

  • Stearic Acid: 42%
  • Oleic Acid: 46%
  • Palmitic Acid: 6%
  • Linoleic Acid: 3%

These differences mean that kokum butter looks and behaves differently than cocoa butter, shea butter and mango butter. It tends to be firmer and melts at around 90°F to 104°F, although it will melt on skin contact too.

Kokum butter is also a drier butter. It absorbs into the skin faster and is less greasy as a result.

How to Use Kokum Butter

  • Apply a small amount to your skin and rub it in.
  • Add a liquid oil (like almond oil) to make kokum butter softer and easier to use.
  • Use directly on dry lips.
  • Apply to your feet, especially on cracks and extremely dry areas of skin. Add socks and leave on overnight to get the most benefits.
  • Melt the butter and massage it into your hair
  • Make your own skincare lotions and creams with recipes that include kokum butter (Soap Queen has a great guide).
  • Use kokum butter instead of cocoa butter in skincare recipes.

Where to Buy Kokum Butter

By far, Amazon is the best place to find kokum butter. They offer the widest selection and are incredibly easy to use. I recommend the following choices:

Products That Use Kokum Butter

Kokum butter is often used as an ingredient, like in the following products.

You can take advantage of kokum butter’s properties in handmade products as well. The recipes below are some examples.

Kokum butter is very powerful when mixed with other ingredients. It helps create textures and outcomes that you wouldn’t get otherwise.

Final Thoughts

Kokum butter is less common and harder to find than mango, shea or cocoa butter.

But, its benefits and properties make it powerful for your skin and hair. The butter is very relevant if you want something that doesn’t clog your pores and has no scent. Try it out today!

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Kokum Butter Skin and Hair Benefits

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