Beauty Practice: What is Cacao?

Cacao is a beanlike seed and raw form  of cocoa, cocoa butter, coconut oil and chocolate. The harvesting and exporting of cacao is one of the leading industries in DR.


Why do we love Cacao?

–      It works as an anti-aging food, and is loaded with essential minerals to even skin tone and soften the skin.

–      When cacao is made into cocoa butter it melts deliciously at body temperature making it easy to absorb and deliver the nutrients to skin.

–      Countries like Africa and DR use Cocoa butter instead of department store brands.

–      Cacao has more anti-oxidants than red wine or green tea.

–      It works against cellulite and is highly powerful antioxidant against free radicals

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Preventing Hawaiian Sunburn with Pure Shea Butter

“Flights to Honolulu are $422!”

A friend of mine emailed me not even a week after I returned from 2 weeks in South America. So, what’s a girl to do? Books it and invites two of her best girlfriends to join.

I’ll admit: I never was too interested in going to Hawaii. Crazy-yes, but to me, it seemed like a destination full of honeymooners and the over-70 set; neither of which I would be a part of anytime soon. I am so glad I was wrong (especially with the plethora of adorable, barefoot, long-haired surfing hunks walking around).


But as I was unpacking last night, I looked over everything I brought home and noticed a common theme: every single item was either edible or beauty-related… two of my favorite things.

The day before I left, a makeup artist and dear friend of mine, Matin Maulawizada (Laura Mercier’s Global Ambassador), gave me the beauty tip that would eventually save me from my most common travel problem: sunburn. He told me that 100% pure Shea butter would not only prevent sunburn, but also create a beautiful golden tan. I picked up an 8 oz. tub on the street in the East Village for $3.50 and threw it in my suitcase.


100% pure Shea butter is solid but melts in seconds once it warms up on the skin. It is extremely rich and leaves a high shine on to the skin which is beautiful on the beach, but should be mixed with body lotion for everyday use. So my first day on the beach in Waikiki: did it work? It “shore” did, with not a touch of sunburn on my olive skin*.

The moisturizers in Shea butter are the same moisturizers produced by the sebaceous (oil) glands in the skin. What are some other uses for pure Shea butter?

– Hydrating dry, peeling skin
– Blemishes and wrinkles
– Shaving cream
– Tough or rough feet and heels
– Preventing stretch marks during pregnancy or a change in weight
– Eczema and Dermatitis
– Skin damage from heat (from hot hair tools, hot grease splatter while cooking, etc)


Stay tuned for more on Hawaiian beauty… I have a feeling I’ll be back soon 😉

Until next time… Aloha and mahalos for reading!
*Disclaimer: I was tan from a previous beach trip, plus my Eastern European skin is olive. Fair-skinned sun lovers should continue to use extra caution in any sunlight.

Written by: Julie Kandalec

Edited by: Karen Mowls

Dominican Republic

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Dominican Republic- a Caribbean Jewel of Beauty

The energy of the Dominican Republic (abbreviated DR)  is contagious with its vibrant culture and beautiful women.I visited DR in search of how to make coconut oil in their famous cacao farms and to learn about their beauty customs.

Did you know?

  • Cacao is the raw material for coconut oil and chocolate.

  • Aztecs have been using cacao as a part of their beauty regimen since 1500 BC.

  • Today, coconut oil is used in most beauty products to protect and heal the skin from burns, cuts, and stretch marks. It is also used to prevent hair loss.

  • Garlic cloves is used to remove nail stains

  • Coconut oil to prevent hair loss

  • One of the most well known Dominicans in America is actress Zoe Zaldana who is also half Puerto Rican.