Don’t Try This At Home: Making 'Tinted Moisturizer' With Chocolate And Lotion

A DIY beauty fable.
Publish date:
June 13, 2013
moisturizers, makeup, DIY, skin, face creams, tinted moisturizers, cocoa, fail, chocolate, cetaphil

A few weeks ago, Caroline wrote a great article about the virtues of using cocoa powder as a bronzer for pale skin. It struck me as a perfect eco-friendly alternative to store-bought bronzers, and for a fleeting moment, I wished that I were just light enough to try it out myself.

I started thinking: If cocoa powder would be the same shade as Faz and other brown ladies, wouldn’t it be a decent, if not subtle, base for a foundation or tinted moisturizer? What would happen if I, say, mixed chocolate powder with lotion?

I tried it out and discovered my answer: nothing good.

To start, I purchased some Ghirardelli’s unsweetened cocoa powder to see what shade it was, and found, to my horror, that it was the exact same shade as my skin. All of those nasty hollerin’ dudes on the street were right: I’ve been a chocolaty princess ALL ALONG.

I took it back home, shamefully, and mixed it with Cetaphil Moisturizing Cream to produce a deliciously scented, exactly-the-same-shade-as-Lauren concoction that looked and smelled deceptively like Jell-O chocolate pudding mix.

I scooped up small amounts of the pungent chocolate lotion frappe, dotted it on my face, and lightly smoothed it evenly around my skin without rubbing it in. There was a difference: My skin looked a little richer and, uh, more chocolaty, but it was ludicrously subtle.

Thinking that the mixture was too close to my own ebony splendor to be a good alternative to tinted moisturizer, I attacked my roommate Laura’s much paler arm with it to see the results. Laura, when not taking beautiful pictures, works as a rigger at a boat yard. I’ve taken this to mean that she lifts and hauls boats with naught but the furious might of her biceps, and does so in the sun for eight-plus hours a day, five days a week.

As a result of her gnarly work environment, however, she’s developed a wicked intense farmer’s tan. Would some chocolate mixed with lotion help to remedy this?

The short answer is a somewhat meek yes, and also a resounding, emphatic no.

We didn’t notice how much darker her arm had gotten until wiping away a section of the moisturizer. It definitely made her skin look more sun-kissed in the areas where it’s ordinarily covered in a t-shirt, but it didn’t help to blend between her untanned and tanned skin.

She was also left smelling like an explosion at a chocolate factory. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it’s probably not advisable for a profession wherein you lift and haul boats with a bunch of manly dudes who are bound to comment on it.

Another problem with the moisturizer on pale skin was that it went on a bit streaky and was hard to blend. I’m not entirely sure if this was a consequence of the blend of moisturizer itself, the contrast between the dark brown of the lotion against her skin, or the fact that we were probably doing it wrong, but was noticeable if you were close to her.

To cover all of our bases, we called over a medium-brown neighbor to try out the choco-lotion on her complexion as well. She reported that the difference was, again, very subtle, and that little boogery balls of sticky chocolate concentrate would form on her skin when she tried to rub it in. Gross.

The lesson that I’ve learned in all of this was that, while some ideas sound great in theory, they can often end up as hot messes. I’m glad that I now have a great face cream and perfect powdered chocolate in my apartment, but never again shall the two be mixed.

Have you ever tried a DIY alternative to a beauty product with less-than-desirable results?