We’re always raving about coconut oil and shea butter but do you know about mango butter? Turns out, our favorite fruit has a lot of skincare benefits. The vitamins, antioxidants and proteins found in mangoes—specifically its butter–are why it’s found in our go-to creams, lip balms and hair care products. We asked Dr. Shasa Hu, a board-certified dermatologist and Dr. BRANDT skin advisory board member, all about mango butter benefits and why you should add it to your skincare routine.
What is mango butter?
Mango butter comes from well...mangoes. And while the whole fruit has benefits, it’s the seed that’s skincare and haircare gold. “Mango butter has fatty oils extracted from the seed within mango fruit. These woody kernels are packed with nutrient rich fatty acids that are good for our skin,” explains Dr. Hu. The pit goes through a machine where it’s cold-pressed and releases a pure, natural oil. The lightweight oil is then turned into the butters, creams and balms we find in our skincare products.
What are the benefits of mango butter?
- It hydrates and nourishes the skin. Vitamins A, E and C work together to lock in moisture even on the coldest days. Dr. Hu also highlighted that mango butter is loaded with fatty acids like oleic acid that keep skin soft and supple.
- It protects your skin and hair against UV rays. “Mango butter is loaded with vitamin C, which is one of the most important antioxidants for skin health,” she explains. “Vitamin C protects our skin against free radical damage when our skin is exposed to sunlight,” she adds. (On that note: Dr. Hu points out that while vitamin C protects against sun damage it shouldn’t replace your SPF.)
- It reduces breakage and improves shine in dry, damaged or color-treated hair. The key components—fatty acids like the palmitic and isostearic acid—work wonders in smoothing split ends, reducing dandruff and strengthening your strands. Try wearing a mango butter hair mask overnight to let it work its magic while you sleep.
- It repairs and rebuilds your skin. Thanks to vitamin E and C found in the natural ingredient, it can reduce the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles and dark spots. The butter can also soften stretch marks and reduce acne scars.
- It soothes irritated areas. Do you have sunburns, bug bites or acne-prone skin? Mango butter has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties to speed up healing. It’s also non-comedogenic, so you don’t have to worry about clogged pores or breakouts.
Are there side effects to using mango butter?
Mango butter is completely safe, unless you’re allergic to mangoes (in which case, you should probably sit this one out). Regardless, you should always do a patch test if you’re using mango butter for the first time. If you see any rashes or irritation, stop use immediately and consult with your doctor.
Got it. But what’s the difference between mango butter and shea butter?
While both butters have similar qualities (namely their moisturizing powers), they have some key differences that will help guide your next purchase.
- For one, scent can be a huge factor. Spoiler alert: mango butter doesn’t actually smell like mangoes.The butter has little to no scent so don’t expect to smell like a tropical vacay when you use it. On the other hand, shea butter has a distinctly nutty scent that might be irritating to some.
- Both absorb quickly but mango butter is a bit lighter, has a smoother application and doesn’t leave behind an oily residue. Some shea butters can be heavier, and at times, greasy or grainy.
- The way you store mango butter vs. shea butter can make all the difference. While shea butter has a longer shelf life (11 to 12 months), you can expect it to turn solid the moment it hits room temperature. Meanwhile, mango butter’s low melting point will keep its texture creamy and fluffy.
OK, are there any other tips I should know?
There are three tips to buying, storing and using mango butter to have the best experience.
- When buying your own mango butter: Unrefined is the way to go. It’s usually an off-white color and comes in blocks (or a ready-made cream). Don’t forget to check the ingredients list for any chemicals or additives.
- How to store your mango butter: Mango butter can last anywhere between 4 to 6 months when stored correctly. If you want to prevent it from melting and last longer, store it in a cool, dark environment. We also recommend putting it in the fridge (especially for an extra cooling sensation if you’re dealing with irritated or inflamed skin).
- When applying mango butter: Use a spoon, scooper or anything that’s not your fingers. The last thing you want to do is expose your mango butter to heat, dirt or bacteria. Plus, a little goes a long way (a quarter-sized scoop will do!). Apply it to dry and clean areas to keep your skin moisturized for the rest of the day. Dr. Hu suggests using mango butter once a day (especially for people with dry skin) and applying it directly onto the skin (no need to massage it on your hands first).
How to Make DIY Mango Body Butter
OK, you just purchased some pure mango butter and now it’s time to make your very own body butter. Before you start, you’ll need ½ to one cup of mango butter blocks, ¼ to ½ cup of a carrier oil (like jojoba, sweet almond, argan, castor or avocado oil, to name a few), an essential oil (like lavender, chamomile, rose or sandalwood), an electric mixer and a saucepan.
Step 1: First, fill the saucepan with ¼ cup of water and set it on the stove. Then, cut the mango butter block into cubes before adding them to the saucepan.
Step 2: Add your carrier oil of choice to the saucepan and stir. Once the combo is melted, turn off the heat and remove the saucepan. Let the mixture cool for ten minutes until it’s firm but not solid. (Helpful tip: Pop it in the freezer to speed up the cooling process.)
Step 3: Transfer the mixture to your electric mixer and turn it on low. Let it whip for five minutes and add about 20 to 40 drops of your preferred essential oil (for even more benefits and fragrance). After five minutes, check to see that the texture is creamy and fluffy.
Step 4: Once your body butter is whipped to perfection, place it in a glass container and store it in a cool, dry place. Use as needed.
If you’re in the market for a natural alternative to smooth, hydrated skin, look no further than mango butter. It has a ton of benefits to repair and soothe your skin. Plus, it only takes four steps to make your own body butter at home. You can’t go wrong with that.