While mangoes are certainly delicious to eat, the semi-solid oil (butter) that is extracted from the seed (a woody kernel) of this stone fruit—using either hydraulic pressure or a solvent extraction method—is great for rejuvenating the skin and hair.
In fact, the seeds can be produced into a powder, oil, or butter, depending on how it’s processed. Though native to South Asia, Mangifera Indica trees can now be found in other places such as Brazil, China, and Mexico, which makes mango butter an extremely accessible ingredient.
Due to its consistency, it melts when in contact with the skin. You can use it as-is or as a component to a DIY skin care recipe. One of the reasons mango butter is so desirable is because unlike other butters such as cocoa and shea, this creamy nectar doesn’t have a pronounced smell. If anything, one might be able to detect subtle hints of fruit or fatty acids, but even these distinctive scents won’t linger on the skin—especially if they are incorporated into a recipe with herbs, essential oils, and other fragrant ingredients.
Natural plant-based butters, like that from the mango fruit, can help give your skin a fresh and revived look. Ahead, a closer look at the benefits of this all-natural powerhouse ingredient and explore the different ways you can incorporate it into your beauty routine.
Benefits of mango butter to the skin
The reason why mango butter is so beneficial to the skin is because of its impressive nutritional content which is comprised of: oleic acid, stearic acid, palmitic acid, linoleic acid, arachidic acid, vitamin A, vitamin C, and vitamin E. Here’s how mango butter as a whole imparts a radiant and youthful complexion.
Plumps the appearance of the skin
Mango butter contains vitamin C, a skin care superhero because it visibly firms and tightens your look and minimizes the appearance of expression lines and wrinkles. Vitamin C also brightens and lightens your look.
Natural source of vitamin A
Not to be confused with retinoids, synthetic forms of vitamin A—as naturally found within mango butter—encourage a revitalized, glowing appearance, thus reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles while increasing the skin’s overall youthful look.
The cold-pressed butter from the mango seeds has similar properties to that of cocoa and shea butters, but without being greasy. Parched, flaky, and even sensitive skin can benefit from a daily application of mango butter, which goes to work deeply moisturizing. It’s also a great all-natural lip balm. What’s great is that it’s non-comedogenic, which means it’s suitable for all skin types—even those prone to acne.
Reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles
As with any skin care product, you have to be dedicated and consistent if you want to see results. Over time, mango butter can help reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Chock-full of essential fatty acids, it’s a great ingredient for those with mature skin.
Protects from environmental stressors
Mango butter is an incredible antioxidant, which means it protects your skin from free radicals generated by UV exposure. Just don’t forget to apply sunscreen as it doesn’t work as a protectant against UVA and UVB rays.
The stearic acid in mango butter has cleansing properties to help facilitate the removal of dirt, sweat, and oil from the skin and hair. It also imparts softness and conditions without adding weight.
How to use mango butter
Mango butter is fuss-free as literally the best way to use it is as-is—it couldn’t be easier. Look for a raw, 100 percent pure formula void of potentially irritating additives and fragrances.
Simply scoop a pea-sized amount the butter (a little goes a long way) into your palm then massage the butter onto your skin as it melts.
It can also be used as a nourishing hair treatment. Oleic acids, palmitic acid, and vitamin E provide moisture and promote thicker, longer, and stronger tresses. Apply a generous amount of butter and comb through from roots to tips. Take a couple of minutes to massage it into your scalp, too.
Ideally, you’ll want to put on a shower cap to intensify the results. Wait at least 30 minutes (or sleep with it on overnight) before shampooing. You can also take a pea-sized amount (or less) to tame frizzies after your hair has been styled.
DIY beauty products
Thanks to its mild aroma and spreadability, it’s easy to scent mango with essential oils if you want to make your own beauty products. Mango butter’s light texture works well in a wide range of applications, from lip balms to lotions to hair masks. On the topic of skin care, here’s a recipe for an all-purpose face cream.
1 cup assorted oils based on your skin type (jojoba, avocado, argan, olive, etc.)
1/4 cup mango butter
3 tablespoons beeswax
2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon concentrated oils like pomegranate seed oil, rosehip seed oil, etc.
2 teaspoons vitamin E oil
1/2 cup rosewater hydrosol
12 to 15 drops desired essential oils—ideally, conducive to your skin type
Combine the oils, mango butter, and beeswax in the top of a double boiler over low heat—this is important otherwise it will burn. Stir the mixture constantly until the beeswax has melted completely and the mixture is smooth. Remove from heat and allow to cool for 15 minutes.
Next, transfer the mixture into a blender. To make things easier, remove the center hole from the cap, so that you can add additional ingredients while blending. Turn the blender on to medium speed and add the concentrated oils, vitamin E oil, and hydrosol in a thin, steady stream. Once it reaches the right consistency (about three minutes), add the essential oils and blend for an additional 30 seconds.
You’ll have enough face cream to fill approximately three four-ounce jars. Just make sure you properly sterilize them first. Don’t screw the caps on until the mixture has completely cooled. Store the creams you’re not using in the fridge until you’re ready to use them.
A word of caution
Even natural ingredients should be used with care and caution.
Despite the word “butter,” mango butter should never be ingested, so keep it in a safe place that’s not within reach of children.
As with any new ingredient you’re trying, conduct a patch test by applying a dime-sized amount on your inner arm to gauge whether or not you have a sensitivity. Wait at least 48 hours to determine whether or not you have an allergic response.
Potential side effects associated with mango butter include rapid heartbeat, increased urination, sleeplessness, and nervousness. Should you experience an allergic reaction, discontinue using the product immediately and consult a health professional such as a doctor or pharmacist.
Mango butter is a powerful natural ingredient due to its composition that includes valuable nutrients such as oleic acid, stearic acid, palmitic acid, linoleic acid, arachidic acid, vitamin A, vitamin C, and vitamin E. It’s a desirable ingredient as it plumps the appearance of skin, combats dryness, cleanses, promotes healthy tresses, soothes, reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, brightens, and protects from environmental stressors.
It is effective in its natural state, but it’s also a great ingredient to use in a DIY beauty product as it doesn’t impart an odor like other butters. It can be found in many over-the-counter beauty products such as Annmaries’s Phytonutrient Cleanser and Anti-aging Eye Cream. As with any new product or ingredient, always conduct a patch test to ensure you don’t have an allergic reaction or sensitivity.
“Mangifera Sylvatica (Wild Mango): A New Cocoa Butter Alternative,” Researchgate, August 2016, https://www.researchgate.net/publication/306522563_Mangifera_sylvatica_Wild_Mango_A_new_cocoa_butter_alternative
“Vitamin C and Skin Health,” Oregon State University,
“Formulation and Evaluation of Exotic Fat Based Cosmeceuticals for Skin Repair,” U.S. National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, July-August 2008, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2792546/
Rebecca Taras has over ten years of editorial and copywriting experience, including serving as an editor for hot digital spaces like Refinery29, PopSugar, Forbes Travel Guides, and Bustle. Along with contributing to print and digital outlets, she currently handles copywriting for some of the biggest brands in the beauty and travel industries.
A Chicagoland native, Taras began her career catering to celebrity clientele as an esthetician at the Peninsula Chicago Hotel before launching her own line of bath and body care products with her previous bath and body care company, Cleansing Queen. Rebecca also created custom in-room amenities for the Sofitel Hotel Chicago, including items featured in a special presentation for the president of AccorHotels upon his visit from France to Chicago. Her efforts were recognized by the Chicago Fashion Foundation, and she received the Style Maker and Rule Breaker award in the Beauty category.
Ultimately, Rebecca’s initiatives evolved into the co-founding of Terminal Getaway airport spas, now located at Seattle-Tacoma International, Tampa International, Orlando International, and Chicago O’Hare International airports. Though she is no longer involved with Terminal Getaway, her passion for beauty and travel not only persisted over the years but grew.
As Rebecca continued to refine her skincare knowledge, she spent a considerable amount of time as a journalist covering beauty and other topics. Rebecca’s diverse body of knowledge, experience, and an insatiable curiosity for faraway places culminated in Well-Traveled Beauty, an upcoming skincare line and travel website. The company’s initial offerings will be a line of results-driven, travel-friendly beauty products that take the guesswork out of figuring out what to pack.
A global traveler with a passion for Paris, Taras finally decided to live the Parisian way of life on the daily and call the City of Light home.