Mango! The mostly yellow, often orange, and sometimes even green fruit is locally known as the king of all fruits. And, for good reason! It’s all amazing things packed in one. Mangoes are juicy, sweet, sour and all in all, absolutely delectable. They’re seasonal and are enjoyed during the summers in India from the months of March/April to somewhere in July/August.
All over the world Mangoes come in approximately 300 varieties, of which about 20-30 are consumed in India. They’re considered to be among the most versatile fruits that are admired by a large audience. Not only that, but Mangoes also have an extremely unique taste and when eaten fresh and in the appropriate quantities, they possess insurmountable health benefits. To top it all off, mangoes make for a great ingredient in skincare. They’ve been proven to be greatly soothing for irritated skin and are known to suppress or help symptoms of skin conditions like psoriasis or eczema. Their essence and goodness can be found in cleansers, toners, lotions, and yes, the star of this blog body butters as well!
What is Mango Butter?
As the name clearly suggests, mango butter is a fat that is derived from mangoes, the seeds or kernels found in their pits (known as “guthli” in Hindi), to be specific. Being rich in fats like Linoleic acid, Oleic acid, Palmitic acid, Stearic acid, etc., mango butter is an excellent emollient meaning it usually exists in a semi-solid form in colder temperatures but quickly melts when it comes in contact with the human skin.
Mango butter is generally light in consistency but has great moisturizing properties and it does not leave behind any greasy residue unlike the “richer” types of fats that are popular in the skincare game. Mango butter is also touted to be a natural humectant, meaning it is great for people with perpetually dry and sensitive skin. It has Vitamins A, C, and E in abundance which make for smooth, healthy, and glowing skin.
How is it Made?
The process of making Mango Butter from extracted seed oil is almost identical to the production of other natural fats derived from seeds, which undergo the process of cold-pressing. Here’s what happens:
- The pit of the mango fruit is separated from the pulp (which is used for other purposes, mainly in commercial beverages). The pit is then opened to reveal the mango seeds which are then de-shelled.
- The seeds contain oil (the ingredient that needs to be extracted) and are placed inside the base of a large machine known as the ‘hydraulic press’. In this machine, high volumes of pressure are exerted down on the seeds, resulting in increased friction which makes them release their oils.
- The oil released from the seeds then seeps through openings underneath the press barrel, large enough to let the oil go through but small enough that the mango fibres cannot pass.
- The collected oil is pale in colour and has a slight fragrance. It is boiled till it reaches a creamy consistency and resembles other body butters or saturated fats.
- The mango butter that further undergoes the process of being bleached and deodorized, is known as ‘refined mango butter’. This refining isn’t a necessary step by any means as freshly extracted mango butter is safe to be used directly on the skin and does not need any further processing.
Benefits of Mango Butter
If you’ve caught wind of all the rage going around in the beauty industry about why mango butter is the next big thing, you’re not alone! Keep on reading to know all the benefits mango butter has to offer and understand why everyone apparently loves it so much.
It does not clog pores- For the most part, mango butter is non-comedogenic as it does not contain compounds that are generally responsible for breakouts so people with sensitive skin can certainly give it a try.
It repels sun damage- Mangoes are known to be rich in salicylic acid and some antioxidants, both substances that are great at fighting off the harmful UV rays of the sun. It is understood that these same properties are reserved to an extent in the mango seed and thus, the oil extracted from and turned into butter can be helpful in protecting one’s skin from sun damage.
Its scent isn’t heavy- While being processed, no artificial fragrances are added to mango butter and the only scent it retains is faint, slightly fruity, and natural which makes the individual smell incredible when applied to the skin without the possibility of giving them a headache.
It’s antibacterial and antimicrobial- Studies have shown that when substances obtained from nature are treated with wool, they’re far less likely to succumb to bacterial growth. So, it can be understood that people who experience bacterial acne or are susceptible to microbial infestation on their skin are safe to use mango butter to moisturize and hydrate their skin.
It makes your hair shinier and healthier- Being rich in vitamins and humectants, mango butter can hydrate and nourish the hair when used as a replacement for both oil therapy or used as a key ingredient in conditioners.
It’s not wasteful- The seeds extracted from mangoes that are not used to plant more trees for the future would usually just be destroyed and disposed of if it weren’t for their oil. Extracting mango seed oil and making butter from it is a waste-free and environment-friendly way of utilizing everything that nature has to offer. The seeds for this purpose usually come from mangoes that are used for commercial foods and beverages wherein the edible pulp is used for the product and the seeds are discarded for further use.
It relieves itchiness and dry skin- Being rich in fatty acids that are excellent emollients for the skin, mango butter is a great source of a type of glycerine known as triglycerides which are hydrophilic in nature, pulling moisture to the skin, thus keeping it healthy.
Drawbacks of Mango Butter
Okay, we get it. Mango butter is great. It’s amazing and we all love it. But here are a few not-so-great things about mango butter that others may not tell you. If no one else does, we certainly will!
It’s expensive- We’ve read about how cumbersome the process of extracting mango seed butter is, it is not only time-consuming but also labor-intensive which naturally makes it difficult to afford. Since its production tends to be on the pricier side, it may not be people’s preferred ingredient for their skincare, regardless of its many benefits.
It’s harder to procure- Because wastage is such a big problem, a majority of mango seeds wherever they are consumed are generally disposed of because of which mango butter is not only harder to procure but also more often than not, only available in limited quantities.
It’s not widely available- Mango butter as a revolutionary ingredient in skincare and haircare is still yet to catch the wind in mainstream brands. While it’s getting more and more popular each passing day, it is still not as widely available in skincare products as we would like. Because of this reason, it can be harder to incorporate into your skincare routine without proper access to commercial products with mango butter already in them.
It’s difficult to make at home- For people who like making their products at home, are into natural ingredients only, and are fond of DIY skincare, mango butter is a difficult ingredient to prepare and customize from the comfort of your home.
Other Uses of Mango Butter
We’ve been on about how great mango butter is as a moisturizer and all the good things it can do for your skin, for a hot minute. But it isn’t just good for your skin! Mango butter has many other revolutionary uses that you most likely have not heard of. yet.
Hair Massage- It is common practice in India to use different types of oils and fats such as ghee for deep hair conditioning massages. Often locally known as “champi”, a hair massage using vitamin-rich fats and oils, Mango (seed) butter, in this case, does wonderful things for your scalp, it nourishes your roots and makes your ends softer, improving the overall quality of your hair. You can use mango butter for your hair massages the same way you would use coconut oil or almond oil.
Pedicures- We’ve already read about the emollient nature of mango butter and it is clear just how well it can moisturize dry and crackly skin. So, naturally, it has the potential to be a great addition to not only your skincare routine but also your pedicure regimen. After you’ve soaked and scrubbed away all the dead debris off your feet, patting them so they’re partly dry and somewhat damp, followed by moisturizing them with a generous helping of mango butter can keep your feet soft and supple for much longer than your average store-bought lotion.
Vegan alternative to Ghee and Traditional Butter- People (largely in India) who are all about natural skincare love using ghee as a moisturizer for their skin as well as a nourishing treatment for their hair, and rightfully so! It has many benefits. However, those who choose to follow a vegan and cruelty-free lifestyle, not only avoid eating dairy but also do not use products that contain dairy for topical treatments, skincare, or any other cosmetics. For these people, using Mango butter as a replacement for ghee is a great way to get many of the same, if not better benefits for their skin while still following their preferred lifestyle without missing out on all the good things nature has to offer. Mango butter is also a great vegan substitute for ghee or normal dairy butter in food applications. If you don’t consume dairy, just switch out the traditional butter or ghee and mango butter in the recipe instead, it works just as well!
** It is important to note that just any random mango butter isn’t edible and should never be consumed as it may not be safe to eat. Be sure to check if the mango butter you are purchasing is food-grade or not. In a lot of cases, mango butter is usually intended for skincare and is not food-grade, thus being dangerous and harmful to ingest.
Milder Alternative to Shaving Cream- If you’re someone who frequently gets razor burns from shaving, or worse, experiences perpetual dryness after this particular method of hair removal, using a product with mango butter or mixing equal parts mango butter and a gentle soap can substitute for the best shaving cream or product while being non-toxic for the skin and still preserving its natural moisture.
Hair Conditioner- Conditioner makes your hair extremely soft, shiny, and bouncy and is undoubtedly a very important part of the haircare routine for most of us. However, most commercial conditioners are heavily laden with chemicals, artificial fragrances, and ingredients that may not be so good for your hair in the longer run. They’re just not a great match for people especially involved in natural hair care. Mango butter is a great way to reap the same benefits for your hair that commercial conditioners offer while keeping it free of any foreign agents and harmful chemicals that may irritate your skin or worsen the health of your hair.
Base for Lipsticks- Because of mango seed butter’s deeply emollient nature and nourishing qualities, it can make for a great base in creamy bullet lipsticks or tinted lip oils. Cosmetics that not only enhance your beauty at the moment but are also good for you with prolonged usage are swiftly gaining momentum in the beauty community, which is why choosing products with mango butter can do better for you than you may think.
Medicinal Massages- When used in a body massage, mango butter has many benefits. It is known to ease fatigue, muscle aches, and pockets of concentrated tension throughout the body. When applied directly to the skin, the emollient nature of mango butter can help promote the regeneration of skin cells in our body, which ultimately leads to maintaining the youthful appearance of our skin. Mango butter can also give a soothing feeling to our skin by helping in reducing the symptoms of multiple skin issues such as eczema (caused due to lack of moisture, which makes skin dry, itchy, and flaky), frostbite (a result of extremely cold temperatures), insect bites (which may also lead to allergic flare-ups), minor wounds and small nicks or cuts, and sometimes even rashes caused due to friction or moisture.
Other Popular Body Butters
While mango butter is gaining popularity and momentum in the beauty community, it owes a lot to its precursors that came and revolutionized the skincare game long before its arrival. Here are some great body butter options loved by us all for decades that you may try if mango butter isn’t the one for you.
Cocoa Butter- Also known as theobroma (not the confectionary giant, so keep that drool in check) oil, cocoa, or cacao butter is an edible (and frankly miraculous) type of fat that is extracted from the cacao bean after a long process of fermenting, drying and further processing them from nibs to liquor and finally to the oily stage. This butter is then used to make all types of chocolates, treats, etc., and even has pharmaceutical applications including its influential presence in the beauty industry. Much like other natural kinds of butter, Cocoa butter is rich in fatty acids and vitamins that improve the appearance of your skin boost collagen production thus benefitting the longevity of your living skin cells.
Avocado Butter- Avocados are loaded with antioxidants, healthy fats, and other essential nutrients. The “oil” or fat from avocado is generally extracted from the fruit and seldom from the pit or the seed. Once the oil is extracted through the expeller pressing method, it is then usually combined with ingredients like soybean fats or beeswax and whipped to a creamy and butter-like consistency. This butter is rich in consistency and has many benefits for one’s skin. It is known to reduce the presence of untimely wrinkles, pesky dark spots, and can improve the appearance of perpetual under-eye bags.
Shea Butter- Also often known as the ‘woman’s gold’, Shea butter is the natural fat that is extracted from the nuts of the shea tree after they are deshelled. Like all other kinds of butter that have been known to be good for our skin, shea butter is also rich in essential vitamins and many healthy fatty acids. Shea butter is somewhat solid even at warmer temperatures and has tones of ivory and off-white-ish hues in its color. It’s rich and creamy in consistency and the product itself is native to the Western part of Africa.
Mango Butter vs. Shea Butter
In the body butter game, shea butter has definitely been the most popular and for the longest. As we’ve progressed in the world of beauty and skincare, mango butter has proven to give stiff competition. Here are a few pointers that may help you decide to choose one over the other.
Appearance and Consistency- Mango butter is naturally white in color and Shea Butter is beige when unprocessed. While the color of the butter you wish to use is rarely a deciding factor in usage and purchase, the consistency of said butter can be a significant contributor to its usability. Mango butter is lighter in consistency while still being rich enough to make the skin supple. Shea butter, on the other hand, is considerably heavier and can be irritating to use for some people, especially those who sweat a lot.
Added Benefits- While both mango butter and shea butter are great moisturizing agents and can treat dry skin with ease, mango butter offers extra protection from UV rays and acts as a sun shield, which is something shea butter lacks.
Shelf Life- Mango butter has a considerably shorter average shelf-life when compared to that of shea butter. Mango butter is good to be used for about 4-6 months while shea butter can remain fresh and safe from going bad for almost double the time. Its shelf life ranges from 11 to 12 months.
Extracted from the Nut or the Fruit/Seed- Shea butter is extracted from the nut of the shea tree and can cause dangerous outcomes for people with nut allergies. On that front, mango butter is generally a lot safer to use. The only people who can’t use mango butter are the ones allergic to a chemical called ‘urushiol’ found in the mango sap.
Different Melting Points- Mango butter’s melting point is just below the temperature of the human body, meaning it melts very easily when rubbed in between the palms and doesn’t need to be warmed even during the winters. That may not be the case for shea butter as it takes a lot longer to melt in hands and tends to coagulate in the colder temperatures, hence needs to be heated up before usage.
Fragrance and Odor- Mango butter has a light and natural fragrance which is generally preferred by most people. Shea butter has a nuttier and smokier odor which can be unpleasant to some. And while shea butter’s smell doesn’t stick around for very long, it can be the cause of headaches for people who don’t enjoy it.
Nutritional Value- The nutrients i.e., the fats or fatty acids and vitamins are largely the same in both mango butter as well as shea butter with the only variations being present in their concentrations and ratios.
Other Products Over Mango Butter
Creams, Moisturizers, and Body Lotions- For people who find body butters to be too rich, using body lotions or moisturizers is a better way to ensure hydration in the skin, at the same time lotions tend to be a lot thinner and don’t offer the same suppleness to the skin. For this purpose, one could choose a lotion that has been infused with mango butter instead so that they get the best of both worlds.
Face and Body Oils- If you’re someone whose skin just does not adjust to body butters as well as you would like it to, choosing an oil instead can be a great way to moisturize your face and keep it hydrated for longer. Also, mango butter or other types of skincare butters may often not seem appropriate for facial usage. In such instances using lighter oils and serums like Kumkumadi Tailam face serum can be the perfect product to achieve glowing skin.
Precautions to Take When Using Mango Butter
While Mango Butter is largely safe to be used topically however one wishes, here are a few precautionary pointers to keep in mind to be safe as you care for your skin:
- Don’t overuse it. Mango butter certainly is non-comedogenic but anything excessive is ultimately bad for your skin. Using it twice a day in appropriate quantities can ensure great moisturizing without any harm.
- Don’t mix it with random ingredients. The formulation of safe and effective skincare products involves delicate chemistry. Read the labels, do your research and only then mix your mango butter with other ingredients to DIY at home.
- Do a small patch test to ascertain if you’re allergic or not. What may work for others may not work for you. Patch-testing products before you use them is extremely important and can save you from a world of trouble.
- Talk to your dermatologist if you have ongoing serious skin conditions that trigger easily.
- Consult your doctor and other healthcare professionals if you're pregnant or breastfeeding.
- Always check if your mango butter is food-grade before using it in edible applications. Food-grade mango butter and skincare mango butter are completely different and the latter cannot be used in the place of the former. Using edible butter on your skin may not be as harmful as accidentally consuming butter that is only intended for skincare.
Mango butter has been making the rounds in the beauty community and by now, you have understood why. It is loved as an ingredient as well as a product by many, and rightfully so. It offers great benefits but at the same time, it is important to evaluate the drawbacks and limitations before you commit to it. Mango butter is a versatile, generally harmless product that has many applications outside of skincare. We’re yet to ascertain if it is just another one of the creative trends that will shine momentarily or if it is a yet-to-bubble holy grail that’s here to stay. Regardless, we’re hopeful this guide has been helpful to you and you’re now set to start your mango butter journey.