When you think of mangoes, like us, you might imagine a shaken cocktail, a fruit smoothie, or traditional cuisine from Asia—the source of the vitamin-packed sweet treat. We know mango is a mainstay in global cuisine, but the antioxidant-rich fruit has been making its way into our beauty products. You might be wondering why mango butter—formulated from the pit of the brightly hued fruit—has now become a beauty industry superstar. Well, you know we enjoy getting to the bottom of ingredient trends, so we tapped trichologist and founder of Alodia Hair Care Isfahan Chambers-Harris to get the deets on this rising star.
Meet the Expert
Isfahan Chambers-Harris, PhD, is a biomedical scientist, trichologist, and founder of Alodia Hair Care.
Type of ingredient: Hydrator
Main benefits: Strengthens hair follicles, reduces breakage, and soothes the scalp
Who should use it: Most people can use products infused with mango butter. However, when selecting a product, you will want to consider the density of your hair. Mango butter is also an option for those with nut allergies.
How often can you use it: It's safe to use daily.
Works well with: Water-based hydrators
Benefits of Mango Butter for Hair
For starters, mango butter is now a hero ingredient used in many bodycare formulations, and rightfully so. When eaten, one cup of mango contains up to 67% of your daily vitamin C. We have all heard the saying "You are what you eat," and in this case, the anecdote is true. Vitamin C is proven to block free radicals that can age the skin, hair, and scalp. In addition, vitamin C is essential for the body to create collagen to support our skin and hair. With the science-backed facts of what this fleshy fruit can do when eaten, when applied topically, the fruit can be a great benefit to our skin and hair. "Mango butter is excellent because it contains nutrients such as vitamins E and A, which help with moisturization, and it also fortifies the scalp," Chambers-Harris tells Byrdie. She also notes that for those with allergies to nut butter, mango butter is a great alternative.
Emollients like mango butter soften and seal in moisture.
Hair Type Considerations
When adding any ingredient to your hair routine, you'll want to consider a few things: hair density, your unique hair needs, and how often you cleanse. If your hair is thin or gets weighed down easily, adding a mango butter–based deep conditioner will likely fare better than using the butter in a leave-in conditioner or styler. No matter your hair density, if your hair is damaged or chronically dry, mango butter is your haircare best friend because of its ability to seal in moisture. "Mango butter is highly emollient," says Chambers-Harris. "Due to its concentration of monounsaturated and saturated fats (and lower polyunsaturated fats), it can penetrate the hair cuticle to fortify the hair strand, reducing split ends and breakage." Because mango butter doesn't just sit on the hair cuticle, the butter is ideal for all hair types, but if you have low-porosity hair, how you apply mango butter will make a difference. When applying products after cleansing the hair, you'll want to ensure you apply products when the hair is soaking wet for optimal results.
Aside from the ability to penetrate the hair cuticle—which is no easy feat—Chambers-Harris notes that the fruit butter is antifungal. "Mango butter also contains tannins, which gives mango butter its anti-inflammatory, antifungal/antimicrobial properties to soothe the hair and scalp." For those with color-treated hair, due to mango butter's antioxidant-rich makeup, using mango butter could keep hair color from fading and provide heat damage protection—though there isn't much research on this yet.
How to Use Mango Butter for Hair
There are a wealth of ways to integrate mango butter into your haircare routine. However, Chambers-Harris says using it at the start of your wash day routine is an excellent option. "Because of its ability to penetrate the cortex of the hair strand, you can use it as a pre-shampoo treatment," he says. If you're looking for a DIY mango butter pre-poo treatment, leave it to YouTube's Naptural85, aka Whitney White, to give us a simple moisture-rich recipe. If you do decide to use mango butter to pre-poo, you'll want to leave it on the hair for at least 30 minutes or longer (some natural opt to pre-poo overnight) to get all of the benefits.
Pre-pooing before washing the hair can prevent hygral fatigue: the repeated swelling and drying of the hair cuticle.
If you're looking for a conditioner or styler, Chambers-Harris says, "It's also a great ingredient in any water-based moisturizing product." If you're already using the LOC method, you'll like to have water-based products at the core of your routine. The technique is an acronym for liquid/leave-in conditioner, oil, and cream for those new to the LOC method. Some naturals prefer LCO, but no matter how you spin it, if you're planning to use mango butter as a leave-in, applying it before the oil is the best way to ensure your hair soaks up the benefits, because mango butter acts as an emollient like many oils.
As the popularity of mango butter grows, there are even more leave-ins, deep conditioners, and styling products hitting the shelves. Your hair type and concerns will be key to finding the best product for you, but below are a few of our favorites.
Made with mango butter and black seed oil, the dual-use beard and hair shampoo hydrates while rinsing buildup down the drain.
Made with 98% naturally derived ingredients, this silicone-free hair masque seals in moisture and reveals defined, hydrated curls.
Whether you enjoy a wash-and-go or twist out, this nourishing formula will moisturize and define your coils. If you follow founder Whitney White's vlogs, you'll see that she applies her products to soaking wet hair. As an avid user of this cream, I find that I get the best results when I follow her lead.
This paraben-, silicone-, and sulfate-free leave-in conditioner is made for dry, dehydrated hair. The formula helps stop split ends in their tracks, seals in moisture, and protects from sun damage.