By Orven Mallari | Aug. 15, 2020
Mango butter is one of the key ingredients in our lip+cheek sticks, making them oh-so-moisturizing and safe to wear all day. But what exactly is mango butter, and why is it worth looking at? This blog post will have all the info you’d want to know about the beauty industry’s best-kept secret.
What is mango butter?
Mango butter is what we get when the mango seed, which is hidden under the pit, is crushed and emulsified with a neutral oil. The two main types of mango--the reddish-green Indian mango and the yellow-when-ripe Philippine mango--both have the same type of seed, so both are similarly processed through hexane extraction. What comes out is an ivory-colored, semisolid butter that is mild both to the smell and taste. Chemical analysis shows mango butter to be almost identical to cocoa butter in terms of the composition of its fatty acids--this presents many opportunities to use mango butter as a cocoa butter substitute.
Mango Butter vs. Shea Butter
However, mango butter is not as identical in chemical makeup with another popular moisturizing butter--shea butter. While mangoes grow in tropical and subtropical areas, shea trees originate in the drier African savannah. While mango butter can be efficiently cold-pressed from mango seeds, there are only traditional ways of making shea butter so far. These processes require a lot of resources, especially water. Moreover, shea butter has a distinct nutty smell that makes it less versatile than mango butter. Thus, while it is obvious when a product contains shea butter,you might not know that a product has mango butter unless you look at the ingredients list.
Mango Butter Skin Benefits
Like cocoa butter and shea butter, mango butter is extremely healthy for your hair and skin while remaining essentially inert to your body. It is non-comedogenic (meaning it will not clog your pores), but unlike cocoa butter and shea butter mango butter is actually non-greasy! This makes it perfect for those who have concerns of oily skin. Moreover, mango butter works as a practical replacement to paraffin wax. This allows our products to maintain their solid structure while preventing the skin nodules that paraffin wax can inflict on your skin. Thus, mango butter can be added to give any product the ability to safely make skin softer and more supple.
Mango Butter Environmental Benefits
Mango butter is also better for the environment. As a possible substitute for cocoa butter, using mango butter in cosmetics would relieve pressure from the gigantic global demands for cacao derivatives, one of them being cocoa butter. Behind only coffee and sugar, cocoa is the world’s third most important agricultural export commodity. As such, most cacao is now grown in what is known as the “full sun” method, which sacrifices quality for quantity. In West Africa, where 68% of the world’s cacao supply is grown, there have been long standing concerns from the deforestation and animal poaching that resulted from these farming practices. In addition to a growing movement to stop child slavery and trafficking in these cacao farms, the cocoa butter industry has a lot to deal with before it reaches full sustainability. Meanwhile, mangoes are being grown in different parts of the world, and diversifying the resources needed for cosmetics would mean that we rely less on the exploitation of one product.
Asase, Alex & Ofori-Frimpong, Kwasi & Ekpe, Patrick. (2009). Impact of cocoa farming on vegetation in an agricultural landscape in Ghana. African Journal of Ecology. 48. 338 - 346. 10.1111/j.1365-2028.2009.01112.x.
About the Author: Orven Mallari is currently a senior at Yale University. As an Environmental Engineering major, they are passionate about pursuing sustainable solutions to tackle global issues. When not reading up on environmental justice, they spend their time watching Premier League soccer, dreaming about visiting every National Park across the U.S., and cooking pasta.