Natural, Cheap Mango Facemask: Fruitilicious!

Mango Face
Starre with mango on my face (and in yummy chunks in the bowl)!

The big cosmetics companies have been slapping the “AHA” label on skin cleansers, creams and masks for a few years now, but translate that sciencey-sounding name (AHA stands for alpha-hydroxy acids) and you get simple fruit acids, which you can find in high concentrations in the skin and meat of a variety of fruits, and without the preservatives beauty products usually use.

At the recommendation of a natural facialist, I’ve been giving myself my own AHA facials with mangoes, a much-beloved fruit around my house. And I can report much smoother, softer skin after I do my routine (detailed below). Also, you get to eat the mango and it smells delicious on your skin! (Unlike my other fave all-natural beauty routine- my avocado hair mask– but hey, it works great…)

How To Make Your Own AHA Mango Facemask:

1. Start with an organic, fair-trade mango and rinse it well under the tap (you can use a teensy bit of all-natural soap if it’s sticky from other-mango juice).

2. Holding the mango lengthwise, cut the skin (but not deep into the mango) in four or five long cuts, from the top where the mango would have attached to its tree to the bottom.

3. Gently peel the skin away from the mango fruit (kinda like peeling an orange except the skin is thinner so you have to be more gentle).

4. Do what you will with the mango body- I usually just eat the whole thing from off the pit in a frenzy of mango-love but some more civilized people will cut them into chunks to eat in a fruit salad or use them in a smoothie.

5. Turn the skin inside-out so the soft yellow inside of the mango faces out, and rub all over your face (bonus! you can nibble on it as you spread it around; goofy but fun and the very definition of natural luxury- haven’t you always wanted to eat a yummy-smelling facemask?).

6. Let dry for 15 minutes or so, then rinse off using a mild facial cleanser. Moisturize as usual. Make sure to use sunscreen as the natural fruit acids leave your skin more prone to sun damage.

7. Touch super-soft skin and rejoice!

How It Works: AHA’s (fruit acids, found in high levels on the inside of mango skins and other fruits) break down the bonds between dead skin cells, so they get washed away more easily when you rinse the mask off. See Care2 for more info and ideas/recipes.

Starre Vartan is founder and editor-in-chief of Eco-Chick.com and the author of the Eco-Chick Guide to Life. She's also a freelance science and environment writer who has published in National Geographic, CNN, Scientific American, Mental Floss, Pacific Standard, the NRDC, and many more. She lives on an island in Puget Sound with her partner and black cat. She was a geologist in her first career, and still picks up rocks wherever she goes.