I started seriously thinking about hair and skin care when I was a pre-teen. I had an older sister that recently exchanged her kinky awkward braids for chemically straightened hair, complete with hairspray'd bangs that even the strongest winter winds couldn't move. Her stubbly legs became hairless and I began to envy the early '90s beauty she was becoming. The result of this admiration? I shaved my entire body using Dial soap on dry skin — including my arms and eyebrows. Obviously, 10-year-old me thought everyone would be impressed when I sauntered out of the bathroom with my new hairless body. My father peered inquisitively at my arms and face. "You're going to look like a gorilla when your hair comes back," he stated and went back to peeling a mango. My mother, with a much gentler approach, sat me down and told me when I started to get boobs, I could shave.
Those never came, so I was on my own when I entered high school. Even reading all the beauty advice in magazines, I still had trouble shaving well into my twenties. I had the removing hair part down, for sure, but it was the after-care that was just all types of wrong. Plagued with razor burn and ingrown hairs on my bikini line, I went about 5 years without ever wearing a swimsuit. Eventually, I figured out a way to combat ingrown hairs with tea tree oil and began making expensive waxing appointments — begrudgingly.
Then, I purchased a cheap shaving cream from Trader Joe's one day, and discovered at-home hair removal could be for me. Unfortunately, getting to that specific grocery store is just as annoying as making an expensive wax appointment. The good news is that the main ingredient which made my shaving experience less volatile was easily obtained: Mango butter.
Mango butter is non-greasy and easily absorbed into the skin, it's also a natural inflammatory and anti-oxidant. The butter is easily obtained by de-shelling the fruit kernels of the mango tree. It's because of its unique texture and wound healing abilities that makes mango butter an ideal for a close shave.
Packed with vitamin A, vitamin C, and vitamin E, mango butter contains stearic acid, a powerful antiseptic that attaches to dirt and oil, making it easy to remove free radicals when applied directly on the surface of your skin. Basically, mango butter won't clog your pores, which means this shouldn't only be your new shaving bestie — it's an amazing skin care product all-around! Bonus: Mango butter has a shelf life of up to 24 months if stored properly.
When I'm not eating my mango, I'm using the butter for the recipes below.
Treat Insect Bites
Since mango butter is a natural antiseptic and anti-inflammatory, it provides amazing relief to those painful and unsightly mosquito bites. The anti-inflammatory elements will bring down the swelling and the antiseptic elements will further clean your wound, which will help protect you from infection. Even though mango butter contains vitamin E, I like to add a few extra drops into my butter to diminish scarring left by those rude mosquitoes.
Mango butter is incredibly soothing on sunburns. It has natural healing properties and fatty acids that can improve the elasticity of your skin and prevent wrinkles. Plus, mango butter is a natural moisturizer, providing relief from itchy skin and peeling from sunburns. Applying this tropical stuff directly onto your skin can also help prevent sunburns, since it also protects skin from weather and UV radiation.
Recently, I raved about a slammin' hair butter that quickly turns my dull, unwashed hair to a beautiful, moisturized afro. Since shea butter is often too heavy for fine or straight hair, try replacing it with mango butter. It will be less greasy feeling, but you'll still get the awesome hair benefits. Add 1/3 cup of coconut oil to 1/2 cup of mango butter and apply onto either damp or dry hair. If you're nervous that your dry hair will become super oily, then cut the portions a bit and use the left-over product as a body butter. This hair butter is also the biz for a natural styling agent when you want to keep your up-do in place without synthetic build-up.
Be sure to purchase unrefined or cold-pressed mango butter for the purest form. Pretty savvy with a knife and a hammer? Make your own mango butter at home to ensure you get all the super yummy nutrients your skin craves.