Not only are mangoes delicious to eat raw, straight (and put in smoothies, make into salsas, or cook with fish and seafood), they work wonders for the skin.

Whether you have extras left over from a recipe, or bought a mango that gets a little too ripe before you get a chance to eat it, you can use some of the mango on your face. This might seem crazy, but is a great way to go. They contain extremely high levels of beta carotene, vitamin C and natural fruit acids, which are natural, gentle exfoliators (all the previous ingredients you will also find in expensive face masks). Below, find my favorite ways for using the fruit to get smooth, soft skin.

Mango and Honey Face Mask Recipe

This mask recipe from Niche Topics blends honey and mango together for a mask that will leave your skin feeling hydrated and fresh all day. It's also a chemical-free way to deal with pimples and acne.

Ingredients

  • 4 tablespoons finely chopped mango pulp
  • 1-2 teaspoons honey
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons almond oil

Instructions

  1. Place all ingredients in a bowl; mix well.
  2. Apply on your clean face and neck. Leave the face mask on for 15-20 minutes. Rinse off thoroughly with lukewarm water. Good for all skin types.

Cube mangoes, honey and other spa items on a bamboo mat Using mango for your homemade face masks is like giving yourself a DIY spa day. (Photo: wasanajai/Shutterstock)

Nourishing Mango Mud Mask

From Crunchy Betty, this mask works on any type of skin. The milk and honey helps to moisturize and remove dead skin, so your face should feel nourished and glowing fresh when you remove the mask.

Ingredients

  • 1/4 of a mango, chopped in pieces
  • 1 tablespoons white clay or finely ground oats
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/4 cup milk or heavy cream (add more for consistency)

Instructions

  1. Chop your mango into pieces and toss into your food processor or blender. Whir it up until they’re nice and pasty. Add the milk and honey, and blend more. Then add your clay (which can be easily found at any number of local natural foods stores) or finely ground oats. Blend until smooth.
  2. Apply to a clean face and leave on for 15 minutes. Wash off with a warm washcloth.

How to make your own AHA mango face mask

AHA masks, or alpha-hydroxy acids masks, are common on beauty store shelves. The AHAs break down the bonds between dead skin cells, so they get washed away more easily when you rinse off the mask. Those acids are commonly found in fruits, including mangoes, so it's easy enough to make your own at home. The result is smoother, softer skin. This is my own recipe.

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 mangoes).

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!

Starre Vartan ( @ecochickie ) covers conscious consumption, health and science as she travels the world exploring new cultures and ideas.