Watermelons have always been versatile. People with no ingenuity may consider their best case to be as a cooling summer snack. Zoe Kravitz argues they work best as a yonic symbol (Diddy agrees), Animal Crossing players see them as material for furniture, and two bank robbers in Virginia thought the melons would make perfect masks. Last week, in his new music video “Watermelon Sugar,” Harry Styles proved he and the fruit together could make women pregnant through their eyes. Now that it’s officially summer, watermelon is making the transition from cookouts to wherever you keep your skincare products.
Watermelon in skincare is nothing new, especially to K-beauty fanatics. “Now as a dermatologist, after all these years, I finally have answers to a strange facial tradition my mother used to make me do every time we ate watermelon,” explains Tiffany J. Libby, MD, board certified dermatologist and dermatologic surgeon at Brown Physicians. “My mother would cut off the pulp to expose the white rind, and have me rub it all over my face. We would then quarter them off into little squares and place them on our eyes as you would cucumber slices.” Dr. Libby notes that watermelons have been used in Asian cultures for centuries because of the fruit’s anti-inflammatory properties that work to help reduce redness, inflammation, and repair the skin. “Watermelon is rich in skin-loving vitamins A, C, and E, which also give it its antioxidant power to help neutralize free radical damage and reduce stress on skin,” adds Dr. Libby.
Glow Recipe founders Christine Chang and Sarah Lee share Dr. Libby’s melon-flavored nostalgia. “We have so many memories of our grandmother’s rubbing it on our skin to seeing it in all these DIY programs in Korea where people were grinding up the watermelon and misting their face with it,” says Lee. “It’s always been one of those holy-grail ingredients, so we wanted to continue to leverage the benefits.” The leveraging began in earnest in 2017 with their Watermelon Face Mask, which debuted to a 5,000-person waitlist. This month, Glow Recipe launched a new watermelon toner that balances the hydrating power of watermelon with an exfoliating acid. But if grandmas rubbing watermelon on the skin or Harry Styles caressing the superfood can’t convince you to try the wonder ingredient, read on for its benefits, how to add it to your routine, and why it’s important to use this summer now more than ever.
What are the benefits of watermelon?
The entire watermelon has skincare benefits. “The pulp is loaded with water, which is naturally hydrating for dry skin,” explains Dr. Libby. “The rinds are used to help skin irritations and help hydrate and repair skin. The seeds are made of protein and are fortified with fatty acids to help plump and hydrate skin.”
Because the wonder fruit is made up of 90% water, it’s extremely hydrating. “It helps to moisturize, plump the skin, and also soothe the skin,” explains Lee. “It can help with flakiness and dry skin that we experience from time to time and also fine lines and sometimes wrinkles as well.”
What ingredients does watermelon pair best with?
“Ingredients like hyaluronic acid that will help boost hydration as well as gentle exfoliants like lactic acid, which also help hydrate, are great ingredients to pair with watermelon,” explains Dr. Libby. “Boosts of antioxidants like vitamins C and E will also pair well.”
When Chang and Lee first launched their sleeping mask, they chose to include watermelon along with active ingredients like AHA and hyaluronic acid. “The three ingredients blend well to not only hydrate but to also gently exfoliate and also smooth the skin overall,” says Chang.
Chang adds that by buffering such an active ingredient with a soothing ingredient like watermelon, it creates a gentle approach, which is the core of Glow Recipe’s approach.
How long will it take to see results from watermelon?
In short: it’s going to take a second. “You may notice more immediately that your skin may be calmer and less red or irritated,” says Dr. Libby. “But for longer-term effects, as for most skin products, it takes at minimum 30 days before your skin cells turn over and you can start seeing real benefits of using your products.”
Is it suitable for all skin types? What skin is it best for? Acne, dry, sensitive?
Again, because it is 90% water, Dr. Libby says it is safe for all skin types. “It’s for all skin types and that includes acne-prone, break-out prone, and sensitive-skin type because it has such amazing properties within the natural fruit,” adds Lee. “It’s anti-inflammatory, which we all need, especially right now, to diffuse redness or stressed out skin.”
Why should you add watermelon to your routine right now?
To channel your inner Harry Styles video star? Yes, and also to hydrate your stressed-out skin. “As a superfruit, it’s one of the best ingredients you can ask for during this time,” says Chang. The founders have also been getting a lot of questions about what their customers can do right now to combat breakouts and stressed-out skin from quarantine.
“Having watermelon can help soothe skin in addition to the active ingredients in a blend can really help treat acne and breakouts that a lot of people are having right now,” explains Chang. “Overall hydration is the number one thing you can do, and watermelon is perfect for that.”
“I say it’s always a good time to and relatively harmless to add to any skincare routine,” adds Dr. Libby. “Also, the reminder of summer days will be welcome now!”
How should you add watermelon to your routine?
“It’s a great way to wake up your skin,” says Lee. “After cleansing, use the watermelon toner on the skin, day and night. This will help with the penetration of all your products because it’s getting the skin that much cleaner.”
You can also use the Glow Recipe face mask at night before bed to wake up with hydrated, glowing skin. Or use the product as a flash mask in the morning to cleanse the skin and provide a boost of hydration.
Below, shop a few watermelon beauty products to add to your summer routine now.
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