For many, biting into a wedge of watermelon is the first taste of summer and all that’s to come—the breezy picnics, BBQs in the backyard, endless beach days. The vine-grown fruit is also rich in phyto-nutrients and antioxidants, making it a go-to beauty and wellness ingredient. “Watermelon is full of revitalizing amino acids and has incredible soothing and calming properties,” points out Christine Chang, co-founder of Glow Recipe, a K-beauty e-tailor. In Asia, Chang says, the fruit is a “heritage ingredient” and frequently used in homespun remedies. “As a kid, I remember my grandmother shaving off the rind and rubbing it on my back or legs or wherever heat rash would form,” she says. “It was this insta-fix for irritation.”
Now Chang and her Glow Recipe partner Sarah Lee are leveraging the restorative properties of the fruit—which the duo says has been underutilized in mainstream beauty products—with their new Watermelon Glow Sleeping Mask, a bouncy gel mask that seals in hydration, tempers inflammation and gently exfoliates overnight. The creation, which features tiny chunks of the rind, has been such a hit that it’s sold out three times since its release last month, with a 1,000-person wait-list each time. (Good news: it’s back in stock—grab it fast).
“It’s definitely having a moment,” says Chang of the watermelon obsession that’s spilling over into other beauty products as well.
Consider Saturday Skin’s cooling bio-cellulose sheet mask, Grown Alchemist’s botanical lip balm or French dermatologist Jean-Louis Sebagh’s anti-pollution cream, all infused with the healing fruit. Even the deep green rind and pastel flesh of the fruit is being channeled into a new crop of directional makeup, from Marc Jacob’s sheer green nail polish to Bite Beauty’s tropical punch Lip Pencil.
Still, the purest way to get your fill? Split open an orb and grab a spoon. “Watermelon is very hydrating—it’s over 90 percent water,” says Marissa Lippert, a New York City nutritionist and founder of Nourish Kitchen + Table and Nourish Baby.
“It’s low in calories, rich in lycopene, a disease-fighting antioxidant, and also helps decrease bloating as a mild, detoxifying diuretic, which is ideal as we head into beach season.” She’s particularly fond of the seeds, which can be soaked and sprouted and have become a buzzy health ingredient lately. “They’re high in fiber, folate, magnesium, vitamin B, and protein,” explains Lippert who likes tossing them with fresh watermelon cubes and feta for the perfect summertime salad (see below for her recipe).
If you can’t hit up the farmer’s market, there are small-batch delivery options at the ready: Organic meal service Sakara Life recently added to its menu Watermelon Jerky—flavorful strips made from the “meat” of the namesake fruit. And Daily Harvest (the frozen food startup that counts Gwyneth Paltrow as an investor) has a Watermelon + Cucumber Smoothie that’s rounded out with seabuckthorn and chia for the ultimate holistic refreshment. Even better, this watermelon provision is available all year so you can enjoy a sip of summer—anytime.
Watermelon Salad with Summer Herbs, Feta & Cured-Moroccan Olives
- 8 cups watermelon, diced in 1” squares or roughly cut pieces
- 1 cup Bulgarian or French feta cheese, crumbled
- 1/4 cup cured-Moroccan olives, pitted and finely chopped
- 1 ½ cups fresh mint leaves, torn
- 1 ½ cups fresh summer basil, chiffonade
- 1 tablespoon sprouted watermelon seeds
- 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
- 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
In a large bowl, lightly toss watermelon, feta, olives and fresh herbs. Whisk together vinegar, lime juice, olive oil and salt and pepper. Lightly drizzle over top. Garnish with more herbs, a bit of feta and watermelon seeds.
Glow Recipe photography by Rebecca Dale
Kari Molvar is a beauty writer and backstage reporter who has covered everything from high-performance skincare to hands-on makeup applications. She started her career in beauty as a senior editor at Allure and has since written for Vogue, T: The New York Times Style Magazine, Harper’s Bazaar, Town & Country and the Wall Street Journal among other print and digital publications. She lives in Connecticut with her husband and two (DIY-obsessed) young daughters. Follow her @Kari_Molvar