Watermelon is a trending — not just in summer cocktails and salads, but also in skin care. What many argue started with one product, Glow Recipe’s Watermelon Sleeping Mask, the buzz around this ingredient continues to grow. When the K-beauty brand first launched the mask back in 2017, the pretty pink gel sold out within hours and racked up a waiting list of over 20,000 people. It received such rave reviews that the brand has since launched a daily moisturizer, and we’ve seen a crop of similar products pop up at beauty supply stores.
So, what’s with all the hype? The juicy fruit is bursting with skin-nourishing ingredients, making it ideal for those with dry, aging, or reddened skin. “Watermelon extract has antioxidant properties that make it great for protecting skin from sun damage, but one its biggest benefits is its ability to hydrate instantly, as well as over time,” says Rebecca Kazin, MD, FAAD, a cosmetic dermatologist and associate director at W Chevy Chase. That’s because the flesh of watermelon is made up of over 90 percent water and is packed with essential vitamins and amino acids.
One worth noting: citrulline. “Citrulline is an amino acid that is critical to the functioning of fillagrin, which plays an important role in supporting and maintaining the skin’s own natural moisturizing factor,” says Dr. Kazin. The application of watermelon extract has been shown to increase citrulline content in the skin, she explains, boosting instant and lasting hydration. It’s also rich in lycopene, an anti-inflammatory agent that protects against environmental damage, excess pigmentation, and blemishes.
To reap the benefits, you can apply slices of chilled watermelon directly to skin, as skin care savvy Koreans have long done. Or, if you would prefer to save the fruit for snacking, let these carefully-crafted creams and serums do all the work. Below, our favorite watermelon-infused products that quench, plump, brighten, and soothe skin.
The second slice from by Glow Recipe, this oil-free gel-emulsion contains watermelon extract, hyaluronic acid, and glycerin for lasting hydration and bounce back. Also sweet: It cools on contact with skin, making it especially appealing for summer.
Dr. Kazin is a fan of this toner, which is formulated with watermelon, lentil, apple, and janai rubens extracts to soften and smooth. “Rather than being an astringent toner, this product provides a great boost of hydration to the skin prior to applying advanced treatment products, sunscreen or nighttime moisturizer,” she says.
This solid serum stick (pretty cool, right?) glides over skin while delivering watermelon extract, plus protecting antioxidants and plumping peptides, for a glow on the go. However, we recommend storing it in the fridge for a wonderfully-soothing effect come summer.