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Marula Oil: The Secret to Healthy Skin and Hair?

July 30, 2020

Marula Oil: The Secret to Healthy Skin and Hair?

Looking to achieve a glowy, healthy complexion? While serums and moisturizers can do wonders for the skin, there might be one product you’re missing out on—facial oil.

These days, it seems like skincare companies are popping up with facial oils left and right. From coconut and jojoba oil to grapeseed and rosehip seed oil, there’s no shortage of oils out there to choose from. So how do you know which one is right for you?

When it comes to facial oil, it’s important to do a little research. Oils differ in the benefits they can provide the skin, so it’s wise to choose one that best suits your specific skin type and your skincare goals.

If you’re on the hunt for a universal oil that suits most skin types, look no further than marula oil. This multi-tasker can be used to nourish both your skin and hair, and offers a variety of incredible benefits. While it’s become increasingly popular in the U.S., marula oil has been one of Africa’s best-kept secrets for centuries.

Keep reading to learn all about marula oil’s standout attributes and how to incorporate it into your routine:

What is Marula Oil?

Marula fruit trees (Sclerocarya birrea) are native to parts of southern Africa. In ancient times, they were considered sacred, as the tree was linked to happy marriage and fertility. Additionally, parts of the marula tree are often used as ingredients in traditional medicine and food in Africa.

The marula fruit is made up of a hard, brown nut with white kernels at the core. Marula oil is extracted from these kernels, and is sometimes obtained from the outer husk of the nut. The oil is a light yellow color in its purest state.

This unique oil is easily absorbed and rich in protein, making it a popular treatment for the skin and hair. It has a floral, fruity scent with a nutty undertone, so it’s also often used in perfumes, soaps, and lotions.

Marula Oil Benefits

Marula oil is an emollient, which is a moisturizing treatment that soothes and hydrates the skin. This oil is very lightweight, yet packs a punch of hydration—which is why it’s found in many skincare products today.

Some superstar components of marula oil include:

  • Fatty acids: Oleic, stearic, palmitic, and myristic acids deeply moisturize and soothe dry skin and hair
  • Amino acids: Glutamic acid and L-arginine offer anti-aging benefits
  • Antioxidants: Vitamins E and C and phenolic compounds repair skin damage caused by pollution and the sun’s harsh rays

Marula Oil for Face

On the face, marula oil can be used on its own or alongside other ingredients. In fact, marula oil commonly appears in the ingredient lists of serums, moisturizers, eye creams, and cleansers on the market today.

If you do plan on using the oil by itself, be sure to look for pure or virgin marula oil to ensure you soak up all of its skin-loving properties. According to dermatologists, marula oil can be applied daily and is suitable for both day and nighttime use.

Marula Oil Skin Benefits 

Like many facial oils, marula oil is known for its hydrating properties—but that’s just the start of the many benefits it offers.

  • Non-comedogenic: While some oils tend to clog pores (such as coconut oil), this isn’t a concern with marula oil. If you have sensitive or congested skin, marula oil may be a better option over other oils.
  • Protects skin: Marula oil is rich in antioxidants, which work to fight the free radicals and sun damage we are exposed to each day. This can help to prevent changes in skin texture and dark spots.
  • Fights signs of aging: We all know that elastin and collagen are essential for maintaining a healthy, youthful glow. The antioxidants in marula oil have been proven to inhibit the enzymes that break down these proteins and provide anti-aging properties that result in less wrinkles and fine lines.
  • Locks in moisture: Marula oil leaves a light layer that sits on top of the skin to seal in moisture, while its fatty acids work to nourish and soften the skin. When applied as the last step of your skincare routine, marula oil will lock in all of the benefits of the products you previously applied.
  • Anti-inflammatory: If you’re someone who struggles with redness and irritation, marula oil may be a great choice due to its anti-inflammatory properties. 
  • Acne soothing: Because of its lightweight texture, marula oil is a fantastic choice for those with oily or acne-prone skin. It also has antimicrobial properties, which can combat the bacteria that commonly leads to whiteheads, blackheads, and pimples.

Marula Oil for Hair

In addition to keeping your skin nourished, marula oil can also do wonders for the hair. It can be applied from root to tip and is beneficial for many different hair types—from fine and flat to thick and frizzy.

While applying oil to your hair might seem counterintuitive, marula oil’s lightweight texture will absorb in no time, leaving your hair silky and shiny. Applying a few drops can reverse damage, eliminate frizz, and prevent split ends. It can also be used as a scalp treatment to balance natural oils, protect against free radicals, and reduce dandruff.

Whether you choose to use it as a 15-minute scalp treatment, apply it on wet hair before blow drying, or add a few drops to styled hair for a boost of shine, you can’t go wrong with marula oil. Many hair products contain this ingredient, so you can incorporate it into every step of your routine.

How to Use Marula Oil

There are many different ways to use marula oil, whether it be for your skin or hair. Here are a few ideas:

For Skin:

  • Mix a drop or two of pure marula oil with your cleanser to add a boost of moisture (the oil can also help to break down makeup)
  • Add a few drops to your favorite face or body moisturizer 
  • Mix a few drops with your primer to create a dewy, hydrated base for makeup
  • Pat the oil into your skin as the last step in your skincare routine to lock in moisture

For Hair:

  • Apply the oil to your scalp as a pre-shampoo treatment
  • Use a shampoo that contains marula oil or add a few drops to your shampoo (the same can be done with conditioner)
  • Apply the oil from root to tip and leave it on overnight as a deep conditioning mask
  • Apply the oil to the ends of your hair before or after styling to prevent frizz

As a bonus, marula oil can also be used as a cuticle treatment to soften nail beds!

Tips for Choosing a Marula Oil

As with any skin or haircare product, it’s important to do your research and choose wisely. The process can involve some trial and error, but the more investigating you do upfront, the better.

When purchasing a marula oil, consider the following:

  • Quality: Always look for pure, cold-pressed marula oil.
  • Simple ingredients: The more simple the ingredient list, the better. If the product you’re looking at has other ingredients, make sure they are good quality and are free of harmful chemicals or fragrance.
  • Reputable brand: Does the brand have good reviews? Do they use questionable ingredients or are their products unreasonably priced? These are all important questions to ask. 
  • Do a patch test: If you’re unsure about how your skin will react to marula oil, apply a few drops to the inside of your wrist. If you don’t experience a reaction within 24 hours, you are most likely good to go!

As you can see, marula oil is taking the beauty world by storm—and for a good reason! The next time you’re on the hunt for a moisturizing oil, consider adding marula oil to your product lineup.