Marula Oil for Hair and Skin: Discover the New/Old South African Tonic

marula oil for hair

If you’re looking for the ultimate hair nourisher, you may want to look at Marula oil for hair and skin care.

Wild-harvested in Africa for centuries, Marula is a rare, natural oil with powerful properties to benefit the hair and skin. Like argan oil, Marula oil is packed with protective antioxidants, however, Marula oil contains 50 percent more antioxidants than the now-famous Moroccan argan oil. It’s a very stable oil that is also incredibly high in oleic acid, a mono-unsaturated fatty acid that makes up 70-78 percent of its composition.

Extracted from the nuts of the Marula tree, this lightweight, cold-pressed oil has long been used for different purposes – in cosmetics, for cooking, as a meat preservative and to treat leather. Marula oil has long been an important part of diets in Mozambique, South Africa, Namibia and Zimbabwe. The Tsonga people have used the oil in place of water to clean themselves, as a massage oil for babies, and as a body lotion. It has been a part of numerous beauty rituals for centuries, used to protect the hair and skin from the harsh, dry weather conditions of Southern Africa.

marula oil

Photo by Leandro Neumann Ciuffo

Today, the Western world is just discovering the many benefits of Marula oil, particularly in the realms of health and beauty. Marula oil’s high concentration of oleic acids and other natural antioxidants helps moisturize, hydrate, and repair your hair and skin on the deepest levels. Sold as a pure 100 percent oil product, Marula oil has a fragrant aroma, floral and nutty, and is very pale yellow in color.

Anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory, Marula oil is a multipurpose tonic that claims to reverse photodamage, boost cellular activity, help build collagen, protect against environmental toxins, and repair the skin and hair. While expensive – Paul Mitchell’s Marula Oil Rare Oil Treatment sells for $39.99 for a 1.7-ounce bottle on Amazon – you only need two to three drops on your skin and hair to feel and see a difference.

If you have naturally oily skin or fine hair that tends to be limp, you might be shying away from trying the new beauty oils – but Marula oil might change your mind. It leaves your hair soft and shiny, and reduces frizz without weighing down your strands. On your face, Marula oil is nourishing but never greasy. It’s ideal for sensitive skin, dehydrated skin, stretch marks, scar tissue, and sun damaged skin.

How do you use Marula oil?

For the hair: Add two to three drops of the oil between your palms. Rub your hands together to warm it up and then apply the oil throughout the hair, focusing on the ends. Adjust the amount of oil used, depending on the thickness and length of your hair.

For the face: Add two to three drops into your palms, rub them together, and then pat your hands lightly on your face – don’t rub the oil in. Some people like to combine a few drops of facial oil with their moisturizer and apply them together. Don’t forget your neck and cleavage.

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Hair oil image via Shutterstock