Marula oil is an African-sourced oil with a long history of use as a beauty oil. It’s a lot like Argan oil’s older sibling. They have similar benefits, but enough of their own unique abilities to make them different. From antimicrobial to moisturizing, Marula oil powers healthy skin.
What is Marula Oil?
Marula oil comes from the pressed and refined pips of the Marula tree. Scientifically called the Sclerocarya Birrea tree. Its natural range covers many countries in Africa. For this reason, it's a staple oil in many homes on the continent.
The Marula fruit contains superfood levels of Vitamin C, an edible fruit as well. However, this has led to a misunderstanding that the oil itself is rich in Vitamin C. And the most common form of Vitamin C in fruits is Ascorbic acid. Ascorbic acid can only be dissolved in water. But when processing Marula pips into this rich, luxurious oil, all the Ascorbic acid is lost.
The thing is, Marula oil doesn’t even need Vitamin C to be an amazing oil. Pure Marula oil is incredibly rich in other antioxidants and fatty acids, making it an incredibly nourishing oil for skin.
#1 - Protects Skin from Premature Signs of Aging
Marula oil is absolutely loaded with antioxidants. In fact, the highest levels of antioxidants are found in the kernels, which is what the oil is pressed from. Antioxidants are compounds that work hard to keep skin looking young. They shield skin from pesky free radical damage, which is the type of damage that occurs from too much sun exposure. These skin-protecting compounds are a necessity for every single skincare routine. There isn’t a skin type that can just do without them!
#2 - Moisturizes Dry Skin
Marula oil is a rich and nourishing moisturizer. The oil's essential fatty acid composition is similar enough to our skin's own natural sebum to be called a biomimetic. This means that Marula oil is close enough to our own skin's natural oils that it makes it highly unlikely that our skin will have a bad reaction to it.
Usually, oils fall into just one category, moisturizer or occlusive. Occlusives lock in moisture.The Marula oil acts as both a moisturizer and occlusive. This means that it doesn't just help add moisture to the skin, it helps lock it in, preventing dryness and dehydration.
#3 - Has Antimicrobial Abilities
Marula oil contains a specific type of essential fatty acid. These fatty acids are like the building blocks of oils and have their own beneficial properties for the skin. High-quality Marula oil has up to 80% oleic acid—that's a lot for a plant oil! Oleic acid contributes to many of the amazing qualities of this oil. One of them is the fact that it’s antimicrobial. This means that Marula oil could help skin fight off any annoying acne-causing bacteria for noticeably clearer skin.
#4 - Anti-Inflammatory and Promotes Skin Healing
Anything that heals and soothes skin has to be a winner, right? Marula oil is no exception. Marula oil has the unique ability to calm down an inflammatory response in the skin, thanks to its high Oleic acid levels. Inflammation appears on skin as redness and tenderness—and usually on breakouts.
Calming down this inflammation goes a long way to having glowing, even skin. This means that skin won’t be as reactive and red. Plus breakouts are less likely to leave behind annoying dark spots. Marula oil also promotes faster skin healing, ensuring that any little breakouts heal up lickety-split for healthy skin.
#5 - Absorbs Quickly into the Skin
Ok, this isn't really a benefit on its own, but rather something really cool that Marula oil does. Because it has such a high content of Oleic acid, skin just slurps it up.
Oleic acid is often added to skincare formulas as a 'penetration enhancer’–– it sounds like a dirty joke but it’s real science! Penetration enhancers get their name because they can absorb into the outside layers of the skin faster than other ingredients, allowing for products to sink into the skin better.
Marula oil’s fast-absorbing abilities make it great for both skin and other parts of the body.
Is Marula Oil Comedogenic?
This whole time, if you've been reading this thinking that Marula oil is an amazing oil—you're absolutely right. It is an amazing oil, but there's one really important thing to know about it. The one catch with Marula oil is that it is (mildly) comedogenic.
Marula oil's comedogenic rating is 3, which is the middle of the road. For reference, the highest (and most comedogenic rating) is 5. For most people, a rating of 3 isn't a problem. However, if you are normally acne-prone, it might be an oil that you pass on. After all, there are a lot of other great oils out there that aren't necessarily going to give you extra breakouts!
How to Use It for Hair and Skin
Marula oil is incredibly versatile and can be used by all but acne-prone skin types. You can use it after a moisturizer, or in place of one since it's so intensely moisturizing. It sinks into skin quickly and will make a great addition to any skincare routine. Plus you get the added bonus of it being a great hair care oil as well.
Using it for hair is pretty easy, too. Use a couple more drops than you would for your face, warm it in your palms and run your hands through your hair. Your hair will feel super silky and smooth, pretty much instantly. You may be thinking—aren't I going to go through this really fast if I use it for my hair and skin?
Well, you could always order two bottles—one for each! Here’s to good skin and hair days!