What Is Marula Oil?

Marula oil is a naturally occurring oil obtained from the marula tree (Sclerocarya birrea), which grows in sub-Saharan tropical Africa. The oil can be extracted from the tree's nuts, seeds, or berries; the nut can be roasted, the seeds pressed, or the fruit handled to obtain it.

In its purest form, the oil is a bright yellow color with a faint nutty smell.

How Marula Oil Works?

Marula oil has a high concentration of protein and is readily absorbed, making it an excellent skin and hair cream. It seals in moisture and softens the skin, provides antioxidant defense, has anti-inflammatory properties, and some antibacterial properties. Marula oil is used in perfumes, body lotions, and soaps as a base note. It smells fruity and floral, with a warm, nutty undertone.

What Marula Oil Does To The Skin?

Marula oil contains a high concentration of antioxidants, essential fatty acids, and amino acids. It's a common ingredient in skin care products, and it tends to benefit oily, acne-prone, dry, and ageing skin. It also works well to keep hair smooth, supple, and moisturized.

  • Antioxidant Properties: It's high in vitamins C and E, as well as a less familiar antioxidant, the phytochemical epicatechin, which has significant antioxidant effects. Both of those antioxidants are excellent choices for combating free radicals generated by pollution and UV rays that might lead to changes in skin texture and tone.
  • Moisture-sealing Properties: Marula oil is primarily used for moisturization and hydration. It fills in the cracks and gaps in the skin's outermost layer, making it softer and smoother, which is why it is referred to as an efficient emollient. It also has some occlusive properties, forming a thin layer on top of the skin to keep moisture in.
  • Anti-inflammatory Properties: Marula oil is believed to have good wound healing qualities, and can be linked primarily to its anti-inflammatory properties. The same fatty acids that moisturize help to fight inflammation and redness.
  • Anti-aging Properties: According to a 2018 report, the antioxidant ingredients found in marula oil are effective at inhibiting the enzymes that break down both collagen and elastin (the two proteins necessary for healthy skin). It also incorporates amino acids with anti-aging properties, especially L-arginine and glutamic acid. Therefore, marula oil can aid in the prevention of fine lines and wrinkles.
  • Hair nourishing Properties: Marula oil can hydrate hair from root to tip without leaving it greasy. The oil is beneficial for dry, frizzy, or brittle hair because it is hydrating, moisturizing, and prevents water loss
  • Nail-nourishing Properties: Marula oil helps to keep nail beds and cuticles supple. This may aid in the prevention of hangnails and cracked skin around the nails that can be painful.

Reference Sources

  • Mariod; Matthaus, Bertrand; Eichner, K.; et al. (2004). "Fatty acid, tocopherol and sterol composition as well as oxidative stability of three unusual Sudanese oils". Journal of Food Lipids.
  • Botelle, A (2001). A History of Marula Use in North-central Namibia. Windhoek, Namibia: Eudofano Women’s Co-operative Ltd and CRIAA SA-DC.