The 411 on a Superstar Natural Hair Ingredient: Marula Oil

June 11, 2021

Marula oil a superstar ingredient for black women with type 2A to 4C hair.

It's almost impossible to talk about curly hair without talking about oiling. Why? Oiling improves blood circulation to the scalp and stimulates the hair follicles, which increases hair growth.

What's more, when you oil your hair regularly, you lubricate hair shafts to prevent hair breakage. This process also reduces the harmful swelling and drying of hair called hygral fatigue. #nothankyou

Now that the foundation has been laid (or is it lain?  🤔), let’s talk about an oil that you need to have your arsenal - marula oil. 

What is Marula Oil?

A relative newcomer to the commercial black hair care and beauty oil space (although it’s been a staple in Africa since forever), marula oil already has some pretty impressive nicknames, like the "elixir of youth" and "liquid gold." 

This particular liquid gold flows in the marula trees in Southern Africa. To botanists, it's Sclerocarya birrea, but for us in natural hair circles, we call it marula tree, simple! This oil has a light yellow shade, and it comes from both the kernels and the nut's outer husk, and has a light, floral and somewhat nutty scent.

Though its fame is just catching on globally (and we’re still trying to make it famous in the natural community), the parts of Southern Africa that extract this oil know it as an age-old natural remedy for a wide range of health conditions. Besides the oil, they use other parts of the marula tree in folk medicine and cooking. 

Okay, so why the sudden attention? 

Marula oil has gained a ton of popularity thanks to its light texture, rich moisture content, and non-comedogenic properties (it doesn’t clog pores). It prevents water loss and helps nourish your strands. It's fast-absorbing and rich in fatty acids that offer intense benefits for hair and skin.

The Big, Beautiful Benefits of Marula Oil

Whether your hair is low, normal or high porosity, marula oil is a deeply penetrating oil that’s packed with Omega-9, vitamin C and phytosterols, even more than argan oil (which we also love). It contains: 

  • Antioxidants: including phenolic compounds and vitamins C and E to fight free radicals and treat skin damage caused by pollution and UV rays.
  • Amino acids: L-arginine and glutamic acid with hydrating and anti-aging properties.
  • Fatty acids: including palmitic, oleic, stearic, and myristic acids, known for their softening and moisturizing benefits on the hair and skin.

Bottom line: if you need an oil that nourishes, moisturizes and restores the health of dry, damaged or brittle hair, marula oil is the move. Plus, it smoothes the cuticle to enhance shine

Marula Oil and Hair Health

A balanced diet is a foundation for healthy hair. I think most of us know that. Yes, we’re about to give “the speech”. Drink plenty of water and indulge in a hefty serving of fruits and vegetables. Add a little physical activity to your daily routine as well. Marula oil is, of course, the cherry on top. There are several benefits of adding this natural oil to your hair care regimen.  

Let’s look at a few of them.

First, this oil:

Ensures Scalp Health - Since marula oil is lightweight, your hair shafts and scalp absorb it fast. On top of that, the antimicrobial properties of the oil heal scalp issues such as inflammation, itchy scalp, and dandruff. Further, it's pH balanced and non-comedogenic, which means it won't clog your hair follicles or leave a greasy residue on your scalp.

Fights Frizz - Our hair loses moisture every second because of its curved shafts. But, marula oil is a highly stable oil; it won't go rancid on your hair. Therefore, it stays longer, reduces fizz, and turns your hair into bouncing, fluffy, well-defined curls. 

Nutritious for Hair - Marula oil is rich in antioxidants such as tocotrienols that encourage better hair health. Hence, they reduce inflammatory damage to hair follicles and scalp. Its fatty acids, such as oleic acid, boost hair growth, prevent dryness, and strengthen cellular membranes. 

Lastly, marula oil has:

Anti-aging Properties: This wondrous oil, with its high levels of fatty acids, combats environmental and chemical damage to your hair. Consequently, it'll restore hair elasticity, and reduce breakage and split ends.


How Do You Use Marula Oil?

Marula oil is a sealant - it locks moisture in your hair. Combine a few drops of this oil with your leave-in conditioner. You can also lightly spritz your hair with water, scoop a generous amount of Marula & Cupuacu Intensive Moisturizer, and apply it to your hair. 

FYI, if you need a little crash course in the benefits of cupuaçu butter, our founder actually penned an article on that. 

Remember, massaging your scalp with marula oil at night twice or thrice a week enhances scalp health and stimulates hair growth.  

Before you use marula oil, here are:

So, Which is Better for Natural Black Hair - Argan Oil or Marula Oil?

You might be wondering if marula oil is better than argan oil or the other way round. Consequently, let us extend the discussion with a comparative analysis of the widely loved and popular argan oil.

Well, for starters, marula and argan are both natural oils. Both work in pure form or as ingredients in more complex beauty product formulations.

Further, the two oils are non-comedogenic and rich in fatty acids and antioxidants, making them attractive ingredients in hair care and skin care products. So which one should you choose?

It depends on your skin and hair type. The main difference between argan and marula oils is their component oils. Lighter oils are better for oilier skin types, whereas heavier oils are more suited to drier skin types. 

Argan oil is rich in vitamin A and regulates sebum production, so it's ideal for oily skin and straight or thin hair. On the other hand, marula oil is rich in vitamin C and treats dry skin, so it's better for dry, parched skin and frizzy, curly, or thick hair. 


The Big Wrap-Up

When looking for hair oil, check the ingredients to know if they suit your hair type. You're to stay away from anything that dries your scalp, irritates it, or leaves a greasy residue.

That's why you should consider marula oil benefits for hair as it's light, non-greasy texture, and fast-absorbing. It soothes your scalp, moisturizes, and softens your hair. 

It also has antidiabetic, anti-inflammatory, analgesic, antiparasitic, anti-microbial, and antihypertensive properties. Imagine getting all of those benefits from Marula & Cupuacu Intensive Moisturizer. As the marula oil in it does its magic, you also enjoy the hydration power of cupuacu butter.

 Marual and Cupuacu Herbal Silk Moisturizer - Best Hydrator Natural Black Hair



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