You may think you’ve heard of all the primary carrier oils; coconut oil, argan oil, jojoba oil – but have you heard of the new kid on the block, marula oil?
Marula oil is a beautiful carrier oil that has been used for hundreds of years by South African people as a skin and hair protectant against the sun, as it’s rich in antioxidants and therefore can help protect the skin from harsh UV rays as well as premature aging.
We’ll talk you through all the main facts about marula oil in this article, including what it’s made from, its popular uses and benefits, what it should look/smell like, and the best ways to store it.
What is marula oil made from?
Let’s go right back to the beginning and discuss what marula oil is made from. Marula oil is made from the kernels of the marula plant, which is native to Africa.
When fruit is picked from the marula plant, the kernels from the fruit are harvested and pressed to extract the golden oil within.
It is then either used raw or filtered in a refinement process which may involve bleaching and deodorizing.
Uses for marula oil
Marula oil has many different uses, primarily in the beauty industry.
It can be used on the skin, as it absorbs quickly and is highly moisturizing. It may also help to soothe irritation and itching that may occur from conditions such as eczema and psoriasis. You may find marula oil listed as an ingredient in facial moisturizers – however, it does have a comedogenic rating of between 3-4 which means it is not suitable for oily skin types as it may clog pores and cause acne.
Marula oil is often found in hair oils and can be used both alone and with other carrier oils to help to nourish the hair. It should prevent water loss in the hair, keep it hydrated, and benefit dry, frizzy, or brittle hair. It’s also used as a key ingredient in other hair products such as shampoos and conditioners.
It is also commonly used in nail treatments as it’s great for keeping nail beds and cuticles well moisturized. It can also help to keep cracked skin around the nails at bay and prevent hangnails.
Benefits of marula oil
There are many benefits to marula oil – we’ve listed some of our favorites below!
- Can protect hair and skin from the sun (note that it should never be used as your primary SPF)
- Rich in antioxidants which help to protect skin and reduce the appearance of fine lines/wrinkles
- Suitable for dry and normal skin
- Long shelf life of 2 years
- Absorbs easily into the skin
- High in amino acids such as L-arginine and glutamic acid which help hydrate the skin
- Rich in fatty acids such as palmitic, stearic, oleic, and myristic acids which are highly moisturizing
- Can be used alone or with other carrier oils/essential oils
Appearance and scent of marula oil
Marula oil is yellow in color when raw, however, it may be sold in clearer varieties if it has been heavily refined.
It has an earthy, nutty scent to it, which some say has fruity undertones. It may smell differently depending on what else it has been mixed with.
Substitutes for marula oil
We’ve included below some similar carrier oils to marula oil if you’re looking for an alternative:
- Argan oil
- Coconut oil
- Rosehip oil
- Carrot seed oil
- Moringa seed oil
- Palm fruit oil
Marula oil can be quite expensive, so another alternative that may be cheaper and offer similar benefits is jojoba oil!
We’ve also put together an in-depth analysis of many different carrier oils – take a look to find some other great substitutes for marula oil.
Shelf life and storage of marula oil
Marula oil has a good shelf life of up to 2 years when it’s stored correctly.
To keep your marula oil lasting longer, keep it stored in a cool, dark area away from natural sunlight.
Take a look at the below frequently asked questions if you’d like to know more information about marula oil:
Marula oil is highly moisturizing and is great for keeping the skin nourished and hydrated. It can also help to soften the skin and smooth out fine lines and wrinkles due to its plumping effects.
It may also help to soothe conditions such as psoriasis and eczema due to its moisturizing benefits.
If you have very sensitive skin, you may experience some adverse effects when using marula oil such as inflammation, redness, and itching.
It’s always worth consulting a dermatologist/physician before using any new oils, particularly if you have highly sensitive skin or allergies.
Argan oil and marula oil are similar but there are some key differences.
Argan oil offers a thinner, more lightweight texture than marula oil, and is generally preferred by those that have oily skin as it’s non-comedogenic and therefore won’t clog pores.
However, as marula oil is much thicker in consistency it’s often preferred by those with dryer skin as it offers better moisturization than argan oil.
Marula oil can be used on your face every day – simply use a few drops to keep your skin supple and moisturized.
We don’t recommend using marula oil on your face if you have oily skin as it has a high comedogenic rating of 3-4 which may lead to blocked pores and even acne in worst cases.
Marula oil may help to reduce the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines as it’s rich in antioxidants and is known for hydrating and smoothing out the skin.