A Face Oil Lover on Why Marula Oil Is That Girl
May 20, 2020
She’s tried them all — argan, camellia, squalane, even watermelon seed. So why is she singing the praises of marula oil? Find out.
So, if you’ve been following my skincare journey for the last few years, you’ll know that I am in love with oils. Like the legendary Gloria Gaynor sang, “Once I was afraid, I was petrified,” but now, I’ve realized that oils are a crucial and necessary component of my day and nighttime routine.
I’ve tried a wide range of oils — some were just okay, like argan, which is a bit *too* rich for me, and some blew my mind like squalane and watermelon seed oil. Another oil to add to the “blew my mind” list is *drumrolllllll*
Marula oil. If you haven’t tried this oil, you are missing out on a treat because truly, marula oil is that girl.
What is marula oil?
Let’s back up and talk a little bit about where marula oil comes from. It's harvested from seeds and outer husks of the fruit from the marula tree, which is native to parts of southern Africa. In ancient times, these trees were celebrated and worshipped for their links to marriage and fertility.
Now, you can use this oil on your hair, body, and face. The best thing about marula (to me, that is) is that it’s a “dry” oil, meaning it absorbs into your skin and hair very quickly without leaving a greasy residue. You know, sometimes when you use an oil, like argan, at night, you can wake up with a face-shaped oil spill on your pillow — not so with marula! At night, I like to use a few drops at the last step of my routine to “seal” in all of the hydration and moisture from my previous steps. During the day, I like to mix a few drops into my moisturizer to give my skin a little glowy pick-me-up.
What does it do?
But giving a glow isn’t all that marula oil is good for. It’s chock full of nutrients and antioxidants like vitamin C and E that fight free radicals (you know, those pesky things that cause premature aging and fine lines). It contains amino acids that help hydrate your skin, as well as nourishing fatty acids that act as an emollient so your skin is soft and smooth. Oh, and if you’re side-eyeing me because you have oily, acne-prone skin, you’ll be pleased to know that marula also offers some antibacterial benefits too — so instead of giving you clogged pores, whiteheads, and blackheads, it actually fights against them. Marula oil is truly unique, because even though it has a high oleic acid content (this makes oils feel rich and thick) and low linoleic acid (makes oils thin and easy to absorb), it isn’t heavy at all. So you get the benefits of the rich fatty acids without the heaviness. Iconic!
How should I use it?
I use marula oil almost every day, but where it really shines is after an intense exfoliation session — something like the Drunk Elephant Baby Facial or a mandelic acid chemical peel. It literally makes my skin feel like butter the next day, and best of all, my skin is visibly brighter, firmer, and glowier. We truly love to see it.
Pure marula oil, like offerings from Drunk Elephant (side note, the brand is actually named Drunk Elephant because elephants like to eat fermented marula fruit and get lit) or The Ordinary are perfect for those with sensitive skin, as they literally only contain cold-pressed, 100% marula oil. You can use these oils on your face, add a few drops to your body lotion, or use it to smooth dry hair and flyaways.
Have you used marula oil in your routine? Let me know your thoughts in the comments!
Sheryll Donerson got her start as a beauty writer by writing K-beauty reviews for her blog, The Wanderlust Project. These days, she's lifting heavy weights, eating tacos, drinking (too much) coffee and is 1/4 of the beauty podcast, Beauty Beyond Basics (or Triple Bees for short). You can find her on Instagram and Twitter at @sheryllrenata.