Great hair care remedies come from all over the world. Most recently, Morocco introduced us to the wonders of argan oil, and people are hooked. With nutrients and antioxidants that nourish hair and skin – argan oil is here to stay.
But now, there’s a new player in the hair care game, and it comes from south of the equator. Marula trees grow from the western edge of Africa in Namibia all the way to Madagascar – on the east coast of Africa. And the oil from the marula tree, or Sclerocarya birrea, has provided health and beauty benefits to the the people of southern Africa since ancient times.
This honey-colored oil is cold-pressed from the kernel of the fruit that grows on marula trees. Marula oil has a sweet, nutty smell, and it’s jam-packed with nutrients and antioxidants. All those nutrients and antioxidants help nourish the hair, keeping it protected from long, hot days in sub-Saharan Africa.
But hair can use that kind of nourishment and protection anywhere – even on short, cold days in Minneapolis. And almost any type of hair can benefit from this oil too. It’s rich enough to nurture damaged strands, but it’s also lightweight and fast-absorbing – so it won’t weigh hair down or leave a greasy residue. So whether you have thick, coarse hair, or fine, thin hair – you can add marula oil to your hair care routine.
Hydrates Thirsty Strands
Harsh weather, time in the sun, heat styling, hair coloring, a genetic predisposition to curly hair – all of this can lead to a head of hair that’s parched. And when there’s not enough moisture in your locks, your hair can end up looking dull and lifeless. A lack of moisture also leads to brittleness and an increased risk of hair breakage. No thanks!
If you’re looking to add life and hydration to your hair, marula oil might help do the trick. Marula oil is loaded with fatty acids that work to moisturize the hair. These fatty acids form a protective coating around the hair shaft, sealing in moisture.1
Oleic acid is one of the most plentiful fatty acids in marula oil. This omega-9 fatty acid has powerful penetrative abilities. This penetration may help restore moisture deep into the hair strand. Oleic acid also has “occlusive” properties, which may seal moisture into the hair cuticle and help prevent water loss.2
So, if your hair feels like you’ve been spending time in the Sahara, try some marula oil to bring back a little balminess.
Dry hair and frizz go hand-in-hand. When your hair is dry, the outermost layer of your hair shaft lifts to let in moisture from the air. And, like a sponge – all that dry hair will soak up any moisture it finds.3 This swells hair strands, and results in a tangle of frizz and flyaways.
The key to preventing frizz? Plenty of healthy hydration. And since marula oil is rich in all those fatty acids – it will go a long way in keeping hair moisturized, shiny, and sleek.
Protects Hair From Environmental Stress
Your hair is confronted by the elements every day. And some of these elements are more damaging than others. UV rays, air pollution, pesticides, and alcohol all play big roles in the production of free radicals. Free radicals are molecules with unpaired electrons. They scavenge the body, looking for electrons to pair with. This causes a condition called “oxidative stress.” And oxidative stress contributes to visible signs of hair aging. Aging hair may be thinner and more brittle, and hair loss may occur.4
The good news is that antioxidants will do a lot to slow this aging process down. And the better news is that marula oil is chock full of antioxidants – like vitamins C and E.5,6 Both of these vitamins work to neutralize and combat the effects of damaging free radicals.
Deep-Conditioning With Marula Oil
Want to give tired tresses a well-deserved, at-home spa treatment?
- Combine 10 tablespoons of marula oil with 5 tablespoons of argan oil in a bowl. Mix well. Heat in the microwave until the mixture is lukewarm.
- Add some of your favorite conditioner to the bowl, and whip together with the oils.
- After shampooing, massage the mixture into your hair strands, paying special attention to the ends of your hair. Cover your hair with a shower cap, and let the mixture absorb for 45 minutes to one hour.
- Rinse with lukewarm water.
You can store the leftover mixture in a jar, and use it as needed to give your hair a boost of moisture and protection.
Bonus: What’s Good For the Hair Is Good For The Skin
Okay, that’s not always true. But in the case of marula oil, it is! The benefits of marula oil aren’t just limited to your hair. The oil is also incredibly kind to skin by helping to protect against free radicals that can lead to the visible signs of aging.7
From Southern Africa To Your Cosmetics Shelf
Beauty knows no geographic bounds. So, if you’re ready to take your haircare routine south of the equator – try this ancient oil. Your shiny, healthy locks will be thanking you in no time.
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