The 10 Best Marula Oils

video play icon

This wiki has been updated 33 times since it was first published in January of 2017. For thousands of years, men and women in Africa have used nutrient-rich marula oil to moisturize and nourish their hair and skin. Filled with fatty acids and antioxidants, this treatment can minimize wrinkles and fine lines and combat frizz when it's humid outside. It also protects against environmental stressors that accelerate signs of aging, and helps to prevent the formation of acne scars. When users buy our independently chosen editorial choices, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.

1. Drunk Elephant Luxury

2. The Ordinary Cold-Pressed

3. InstaNatural Organic

Editor's Notes

December 13, 2020:

In our most recent update, we removed the Cavin Schon Beauty and the Marula Pure Beauty due to availability concerns and replaced them with the Naturium Deep Moisture and the Pure Body Naturals Refined. While we do have some more expensive picks, such as the Drunk Elephant Luxury and MarulaOil Rare Light, we wanted to make sure we still had some budget-friendly options. With the Naturium Deep Moisture and Pure Body Naturals Refined, you get all-natural, 100% marula oil for an affordable price. They would both be good options if you're thinking about trying marula oil for the first time and don't want to break the bank doing so.

September 23, 2019:

If you've never used a facial oil before, it can seem intimidating, especially if you already have oily skin. But quality marula oil is very moisturizing without leaving a greasy residue once it absorbs, and it's also great for taming frizzy hair and treating split ends.

Drunk Elephant Luxury is a high-quality unrefined oil that's cold-pressed to retain nutrients and contains no dyes, fragrances, or artificial ingredients. It's high in antioxidants to protect skin against environmental stressors, along with omegas 6 and 9 to nourish and moisturize. Formulated for fine hair, MarulaOil Light by Paul Mitchell is a non-greasy treatment that adds shine and helps to control frizz on humid days. It can be used before or after shampooing and is also great for skin and nails. Marula Pure Beauty is sustainably harvested by hand and extracted using no added heat or chemicals in order to preserve its nutrients. It provides long-lasting hydration and helps to smooth fine lines, and can be used alone or mixed in with your moisturizer.

We've also included a few budget-friendly options for those who want results without paying for expensive luxury brands. The Ordinary Cold-Pressed is a virgin marula oil that's completely unrefined. It hydrates and helps to bring out the natural glow of healthy skin, and it comes in a dark glass bottle to protect it from exposure to UV rays. InstaNatural Organic can be used as a simple in-shower treatment by mixing it into your shampoo or conditioner, or on dry hair to smooth split ends and flyaways. It also helps skin to absorb other products better and works well under makeup.

4. Newday Essence Pure

5. MarulaOil Rare Light

6. Naturium Deep Moisture

7. Marula Organix

8. Pure Body Naturals Refined

9. Shea Terra Organics Extra Virgin

10. Acure Essentials

The Elixir Of Youth

Furthermore, a tree's byproducts can even serve cosmetic benefits, thanks to the oils found in the nuts and seeds or the fruits it produces.

While you might think the Circle of Life is just a song performed at the beginning of Disney's The Lion King, the phrase is also symbolic of the perceived infinite nature of energy, the idea that when something dies, it gives new life to something else. However, an object doesn't have to perish to give something beneficial back to the living. Various species of trees, for example, bear fruit at different times of the year, depending on their locations around the world. This fruit becomes a form of sustenance to those who depend on it for biological and economic survival. Furthermore, a tree's byproducts can even serve cosmetic benefits, thanks to the oils found in the nuts and seeds or the fruits it produces. Marula oil happens to be one such example.

Derived from the South African Sclerocarya birrea botanical, marula oil is a rare, semi-clear substance with a light yellow color typically extracted from the nuts (or seeds) of the fruit from the marula tree itself. The oil has a very fragrant, floral, nutty aroma, and offers powerful properties, including an abundance of monounsaturated fatty acids and protective antioxidants. Fruit seeds from the marula tree are covered in thick, protective husks. In order to extract the oil from these seeds and husks, the fruit is normally crushed either by hand or through a more efficient cold pressing extraction process. Marula trees must reach an age of seven to 10 years before they are mature enough to bear fruit used for oil extraction. While marula oil can be (and has been) used for cooking purposes and preserving meat, our main focus here is specific to its applications for both superior skin and hair care, hence its nickname as the "elixir of youth" or "miracle oil."

Marula oil serves a large number of benefits to the human body. Any combination of overexposure to harmful ultraviolet rays, air pollution, smoke, or artificial heating will contribute to environmentally-caused skin damage and accelerated aging. These types of irritants are responsible for producing free radicals, leading to a breakdown of collagen and elastin, while also causing skin inflammation at the cellular level (marked by the appearance of age spots and wrinkles among other imperfections). Marula oil is a first line of defense against these aggressors by helping to strengthen the skin's natural protective barrier. Being rich in nutrients and vitamins, and packed with essential fatty acids, the oil also helps to prevent the formation of acne, scars, and stretch marks, while moisturizing and rejuvenating one's complexion. Furthermore, its penetrative properties make it a perfect solution for moisturizing chapped lips during those bitter cold winter months.

From a medicinal standpoint, marula oil works to remove the harmful germs and bacteria that can otherwise infect blocked pores or cause swelling and inflammation on the skin's surface.

Marula oil's high levels of vitamin C and oleic acid essentially coat, moisturize, and protect both individual strands of hair and the scalp from many of the same environmental irritants previously mentioned.

The Skin's The Limit

Whether you're pregnant and trying to avoid the formation of scars or stretch marks, attempting to prevent brittle fingernails, worried about premature aging, or you're just trying to get rid of all that frizz in your hair, a bottle of marula oil will easily become one of your new best friends. One of the beauties of this substance is that its degree of effectiveness isn't restricted to a specific skin or hair type, so the choice of formula really comes down to how you plan to use it for skin, hair, nails or all of the above. Because the oil's consistency is very similar to those natural oils produced by human skin, it provides naturally soothing and fast-absorbing action without clogging pores or leaving any greasy residue behind.

If you're looking for something to help you combat particularly dry hair while conditioning each strand, consider mixing about ten tablespoons of marula, a few tablespoons of Argan oil, and your favorite brand-name hair conditioner. You can whip this combination together and warm it up in the microwave for a homemade moisturizer. Given that marula oil works to seal each strand of hair and protect the cuticle, massaging it slowly into your scalp will leave you with a relatively satiny finish as an end result. The consistency of the oil should also be fairly thin so that it's easy to spread all over your head.

To obtain the purest form of marula oil possible, always look for a brand whose formula has been hand-selected and cold pressed. Finally, the oil should always have a light and rich consistency that quickly penetrates your skin after about 60 seconds of massaging, which will ensure maximum hydration.

A Very Brief History Of Marula Oil

Evidence from the Pomongwe Caves located in Matobo National Park, Zimbabwe suggests that marula oil has been used in Africa for the last 10,000 years. Since that time, the marula tree has been highly-respected and protected by the natives, thanks to the usefulness of its nut kernels, roots, leaves, bark, wood, flowers, and fruits.

Over the centuries, the marula tree became synonymous with the concept of fertility, hence the reason for its use in purifying rituals before marriages were consummated.

Some early African communities used the oil as a means of revitalizing the skin through the use of body lotions and cleansers, while other communities depended on it as a source of sustenance and a means to preserve meats for up to one year.

Over the centuries, the marula tree became synonymous with the concept of fertility, hence the reason for its use in purifying rituals before marriages were consummated. Components of the marula tree have also been used to produce various foods, furniture, and medicines in Africa, making it a particularly valuable commodity throughout the continent as well as in the United States with respect to the cosmetics industry.

Gabrielle Taylor
Last updated by Gabrielle Taylor

Originally from a tiny town in Virginia, Gabrielle moved to Los Angeles for a marketing internship at a well-known Hollywood public relations firm and was shocked to find that she loves the West Coast. She spent two years as a writer and editor for a large DIY/tutorial startup, where she wrote extensively about technology, security, lifestyle, and home improvement. A self-professed skincare nerd, she’s well-versed in numerous ingredients and methods, including both Western and Asian products. She is an avid home cook who has whiled away thousands of hours cooking and obsessively researching all things related to food and food science. Her time in the kitchen has also had the curious side effect of making her an expert at fending off attempted food thievery by her lazy boxer dog.

Thanks for reading the fine print. About the Wiki: We don't accept sponsorships, free goods, samples, promotional products, or other benefits from any of the product brands featured on this page, except in cases where those brands are manufactured by the retailer to which we are linking. For more information on our rankings, please read about us, linked below. The Wiki is a participant in associate programs from Amazon, Walmart, Ebay, Target, and others, and may earn advertising fees when you use our links to these websites. These fees will not increase your purchase price, which will be the same as any direct visitor to the merchant’s website. If you believe that your product should be included in this review, you may contact us, but we cannot guarantee a response, even if you send us flowers.