Using marula oil for hair growth has been popular in Africa for centuries. It’s also a popular oil for skin care. And it’s now just catching on in the west…
You’ve tried it all for hair care, hair growth or to stem the tide of hair loss. Sesame oil? Check. Henna hair dye? Yup, that too. Blackstrap molasses? Yes, who would have thought that syrup can help? Avocado oil? Sure, it’s a great hydrating serum. Even babassu oil? You betcha. The Amazonian coconut cousin is great for hair.
But here’s one hair remedy you may not be familiar with. It’s called marula oil. The marula fruit is like a distant cousin of the mango. You probably can’t picture rubbing mango in your hair, can you? But the oil that comes from the kernel of the marula fruit may do wonders for your hair.
Marula oil for hair growth: does it work?
Using marula oil for hair growth isn’t merely an obscure alternative practice. In fact, one of the leading mainstream brands of hair care products, Paul Mitchell, sells a line of products containing marula oil.
The Paul Mitchell website attempts to lure the consumer with the following headline:
“Imagine an oil so hydrating, replenishing and sustainable, it’s been an envied beauty secret in Africa for thousands of years.”
That’s compelling copy, although, how can something be a source of envy if it’s a secret?
This rhetorical advertising conundrum aside, is using marula oil for hair growth really effective?
To be sure, no scientific data exists proving marula for hair growth works.
However, it’s historical use by traditional South Africans and (others in parts of west Africa) should not be discredited.
Furthermore, there are research studies that proves marula oil has great health benefits. And as you’ll see, these benefits carry over to the wellbeing of your hair and scalp.
In addition to being potentially beneficial for hair growth, there’s another advantage of using marula oil products. You’re helping the women in Africa who cultivate marula oil earn a living.
Women’s collectives harvest the marula fruit using sustainable farming practices. They are paid living wages so they can support their families.
But what is it about marula oil that makes it great for hair?
Let’s take a look….
Marula oil hair benefits
Not all oils sink deeply into the scalp. But marula oil sinks deep. Not only does it penetrate and hydrate deep into the roots, it’s also rich in minerals. Some of these minerals, including iron, zinc, magnesium, phosphorus, and copper can help promote healthy hair.
In addition, marula oil is very high in antioxidants. Marula fruit oil, in fact, contains up to 10 times more vitamin C than orange fruit. But what does a high antioxidant profile mean for hair loss? Antioxidants may promote hair growth and prevent hair follicles from getting thinner or dying.
Also, marula oil is high in omega-9 fatty acids. You might be familiar with omega-3s and their health benefits. But did you know that omega-9s are also beneficial for your health?
Marula oil gets digested easily and contains a high amount of the omega-9 fatty acid, oleic acid. Oleic acid can help stimulate hair growth and make hair thicker, longer and stronger.
Oleic acid is a proven hair growth nutrient in some research studies, like this one. Marula oil is also rich in amino acids and vitamin E. These nutrients help to regenerate hair follicle cells.
And according to this study, marula contains many minerals that are beneficial for health. Furthermore, its protein content is one of the highest found in more than 75 edible plants found in sub-Saharan west Africa.
Marula intensive hair treatment
Any intensive hair treatment with marula should be high in oleic acid. Again, oleic acid is super deep penetrating. One example of an intensive hair treatment featuring marula oil is Paul Mitchell’s marula line. They feature so-called Marula Spheres. Unlike other oils, which would simply rinse away, according to the Paul Mitchell website, Marula Spheres, “continue to provide maximum nutrients and hydration for noticeably healthy, shiny hair.”
There are several other brands that offer so-called “marula intensive hair treatments.” They can not only help regrow hair but also help repair follicle damage. In addition, intensive marula oil can also increase shine and luster.
To reiterate, the all-star compound in marula oil is oleic acid. Oleic acid halts hair fall due to poor scalp health and dandruff. And an added bonus of using marula oil for hair growth: it works on any type of hair.
Choose a marula hair treatment that is free of sulfates, parabens and phthalates.
Marula oil vs argan oil
Argan oil, also called Moroccan oil, is widely popular in skin care. However, as the health benefits of marula oil become more common, skin and hair care brands might start replacing argan oil with marula. That’s because marula oil is richer in oleic acid and antioxidants than argan.
It’s subjective as to whether or not marula is more hydrating. So you’ll have to test for yourself whether marula or argan is better for your skin or hair. However, many people these days are reporting that marula oil penetrates the skin more deeply than argan oil. Thus, the hydrating power of marula could have dramatic results for your scalp.
Still, you can use both oils in a hair treatment. In fact, this hair treatment website lists the following recipe:
- Mix 10 tablespoons of marula oil with 5 tablespoons of argan oil
- Pour deep conditioner into a bowl and whip thoroughly
- Heat up the oil mix in the microwave then add to the deep conditioner. Whip some more.
- Apply it to the length of your hair after shampooing and deep condition under a steamer without a cap for 30 – 45 minutes.
- Rinse and style
Are you using marula oil for hair growth? Leave a comment below….