Marula Oil is a beauty staple, trusted by South African, Mozambique and Madagascar natives as a moisturizer, cleanser and baby oil. But now we’re seeing marula move it’s way westward, emerging in lines of luxury organic and natural skincare products. Could marula be the new coconut oil? We asked the experts of natural skincare line African Botanics for a marula 101 lesson to educate ourselves on where the oil comes from, how it’s sourced, why we should be using it, and even how it helps the economy in the regions where the Marula grows.
But first, some background on botany – the oil is sourced from fruit seed kernels of the bio dynamic and drought-resistant Marula trees indigenous to South Africa. Sometimes called the Elephant Tree, the Marula is an African botanical treasure steeped in culture, romance and legend. It grows only in sub-equatorial Africa and can be found nowhere else, making the oil a rare commodity. Women in the local villages hand harvest the seeds every year between January and March.
The nut from the fruit has a thick wall, making it extremely tough to crack. To extract the kernals inside, women place the nut on a stone slab and hit it with another hard stone. It’s a laborious task that requires a lot of skill.
So with all of this work, why is it good for us? Marula Oil contains a high concentration of Antioxidants, Vitamins E + C, Omegas 6 & 9, essential amino acids and natural anti-inflammatory agents for luminous skin. It’s also lightweight, fast absorbing and non-comedogenic ( it won’t clog pores). Just 1-2 drops is enough to provide protection from free radicals, UV damage, environment (pollution, exposure) and fatigue during the day. When used at night, the antioxidants and omegas are at their most active in regenerating and repairing the skin while you sleep.
One of our favorite purveyors of Marula Oil, African Botanics, proudly source their oil directly from the Fair Trade Marula projects, nourishing not only our skin but also the communities that produce it. African Botanics maintains a direct relationship with local South African communities that harvest the marula plant, supporting the women in the village collectives and the local economy.
Directions: AM / PM warm 2 – 3 pumps of oil in the palms of your hands, gently press onto clean, slightly damp face, neck and decollete. Massage upward and outwards for a few minutes to boost circulation. Alternatively, use as a serum booster under foundation or cream to intensify hydration and restore radiance. Follow with SPF in the daytime.
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