Get to know the next hero skincare ingredient you’ll be seeing quite a lot of very soon: marula oil
Oftentimes we hear about exotic oils as a sort of miracle ingredient—the hero off of which whole skincare brands are based. But it’s not for naught. Things like argan and grape seed oils have earned their rightful places in the beauty industry. And next in the dropper is marula oil, a 100 percent natural, wild-harvested, vegan and sustainable product extracted (labor-intensively) from marula nut seed kernels from trees in Southern Africa and Madagascar. “Marula oil has a very long history in Southern Africa,” says Julia Noik, cofounder of the new brand African Botanics (selling in Space.NK and Fred Segal), which uses marula as its star in both facial and body formulas. Marula is starting out in the US with quite a bang—Leakey Collection also launched its own marula product and Persephenie’s Neroli Infusion Organic Body Oil calls the oil its key ingredient.
Says Noik, “The oil is hand-harvested by women in village collectives from the exotic fruit seed kernels of biodynamic and drought-resistant marula trees. The healing oil is widely used for its medicinal benefits by Southern African women and men and has been part of numerous beauty rituals for centuries to protect the skin and hair from the harsh and dry weather conditions.” Additionally, it’s a traditional remedy for stretch marks. When Noik first found out about the oil four years ago, she instantly knew she wanted it to be the core ingredient of her line and was further hooked when she noticed her abdominal skin had become more elastic and firm.
“Ultimately, marula oil gives the skin a more youthful and supple appearance,” says Noik. Because marula is a dry oil—read: fast-absorbing and non-greasy—it can be used on all skin types, from children to adult, especially acneic ones, since it has antimicrobial properties. “The key to marula’s outstanding performance is its super fine molecular structure, which gets quickly absorbed directly into the deep layers of the epidermis, where the oil instantly feeds the skin and goes to work to improve the lipid barrier function without any slick residue left over by most other oils.”
Noik considers it the next big “skin super food”—and it does have many impressive properties. Marula offers maximum hydration to moisturize, plump up fine lines and recondition from harsh elements. (Try mixing a few drops with foundation or tinted moisturizer for awesome dewiness.) It’s high in vitamins C and E, as well as omega fatty acids, which all combine to protect against environmental aggressors, reverse photo damage, boost cellular activity and repair. It’s ideal for post-surgical, sun-damaged and sensitive skin as it reduces redness, soothes and is anti-inflammatory.
We are predicting full-on marula madness by 2013. Noik is of the mind that it could be the next hyaluronic acid. “Marula oil is gaining industry-wide attention for its dramatic ability to nourish, moisturize, heal and improve skin elasticity. I think it will become a staple ingredient in beauty and skincare products.”