Marula Oil for Hair: Everything You Need to Know

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From argan to coconut to jojoba, natural oils have officially cemented their status as hair care superstars! 

Everyone seems to have their favorite hair oil, whether used for leave-in treatments, hair loss remedies, or DIY serums. 

However, despite the popularity of these oils, there’s one in particular that has slipped under the radar of beauty gurus and fanatics: marula oil! 

watercolor artwork of marula plant and a dropper of marula oil

Versatile and luxurious, this oil has been used for centuries in Southern Africa for its numerous health and cosmetic benefits. 

But wait. Is marula oil good for hair? Should you use marula oil for hair loss? Can it improve dull, dry, brittle tresses? 

In this article, we’ll answer all these questions and more! 

We’ll also explore the many benefits of using marula oil for hair and recommend some of the best marula oil products you can try to incorporate this superb ingredient into your everyday hair care routine.

What Is Marula Oil?

Marula oil is a luxurious oil extracted from the nuts of the Marula tree, native to Southern and Western Africa.

This oil is derived by cold-pressing the kernels or nuts found inside the fruits of the marula tree, which produces a translucent, light yellow oil that’s rich in essential fatty acids, antioxidants, and vitamins.

Thanks to its nutrient-rich formulation, marula oil is commonly used as an ingredient in hair care and skincare products as well as a standalone beauty oil.

What Are the Benefits of Marula Oil for Hair?

So what exactly does marula oil do for hair? Let’s take a closer look at the seemingly endless hair benefits of marula oil here.

Contains Plenty of Health-Boosting Nutrients

Marula oil contains several nutrients that promote hair and scalp health.

  • Tocotrienols — Vitamin E with strong antioxidant properties that moisturize and protect hair against damage 
  • Oleic acid — Monounsaturated omega-9 fatty acid that hydrates hair and prevents moisture loss; also soothes itchy, flaky scalps
  • Linoleic acid —  Polyunsaturated omega-6 fatty acid that promotes healthy hair growth, improves scalp health and reduces scalp inflammation, and improves hair elasticity

Moisturizes and Strengthens Hair

The nutrients in marula oil penetrate deep into the hair shaft to deliver deep hydration and nourishment, leaving hair soft and shiny.

Additionally, they create a protective barrier around each hair strand, which locks in moisture. Marula oil also helps strengthen brittle hair and make it more resistant to breakage.

As such, marula oil is especially beneficial for those with dry, damaged, or overprocessed hair.

Protects Against Environmental Damage

Free radical damage from exposure to UV rays, heat styling, and environmental pollutants can negatively affect hair and scalp health. It can contribute to rapidly aging hair, which is characterized by hair loss or lack of volume. 

Marula oil is rich in antioxidants, such as vitamins C and E, which help protect your locks from this type of damage and allow you to maintain a thick, luscious head of hair.

Reduces Frizz

Frizz is often caused by dry and dehydrated hair. Luckily, marula oil can help you with that.

Aside from providing serious hydration, it also smoothens raised hair cuticles, leaving hair looking smooth, silky, and frizz-free.

Marula oil also uses oleic acid as an emollient, which seals each cuticle to prevent moisture from escaping throughout the day. 

Adds Shine

A natural hair shine booster, this oil coats each hair strand and adds a healthy shine without leaving the hair feeling greasy or weighed down.

It’s also easily absorbed by all hair types, including dry and low-porosity hair. 

Promotes Hair Growth

A woman is combing her long straight hair with a brush on a white curtain background

Marula oil’s ability to stimulate blood circulation in the scalp and repair damaged follicles makes it an excellent ingredient for promoting hair growth. Its nutrients also keep hair healthy from the inside out. 

4 Best Marula Oil Products for Hair

Are you convinced to invest in marula oil for hair? Great news: there are plenty of high-quality products with this potent ingredient on the market! 

To help you make the right decision, we’ve listed the best marula oil products below. 

OGX Hydrate and Marula Oil Serum Elixir

Get soft, visibly healthy tresses with this marula-infused oil!

Key benefits: Moisturizes strands; adds shine; leaves hair fragrant


  • Lightweight hydration for dry hair
  • Superior frizz-fighting abilities
  • Free of harmful chemicals 

Leaves a luxurious scent on your hair!


This serum contains a unique blend of hair-loving ingredients infused with marula oil, which provides superior moisturization without weighing your strands down.

It’s also free of sulfates, parabens, and other harmful ingredients that can dry out your hair.

Cliganic Organic Marula Oil

Hydrate your way to silky strands with pure marula oil.

Key benefits: Nourishes hair; restores hydration; seals in moisture


  • 100% pure, unrefined marula oil
  • Lightweight and non-greasy
  • USDA-certified organic, non-GMO, vegan, and cruelty-free

Suitable for all hair types!


Besides providing intense hydration and delivering essential nutrients, this oil also locks in moisture to prevent dryness throughout the day.

Moreover, it is suitable for all hair types, including curly, coarse, and color-treated hair. It can be used as a leave-in treatment or added to shampoo and conditioner for an extra boost of hydration.

The Ordinary 100% Cold-Pressed Virgin Marula Oil

Say goodbye to damaged tresses with this incredible hair oil!

Key benefits: Conditions hair; reverses and protects against damage


  • 100% organic marula seed oil
  • Free of parabens, sulfates, silicones, and mineral oil
  • Vegan and cruelty-free

You can use The Ordinary’s marula oil for your hair and skin!


The Ordinary Marula Oil is made of 100% organic, cold-pressed marula seed oil that offers endless benefits for your hair and skin. 

Whether you’re suffering from frizz or dull, dehydrated skin, this oil can replenish lost moisture and reverse damage caused by stress and other external factors.

SVA Organics Marula Oil Organic USDA

Reviews of this marula oil for hair claim that regular use yields amazing results, namely softer, shinier hair.

Key benefits: Reduces frizz; tames flyaways; promotes growth


  • 100% pure, USDA-certified organic
  • Designed to improve scalp health
  • Free of harmful chemicals

Affordable and effective!


Struggling with dandruff or brittle hair? This oil is for you! 

Designed to give you all the benefits of marula oil for hair in a bottle, it combats flakes, strengthens hair, and soothes itch. It can also be used as a carrier oil for essential oils that target the same hair concerns. 

Plus, many users also praise its cheap price. 

How to Use Marula Oil for Hair

Here’s a step-by-step guide on the different ways to use marula oil for hair to maximize its benefits.

As a Pre-Shampoo Treatment

  1. Pour a few drops of marula oil into your palm.
  2. Massage the oil into your hair and scalp, focusing on the ends.
  3. Leave the oil in for 15 to 20 minutes.
  4. Rinse your hair thoroughly with shampoo and conditioner.

As a Hair Serum or Leave-In Conditioner

  1. After washing your hair, towel-dry it until it is slightly damp.
  2. Pour a small amount of marula oil into your palm.
  3. Rub your hands together before application to make sure you distribute the oil evenly. 
  4. Apply the oil to the ends of your hair and work your way up to the roots.
  5. Comb your hair to ensure each strand gets coated with oil.
  6. Style your hair as desired.

As a Scalp Treatment

  1. Apply a few drops of marula oil directly to your scalp.
  2. Massage the oil into your scalp for 5 to 10 minutes.
  3. Leave the oil in for 30 to 60 minutes.
  4. Rinse your hair thoroughly with shampoo and conditioner.

Pro tip: The amount of marula oil you need to use will depend on your hair length and thickness. Start with a small amount and add more as needed. Also, avoid using too much oil if you don’t want your hair to be greasy.

Potential Marula Oil Side Effects on Hair

Marula oil is generally considered safe for use on hair. However, some people may experience mild adverse reactions to this oil, especially if they have sensitive scalps.

Here are some of the possible side effects of using marula oil:

Scalp Irritation

In rare cases, marula oil can cause scalp irritation. If you experience itching, redness, or a burning sensation during or after use, wash it out thoroughly with shampoo.

Allergic Reaction

Some people may be allergic to marula oil. If you experience hives, swelling, or difficulty breathing after using it, seek medical attention immediately.

Remember to do a patch test before using any new hair product, including marula oil. 

You can do this by applying a small amount of oil onto your skin and waiting 24 hours to see if you have any adverse reactions. If you experience any, stop using the oil immediately.


Marula oil is lightweight, but excess amounts of it can make your hair greasy. To avoid this, make sure to only use a few drops upon initial use and add more as needed.


If you use marula oil too often, it can build up on your hair and scalp. This can make your hair look dull and lifeless.

To avoid buildup, use marula oil in moderation and wash your hair regularly.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does marula oil make your hair curly?

No. Marula oil does not contain any ingredients that can alter hair structure, so it can’t make naturally straight or even wavy hair curly. 

However, marula oil can help to define curls and reduce frizz by hydrating hair, which enhances natural curl patterns.

Which is better: argan oil or marula oil for hair?

Both argan oil and marula oil are excellent natural oils for hair care, and the choice between the two depends on your specific hair needs.

Argan oil is known for its high vitamin E and fatty acid content that moisturizes dry and damaged hair. Its lightweight formulation won’t weigh down fine strands, making it ideal for thin, straight hair.  

Similarly, marula oil also boosts hydration and nourishment. However, it’s heavier than argan oil, so it’s more suitable for thick or coarse hair that needs extra moisture.

Do you put marula oil on wet hair?

Marula oil can be applied to both wet and dry hair, depending on your preference and hair type.

When applied to wet hair, marula oil can act as a leave-in conditioner that detangles your hair and provides moisture and shine.

When applied to dry hair, marula oil can tame frizz and keep your locks shiny throughout the day.

To use marula oil on dry hair, simply apply a small amount of it to your hands and run it through your hair, focusing on the ends and any areas that need extra moisture or shine.

Is Marula Oil Good for Hair? For Us, It’s A Resounding Yes!

Marula oil is a versatile and effective natural ingredient that can bring out the best in your hair! 

Whether you have dry, damaged, or frizzy tresses, marula oil can help restore their natural beauty and shine.

watercolor artwork of marula plants and a glass container of marula oil

If you want to experience the many benefits of marula oil for hair, pick one of our highly recommended marula oil products available on the market.

Give marula oil a try today!

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  • Stephanie Martin

    Stephanie Martin blends her beauty industry background with expertise in communications to lead in the fashion and beauty world. As a fashion and beauty editor, she is known for engaging and informative articles. Her lifelong passion for fashion, makeup, and hair shines through her work, earning her widespread respect among readers and clients. Stephanie's style, a mix of classic and contemporary, makes her a dynamic and influential figure in the industry, inspiring others with her knowledgeable and approachable insights.

  • Jessica Hoelscher

    With thirteen years in cosmetology, Jessica Hoelscher is a seasoned stylist recognized for her modern techniques. A graduate of Paul Mitchell the School in St. Louis, her expertise has been showcased on Fox Two News and in People Magazine. Self-employed at Salon Lofts, her work has graced TV screens, styling for renowned events and Ole Miss cheerleaders.

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