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Marula Oil Is the Best Natural Skincare Oil for Women Over 50: How It Hydrates, Firms and More

Learn why this oil works great on mature skin and how to add it to your skincare routine

Oils have been around for centuries as a natural remedy to many beauty woes, and still are heavily used today in different products and DIY beauty recipes alike. From applying coconut oil as a hair mask to creating a face mask with olive oil to using rosemary oil to grow hair, the limits to what oil can do for us truly seem endless. And lucky for us, there’s another oil that’s been gaining a lot of traction in the beauty industry as of late: marula oil. Known for its anti-aging and moisturizing benefits, marula oil has been trending all over social media and recommended by skin pros. Here, we break down exactly what marula oil is, how to apply it and all the benefits your skin can reap from marula oil.

What is marula oil?

Marula oil is dervied from the nuts of the marula tree, which are commonly found in Southern Africa and Madagascar, says Pooja Rambhia, MD, board-certified dermatologist. “Traditionally used by the local populations for its moisturizing and healing properties, marula oil has recently gained significant popularity in the global skincare market. This popularity is in party due to the composition of marula oil — it’s rich in antioxidants (vitamin C and E) and essential fatty acids, providing a moisturizing effect with prevention of transepidermal water loss,” explains Dr. Rambhia. “Studies have shown that its high content of oleic and linoleic acids helps to maintain the skin’s elasticity, making it particularly beneficial for dry and aging skin.”

marula oil
Anna Efetova/Getty

Why is marula oil so popular?

There are a few different reasons why marula oil has taken the spotlight recently. For starters, it’s an all-natural ingredient, which is becoming more and more sought after. There’s a huge push today for clean, natural and/or organic beauty products from consumers, and marula oil checks off those boxes. “The growing consumer demand for natural and organic skincare products has further propelled marula oil into the spotlight,” affirms Dr. Rambhia.

Even more, marula oil’s texture has made it very beloved, as it doesn’t feel thick and heavy or greasy. “The oil’s lightweight texture and quick absorption also make it suitable for a variety of skin types without leaving a greasy residue,” says Dr. Rambhia.

Watch the TikTok below by @lesaintbeauty for more on marula oil.

@lesaintbeauty

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What are the benefits of marula oil?

Marula oil has a wide range of benefits, and works especially well for mature skin and anti-aging concerns. It’s made up of an abundance of fatty acids, which are known to be great moisturizers for the skin — and as we age, we tend to lose our natural moisture, leading to extra dryness.

“Marula oil’s composition of fatty acids like oleic acid help to moisturize dry skin and fortify the skin barrier. Mature skin especially benefits from the rich moisturization that marula oil offers given a propensity for skin to lose moisture more quickly as we age,” says Dr. Rambhia.

Additionally, it contains skin-loving antioxidants which help to ward off environmental damage to our skin and create an overall brighter, less dull complexion. “Marula oil is also high in antioxidants including vitamin C and vitamin E, which help to fight off free radical damage, brighten the skin and promote collagen production,” notes Dr. Rambhia.

And as far as which skin types can benefit the most from marula oil, dry and mature skin take the cake. Dr. Rambhia says that it typically can be used on most skin types since it’s so lightweight, but oily skin or acne-prone skin may want to avoid it. “Marula oil may exacerbate oily skin types, and precipitate acne breakouts given its mildly occlusive properties,” she says.

How to apply marula oil

mature woman applying skincare oil in mirror
Westend61/Getty

Applying marula oil is pretty straight-forward and easy to use. After washing your face, simply apply a 2-3 drops onto your face and neck and gently pat into skin to absorb. Dr. Rambhia recommends using cold-pressed, pure marula oil (see her favorites below).

“It can be used in the morning or evening as a moisturizer! If using in the morning, be sure to follow it up with a sunscreen,” advises Dr. Rambhia. “Cold-pressed Marula oil best preserves its rich fatty acids, antioxidants and vitamins, thereby retaining its maximum nutritional properties.”

The best marula oil products

Keep reading to see our and Dr. Rambhia’s picks for the best marula oils on the market.

Trader Joe's Marula Facial Oil
Trader Joe's

Trader Joe’s Cold-Pressed Virgin Marula Oil

This specific marula oil has been all the rage on social media because not only is it cold-pressed and pure virgina marula oil, it costs just $6.99. It made Dr. Rambhia’s list too!

The Ordinary 100% Cold Pressed Virgin Marula Oil
The Ordinary/Ulta

The Ordinary 100% Cold Pressed Virgin Marula Oil

Another 100% virgin marula oil (and cold-pressed), this was one of Dr. Rambhia’s picks. “Both products contain pure virgin marula oil, without additional additives, that best preserves their nutrients and skin benefits. They are both very affordable and easily accessible,” she says.


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