MUST KNOW

Lit­tle known out­side Africa, marula oil is start­ing to find its way into hair­care con­coc­tions around the world. RANJAN MUKERJEE ex­plains why it’s worth in­vest­ing in prod­ucts in­fused with marula oil.

Hair - - Contents -

Marula magic

If you’ve never heard of marula (Scle­ro­carya bir­rea) be­fore, that’s okay—few peo­ple out­side western and south­ern Africa or Mada­gas­car know about this fruit­bear­ing plant. Through his­tory, the fruit of the marula tree has been an im­por­tant food source in Africa and has con­sid­er­able so­cioe­co­nomic im­por­tance. And sci­ence con­tin­ues to find newer uses for ev­ery dif­fer­ent part of the fruit, in­clud­ing the ker­nel. Once the pulp has been re­moved, the ker­nel of the marula fruit is pro­cessed in or­der to ex­tract the ker­nel’s oil. This oil can ei­ther be added to cos­met­ics or be used as a car­rier-oil at home. Com­pared to other more well­known oils, marula oil is a hair and skin­care pow­er­house. For ex­am­ple, while Moroc­can ar­gan oil is fa­mous for its an­tiox­i­dant prop­er­ties, marula oil con­tains upto 60% more an­tiox­i­dants than ar­gan oil!

Nu­tri­ents ga­lore

It’s not just the high level of an­tiox­i­dants that makes marula oil so sought af­ter by beauty and hair­care brands; it is also a rich source of omega oils and fatty acids—two very im­por­tant build­ing blocks of healthy hair. The high con­cen­tra­tion of oleic acid in par­tic­u­lar helps give hair the lus­trous and shiny fin­ish we all crave. Marula oil also con­tains co­pi­ous amounts of vi­ta­min C and E, which help pre­vent dam­age to the hair fol­li­cles and also help re­pair any strands of hair al­ready dam­aged. Es­sen­tial amino acids and flavonoids are ex­cel­lent at cell re­newal and re­gen­er­a­tion. Since these are abun­dant in the marula ker­nel, it makes the re­sul­tant oil— al­ready rich in an­tiox­i­dants—a phe­nom­e­nal way to pro­tect hair from en­vi­ron­men­tal dam­age.

Us­ing it right

There are many ways in which you can get your hands on some marula oil good­ness. The eas­i­est way is to buy hair­care prod­ucts al­ready in­fused with it. As more and more peo­ple learn about the good­ness of marula oil, hair­care brands are ea­gerly in­cor­po­rat­ing it in their lat­est ranges. For ex­am­ple, John Paul Mitchell Sys­tems al­ready has an en­tire line of Marula Oil hair­care prod­ucts, from sham­poos and con­di­tion­ers to hair masques and rare oil treat­ments. Al­ter­na­tively, you can cre­ate oil ther­apy treat­ments at home with marula oil as the base. The ad­van­tage of this is you can tweak the in­gre­di­ents and oil amounts based on your hair’s needs. Here’s a marula oil-based hair ther­apy treat­ment to get you started: 100% pure marula oil is eas­ily avail­able at nu­mer­ous e-tail web­sites. As de­mand for it grows, you can also ex­pect it to hit brick-and-mor­tar stores in the near fu­ture. Some hair­care prod­ucts may al­ready con­tain marula oil but do not ad­ver­tise it—this is why read­ing the la­bels on the prod­ucts you buy is al­ways a good idea.

As more and more peo­ple learn about the good­ness of marula oil, hair­care brands are ea­gerly in­cor­po­rat­ing it in their lat­est ranges.

Mix 10 ta­ble­spoons of marula oil with 5 ta­ble­spoons of ar­gan oil and set aside. Pour a gen­er­ous amount of your favourite con­di­tioner into a bowl and whip thor­oughly. Heat up the marula and ar­gan oil mix­ture in the mi­crowave (du­ra­tion will de­pend on the strength of your mi­crowave, but do take care it doesn’t get siz­zling hot). Add it to the con­di­tioner and con­tinue whip­ping. Af­ter sham­poo­ing, ap­ply the mix­ture to your hair. Deep-con­di­tion un­der a steamer, with­out a cap, for 30-45 min­utes. Rinse it out with luke­warm wa­ter.

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