Marula Oil vs Argan Oil. Which is the Oil for You?

Marula Oil vs Argan Oil. Which is the Oil for You?

So, marula oil vs argan oil. You might have heard of Argan oil which became widely known and popular a few years ago, but Marula oil has arrived and people are starting to discover this miracle oil to reap the benefits. Marula oil recently hit the beauty industry like a storm. These two oils are similar in quite a few ways. They can be used for both food and beauty purposes. But the question is: Which one is best for you? How are they different?

What is Marula Oil?

Marula oil, also known as the 'miracle oil', is extracted from the fruit's seed kernels of the Marula tree, which is native to Kenya. It can be found in Southern Africa and Madagascar. Here, the climatic conditions of a low rainfall and hours of sunlight each day, enable the Marula tree to bear its fruit.

It's an oil that has been used for centuries by Southern African men and women to help protect their skin from the harsh weather conditions, and has remained one of their most treasured beauty secrets. Purchasing Marula oil is a very ethical choice because it is many people livelihood, providing an income for families of Southern Africa.


Benefits for the Skin

Marula oil has both vitamin C and E. When these vitamins are topically applied together, they prevent and treat sun damage, however, they should not be used instead of SPF creams and sun protective clothing.

Marula oil is a brilliant oil to add to your haircare routine, because of the nourishment its vitamin C provides. There is eight times as much vitamin C in the Marula fruit than there is in an orange. This means it is an excellent fruit to eat to help make the immune system strong and build collagen and elastin in the body, which is essential for skin, hair and bone health.

We lose the vitamin C in our skin as we age, so applying it topically help keep the levels in your skin topped up. Applying vitamin C promotes collagen production to fight the signs of aging by brightening the complexion and improving skin elasticity. Vitamin C rejuvenates the skin by reducing the appearance of redness, discolouration, fine lines and wrinkles.

This is great for dull, tired skin. This powerhouse vitamin also protects against sun damage, improves hydration, speeds up healing of scars, treats discolouration and can even reduce dark under eye circles. The vitamin C content in Marula oil can assist you in your quest for smooth, firm and glowing skin.

The antioxidants found in the oil, including vitamin E, can help protect and repair free radical damage from environmental stressors.

Benefits for the Hair

Rubbing Marula oil into the hair cuticles is great for treating split ends and for that lustrous, silky shine. This is because of the high amount of antioxidants that make Marula oil a nourishing choice for the health of your hair.

The oil works well on curly, thick or frizzy hair.

Marula oil is a great choice for thick hair because its heavier consistency is more hydrating, and the fatty acids form a protective coating around the hair shaft that seals in moisture.


What is Argan Oil?

Argan oil is extracted from the Moroccan Argan tree's kernel and is harvested by the Berber women through labour intensive hard work. It can take up to eight hours for one woman to extract one litre of oil from the nut. Argan Oil has an amber, golden colour, and is also known as ˜the liquid gold of Morocco".


Benefits for the Skin

As Argan oil is non-comedogenic, this means it is unlikely to clog pores, which is ideal for treating acne. Argan oils high vitamin E (tocopherol) content is excellent for fighting the free radical damage caused by environmental stressors, such as preventing and treating sun damage. And sun damage is one of the leading causes of premature aging.

As the body can synthesize essential fatty acids, alpha linoleic acid (omega-3) and linoleic acid (omega-6), it is vital that they are obtained from food. Phytosterols decrease total cholesterol in human blood, which decreases the risk of heart disease and stroke.

Squalene, is produced by our own skin cells, but also found in plant sources. When consumed, it protects against cancer. Consuming carotenoids, another wonder ingredient of Argan oil, is great for maintaining eye health and preventing macular degeneration. Look for food grade Argan oil so that you know that this can be used for cooking and putting on salads too.

Ferulic acid is an antioxidant that destroys free radicals and protect against UV damage. Luckily for us, this is great news for the health of our skin and hair. Its anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties do wonders for strong hair growth. Natural antioxidants found in Argan oil help fade scars and age spots. Polyphenols have an important antioxidant activity too which have the same effect.


Benefits for the Hair

Works well on straight, curly, thin or fine hair.

The vitamin E and essential fatty acids in Argan oil works well to condition straight hair. At the same time, its light-weight formula can enhance curls, adding volume and texture.


Marula oil vs Argan oil - Similarities

Here are some of the most important points you can ´t miss about Marula vs Argan oil:

- They are both full of antioxidants that fight the signs of aging.

- Vitamin E is present in both, supporting the skin in healing and repair.

- Nourishing essential fatty acids of oleic acid and linoleic acid. Both contain these two essential fatty acids but there is a big difference in their compositions, which determines which one is right for you.

- Long shelf life that resists oxidation.

- Both oils contain plant sterols, natural compounds found in fruit and vegetables that boost epidermal moisture retention when consumed and strengthen the protective skin barrier when applied topically to the skin.

- They both help to smooth and condition the hair.

Marula oil vs Argan oil - Differences


Marula Oil Argan Oil
Contains Vitamin C Argan Oil does not contain vitamin C
Contains a smaller amount of vitamin E Contains more vitamin E
Does not contain Ferulic acid Contains Ferulic Acid
Contains more phytosterols Contains only a small amount of phytosterols
Best for dry and/or aging skin. It is also good for sun-damaged skin Best for Acne Prone and normal to oily skin and not moisturising enough for people with really dry skin
Does not contain a large concentration of carotenoids Contains carotenoids
High in Oleic Acid (70-78%), with only a little Linoleic Acid (4-9%). Heavy, deeply moisturising oil Argan Oil has a more balanced ratio between Oleic and Linoleic Acid, which means its less heavy than Marula Oil


Marula oil vs Argan oil. Choose the One for your Skin Type or Issue

You can use both oils for skin, face and hair, but which one you choose will depend on your skin type. Our skin often changes depending on the season and whatever weather conditions we are enduring, so this is important to take into consideration too.



Skin Type Oily Dry Combination Sensitive Acne Sun-Damaged Aging Dull
Marula oil ? ? ? ?
Argan oil ? ? ? ? ? ?


How to Use the Oils

David Colbert, a dermatologist in New York City, said to Allure magazine, that ‘when you apply an oil before your anti-aging cream, the oil molecules behave like tiny Trojan horses, tricking the skin into letting active ingredients like retinol, glycolic acid, and vitamin C  deeper into the skin and closer to the collagen-producing fibroblasts, all without irritating the surface.

This, in short, is a very good thing. Applying an oil before your moisturiser can act as a serum, and it is important to apply the products in this order as you should always apply lighter consistencies first and the heavier second. This enables better penetration into the skin so that it can soak up all of those vitamins and minerals our skin thanks us for.

Alternatively, you could add a few drops of either oil to your moisturiser for an added boost of revitalising goodness. This can be good when you are after that glowing , dewy skin look.

Another skincare use for these oils is as facial massage oils. Self-massage is a form of self-care which can be very therapeutic and can be done when you are watching your favourite TV show or listening to music you love.

There is also a tonne of videos on YouTube demonstrating beneficial massage techniques, such as this one by celebrity makeup artist, Lisa Eldridge, who uses self-massage as a ritualistic method of self-care and to maintain supple and glowing skin.

Massaging these oils into your skin will enhance the effects of their properties, as the touch increases circulation and in turn increases the amount of nutrients your blood can bring to the skin. It also allows the magical ingredients of the oil to penetrate deeper into the skin layers.

Another use is rubbing the oils into the ends of your hair as a leave-in conditioner. This will provide extra nourishment, especially for hair that has been damaged or coloured.

You can also use it as a hair treatment before you shampoo. Simply massage the oil into your scalp. Take time to massage it in circular motions, as this will stimulate the hair follicles and increase the blood flow of nutrients to allow your hair to grow stronger, softer, shinier and healthier. Sounds good, right? Finish the process by combing it through to the ends and leave on for 15 to 20 minutes before washing off in the shower. The result? Well, you will see!

Marula oil vs Argan oil. How to Try Out the Oils on Your Skin

A few weeks before trying an oil, you should keep your beauty routine simple. If you are not bombarding your skin with products, any improvements or desired results will be easier to spot. Likewise, if your skin has changed for the worse since using the oil, the culprit is most likely the oil. In which case, this oil is not  right for your individual skin.

Sometimes our skin will simply reject and react to a certain ingredient, despite someone with a similar skin type having no problems. You can massage a few drops into a small area of your skin to patch test the oil on your skin in case of a reaction.

When trying your oil for the first time, it is best to go for one without essential oils added, just to make sure that your skin works well with the particular oil you choose to try: Marula oil vs Argan oil. Certain essential oils could potentially cause irritation, whereas in an oil that is essential oil free, you could have no problems and be missing out on the benefits of these two amazing, beautifying oils.


Choosing the Right One for you Right Now

So in the battle of Marula oil vs Argan oil, which one is suitable for you? Both are miracle oils, but the right oil for you will suit your skin type and the condition of your skin in the current season. For example, both oils are suitable for aging and/or dull skin, so if you fall into these categories, it would be best to analyse how your skin feels right now.

Maybe your skin feels oilier in warmer weather, and therefore Argan oil might be the better option for you. And sometimes the harsh conditions of the winter might dry the skin out, in which case Marula oil might win over Argan oil. If you are going on holiday, Marula oil might be the best option for fighting against the deeply drying effects of the sun, and fighting the free radical damage that the suns UVA and UVB rays inevitably cause.

Both oils are nourishing for the hair, but Marula oil is more suited to managing dry, curly, thick hair. Hair that gets greasy easily might want to try Argan oil. Of course, using any oil on any hair type has the potential to make it greasy, which is why it is best to rub your choice of oil into the ends, rather than the roots where your own natural production of oil takes place.

Both oils are called ˜miracle oils' for good reasons. Now you have to see who wins the Marula oil vs Argan oil battle for your individual skin needs.


Marula oil vs Argan oil. Tips for Buying

Here are the best tips for buying:

- When looking for your oil, look for unrefined and cold pressed oils as these have 700% more bio-active compounds than oils extracted with heat. Look for the Soil Association logo or the USDA organic certified logo for organic products which can guarantee that the product has been produced ethically and sustainably. You can also check this by the sight and smell as organic, unrefined oil is dark golden in colour and will have a nutty aroma, whereas non-organic oils will have no aroma and a light colour. It won't be pure even if it uses this word on the bottle.

- Another thing to consider is the ingredients list. Check for filler ingredients such as petroleum and mineral oil, which have the potential to be bad for your skin.

- Also, always look for dark coloured bottles, as clear glass means that heat and light can damage the oils.

- Cheaply priced oils will be of poor quality, most likely. Organically labelled cold pressed oils will have been made through a labour intensive process to achieve good quality.

- Check the expiration date. If there is five years or more until the oil expires, it is not  not unrefined.


Marula oil vs Argan oil. Do you have a winner? Will you be trying one of these ancient botanicals, revered and celebrated for centuries by their nations?


Written by Jess Burman

Wellbeing writer

BA (Honours)