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Making Waves

Meet the oil that’s giving argan and Moroccan a run for their money

With the increasing popularity of hair and skincare oils, words like “argan” and “Moroccan” have become essential to our beauty vernacular, leaving little room for competition. But marula, a new, lesser-known type of oil, is on the brink of going mainstream thanks to the January launch of luxury haircare label MarulaOil. The line consists of two oils, a shampoo, a conditioner and a masque (ranging from $25 – $40), and it promises to reduce split ends by 80 percent. It’s a claim that might be hard to believe if not for the brand’s impressive pedigree—it was developed by hair industry titan John Paul DeJoria of Paul Mitchell. 

But the real driving force behind the launch was actually DeJoria’s daughter, Michaeline, who discovered that women in Europe were addicted to using the oil as a skincare product. As the Vice Chairman of haircare empire John Paul Mitchell Systems, DeJoria, always on the hunt for the next big thing, brought the oil home and decided to use it on her thick, wavy hair. “I loved it, and I knew we had to pursue making it into a line,” she says of the product, which is derived from an indigenous African tree. “As it turns out, marula is one of the oldest, most-widely used skin care ingredients in Africa, but it’s just taken a while to come to this side of the world.”

The Rare Marula product line

The primary difference between marula and its counterparts, says DeJoria, is that the oil is cold-pressed and 100% pure. “With a lot of products, if you flip the bottle over, you’ll find that the ingredients are mostly fillers and silicone, and only a small percentage is actual oil. We don’t cut ours with anything.” Also, she says, the oil itself has a considerably higher level of antioxidants than others on the market, giving it the ability to better penetrate the hair.

After just over a year of R&D, the MarulaOil line came to fruition and is now sold at high-end salons across the country. DeJoria says the reception has far exceeded expectations, with pre-sales tripling what her team had forecasted. “I think that it was just one of those amazing African treasures,” she says. “We knew we had found a winner from the very beginning.”