The unrelenting desire for healthy, strong and lustrous hair is something most of us—if not all—have in common. Some (ahem, we are ‘some’) will go to great lengths to achieve it. Luckily, there are a plethora of natural ingredients and solutions to get us closer to our glow goals, but this one, you may not have heard of. Enter: moringa oil.
You’re undoubtedly aware of, and have probably even tried, other oils or hot oil treatments on your hair, but maybe not this one. Chock full of powerhouse ingredients—think antioxidants, phytonutrients, amino acids and vitamins—moringa oil is an ultra-effective solution for hair nourishment and revitalization that’s gaining popularity with hair care companies and beauty enthusiasts alike.
Moringa oil comes from the seeds of Moringa Oleifera—a tree that’s native to the tropics of Africa and Asia. Known for its remarkable cornucopia of detoxifying, strengthening and hydrating properties, this nutrient-rich elixir has been used for centuries in traditional medicine and beauty rituals. Literally almost every part of it is edible or beneficial, which is why it got its nickname, “Tree of life.” Often taken as a supplement, moringa oil can also be applied topically to skin and—you guessed it—hair.
The seeds of the tree are carefully harvested through a cold-pressing process that extracts the moringa oil. Cold-pressing, as opposed to heat extraction, is essential in retaining the oil’s precious nutrients—vitamin B, vitamin C and so many more. When searching for the type of moringa oil that’s best for you, these are a few you’ll find available.
"Moringa oil is a cold pressed oil that comes from the Moringa Oleifera tree. It is high in oleic acid and contains many nutrients that help provide shine. It also supports hydration and protection and has anti-inflammatory properties. Moringa Oil can be found in The Circle Chronicles, specifically within The Spotlight Circle." —Sunny Brewer, Davines Technical Education Manager
Cold-pressed moringa oil is considered the highest quality—and most beneficial form—of moringa oil. The extraction process (like we mentioned… without the use of heat or chemicals) is what preserves the oil’s nutrient-rich composition. It’s also what makes it the type most people opt for.
Refined moringa oil undergoes exactly what it sounds like—a refining process to remove impurities and enhance its shelf life. During this process, the oil may be subjected to heat and filtering, which can result in a slight loss of nutrients and natural aroma.
Like other organic products, organic moringa oil is derived from moringa seeds that have been grown without the use of synthetic fertilizers, pesticides or GMOs. Opting for organic ensures you have a product that’s environmentally sustainable and free from harmful chemicals.
Blended moringa oil is a combo of moringa oil and other carrier oils or essential oils. Moringa oil on its own is potent, so mixing it helps tame it down. Blends are created to enhance specific properties or create unique scents. Mixing moringa oil with coconut oil, for example, offers moisturizing benefits, while blending it with lavender essential oil creates a beautiful, soothing aroma. Let your imagination—and preferences—guide you because there’s no wrong combination.
The benefits of moringa oil for hair are truly remarkable. This natural elixir is packed with essential nutrients and compounds that promote hair growth, hair and scalp health and overall vitality. It even helps protect hair from environmental damage and heat styling—a major bonus if you’re a chronic blow dryer like we are.
Whether you're dealing with dryness, frizz, hair loss or simply want to enhance the overall condition of your hair, moringa oil can transform your tresses with its moisturizing properties. Here’s a benefits breakdown.
Rich in vitamins A, E and C, moringa oil provides essential nourishment to your hair follicles. This helps promote healthy hair growth by providing the necessary nutrients for strong and resilient strands.
The plethora of nutrients in moringa oil also help strengthen the hair from root to tip. This effectively supercharges (read: protects) the hair follicles, reducing hair breakage and split ends.
Moringa oil also contains fatty acid compounds and antioxidants that improve blood circulation to the scalp, promoting hair growth. Increased blood flow nourishes the hair follicles and stimulates growth, leading to thicker and healthier hair over time. Is it a bald spot cure? No. But can it help? Yes.
Since dandruff is typically caused by dry skin, the anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties of the superfood makes moringa oil a celebrated dandruff fix—and beneficial for scalp health. Its fatty acid content helps lock in moisture, soothe the scalp and reduce irritation. These same properties make it just as beneficial for those with dry hair.
Those same miracle fatty acids—specifically behenic acid—are known to improve the shine and softness of hair. What happens is the oil (rather, its rich omega-3 fatty acids) forms a protective barrier which smooths the hair cuticles, reduces frizz and enhances the hair's reflective properties.
Any hair type can reap the rewards of moringa oil. So whether you have curly, straight, oily or dry hair, chances are, moringa oil can work its magic on yours. Color-treated hair? This is also for you. Other oils can tint hair, but the pale-yellow moringa oil helps retain hair’s natural or artificial coloring.
Its lightweight texture also allows for easy absorption without weighing the hair down or leaving a greasy residue, so even if you have sensitivities, it should be gentle enough to give it a try.
There are multiple ways to incorporate the versatile moringa oil into your hair care routine. But since oils on their own can be potent (i.e. rich and heavy), try adding a few drops to your regular conditioner to test it out on your hair before going all in. Another quick note: since moringa oil can impact the skin barrier function, take care not to overuse it. Less is more here, twice per week is a good limit. Leave-in treatments, overnight masks and hot oil treatments are just a few of the ways you can start enjoying its benefits.
Start by warming a small amount of moringa oil between your palms. Gently massage the oil into your scalp using your fingertips, focusing on areas that need extra nourishment, or where you experience dryness. The scalp massage helps restore moisture levels due to moringa oil’s anti-inflammatory properties, and distributing the oil along the entirety of your strands improves the overall health of your hair. When finished, rinse thoroughly.
Prior to shampooing, apply a conservative amount of moringa oil from roots to ends, ensuring complete coverage. Leave it on for 15 to 30 minutes to allow the protein-rich oil to penetrate the hair shaft and nourish the strands. This reparative, pre-shampoo treatment helps protect the hair from the drying effects of shampoo and leaves it feeling softer and more manageable. That glossy glow? You should be able to (literally) see it after this.
Hair masks are meant to strengthen and nourish hair, and moringa oil can be a superstar here. Try using a hair mask with moringa oil to improve its overall health.
This way is super simple. After washing and conditioning, apply a small amount of moringa oil to damp hair, starting from the mid-lengths to the ends. This acts as a leave-in conditioner, providing extra moisture, shine and protection throughout the day.
Moringa oil can also be used as a styling aid to tame flyaways and add shine to your finished hairstyle. Rub a small amount between your palms and lightly glide your hands over the hair, focusing on the areas that need extra control or shine, and voila—hair goals, unlocked.
Moringa oil can be combined with any number of other natural ingredients to double down on its benefits. We’ve done some of the heavy-lifting with a few homemade recipes for DIY hair masks and treatments to get your juices flowing. The great part is that you can customize the recipes based on your specific hair type or concerns. Here are a few popular choices to get you started.
Combine equal parts moringa oil and coconut oil (a rich source or protein) in a bowl. Warm the mixture slightly and apply it to your hair, focusing on the lengths and ends. Cover your hair with a shower cap or towel and leave the mask on for up to an hour. Rinse thoroughly and shampoo as usual.
You’ve probably used it on a sunburn, but have you tried aloe vera in a hair mask? Mix moringa oil with fresh aloe vera gel—rich in anti-inflammatory and collagen-producing properties—to create a hair treatment that soothes the scalp and promotes hair growth. Simply combine equal parts moringa oil and aloe vera, apply it to your scalp and hair and massage gently. (You can thank us later.)
This is one you may not know about. Honey is a natural humectant that helps attract and retain moisture in the hair, so adding it to a mask/treatment can work wonders. Combine 2 tablespoons of moringa oil with 1 tablespoon of raw honey. Mix well and apply to damp hair, focusing on the lengths and ends. Cover your hair with a shower cap or towel and leave the treatment on for 1-2 hours.
Eggs are packed with proteins and collagen, which can help strengthen and repair the hair and give it an extra dose of shine. Simply whisk together an egg with 1 tablespoon of moringa oil until it creates a smooth paste. Apply the mixture to your (clean and dry) scalp and hair, covering it from roots to ends. Leave it on for 30 minutes and rinse with cool water.
The quality and freshness of moringa oil greatly impacts its effectiveness. Whether you're purchasing moringa oil for the first time or looking to ensure its longevity, these tips will guide you in making the right choices. Understanding how to choose and store it properly will help you maximize the oil’s potential (and your dollar!) and enjoy its nourishing properties for your hair.
Opt for products that are cold-pressed and organic. Again, cold-pressed oils are extracted without the use of heat, preserving the natural nutrients and properties of the oil, while organic moringa oil is free from pesticides and harmful chemicals, ensuring a pure and high-quality product.
Pay special attention to the source of the moringa oil you’re considering. Common sense tells us that choosing those derived from reputable and trustworthy sources is ideal. Look for oils that are sourced from regions known for their moringa cultivation and have a reputation for producing high-quality products. Examine the color and smell: High-quality moringa oil typically has a pale yellow or greenish color. It should also have a mild, nutty aroma.
Moringa oil is sensitive to light and air, which can lead to oxidation and degradation of its beneficial properties. With that in mind, look for oils that are packaged in dark glass bottles or containers that help protect the oil from light exposure. Alternatively, try to avoid those packaged in plastic or clear containers.
In order to preserve the freshness and quality (read: beneficial potency) of moringa oil, store it in a cool, dark place away from direct sunlight and heat sources. Avoid storing it in humid environments, as moisture can promote the growth of bacteria or mold. Proper storage will help maintain the oil's integrity and extend its shelf life.
While the hair care benefits of moringa oil are inarguable, certain people may experience adverse reactions or sensitivities. Conclusive research is not available, so like any product, it’s always best to take a few precautions. We’d also be remiss not to mention that pregnant or breastfeeding individuals should consult with a healthcare professional before using anything new—like moringa oil.
Every person experiences different reactions to different things, so if you have known allergies to plants or seeds, it’s best to perform a patch test before applying moringa oil (extracted from seeds, remember) to your hair or scalp. Apply a small amount of diluted oil to a small area of your skin and monitor for any adverse reactions like redness, itching or swelling.
Though generally well-tolerated, those prone to sensitive skin may experience mild irritation or sensitivity. To minimize the risk of skin reactions, remember to dilute moringa oil with a carrier oil (like we mentioned before), such as coconut or jojoba oil, before applying it to the skin or scalp. This can help prevent any potential irritation and allow for better absorption.
Contaminated oils of any sort may lead to skin irritations or other adverse effects. To ensure the moringa oil you purchase is of the highest possible quality, choose reputable brands or sources that provide transparent information about the sourcing, extraction methods and third-party testing.
Healthy hair is (always) within reach, and moringa oil—along with its power packed properties—is here to get you started on upping your hair care game. Pay attention to who and where you’re buying the oil from and give one of the DIY treatments or masks a try to start reaping the rewards of moringa oil and the other natural oil products available. Or if you’re feeling like you could use the assistance of an expert, our hair care gurus are always available to help. Use our salon locator to find one near you. Here’s to the best hair yet!
by Morgan Hanson, featured contributor