African Botanics Marula Neroli Infused Oil & Body Balm

There are plenty of people who have hopped on the Argan Oil bandwagon, but very few have made the connection between Africa and its wholly abundant oils. Argan isn’t the end all to anti-aging glory. A little recent sniffing around has brought to our attention a newcomer – Marula.

I’ve blogged about the hyper-specialized Marula before as I see it readying up to dethrone Argan’s reign. Why? It’s because Marula contains 70-80% Omega 9 fatty acid—meaning the skin absorbs it quickly and there’s never a greasy after feel. The carrier (found in abundance in Namibia, Botswana, Zambia and Zimbabwe) boasts of more antioxidants than Argan or Grapeseed oils, and is being touted as the next big anti-aging oil. Marula is also tremendously stable, outperforming all known natural liquid oils. Who know the desolate country is actually rich with powerful oils (not just Argan) which are never rushed through some manufacturing production process and well...really work wonders on the skin? Just let it roll a little Marula onto skin and see how it feels just so right.

The effectiveness of the Marula oil in cosmetics has a scientific explanation: the fruits of the marula tree contain much vitamin C - about four times as much as oranges - that demonstrably stimulates the collagen formation of the skin.

So, imagine my surprise when I found tucked away in the beachside enclave of Santa Monica was a little known brand – African Botanics, a line devoted solely to the merits of Marula. Oh sure, maybe you can try to peddle down to the beach score a bottle of the pure stuff for face. But, founders Craig and Julia Nolk take it up a notch by sourcing their extracts and essences from remote areas of the dry continent and launchied quite an indulgent collection of body care products rooted in Marula. All wholly organic, sustainable, vegan and free of the usual chemical fluff (parabens, petrochemicals, mineral oil, artificial anything, etc.)

As opposed to the excesses of crap found in scented face lotions, try the Neroli Infused Marula Oil ($85) – a face serum for oilier skin types which has nothing simpler than two ingredients: Marula and Neroli. While Vitamins C & E go straight to work on fighting free radicals, the shimmering scatter of Neroli acts as a balancing, astringent and antiseptic tonic, keeping oily spots in check. AF’s Neroli is one of smooth innocence, near tactile in its scent. You’ll be instantly won over by the brim of a flitting citrus and unequivocally airy oil. Quite a meticulously crafted serum, not at all trite even if it has two, linear oils and nothing in betwixt.

Keeping within the traditional of minimalism, the highly edited Firming Botanical Body Balm ($55) complements the portfolio of basics with a skillful rendering of Hibiscus in a base of Marula, Shea Butter, Jojoba and Rosehip oil. The balm feels firm yet spreadable but wildly luxurious. I mean – ultra-luxe. It used to be a simple affair of waxes. People wanted a tub of something gooey and a quick fix from it. But, now people want the experience. They want to touch something sublime, smell something unique. From African Botanics comes a sensory flux of shiny layered oils to breathe new life into lackluster or distressed skin on hands, feet and anywhere else while helping to boost the skin's renewing ability when exposed to harsh conditions. It’s the wax-and-oil formula elevated to a subtle form of art. The Hibiscus brings an effervescent sparkle of something sophisticated and commands the senses. Why the fittingly sweet Hibiscus is such an overlooked essence is beyond me. Precious commodity? Perhaps. Rare to source? Perhaps. Anyone care to offer an answer here?

Marula makes exquisite sense when blended aromatic extracts, particularly in these two equally welcomed products. Though no one else has done this to date. Could tastefully understand brand be poised to have its skincare moment? Well, you should know that the treatments are made in South Africa, and pretty surely in small, fresh batches. And, isn’t this the ultimate luxury of them all?

Price: $$
Scent Classification: Floral
Viscosity: Ultralight viscosity