Since I live a nonstop, fit-everything-into-a-day kind of lifestyle, I reach for multitasking products to make my beauty routine just a smidgen easier. My latest beauty craze: oils. Oils are not only rich in moisture, but they have other properties that help keep my skin, hair, and nails healthy without the addition of any harsh ingredients. But there is a new(ish) plant oil that's caught my attention, and now I want to shout it from the rooftops.
Enter in, moringa oil. It's native to India, and beauty brands are catching wind of all of its benefits including healthy aging, balancing moisture, and speeding up the healing process of wounded skin. Intrigued, yet? We tapped two dermatologists to get the scoop on moringa oil and why it's the multitasking oil you need, stat.
What is moringa oil?
Moringa oil is the oil that comes from the moringa oleifera tree1 indigenous to the Himalayan mountains in Northern India. The moringa tree is used to make several varieties or moringa products, including moringa powder.
"The oil is loaded with omega fatty acids and antioxidants, which have a variety of benefits to the skin from soothing irritation to reducing fine lines and wrinkles," says board-certified dermatologist Deanne Mraz Robinson, M.D., FAAD. It's also chock-full of moisture and works on the hair, skin, and nails.
Moringa oil is also made up of monounsaturated fatty acids and oleic acids that promote a strong skin barrier (more on that later). It's basically the multitasking oil your beauty routine is missing.
What are the beauty benefits of moringa oil?
Of course, moringa oil is hydrating, but there's so much more to this plant oil. Ahead, find six reasons to use moringa oil on your hair, skin, and nails:
It strengthens the skin barrier.
According to board-certified dermatologist Hadley King, M.D., moringa oil is made up of 40% monounsaturated fatty acids, with 70% of that being oleic acid. "This combination makes moringa oil great for supporting the skin barrier," King says. A strong skin barrier helps to keep moisture in and protect against environmental elements like sunlight, pollution, and free radicals. The stronger the barrier, the more healthy, balanced, and hydrated your skin will be.
It can help slow signs of aging.
Antioxidants are a go-to ingredient for keeping those premature wrinkles and lines at bay. "Because of its high content of vitamin E, moringa oil has potent antioxidant properties," King says. When it comes to aging, antioxidants help to neutralize free radicals that would otherwise damage our skin cells. One 2014 study found that the use of moringa leaf extract cream on the skin enhanced skin revitalization2 and supported anti-aging skin effects.
It can help balance moisture levels in the hair and scalp.
Like almond and argan oils, moringa oil can help keep strands moisturized without weighing them down. And since it's similar to the oil that our skin naturally produces, it can help balance sebum production on the scalp, too. You can massage the oil into your scalp or rub a dollop from root to tips for added sheen and hydration.
It may help with inflammation and wounded skin.
Thanks to the omega fatty acids and antioxidants in this oil, moringa oil can actually help soothe inflammation and wounded skin. Robinson says that the vitamins E, A, and C in moringa oil can help heal active lesions, cuts, and burns. One study found that nanofibers with moringa extracts had better wound healing3 than those without.
It may help control eczema and psoriasis flare-ups.
If you suffer from skin conditions like eczema or psoriasis, you know how much of a pain (an annoyance) flare-ups can be. While there is no cure for these at this time, being smart about the topicals you use can help with the symptoms. "Moringa oil has antimicrobial properties making it a good choice for patients suffering from eczema flares," Robinson says. Moringa oil is also an emollient: It softens the skin by filling in micro-cracks, so it’s a great soothing option for inflamed patches of skin.
It soothes dry cuticles and hands.
If you want to practice better nail and hand health, properly hydrated cuticles are a must. "Moringa oil is great for dry, cracked cuticles," Robinson says. "It nourishes and prevents irritation from outside pathogens." But while you're there, don't just focus on the cuticles: you can rub this hydrating oil all over your hands for a deep hydrating treatment, cuticles included.
Who should use it?
"Most skin types see moringa oil as a positive addition," says Robinson. Since it helps with a slew of beauty concerns from wrinkles to cuticles, there are so many different uses for this oil. But as always, when incorporating any new product or ingredient into your regimen, it's always best to apply on a test area to avoid any widespread reaction.
How to use moringa oil.
As a hair oil.
Use moringa oil post-rinse to hydrate dry strands and add shine, without weighing them down. And as mentioned, moringa oil makes a great scalp treatment to simultaneously moisturize and help balance oil-production. Massage the oil into your scalp (a la scalp massage) or work it into the strands, root to tips, for added sheen and hydration.
As a moisturizer.
You can find moringa oil in a slew of creams and lotions (for face and body), or you can always just use the straight oil to seal in moisture on the skin. Simply warm it up between your palms, press onto damp skin, and feel your skin soothe. Or, you can add a few drops into your favorite moisturizer for extra antioxidants.
As cuticle oil or hand treatment.
Dry, flaky cuticles, no more: Massage some moringa oil into your nailbeds to cushion them with moisture. Feel free to coat them in the nourishing oil whenever they're feeling rough and dry—better yet, throw on some gloves and call it a hand mask.
The final takeaway.
Moringa oil is a natural do-it-all ingredient that can be applied from head-to-toe. It's great for oily and dry skin and can even help improve inflammatory skin conditions. But all in all, it's definitely an oil you'll want to have in your medicine cabinet.
Andrea Jordan is a beauty and lifestyle freelance writer covering topics from hair and skincare to family and home. She received her bachelor's in Magazine Journalism from Temple University and you can find her work at top publications like InStyle, PopSugar, StyleCaster, Business Insider, PureWow and OprahMag. When she's not writing, you can find Andrea tackling new recipes in the kitchen or babysitting one of her many nieces and nephews. She currently resides in New Jersey with her husband and cat, Silas.