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Picture yourself in a lush, Amazonian rainforest, bathing in a waterfall. Pretty nice, right? Unfortunately, not all of us can drop everything and pursue a lifestyle as a rainforest nymph, but we can try to replicate some of that magic at home with the right tropical haircare ingredients. (After all, mystical nymph hair sounds pretty nice, too.)
Start with maracuja oil, a super-hydrating and deeply restorative oil derived from yellow passionfruit (you may also see it listed as passionfruit seed oil, passionfruit oil, or passion flower oil). Typically sourced from South American rainforests, this powerhouse ingredient offers far more than the hydration of refreshing waterfall showers. “This delicious fruit is more than what meets the eye,” says cosmetic chemist Dr. Shuting Hu. “It’s also packed with dense nutrients and vitamins.”
Ready to take a trip to the rainforest? We asked hair experts to give us a rundown of all the great, juicy benefits of maracuja oil and how we can use it to get our best hair yet. Keep reading to learn all about maracuja oil for hair, including some standout products that feature the ingredient.
Meet the Expert
- Dr. Shuting Hu is a cosmetic chemist and a founder of Acaderma, a science-focused skincare brand that uses its position to help women in need with education and professional training.
- Krupa Koestline is a cosmetic chemist and the founder of KKT Consultants, which works with clients on developing safe, effective products with clean ingredients.
- Ginger King is a cosmetic chemist and the founder of Grace Kingdom Beauty, which offers services in business advisory, brand concept development, product development and evaluation, and more.
What Is Maracuja Oil?
Derived from yellow passionfruit, maracuja oil is a hair and skincare ingredient packed with omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, vitamins A, E, and F, and a host of other beneficial antioxidants. Alone, it’s usually a golden-hued oil with a natural fruity fragrance—though it's often combined with other ingredients in conditioning and strengthening products.
Because of its nutritious profile and hydrating properties, maracuja oil has the potential to fortify our hair structure’s natural lipids and prevent breakage and split ends, making for softer, smoother, and healthier hair overall.
Maracuja Oil for Hair
Type of Ingredient: Strengthener and conditioner
Main Benefits: Hydrates hair, provides antioxidants, and repairs damage
Who Should Use It: All hair types can benefit, but dry or damaged hair will see the most noticeable results.
How Often to Use It: As often as needed—two to three times per week is a good frequency for maintenance.
Works Well With: Most other ingredients, especially those with properties that boost or complement its hydrating and antioxidant benefits.
Don’t Use With: Maracuja oil is safe to combine with most, if not all, ingredients.
Benefits of Maracuja Oil for Hair
- Hydrates and conditions: Vitamins A, F, and E are all great hydrators for dry or damaged hair types. They’re also great conditioning agents, which means softer, smoother hair. “It’s also light to the touch and non-greasy, so it makes hair glossy,” says cosmetic chemist Ginger King.
- Strengthens and nourishes: Vitamin F is an essential fatty acid made up of omega-3 and omega-6 that can bind to damaged hair follicles and fortify them (hair lipids are naturally composed of about 85% saturated and unsaturated fatty acids). It's also an emollient, meaning it locks in moisture and nutrients.
- Protects against damage and environmental aggressors: Vitamin E is an antioxidant, which may help to reduce stress from free radicals or pollution, which ultimately can prevent breakage.
- Scalp support: “Because of its comparatively high content of Vitamin E and Vitamin F, Maracuja oil could be great for conditioning and scalp health,” says clean cosmetic chemist Krupa Koestline. Hu agrees and adds that the hydrating properties could also help soothe dry, irritated scalps. And while no product will magically stimulate hair growth, a healthy scalp can provide the best possible environment for growth.
Hair Type Considerations
All hair types can benefit from the use of maracuja oil, but dry or damaged hair in need of some conditioning and strengthening will have the most noticeable results—coarse, wavy, and textured hair types, especially.
How to Use Maracuja Oil for Hair
If you're not sure how to use maracuja oil, know there are a few ways to introduce this tropical ingredient into your haircare routine. The first and easiest method is to find a shampoo, conditioner, or other product that incorporates the ingredient in the formula.
If you want to use pure maracuja oil as a treatment, you have a few other options. “I suggest starting with a dime size amount of maracuja oil and warming it by gently rubbing [your] hands together,” says Hu. “For the purpose of treating dry hair, you can start at your ends and gently work your way up—but stop short of the scalp.”
You can also use it as a pre-shampoo treatment. “As with any hair oils, I would recommend applying it to your hair and scalp before a shower and leaving it on for at least 30 minutes before rinsing it off,” Koestline says.
But the most important thing to remember when working with hair oil is to be sparing. “A little goes a long way, so not much is needed,” Hu advises.
The Best Hair Products with Maracuja Oil
Tarte is synonymous with maracuja oil. “They were the first ones using this ingredient,” King says. This OG multitasker isn’t just for hair—you can also use it on your skin and nails for overnight nourishment or to hydrate cuticles.
This lightweight, non-greasy hair treatment is formulated with passionfruit seed oil and pracaxi seed oil. Not only does it give you smooth, shiny hair, but it’s also a great heat protectant thanks to avocado oil.
If adding an oil to your routine sounds like too much work, look for a shampoo or conditioner that includes it in the formula. This luxe shampoo uses maracuja oil to replenish moisture to dried-out strands, while biotin and amino acids double down on strengthening hair follicles.
This organic, 100% maracuja oil is a straightforward entry point to incorporating the ingredient into your routine. Use it as a pre-rinse conditioner or as a finishing touch to smooth out a finished style.
Prose will customize a hair oil based on a profile you build on the brand's website—so while you’re not guaranteed to get maracuja oil in there, it is one of their most touted ingredients. We especially appreciate that they source their passionfruit seeds sustainably, from unused maracuja seeds in the food industry.