There’s no debating that moisturizing oils are an important pillar of any hair (or skin) routine. You’ve likely heard all about jojoba, argan, and perhaps even pracaxi oil, but what about moringa oil? Dermatologist Lucy Chen tells us that the "pretty dense, rich, fatty oil with a very soft peanut, earthy scent" has become a hot new commodity for those seeking out natural hair care ingredients. But given all of the hair oils out there, we can't help but wonder what makes moringa deserving of our attention—and a place in our hair care regimen. So to get all the facts, we consulted Chen as well as dermatologist Purvisha Patel and trichologist Shab Reslan.
Meet the Expert
Keep reading to find out the benefits of moringa oil for hair.
What Is Moringa Oil?
Moringa oil is a multi-purpose oil dating back thousands of years that has been used in everything from skincare to cooking. It's derived from the seeds of Moringa Oleifera—a tree native to Himalayan mountains but also grown in India, Africa, and Haiti.
- Type of ingredient: Hydrator and anti-inflammatory
- Main benefits: Moisturizes, strengthens, and protects hair
- Who should use it: Dry, brittle, or color-treated hair
- How often can you use it: Weekly, or as often as you'd like
- Works well with: Other carrier oils to lessen potency and assist with absorption
- Don’t use with: Patel cautions against mixing it with other essential oils since it can potentially cause an allergic reaction.
Benefits of Moringa Oil for Hair
Moringa oil is chock full of the good stuff; meaning: fatty acids, nutrients, and antioxidants. “Because of its almost never-ending list of benefits for the hair, skin, and body, moringa oil is a popular ingredient in cosmetics and dermatology,” says Chen. Here's what it can do for you:
- Stimulates a healthy scalp: "Moringa oil’s standout property is its concentration of monounsaturated fats made up mostly of oleic acid. This type of fatty acid is excellent for cleansing the scalp while protecting its moisture levels," explains Reslan. Meanwhile, its anti-inflammatory properties help with scalp scaling, adds Patel.
- May promote hair growth: “It is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which locks in moisture and also promotes hair growth," Chen tells us.
- Strengthens hair: "The high protein content [of moringa oil] can also help restructure your hair and strengthen it," says Reslan. “It has zinc that helps with keratin production, and this can help strengthen hair," continues Patel.
- Improves shine and elasticity: Moringa oil can revitalize dull, brittle strands. “It is also a natural conditioner for shiny and bouncy hair thanks to having one of the highest naturally occurring behenic acid levels, a common ingredient in conditioners,” says Chen.
- Hydrates and protects: According to Patel, moringa oil acts as a protectant and moisturizer for hair. Chen adds that it does so by protecting strands against sun damage and color depletion.
- Reverses damage: "The seeds of a moringa tree are also packed with amino acids, which can help repair split ends,” notes Chen.
Hair Type Considerations
While any hair type can benefit from moringa oil, those with dry and/or damaged strands will reap the most rewards. It’s also a great option for those with color-treated tresses. And in case you've got sensitive skin—scalp included—that shouldn't deter you from trying this natural oil. In fact, “Moringa oil is generally not an irritating oil, and due to its anti-inflammatory properties, helps inflamed skin,” explains Patel. Moringa oil actually mimics the natural oils our bodies produce, which makes irritation pretty unlikely to occur, adds Chen. However, to be safe, she recommends performing a patch test first.
How to Use Moringa Oil for Hair
Thanks to moringa oil's deep conditioning benefits, it can be incorporated into your routine as a treatment for both hair and scalp. Just keep in mind: "As with most oils, moringa oil can be difficult to rinse out if left on or reapplied on the hair and scalp for an extended period of time," says Reslan. She advises using it alongside a weekly cleansing shampoo since that will help to prevent any excess build-up that can clog your scalp and your hair. The best part? After using moringa oil, you can begin to see results immediately, she tells us.
- Try as a scalp treatment: Not only do scalp massages feel good, but as it turns out, they're also good for you. "[Moringa oil] can be used for a scalp massage to fight against dandruff or dry, flaky scalp," comments Chen. Patel agrees: “Moringa oil works well when massaged into the scalp. It has anti-inflammatory properties to help with scalp scaling and moisturizes well."
- Use with a weekly cleansing shampoo: "The most effective method of using moringa oil is to clarify your hair and scalp with a deep cleansing shampoo, towel dry your hair really well but gently, apply your oil and allow to penetrate for you a maximum of 20 minutes before you hop back in the shower and proceed with your daily shampoo and conditioner," says Reslan.
The Best Products With Moringa Oil
Reslan names this lightweight conditioner as one of her favorite products with moringa oil. It's also got Himalayan wild cherry, neem, and fenugreek to bring you healthy and hydrated hair. Did we mention it doubles as a detangler? #nomoreknots.
Although identified as a skincare brand, Kiehl's also boasts a stellar line of hair care products. Take this shampoo infused with moringa tree oil, for instance. Whether your mane's sad state is a result of heat styling, a dye job, or maybe just genetics, it brings hair hope—in the form of enhanced shine and nourishing moisture, that is.
What do you get when you combine moringa, baobab, and ylang-ylang oils with apple amino acids? A trichologist-approved gamechanger for irritated scalps (duh). For best results, mix this hair cleanse with water until forming a lather prior to application. FYI: the more lather, the better the cleanse.
We wrote about this treatment oil before and we'll do it again—it's that good. Featuring a blend of jojoba and moringa oils, it can benefit all hair types and textures. And depending on your concern (split ends, dry scalp, dull strands, or all of the above), you can use it alone as an overnight treatment, combine it with a hair mask, or try it as a pre-wash scalp massage. The possibilities are endless.
When it comes to keeping colored tresses vibrant, the struggle is real. Fortunately, we've got a few tricks up our sleeve for keeping color from fading—including using the right products. Enter: Rahua's Color Full Conditioner. With its formula of sustainably sourced ingredients like Amazonian lilac clay, plus moringa and flaxseed oils, it nourishes and repairs damaged strands—dyed or not. Soon you'll be saying bye-bye, brassiness, and hello, shine.
Is the price of moringa oil indicative of its quality?
"It is a relatively inexpensive oil and increased cost should be correlated with the addition of more active ingredients, or a more extensive cold-pressing extraction technique,” explains Patel. “Like most oils and extracts, the purity of the product may be correlated with a higher price point. But as there is no regulation with quality and sales with oils and extracts—each bottle may vary from the next in concentration,” he adds.
How can I check moringa oil for good quality?
“The oil should smell slightly nutty and be a pale yellow,” says Patel. And always read the ingredient list—believe it or not, some brands may have little or no moringa oil included in their formula.
Is moringa oil lightweight or heavy?
From a texture standpoint, the thickness of the oil depends on whether or not there are filler oils mixed with it. “Pure moringa oil should be a medium olive-oil consistency,” shares Patel.
Leone A, Spada A, Battezzati A, Schiraldi A, Aristil J, Bertoli S. Moringa oleifera Seeds and Oil: Characteristics and Uses for Human Health. Int J Mol Sci. 2016 Dec 20;17(12):2141. doi: 10.3390/ijms17122141.
Nadeem M, Imran M. Promising features of Moringa oleifera oil: recent updates and perspectives. Lipids Health Dis. 2016 Dec 8;15(1):212. doi: 10.1186/s12944-016-0379-0