African Botanics Pure Marula Cleansing Oil: Review

I’ve been playing with quite a few things from African Botanics lately. I will be going through their line one by one. First up is The Pure Marula Cleansing Oil. Details per African Botanics:

An antioxidant and omega-rich cleansing oil designed for all skin types including thirsty, problematic, inflamed and sensitive. Formulated with a distinct African oil complex of anti-inflammatory Marula, Moringa and Baobab. Deeply cleanses, dissolves make-up, pollution, surface impurities, skin congestion and SPF without causing irritation or skin dehydration whilst maintaining skin’s natural protective barrier. Minimizes redness, reduces irritation and stimulates microcirculation. Leaves skin feeling clean, supple, smooth and refreshed with refined clarity ready for care. Restores skin’s natural balance and gently exfoliates with AHA Fruit Acids.

Key Benefits • Dissolves make-up, pollution and SPF • Decongests the skin • Minimizes redness and reduces irritation • Gently exfoliates and refines • Maintains the natural balance of the skin.

Up until the last few months I had really only used one cleansing oil–Tata Harper. I have been much more into cleansing oil balms than the straight oils. I absolutely love using an oil based cleanser to remove my makeup and SPF then follow it with a second cleanse with some kind of light non-drying cleanser. I’ve branched out during my skincare splurge the last few months into some other cleansing oils. A cleansing oil is a big sensory experience. You can get the same effect from a cleansing balm however there’s something about using an oil that is more pleasurable.

African Botanics packages their Pure Marula Cleansing Oil in a white glass pump. Perfecto. Luxe, sleek, minimal and heavy weight–It’s all that I want from a package. The oil has an almost serum like texture when it pumps out. It’s thicker than just a standard oil. It quickly thins out to an oil texture when it warms in your hands on application. The oil is light in color and has a light, slightly sweet and fruity scent. It’s a very nice light, pleasant scent.

The retail is $60 for 100 ml. While it’s not cheap it’s not out of range. Similar products by Tata Harper are in the same range as well as May Lindstrom which is actually more expensive. This removes makeup with ease and leaves my skin feeling super soft. With the first few uses this is pleasant and seems like a good oil cleanser. After using this at least 4-5 nights a week for almost two months I’ve noticed this has made my skin feel softer in general and more smooth in texture. It has all the benefits of an oil cleanser–hydration and superior makeup removal, plus the benefits of an AHA acid product–exfoliation and smoothing the skin. What’s not to love?

Official Directions for Use(per current website) AM/PM begin with dry hands and face. Warm 3 to 4 pumps (more if needed) of oil between hands and massage for 1 minute evenly using a circular motion over face and neck concentrating on forehead, nose, cheeks and chin. Apply warm water to form a light emulsion, then rinse thoroughly. Repeat if necessary. Caution: Avoid the eye area. For external use only.

Directions for Use(per box) You’ll notice they’re different. The website directions say don’t use on the eyes. However, the box says it’s OK to use on the eyes. I noticed this discrepancy on their Instagram when they stated not to use it on the eyes because of the AHA but I had just received my product and remembered it said OK for eye use. I’m guessing I got an older product and they have recently changed their official directions for use.

For me the discrepancy is not a big deal. I only use a micellar style cleanser to remove eye makeup anyway and I never use oils or cleansers that I use on my face to remove eye makeup. I just happen to prefer a micellar water for eye makeup removal. It’s cleaner and there’s usually no stinging associated with micellar waters. You never know with a regular cleanser product if it stings the eyes until you try it once. I usually prefer not to guess and see if it stings.

This has ultimately been the most pleasurable and best cleansing oil I’ve used to date. It’s effective at removing all my makeup. It rinses clean away leaving no oily residue and isn’t heavy like some facial cleansing oils I’ve tried. The AHA leaves my skin super soft with stronger effects from continued use. It has a stellar ingredient list and no irritating scent. It earned a spot as a hero product.

Marula Oil is in an interesting ingredient. Details below from African Botanics:

Marula Oil is an all-natural, cold pressed, highly nutritious, very light textured oil. It is naturally soothing, fast-absorbing and suitable for all skin types including reactive and sensitive. Marula Oil is hand harvested by women in village collectives from the exotic fruit’s seed kernels of bio dynamic and drought resistant Marula trees, indigenous to Southern Africa and Madagascar.

The geographic position on the west edge of Southern Africa gives rise to certain climatic characteristics. The low rainfall and endless hours of bright sunshine create the perfect environment – unlike any other in the world – to produce exceptional growing conditions for the Marula trees to bear their annual fruit. This delicious fruit contains 4 times as much Vitamin C as an orange. Marula leaves and bark have wonderful properties but the skin care properties of natural Marula Oil are perhaps the best of all. This healing oil is widely used for its medicinal benefits by Southern African women and men and has been part of numerous beauty rituals for centuries to protect the skin and hair from the harsh and dry weather conditions.
Today’s modern scientific research reveals and confirms the secrets of Marula Oil. This multipurpose oil contains powerful antioxidants, high concentrations of nutrients and essential fatty acids that protect against environmental aggressors, help reverse photo-damage, boost cellular activity, hydrate at the deepest levels and repair the skin. Marula Oil has natural variations of colors ranging from a clear pale to golden-brown with a pleasant nutty-sweet aroma.

Marula Oil contains high levels of important antioxidants including Vitamin C, tocopherol (vitamin E), tochotrienol, phenolic compounds, essential amino acids and flavonoids that help cells renew and resist damaging effects of the environment. With regular use, Marula Oil delivers advanced protection against photo-aging – neutralizing free radicals, helps build healthy collagen, and provides antioxidant protection. More antioxidant protection means younger looking skin and better defense against premature skin aging.

Marula Oil is rich in essential fatty acids Omega 9 – oleic and Omega 6 – linoleic that deeply hydrate and reduce redness while nourishing, healing, moisturizing and improving skin elasticity. Marula Oil helps reduce transepidermal water loss and increases the smoothness of skin. Easily absorbed, Marula Oil supports the natural buildup of the skin’s lipid layers and possesses anti-inflammatory properties.


Glycerin, Sclerocarya Birrea(Marula)* Seed Oil, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, C12-13-Pareth 4, Moringa Oleifera (Moringa)* Seed Oil, Ricinus Communis (Castor) Seed Oil, Isoamyl Laurate, Silica, Adansonia Digitata (Baobab)* Seed Oil, Vaccinium Myrtillus Fruit (Bilberry) Extract, Saccharum Officinarum (Sugar Cane) Extract, Acer Saccharum (Sugar Maple) Extract, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis(Orange) Fruit Extract, Citrus Limon (Lemon) Extract, Citrus Paradisi (Pink Grapefruit) Essential Oil, Anthemis Nobilis (Roman Chamomile) Oil, Eriocephalus Punctulatus (Chamomile Cape) Essential Oil, Tocopherol, Vanilla Planifolia Oil, Santalum Album (Sandalwood) Essential Oil.* Wild-harvested and Fair Trade. Responsibly sourced. Never tested on animals. Formulated without silicones, mineral oils, parabens, allergens, phthalates, synthetic fragrances, PEGs and SLSs.

EDIT 10/15/17:

I was graciously given the newer version of this cleansing oil by African Botanics. I mentioned above the discrepancies in the box saying you could use this on your eyes but not online. Turns out it was reformulated. There is a difference in texture as well. The newer version has a slightly sleeker bottle with the same size product. The newer version is more of a gel texture that melts into an oil. The old version is more of an oil to begin with. They both smell the same so no difference there. I like the gel version it’s kind of fun. They seem to clean my face the same way and the differences aren’t huge enough to make it change my opinion of the product in any way.

Left new version, Right old version:

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