5 hair & skin care oils indigenous to Africa

African essential oils

This blog posts highlights five ‘super’ oils originating from the African continent and their benefits for skin and hair.  Most of these oils are cold pressed to preserve the active ingredients from the kernels. Apart from cosmetic use, the fruits and cracked nuts of various indigenous trees are also consumed and used as spices and preservatives. Some of the oils like the Manketti and the Kalahari Melon tree oils have historically been used by the San communities of the Kalahari to offer protection from the desert sun as well as for moisturising skin.

Indigenous Oils-01

1. Baobab Oil

Origin: The Baobab tree is indigenous to Southern Africa and other tropical African countries

Fun Fact: The Big Sunland Baobab located Modjadjiskloof in Limpopo Province – South Africa is estimated to be around 6000 years old and measures 22 meters high and ~47 meters in circumference


  • Revive dull and dry hair
  • Nourishes and heals damaged skin, soothe chapped lips
  • Natural cleanser and can be used as an everyday moisturiser
  • Boosts collagen production
  •  Anti-inflammatory properties, it can help treat inflammatory skin conditions like eczema

Read more on the benefits of baobab oil here

2. Marula Oil

Origin: The Marula tree is indigenous to Southern Africa and Madagascar

Fun Fact: The delicious fruit of the Marula is made into jelly, brewed as a beer, eaten raw and used commercially for the production of the Amarula liqueur.


  • Regenerative, cell renewal properties
  • Reduce the appearance of scars and stretch marks
  • Flawlessly smooth, remarkably soft skin
  • Nourishes hair and reduces frizz
  • Treats brittle nails

Read more on the benefits of marula oil here 

3. Kalahari Melon/Tsama Oil

Origin: The Kalahari Melon tree is indigenous to the Kalahari sands of Namibia, Botswana, south-western Zambia and western Zimbabwe

Fun Fact: The bushmen of the Kalahari can survive for six weeks in the desert on Kalahari melons alone.


  • Natural cleanser which helps to unclog pores and remove excess sebum from the skin
  • Reduces skin inflammation and helps to fight acne
  • Natural baby oil
  • Conditioner for hair and scalp containing antioxidants and vitamins A, C and E help to hydrate and tighten skin
  • Helps to replace damaged tissue and to reduce the appearance of scars

Read more on the benefits of Kalahari Melon Oil here

4. Mangongo/Manketti Oil

Origin: The Mangongo/Manketti tree is indigenous to Sub-Saharan Africa

Fun Fact: Archaeological evidence has shown that Manketti fruits have been consumed amongst San communities for over 7,000 years


  • Rich in antioxidants and protects against skin damage and ageing
  • Soothes inflamed scalp and reduces dandruff
  • Promotes hair growth and health
  • Natural sunscreen – offers UV protection
  • Less comedogenic than most oils and less likely to block pores

Read more on the benefits of Mangongo Oil here

5. Argan Oil

Origin: The Argan tree is endemic to Morocco

Fun Fact: The Moroccan Argan forest was designated a UNESCO World Heritage in 1998


  • Tames frizz and gives hair a healthy natural shine
  • Effective skin moisturiser
  • Safe to use during pregnancy – keeps skin and hair hydrated, soft and healthy
  • Soothes sore and damages skin and speeds up healing process
  • Balances oily or dry skin and helps clear up acne

Read more on the benefits of Argan Oil here

Have you tried any of these oils? What are your best oils originating from Africa?

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