Great African seed oils for oily and dry skin

It’s been established that I love a good facial oil. In the past few years, we've seen a rise in African seed oils (oils extracted from seeds of African trees and plants)  in skincare. 

The oils are rich in fatty acids which have different skin benefits. Mainly moisturizing. So oils like shea butter, argan and marula are mad popular in moisturizing skin and hair care now.

Sometimes I just want to shout, “We know boo! Our ancestors have been sharing the tea for centuries!”

But that's counterproductive, so instead I made a list of uncommon yet great African seed oils that can work for oily and dry skin.

There's no cocoa butter, coconut, argan, marula etc on this list! We already know those are amazing.

Generally, oils rich in oleic acid are heavier and great for normal to dry skin. Oils rich in linoleic acid are thinner and great for normal to combo or oily skin.

We sadly live in a world where it's cheaper to get stuff from Amazon than a different African region. So I've linked 5 out of the 6 oils to Amazon, where you can purchase.

Unless you're in a region where your #blessed self can get them locally. In which case, DM me, I'd love your help in purchasing them for the Glow Closet.

But first...

How to buy high quality oils

  • Make sure to get cold pressed oils. Cold pressed means no heat has been used to extract the oils. Heat can get rid of essential nutrients.

  • Make sure the oil is 100% pure. This way, you get to enjoy all the benefits. Or know which oil irritates you and avoid it in future.

Baobab oil

An oleic-rich golden yellow oil got from the seeds of the baobab tree. The baobab tree is commonly found in Eastern and Southern Africa and is thought to be native to Madagascar.

It’s estimated that it takes 8-23 years before the baobab can produce seeds. Precious stuff! All the years I snacked on "mabuyu" (a Kenyan baobab seed snack), I didn't realize the snack was probably older than me.

Great for: Dry skin. Healing eczema.

Moringa oil

Moringa seed oil keeps the skin plump and flexible by protecting against collagen and elastin-degrading enzymes.

Great for: Dry skin. Improving skin texture.  Healing eczema.

Mafura butter

Mafura butter is extracted from the seeds of the Natal Mahogany, a tree which grows in Sub Saharan Africa. And yes this is the one popularized by Shea Moisture.

Great for: Dry skin.

Kalahari melon seed oil

An edible light yellow oil got from the seeds of the Kalahari Tsamma melon - a trailing herb native to the Kalahari and Sahara deserts.

Great for: Oily skin.

Manketti/Mongongo seed oil

A Vitamin E-rich oil extracted from the seeds of the Manketti/Mungongo tree which is native to Southern Africa.

Great for: Oily skin. Dry skin. Healing eczema.

This oil may also reduce scarring and keloids. I have a keloid on my chest, so I will be testing manketti oil soon.

Sour Plum/ Ximenia oil

For the longest time, I've known this tree by its Swahili name - Mtundakala. It's only when I was doing the research for this post that I learned its English name.

Great for: Dry skin.

This oil is so hard to find unless you're in Southern Africa. Y'all are lucky - marula, mongongo, Kalahari melon and ximenia oil are right there!

If you're in Southern Africa, get it from Essentially Natural here.

Update: If you're in Kampala you can get pure ximenia oil from Ximshea!

Have you tried any of these oils before? Let me know!