“Just when we thought we’d gotten our yearly/lifely dose of skin and hair oils, another super ingredient recently slipped across our desks: mongongo oil. When I first caught wind of the oil — which has been cropping up in hair and skin-care products left and right — my first reaction was, mongon…what?! It’s not necessarily a well-known additive (yet!), but we predict that you’re going to be hearing about it more.
The oil is derived from the fruit of the manketti tree (which has the ability to thrive in extreme weather conditions in Sub-Saharan Africa) and has been used for centuries in skin care, according to Anita Sun, an esthetician and co-founder of Dermovia. « The egg-shaped fruit is not only extremely nutritious, [but it] has many useful properties as a super emollient and protectant for both skin and hair, » she explains. Each seed contains a good amount of vitamin E (an antioxidant that helps stave off skin damage and signs of aging), as well as nutrients like calcium, copper, and zinc.
Mongongo oil is also high in polyunsaturated fatty acids, which are known to remain on the skin longer than saturated fatty acids (think coconut oil) or monounsaturated oils (jojoba and almond oils), explains Sun. « [The fatty acids] deliver a protective, emollient layer on the surface of the skin and act as a barrier to prevent moisture from escaping through the pores, » she says. « These fatty acids can retain moisture and keep the skin glowing, while smoothing out rough texture and diminishing the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines. » Fountain of youth, is that you?
All of these benefits piqued the interest of Drunk Elephant founder Tiffany Masterson, who recently began using the ingredient in her brand’s products. But it was the alpha-Eleostearic acid (which adds another layer of sun protection) that really won her over. « When you apply the oil to your skin, it actually will create a shield over your skin or hair when it’s hit by UV rays, » she explains. « When you go outside and you have it on your lips or skin or hair — which is how they use it in Africa, they coat themselves in [the oil] — it turns into a protectant. »
Read the entire article written by TAYLOR BRYANT on Refinery 29
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