Argan oil has become hugely popular for use in natural skincare and haircare in the last few years. It’s an incredibly useful oil both as a food and as a cosmetic ingredient. It’s a luxuriously light yet deeply moisturising oil, and it’s found in just one part of the world – Morocco. It’s so rare, it’s earned the nickname ‘liquid gold’.
How is it harvested?
The argan tree (Argania spinosa) has been used by the Moroccan Berbers for generations. Argan oil is extracted from the kernel of the argan fruit. The fruit is crushed so it’s easier to extract the kernel, and the fruit can then be dried and fed to the sheep, goats and camels when there’s a shortage of other food for them. The kernel is removed and crushed and the oil extracted. The rest of the kernel can be dried and used for fuel, and the leaves of the tree can also be used to feed domestic animals.
Because argan oil is found only in a particular area of Morocco, and it’s produced by the women in this area, it’s soaring popularity has meant jobs and a steady income for the women and families of this area.
Argan oil is not only used cosmetically, it’s also used in cooking, although generally the kernels are roasted first before extracting the oil for cooking. Roasting the kernels allows more oil to be extracted, which is why argan oil for cooking is generally cheaper than that for cosmetic use.
Unroasted, unrefined Argan oil has a distinctive, rather strong smell. It goes away a few minutes after applying. Some manufacturers deodorise the oil to remove the strong smell, but in the process some of the nutrients and benefits of the oil are removed as well.
What’s so good about Argan oil?
According to Mountain Rose Herbs:
“Alive with skin-loving nutrients, Argan oil helps to heal and is said to protect from the signs of aging. Argan oil is light and easily absorbed into the skin, making it a crucial ingredient in nourishing and hydrating skin care products.
Argan oil contains tocopherols and phenols, carotenes, squaline and fatty acids, making it a truly luxurious oil. It is often used in skin, nail and hair treatments to deliver deep hydration, strengthen brittle hair and nails and to prevent blemishes.”
The high levels of Vitamin E, tocopherols and 80% fatty acids make it useful in preventing signs of aging.
Adding argan oil to your diet has been shown to prevent and treat cardiovascular disease by lowering blood pressure.
What should you look for when you’re buying Argan Oil?
As always when you’re looking for natural skincare, and especially when you’re seeking oils, look for organic, cold pressed, unrefined argan oil that hasn’t been deodorised. It’s not cheap, but then you don’t need a lot of it.
What can you use Argan oil for?
I use argan oil primarily for face and hair, but it’s also very good to use in cooking and has lots of health benefits when taken internally.
- I put a couple of drops of argan oil into my hands and then smooth them over the ends of my hair to help reduce flyaways.
- Argan oil is lovely to use as a deep moisturising mask for your hair. Massage argan oil into your scalp and hair, wrap your hair in a towel and leave overnight or at least for a few hours. Shampoo as normal in the morning, and your hair will be sleek and tamed.
- You can also use argan oil as a heat protector before straightening. Just smooth a few drops over your hair before using the tongs.
- Argan oil is non comedogenic (meaning that it won’t block your pores), so it’s a great oil to use for acne. You can use argan oil in the oil cleansing method [link to oil cleansing article on blog], or you can use it as a moisturising facial oil. Argan oil will also help reduce inflammation and promotes healing.
- Use it as a facial moisturiser. I like to smooth a couple of drops over my face after cleansing every night, and then you can apply your moisturiser over the top as normal for deep hydration while you sleep.
- Pregnant women can use argan oil to help prevent stretchmarks. The high vitamin E content can help increase the elasticity of the skin (which your belly sure needs when you’re pregnant!)
- For a moisturising scrub, add a few drops of argan oil to a spoonful of brown sugar. It makes a very simple, yet very effective moisturising foot scrub. Of course, you don’t just have to use it on your feet – use it anywhere on your body.
- Argan oil is also great to use as a moisturiser after shaving, as it can help reduce the discomfort of razor burn as it’s a great anti-inflammatory.
- You can use straight argan oil as a lip conditioner, or you can use a lip balm that contains argan oil to get the benefits on the go.
- I also like to keep a bottle of argan oil next to the bed so that I can smooth it on my cuticles last thing at night. I find that my nails aren’t as dry and I don’t get hangnails.
Have you used Argan oil? What do you use it for? Share below!
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