I gave all my three sisters Argan oil for Christmas this year. It wasn’t because I was feeling lazy – I just had to introduce them to one of my favourite oils and its wonderous benefits.
Where does Argan oil come from?
Argan oil is prepared from unroasted kernels of the argan tree fruit nuts. The argan trees are exclusive to the dry arid lands of southwest Morocco, one of the poorest areas of the country. Oil extraction requires a tedious multistep process and is primarily undertaken by all-women cooperatives, providing a welcomed financial stream and educational platform for women in this rural part of Morocco. The Argan forest, which covers about 8,280 km2, was declared a Biosphere Reserve by United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization UNESCO, protecting these rare trees.
So why do I love this wonderous oil so much!!
According to Dr Zoubida Charrouf, Professor of Chemistry at the Mohamed V. University in Morocco, argan oil has traditionally been used in Morocco as a topical oil to a number of skin complaints from dry skin, acne, psoriasis, eczema to wrinkles, joint pain, and skin inflammation.
Dubbed as “Morocco’s liquid gold”, by The New York Times, Argan oil has so many beautifying applications: Here are a few ways you can reap its benefits:
- Night and day face moisturizer: Cleanse your skin and then add a few drops of argan oil, gently massaging over your face and neck in small circular movements for smooth, supple skin. I've been 'dewing' my skin with argan oil throughout the winter months and honestly, it
- Body moisturizer: After a bath or shower, apply argan oil over your entire body to minimize itching and dry skin
- Cuticle softner: Massage a drop into each cuticle to soften cuticles and prevent dry, brittle nails
- Heel de-cracker: Dry brush your heels, rinse off the dry skin, then place a few drops over your heels and massage in. For lasting results, do this before bedtime and slip on your favourite socks to lock in argan oil’s moisturing effects
- Overnight hair treatment: Place a few drops on your head and massage into your whole head. Wrap your hair up in a towel, go to sleep and when you wake up, shampoo your hair and unveil your shiny, silky mane
- Hair styling aid: Distribute argan oil throughout your wet hair – this will protect the hair shaft from hair dryer heat and damage
- Lip softner: Massage a drop into dry lips to plump and soften them
So what you need to look for when buying your argan oil?
- The label should read just, “100% organic argan oil” from Morroco certified organic and should contain NO additional ingredients. Watch out for imitators: Morrocanoil – a popular brand does contain argan oil but it is in small quantities. Unfortunately it also contains silicons (for de-frizzing but they clog the pores), synthetic perfumes, dyes, solvents and preservatives. According to the Environmental Working Group, some of these added ingredients are associated with allergies, dermatitis and mild organ toxicity – certainly not what I want to be putting on my skin or in my hair!
- The bottle should be dark, protecting its vital beautifying properties from being degraded by light
- Avoid plastic bottles at all costs and look for glass bottles. Glass is ALWAYS a good indicator of the authenticity and superiority of a product. Buying products in glass will lessen your exposure to possible cancer-causing chemicals (more on the dangers of plastic in my next post).
Due to its labour intensive production, argan oil is not inexpensive. Don’t be fooled by cheaper, inferior brands. But just know, it is worth every golden drop.