What is Argan Oil?
Argan oil is extracted from the harvested fruits of the argan tree, also known as Argania spinosa, belonging to Sapotaceae or sapotaceans family.
Like Rosehip oil, argan oil is a very versatile vegetable oil. It can be applied as much on the face as on the body and hair.
When it is used for healing and cosmetic purposes, it must be obtained by cold pressing, and not toasted, so does not lose its properties.
Argan oil restores and repairs the skin without clogging pores. It can eliminate scars, smooth out the texture of the skin and treat acne, among others.
This golden oil is full of essential fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals that moisturize, soften, and protect the skin.
About Argania Spinosa (Argan Tree)
Declared a World Heritage Site by Unesco in 1998, it is one of the trees that has the greatest resistance to drought. Argan tree is adapted to live in desert climates, since, it can develop very long roots to get water from the depths of the earth.
Native to Morocco, argan tree can live more than 200 years. The corpulent tree with a screw shape trunk, sometimes it exceeds 10 meters in height.
In a place with scarce rain, the argan tree contributes maintaining the moisture of the ecosystem by storing water. If the drought is extreme, it lose its leaves to retain the maximum water and avoid loss by transpiration, recovering them later.
The fruits look like olives and germinate in summer. Inside the almond are its seeds, which vary between one and three, from which the argan oil is extracted.
In the past, the fruits were collected by the goats, who climbed the sapotaceous tree, ingested them and, back in the corral, regurgitated and expelled them. Obviously, this type of collection is no longer practiced for quality and safety reasons. In fact, the trees get pruned to prevent the goats from climbing the branches.
Victim of human overexploitation, intensive farming and urban planning, can cause the argan tree to adhere to the extinction list.
The demand for argan oil does not stop increasing in recent years, and with the growth of the world population it seems to continue in that direction.
Every year, hundreds of hectares occupied by this tree are lost, which is the last hope in the face of the desertification of the Sahara.
As the Liquid Gold of Morocco presents the beneficial properties that we know, we should also be aware of what is the limit of exploitation, to not regret later, since the pure argan oil it is one of the blessing of nature.
Uses and Benefits of Argan Oil
The benefits that argan oil gives us are multiple, both for the external and internal health of our body, as well as cosmetics.
Argan oil has moisturizing and regenerating properties, besides being an excellent anti-inflammatory. It is special to relieve skin symptoms and conditions such as peeling, dryness, burns and small wounds.
On the other hand, these two properties, for which it has obtained its worldwide fame, make it a powerful ally to beautify and strengthen our skin, hair and nails.
Cosmetic uses and benefits of Argan Oil
Dermatologically we can take advantage of the extensive benefits that argan oil offers us. We can use it pure or as a main component of cosmetic products such as creams, shampoos, bath gel, exfoliants, etc.
To apply it, there is no specific rule, just enough to put a few drops on the palms of our hands and rub the oil in the indicated area, either on the body, face or hair.
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Argan Oil for the face
Its most common use is by applying on the face and to enjoy its greatest beneficial effects, we must take into account some aspects:
It is moisturizing: The unsaturated fatty acids are responsible for preserving the cellular structure to retain water. Argan is rich in these fatty acids, which will maintain optimal hydration.
Nourishes intensely: The high content of antioxidant, Vitamin E, (also known as tocopherol), and other essential nutrients, improves the quality of each layer in the skin. Also, it helps neutralize free radicals and prevent their formation, when applied constantly.
It is a powerful anti-aging and regenerative: The antioxidant action of the vitamins helps to restore the natural metabolism, reducing wrinkles, improving the condition of the skin and keeping it soft and smooth. Penetrates easily and does not clog the pores, acting on the innermost layers.
Helps to heal skin problems: Dermatologists recommend it to treat mild acne, psoriasis and other skin-related conditions. Even so, before beginning any treatment of this type, it is advisable that you go to a professional to mark the guidelines of it.
Direct application of Argan Oil
- Use the eyedropper or dispenser that comes with the container and deposit a few drops on your fingertips.
- Then, distribute the oil on your face making gentle massages. Included the area around the eyes. The massages on the face should be done in small circles motion from the chin, rising little by little to the cheekbones.
- Then place your fingers on the center of the forehead, and make the same movements towards the outside.
- Finish when you feel that the oil has been completely absorbed.
Adding Argan Oil to our creams
Another way to enjoy de benefits of argan oil, especially in dry skin, is by adding a few drops on the cream or serum that we use daily in our facial routine.
In this way we will obtain a much more nutritious ointment and we will improve hydration considerably. This is possible thanks to the presence of vitamin E (or tocopherol), which is a powerful antioxidant that fights free radicals, as well as unsaturated fatty acids and polyphenols essential for life.
As a result we will obtain a smooth and preventable skin against premature aging.
This procedure has to be repeated every day, otherwise we will not obtain the desired results. This is like going to the gym: you have to keep a record so that the product can take effect.
Finally, there are products for the face that already incorporate argan oil, so it may not be necessary to add the oil extract in question. Even so, if your skin is very dry or too sensitive, it may be convenient to give the cream a plus, with a couple of drops, to improve its anti-aging effect.
Argan Oil for the body
- One of its main benefits is its effectiveness to treat stretch marks, because it has been seen that can reduce them, thanks to its ability to regenerate tissue. Also, pregnant women can rub the oil in risk areas such as the belly, thighs and breasts, in order to provide elasticity to the skin and prevent it from being mistreated due to natural changes that occur in pregnancy, thus preventing the appearance of stretch marks.
- Argan oil produces a relaxing effect in superficial burns of the skin thanks to its healing effect.
- Many masseurs love this oil because it hydrates, nourishes and softens the skin in depth.
- Strengthens weak nails prone to breaking.
- Repairs and softens the skin of elbows and heels, eliminating roughness and making them soft and hydrated.
- It alleviates discomfort caused by skin diseases such as dermatitis, psoriasis and eczema. Its application helps reduce irritation and itching.
- Nails will also benefit from argan oil. We will only need a few drops to strengthen the brittle ones and repair the damage that enamels and nail polish removers can cause, giving back their moisture and natural shine.
Argan Oil for hair
In hair treatments, the cosmetic with argan oil brings shine and strength to the scalp, moisturizes it and as a result we obtain a hair with the ideal volume.
The hair is the first beneficiary when the argan oil is present. There is a large number of products based on the Liquid Gold of Morocco, whose function is to achieve a soft and silky hair. In addition, it fights the frizz and the frayed appearance, and smoothes it from the roots to the ends.
But many of you will ask: “can I also use it if I have oily hair?”. And the answer is: yes!, since argan regulates fat levels, in addition to maintaining adequate hydration for each type of hair. The only thing that changes is the way in which you have to apply it.
Argan Oil for dry or damaged hair
The procedure to apply argan oil to hair is somewhat a little more complex.
First of all, put a damp towel to warm up. When it is ready, take your oil and apply it over all the hair until it penetrates completely, emphasizing the scalp, roots and tips, especially if these tend to break.
Massage the scalp and hair for 5 to 10 minutes (until it is well impregnated). Then, take the towel and wrap all the hair without removing the oil. Let it act for at least half an hour.
It is necessary to prevent hair from remaining oily, because the excess is not good for its health and it does not show a good appearance either. So next, remove the towel, comb and go to the shower. Wash it with your favorite shampoo and make sure you have rinsed all the excess oil, as mentioned.
Finish by applying your preferred conditioner.
Following this treatment twice a week, you will obtain a hydrated hair, resistant to fall and with reinforced roots.
Argan Oil for oily hair
To apply argan oil on oily hair, simply follow the steps below:
- Apply the oil from the middle to the tips.
- Use a comb or a brush to untangle the hair.
- Let it act for fifteen minutes.
- Remove excess and rinse with plenty of water.
- Wash with a specific shampoo and conditioner for oily hair.
- Repeat these steps once a week.
Argan Oil to repair damaged or open ends
There is nothing better for split ends than a good dose of hydration.
If you have pure argan oil at home, you should simply apply it on the tips, wait an hour and then remove with plenty of warm water. Go to sleep and wash the next day with your favorite shampoo. Repeat this process a couple of times a week and you will see that with the passage of time the appearance of your mane improves noticeably.
Culinary uses and benefits of Argan Oil
Fortunately, argan oil is suitable for human consumption. Its flavor is very pleasant, so it facilitates its use in gastronomy. This can be used in dressing for salads, spread with bread and in typical Moroccan dishes such as cous cous, along with some preparations of meat and fish.
The properties of argan oil in its edible version are even superior to those of olive extra virgin oil, due to the higher concentration of linoleic acid.
Linoleic acid, is one of the essential fatty acids that the human body does not produce by itself and that must be supplied through the diet.
Argan oil has antioxidant properties, due to its high concentration of vitamin E, which causes the elimination of free radicals, the main cause of aging and cell death.
In its composition are also recognized sterols, which are very common to find in vegetable oils. Argan oil, for example, contains 48% of scotenol, a substance highly recognized for its anti-tumor properties.
It prevents cardiovascular diseases, mainly because of its high content of unsaturated fatty acids. By consuming argan oil we help protect the connective tissues, favoring cellular oxygenation, which in turn improve the performance of the brain and prevents the deterioration of its functions in the long term.
Argan oil also reduces the bad cholesterol. The same linoleic acid, according to research, is capable of regulating cholesterol. The habitual consumption in the diet, in a ratio of two tablespoons per day, is associated to reduce considerably the levels of triglycerides and cholesterol in the blood.
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On the other hand, it is also able to reduce by 50% the chances of suffering arterial hypertension.
One of the little-known uses is as an appetite suppressant. According to some nutritionists, the consumption of a daily spoonful of argan oil, can combat obesity by eliminating the sensation of hunger. Besides, it increases the concentration of pepsin, an enzyme that is responsible for hydrolyzing proteins, which improves the functions of the liver.
How to identify pure argan oil?
A high-quality argan oil has a mild, barely perceptible odor. This is because it has not been roasted, as in the case of the diet, and because the pressing has been done slowly and cold to not increase the temperature of the process. In this way, the properties are maintained.
Pure argan oil has a golden color, which is why they call it “Liquid gold from Morocco”. To determine if the argan oil has been adulterated, different analyzes of its composition in sterols are usually done since, unlike other oils, campesterol levels are low.
Another way to see if our oil is 100% pure, look in the label of the product that only appears Argania spinosa and maybe, vitamin E (Tocopherol).
Where to buy Argan Oil?
Argan oil has become easier to find, and, although much is still purchased online, it can now be found in department stores, drugstores, and beauty salons.
Personal recommendations are useful in this cases. Many hair stylists and beauticians now recommend Argan oil to their clients for the benefits it provides, so ask yours which brand they suggest. It could be that they stock their preferred brand and, if they use it as a regular product with their clients, they may allow you to sample a small amount before you commit to buying.
I highly recommend Organic Argan Oil by StarWest Botanicals, one of my favorites so far :
Organic Argan Seeds (Argania spinosa) are cold pressed and then deodorized to produce our high quality Organic Argan Oil. This oil contains fatty acids, antioxidants, and Vitamin E, making it the ideal product to use in body, skin, and hair care products.
We both manufacture and source only the finest quality products from highly regarded suppliers from all around the world, many of whom we’ve worked with for decades.
Our In-house Quality Control Laboratory has experienced technicians to provide a complete and thorough product analysis of all of our skin care oils. Shop here.
The following are also good quality oils that you can find on Amazon:
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Tips to keep in mind when buying argan oil:
Ingredients: The list of ingredients must be very short. That is, if the product is truly pure, it should be specified on the label only: “100% Argan oil, or 100% Argania Spinosa Kernel Oil”. However, some of them may also list Vitamin E as an ingredient, which is part of the oil composition. If you see something else listed, do not buy it.
Bottle: Do not buy argan oil in clear plastic bottles, because the oil can deteriorate quickly. In addition, most producers of quality argan oil are packaged in dark colored glass bottles (amber or cobalt blue, for example). Light breaks down the best properties of the oil and keeping it inside something dark is the best way to store argan oil.
Price: Because argan oil is very difficult to make, you should be wary of products whose price is very cheap, since, most likely, they are adulterated or mixed with other oils.
Smell: If the smell of the oil is strong, it should not be bought, since it means that it is rancid. The smell should be soft and pleasant. Likewise, you should be wary of argan oil that has no odor, as it could be false or, at least, diluted beyond olfactory recognition.
Sedimentation: Authentic Argan oil often has a little sediment at the bottom of the bottle and seems a little “cloudy”. The highly refined or false oil will not have this sediment and it will look superb clear.
- Store it in a cool and dry place, avoiding the direct incidence of light, it is even better to keep it in an opaque glass container that protects it from the sun’s rays.
- Pay attention not to use an altered or diminished product with thinners, especially with edible oil.
- Keep in mind that argan oil has a useful life of up to 8 months. If you notice changes in its color or its smell, it should be discarded immediately.
- Avoid applying it directly on open wounds as well as direct contact with the eyes.
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Argan Oil side effects
Although cases of side effects of argan oil are rare, there are people who have suffered. Therefore it is important to take precautions in the first application, and note if there is any unwanted reaction on the skin.
In some people, argan oil can cause allergic reactions, including skin irritation and even dermatitis. If this is your case, you should discontinue its use immediately.
It is recommended before your initial use to perform a patch test. That is, place a few drops of argan oil on the inside of the wrist. If you notice that after a few hours the skin becomes red or itchy, you should not use it.
On the other hand, it is important to point out that argan oil, unfortunately, is very adulterated or mixed with other ingredients in order to reduce its price, which causes most of the aforementioned side effects.