Which of these two natural oils is the better choice for you?
When it comes to topical oils some health gurus and lifestyle guides swear by argan, some by coconut, and some use them interchangeably. What's the science behind the Argan vs Coconut oil debate have to say on the matter?
For the purposes of this review, we'll be looking at Aynara pure organic argan oil and organic coconut oil.
About argan and coconut oils
Argan and coconut oil are both naturally-derived, plant-based oils that are good for a very broad range of health and beauty applications. Argan oil is derived from the nut of the argan tree. This tree is endemic to Morocco, where it has been used as a skin care oil and food garnish for centuries. The growing region for argan in Morocco is currently a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. Coconut oil is made from the interior flesh of coconuts. Most of the world's coconuts come from plantations in Indonesia and the Philippines.
Due to its status as a UNESCO site, Moroccan argan oil is harvested in an environmentally and socially responsible manner. Unfortunately, no such protections exist for the harvesting of coconut oil, meaning that some corporations have taken advantage of the situation. Many concerns have been raised about the well-being of coconut farmers, a large percentage of whom live in poverty. However, purchasing Fair Trade coconut oil will help to bring awareness to this issue.
What are the quantifiable differences?
Though sometimes used interchangeably, these oils are comprised of different compounds and have different percentages of nutrients. Below is a list of several important vitamins and essential fatty acids and the amounts in which they're found in each oil.
Coconut – 5-10%
Argan – 42.8%
Coconut – 1.25%
Argan – 36.8%
Coconut – Yes
Argan – Yes
Coconut – Yes
Argan – No
Coconut – No
Argan – Yes
While argan oil far outpaces coconut oil in the percentages of fatty (omega) acids, the oils are more difficult to compare in terms of vitamins. While both contain vitamin E, that's where the similarities end. These are two very different types of oil, and will have different strengths and weaknesses in the health and beauty sector.
How do they compare?
Now that we know more about them, which oil is better for which type of use or form of treatment?
While it is hydrating and can help treat dry skin that leads to acne, as a heavy oil coconut oil can also clog facial pores, making it less effective.
Argan oil is a lighter oil that is absorbed by the skin very quickly. It also contains high levels of oleic and linoleic acids that can balance dry and oily skin, as well as far higher levels of vitamin E, which has been shown to reduce signs of aging and is an essential part of healthy skin.
When it comes to preventing or treating acne, argan oil is the best choice.
Though it's a very effective moisturizer, coconut oil tends to leave a slight coating on the skin, which may be desirable for the arms and legs, but typically feels unpleasant on the face.
Argan is also an effective moisturizer, but it's light enough to be fully absorbed, leaving the skin feeling soft, but not greasy. Because of this, argan can be applied throughout the day with no adverse effects.
For skin, argan oil is the best choice overall, but coconut oil can be useful on the lower body.
Some recommended using coconut oil as an alternative shampoo, due to its high protein levels and the ability to repair hair shafts and split ends. While these facts make a good case for coconut, there is one major drawback. Because coconut oil can be very difficult to wash out completely, it tends to leave hair looking not hydrated, but oily in appearance.
Argan oil has high levels of vitamin D, which is necessary for strong, healthy hair. It also creates a lustrous shine without leaving hair greasy or oily. Argan is also know for its ability to repair split ends, and is often used expressly for that purpose.
For an alternative shampoo, argan oil is best.
Both oils are beneficial for different reasons. While coconut oil is very useful in some health and beauty areas, argan is generally more diverse in terms of its functions. Pure Moroccan argan oil is more sustainably sourced than most coconut oil, but Fair Trade options that ensure a fair wage to farmers exist. Argan oil is overall a better choice for hair and facial skin, and has higher levels of essential fatty acids. It also contains the power combo of vitamins E and D for healthy skin. Coconut oil is a popular choice for use in all natural body exfoliants and seems to be preferred for oil pulling.
In the end, it depends on what each individual is looking for in an oil in terms of health, cosmetics, and global ethics. However, due to its practical variety, high percentage of essential fatty acids, and its sustainable environmental harvesting practices, we recommended organic Moroccan argan for most situations.