What is Argan Oil (And Why Should I Be Using It?)
Argan oil is making headlines for its near-miraculous use in the health and beauty industries. But what is it, where does it come from, and why are people raving about it? To help answer your questions, we've compiled a list of some of the most commonly asked questions regarding argan oil.
Argan trees are endemic to Morocco, where they grow naturally in desert-like conditions.
What is Argan?
Argan oil is a natural, plant-based oil that comes from the fruit of the argan tree. The tree, which can grow up to 32 feet, is endemic to Morocco, meaning it only grows in that one region of the world. The oil doesn't come from the flesh of the fruit, but rather from the pit. Once the fruit ripens, it's harvested for its kernel, while the fruit is often used to feed livestock.
Argan is essential to the Moroccan economy and a long-standing part of the culture and history. Today, Berber women continue to harvest the fruit as they have for centuries.
How is it Harvested?
Because the argan tree growing location is a protected UNESCO site, traditional harvesting practices are carefully maintained. This benefits both the geographical location as well as the local people, preventing some of the more aggressive types of development that can destroy an ecosystem and damage the livelihoods of native citizens. Even as the demand for argan grows, these protections preserve the growing site and the locally owned cooperatives that harvest the fruit.
How is Argan Oil Made?
The fruit pit is cracked and pressed, in a process similar to producing nut oils. The argan oil used for health and beauty (as opposed to use as an edible oil) is raw and has a slightly nutty scent.
What is Argan Oil Used For?
Argan oil has a broad range of applications, from culinary, to health & beauty.
Food grade argan oil is made by toasting the kernels before processing them. The oil is used as a dressing, a bread dip, and a substitute for many other oils. Its rich, nutty taste makes it prized by chefs and foodies alike. Culinary argan tends to be less expensive than other forms, as processors are able to extract more oil from the roasted nuts than the raw ones.
Because it has such high levels of vitamin E, argan oil is often used to treat dry skin or skin conditions such as eczema or psoriasis. It can also promote healthy hair, skin, and nail growth. When taken as a food supplement, the bountiful quantities of vitamin A and essential fatty acids can improve overall health. Some preliminary studies have even begun to examine it's usefulness in treating certain types of cancers.
As more consumers realize how many harmful ingredients are in many of their favorite beauty products, more are turning to argan oil as a natural alternative. It can be used as a shampoo/conditioner alternative, or as a treatment for dry and brittle hair. Pure argan oil is also an excellent moisturizer, and is gentle enough to use every day.
Pure argan oil has a wide variety of different uses.
What are some of the effects of argan oil?
Aside from those listed above, argan oil can help improve your health in a number of other ways. Here are just a few additional benefits of using argan oil for health and beauty.
What are the possible side effects of argan oil?
Because it doesn't clog pores and doesn't contain any chemicals to cause skin distress, pure argan oil is virtually side-effect free. However, a small portion of the population can experience an allergic reaction to the oil when consumed or applied to the skin. It's always a good idea to test a small application of oil on your skin before using.
What's the best way to buy argan oil?
The most important thing to consider when buying argan oil is that it's organic. Always buy new oil, preferably from a reputable dealer that can guarantee the oil's authenticity. Read all ingredients carefully to make sure the oil isn't adulterated (or stretched) with other oils or additives. There should be no ingredients beside argan oil. If there are, it isn't pure, no matter what the manufacturer claims.
Also make sure you're buying argan oil made specifically for cosmetic purposes, rather than for food.
Organic argan oil is commonly know as “liquid gold” for its immense value and beautiful color.
How do I use it?
The proper method of applying argan oil depends on how you're using it. Here are a few of the most common uses and instructions for best results:
For more information about how to use argan oil, visit some of our other articles.
What's the best way to store argan oil?
Like many natural oils, argan should be stored in a cool, dark place. Always make sure you keep it away from heat and high temperatures. If you live in an area where indoor (or room) temperatures regularly rise above 75 degrees Fahrenheit, consider storing it in a refrigerator. Refrigeration will not harm the oil, and will actually help it last longer. If you do refrigerate, be sure you let it warm back to room temperature before use.
Have we answered your questions about Argan oil? If there are any topics we haven't addressed, please browse through our other blogs to get more information about this amazing, all natural beauty products.