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Not so long ago, Argan oil was mostly unheard of in the Western Hemisphere.  Originally a food product much like olive oil, we now see this “liquid gold” use in everything from shampoos and conditioners to body lotions and night crèmes.  But what exactly is Argan oil anyway… and why should it be included in your beauty routines?

In a nut shell, Argan oil comes from the Argan tree, which grows only in certain regions of Morocco.  Each Argan fruit produces only a few seeds, and it’s from these seeds that the oil is harvested.  Hundreds of  seeds are pressed to produce just a small quantity of Argan Oil.

Automated and mechanical methods have proven difficult, and the product is still produced by hand much as it has been for centuries.  This scarcity, mixed with labor-intensive production methods, have justified the higher prices associated with Argan oil and earned it the nickname, “Gold of Morocco.”   Oil production has created jobs for Moroccan women, who work in cooperatives to protect and further the interests of Argan production.  The livelihood’s of nearly 20 million people rely on Argan production, to the tune of seven billion dollars a year.  In combination with United Nations initiatives, profits from the Argan industry help fund educational and social programs.

Agran oil is similar to olive oil:  both are organic, chemical-free products rich in vitamins and nutrients.  But Argan has potentially twice the Vitamin E of olive oil.  And unlike olive products, Argan is a “dry” oil, meaning it absorbs easily and leaves no greasy residue.  That’s a good thing.  Because of it’s moisturizing properties, Argan (in it’s pure form, or as an additive) is used to soften dry skin and hair, minimize fine lines, soften cuticles and treat split ends.

If you were paying attention, you will recall that Argan was originally used as a food product.  However, don’t go running to the grocery stores looking for a less-expensive alternative to pricey cosmetic varieties.  Food-use Argan has been baked, and the roasting process destroys much of the cosmetic value of the oil.

What to look for:

Pure Argan is a delicate product.  Light and heat will cause the oil to deteriorate, as does plastic.  Pure Argan should come packaged in dark glass bottles and the label should say, “100% Pure Argan Oil.”

The price on the bottle is a give away: a higher price does not necessarily indicate better quality.  But if the price is cheap… it’s fake.

Sediment is normal to the manufacturing process and real Argan is never entirely clear.

Try before you buy: open the bottle if you can and rub a little on your skin.  Real argan will go on thick and smooth, and fee dry compared to something like baby oil.  It is never think, runny or slimy.


Article by Jim Jurica