Last Updated: April 25th, 2017
Heralded for centuries as a cosmetic and therapeutic dynamo, Argan Oil is harvested from tiny kernels found within the fruit of the Argan tree. Native to Southwest Morocco, this tree is well adapted to the drought-like and extreme conditions of the area and once covered a large area of North Africa. Unfortunately, the Argan tree is now considered endangered. But despite its dwindling numbers, areas of protection created to allow it's re-growth have made a huge difference. The popularity of Argan Oil in cosmetics has also impacted the population of Argan Trees, leading to preservation efforts, replanting, and attention to the protection of their natural habitat from destruction. However, it remains one of the rarest oils in the world due to the Argan tree's very specific growing conditions.
Argan Oil is made up of approximately 80% unsaturated fatty acids and is also a rich source of tocopherols (Vitamin E) and antioxidants. There are several phenols present as well, providing benefits that vary from antiseptic/disinfectant properties to anti-inflammatory effects. Argan Oil is highly resistant to deterioration, with a higher oxidation resistance than olive oil. Many cultures use it in their cooking because of its health benefits.
How is Argan Oil Produced?
For more than 500 years, the Berber people of Southern Morocco have used Argan Oil for both culinary and cosmetic purposes, but getting the oil was very labor intensive. Traditionally, the Berbers would harvest the undigested oil-rich kernels from the feces of goats that climbed the trees and consumed the fruits. The women would then grind and press the kernels to extract oil. The process of harvesting pure Argan Oil has changed due to modern technology and is now much more efficient than the traditional techniques. A process of safe harvesting collects the nut-sized fruits, which are dried in the open air before the pulp is removed, exposing 1-3 kernels per fruit. The pulp is then used as feed for animals and the kernels are pressed to retrieve the oil. The oil is then decanted and allowed to rest until any solids settle to the bottom. This process is sometimes repeated to create more pure Argan Oil. The end result is clear, filtered Argan Oil that can be used to create a variety of products.
The higher the degree of purity, the better the results of the product will be. This is why Organic Argan Oil is highly regarded as the best available on the market. Organic Argan Oil is produced without the use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides, which can be absorbed into the tree and fruit, contaminating the oil. By selecting a product that uses organic oil, you can be assured that no harmful chemicals are being absorbed into your body, and that the highest possible level benefits can be achieved.
The Benefits and Uses of Argan Oil
Argan Oil was traditionally used topically to treat a variety of skin conditions. Living in the harsh climates of Northern Africa, early Moroccans applied it to their skin to protect it from dryness, sooth sun-exposed skin, and to help heal wounds and blemishes. After much research, their use of Argan Oil has been backed up with scientific evidence of its anti-inflammatory, disinfecting, and moisturizing qualities. These benefits led to further explorations of its potential and more positive effects have been uncovered that make it a veritable work-horse for skin, hair, and nails.
Topically, the antioxidants and moisturizers in Argan Oil can restore hydration to even the driest skin, combat the effects of aging, protect skin from exposure to dry weather conditions, and more. Acne sufferers can use it to relieve dryness and irritation caused by harsh acne treatments without worrying about pore-clogging effects. Skin treated with Argan Oil exudes a healthy glow and retains its moisture, leaving it soft and supple. Brittle nails and cracked cuticles can benefit from application as well.
When applied to hair, either independently or in shampoos and conditioners, Argan Oil can repair and revitalize hair that has been damaged due to heat styling, coloring, and chemical treatments. Lending its moisturizing effects to hair, Argan Oil leaves hair feeling soft and sleek. Split ends can be repaired with continued use and it can act as a thermal protectant when used prior to heat styling. A small amount applied to styled hair will coat and seal the hair, leaving it shiny and protected from UV exposure and pollutants.
As a result of its multiple uses and unending benefits, the demand for Argan Oil in beauty products has skyrocketed, leading the government of Morocco to engage in planning for a much larger habitat for the precious Argan trees. Saving a precious plant from extinction, a natural habitat from destruction, and your hair, skin, and nails from damage and aging, Argan Oil has become a vital resource and environmental savior. Purchasing products with pure, Organic Argan Oil, you can reap the benefits and feel good about the impact you are having on the future of the Argan Tree's existence and the economy of Morocco!