Recently and straight from the source – oil that is! Moroccan Argan Oil from the Atlas Mountains. On a camel no less…
In recent years, an incredible oil from Morocco called Argan oil (Argania spinosa) has become such a hot commodity that a New York Times editorial termed it “liquid gold.”
“I love gold and I definitely love a beauty product with multiple purposes.”
Most women are familiar with the hot selling Moroccanoil haircare products that pioneered a new category in the beauty industry. You can hardly walk by a hair salon that doesn’t sell it. The products are infused with nourishing antioxidant-rich argan oil. Moroccanoil has grown into an iconic beauty brand in less than a decade.
I do not know what amount of argan oil is inside each of their products, but Argan Oil (extracted from the nuts of the fruits of the Argan tree) in general is an all around multi-use product with curative properties revered for centuries in Morocco, the only place where the Argan tree is naturally found . In the southern regions of the country, pure Argan oil is celebrated for everything from soothing skin redness to curing rheumatism and more.
You can use it on your skin, you hair, your nails and even cook with it (using a different variant of the oil my sister has informed me). See below.
I’ve been sourcing out healing oils from all over the world for the face oil used in my own skincare line. Many of which I’ve researched and found from my very own travels – for “Skin so Divine” and Argan was included in the mix. Before this I bought the Josie Maran Argan Oil at Sephora because it was the only one I could readily find that admits to being 100% pure. But at $60 for 1.7 oz/50 mL it can get quite costly. And that’s only for one oil. It’s the rarity of this Moroccan oil that makes it more expensive than most others.
For face it’s rich in vitamin E and essential fatty acids to deeply hydrate and nourish skin.
Traditional Uses of Morocco’s Golden Oil
Traditionally, Argan oil has been used topically to:
Protect against and heal skin infections
• Clear up acne
• Ease eczema
• Hasten recovery from chicken pox
• Heal cracks and burns
One of the Rarest and Most Unique Oils in the World
The Argan tree is known throughout the Berber state in Morocco as the “Tree of Life.” Pure Argan oil is made from the kernels of the nuts from argan trees.
Today, Argan trees grow exclusively in the semi-desert soil of the Arganeraie Biosphere Reserve. Due to this small and specific growing area, the trees are protected by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)—and pure Argan oil is one of the rarest in the world.
The pure Argan oil industry is almost as unique as the oil itself. All Argan sold today comes from cooperatives operated by Moroccan women (see bottom for more info.), and the cooperatives share profits among the local women of the Berber tribe. The money goes toward health care and education, as well as other good works. For example, Argan oil profits established an ecosystem reforestation project so that Argan can be sourced conscientiously and the supply will not run out.
Even more incredible is that revenues from pure Argan oil sales are reported to feed 10% of the Moroccan population.
Wonderful for Skin, Hair, and Nails…and the World
“Recent scientific studies have shown that the benefits of Argan oil has antimicrobial properties, and can be used in treating damaged skin and inflammation,” said Majda Alaoui Sosso, director of one of Morocco’s oil cooperatives.
This is in part due to Argan oil’s rich stores of essential fatty acids, or EFAs, which support the health and beauty of skin and hair (while also, when taken internally, boosting heart and brain health and regulating hormone levels and other critical functions).
Pure Argan oil is easily absorbed, and it regulates the pH balance of the skin, which in turn protects against sun exposure and other damage. It also reduces skin inflammation and thus helps control and reverse skin disorders such as eczema and psoriasis while also diminishing scars.
Pure Argan oil’s proven and observed benefits for hair, skin, and nails are extensive, and include, to name a few…
- Dry Skin: Nourishes and moisturizes dry, scaly, flaky skin and protects against infection.
- Oily Skin: Regulates sebum production to keep the skin’s natural oils at a healthy level. With regular use, the skin will no longer look or feel oily.
- Irritated/Itchy Skin: Protects skin from allergens that may cause itchiness.
- Acne: Controls overproduction of acne-causing sebum and soothes the inflammation brought about by acne; also prevents the ugly scars acne can leave behind.
- Aging: Stimulates renewal of skin cells and boosts elasticity while smoothing wrinkles and lines.
- Sun Damage Rich in antioxidants that protect cells from UV light.
- Eczema and Psoriasis: Helps alleviate inflammatory symptoms associated with psoriasis. Also addresses immunity problems and allergies that trigger eczema symptoms.
- Hair: Repairs damaged hair. Moisturizes instantly, and prevents split ends while restoring shine. Increases hair growth and helps control, cure, and prevent dry and itchy scalp.
- Scalp: Keeps scalp healthy and well nourished. A few drops will protect against dandruff. Keeps the roots of the hair hydrated, protected, and well nourished.
- Nails: Keeps nails strong and healthy and restores natural shine while easily resolving brittle nail problems.
I made up some little bottles of the pure oil to use on its own as well as combined it with the other essential oils which make up the Divine Facial Oil…which by the way, is simply divine.
Thank you Lisa XOXO x 10 (also for the authentic Moroccan Tagine which I love).
Photos: Lisa King
IN THE KNOW: the tree + production for Argan Oil:
Argan trees live for about 15-200 years and grow up to be nearly 30 meters in height. Around the 30 or 50 year mark, the trees start producing fruit. The trees yield fruit once a year and one tree will usually yield 1 liter of Argan Oil. One liter of oil takes 10 to 12 hours of manual work to make!
The production of 100% organic Argan Oil is a complex, labor intensive process. The Argan fruit is harvested and the peel and the pulp are discarded. What is left is a hard-shelled, oval nut which is cracked by hand. The emerging kernels are ground into a paste from which oil is cold pressed. The freshly extracted oil may be left to sit for 2 to 3 weeks after which clear oil is poured into dark bottles and exported around the world.
This harvesting and cold pressing is done by local women from the Berber tribe of Morocco who are organized into co-operatives. Fair-trade Argan Oil provides Berber women with a stable source of income, financial independence and better opportunities for education, health and personal development.
More than two million people rely on Argan trees for economic sustenance and the Argan Oil trade has reformed the entire region by providing access to a stable income.
Culinary Argan Oil
The culinary variant of the oil is produced by roasting the nuts first and then grinding them to a sticky paste where the oil comes out of. By roasting the oil gently, it will get a deep nutty aroma and flavor. The oil is very good for the heart and brains as it boasts a healthy rich array of omega-3 fatty acids and 3 times more vitamin E than olive oil. It is also amazing for digestion and can be sprinkled on salads, grilled fish & meat stews to get a delicious nutty flavor. I have some of this too. UPS: cooking oil varieties.
Source (in part): underground health reporter, Lisa King & myself