High in the hills above the tiny Moroccan village of Essaouira grows a tree so special that the Berber people simply refer to it as the miracle tree. The tree, once plentiful throughout North Africa, is now endangered and grows only in southwestern Morocco, where it grows in a 10,000 acre protected UNESCO-designated biosphere area.
Well suited to the harsh environmental conditions of arid southwestern Morocco, Argania spinosa – commonly known as the argan tree – produces a treasured, almond-sized fruit that, when processed, yields one of the most precious and sought-after oils in the world – argan oil.
Argan Oil History
For centuries, Moroccan women have relied on argan oil to maintain their famously lush, luxurious and luminous tresses, as well as keep their skin youthful and glowing. This “liquid gold” oil possesses extraordinarily high levels of Vitamin A and E as well as other crucial vitamins and minerals, making argan oil ideal for both skin and hair.
The argan tree and its amazing fruit was first introduced to Europe in the early 1700s, but it took a few more hundred years for the benefits of argan oil to be known to women around the world. However, centuries earlier Moroccan women were harvesting argan oil and incorporating it into their daily health and beauty routines. Today, local Berber women still produce all the authentic argan oil available found throughout the world.
Producing even a tiny amount of argan oil is a time-consuming and laborious process. In fact, it takes several days to produce a single liter of this precious product. Although some of the traditional manual processes have been replaced by technology, authentic Moroccan argan oil is still made solely by Berber women, who with the help of the Moroccan government have organized cooperatives to produce and export this rare, specialty oil.
The extraction process begins by collecting the argan nuts. The nuts, that look like a cross between an almond and a walnut, can be plucked from the argan tree or gathered from the droppings of local goats that scavenge the trees in search of food. The argan tree is such a popular source of sustenance in the desert climate, that it is not unusual to find 10-20 goats in the branches of a single tree, eating the valuable leaves and nuts. Since the nuts are not processed in the goat’s digestive track, the oil deep within the nut is preserved.
Once the nuts are collected, the Berber women crack the shells to access the soft kernel found inside. The kernels are then ground into a brown paste that is kneaded by hand to extract the oil. The kneaded paste eventually forms a solid ball that is pressed to extract even more oil. The oil is bottled and exported around the world. Profits from these sales are then distributed among the Berber tribe.
Argan Oil Uses
Argan oil has been used for hundreds of years as an accompaniment to Moroccan meals, including use as a dipping sauce for bread and as a topping on couscous, salads and pasta. However, what brought argan oil international acclaim is its effectiveness as a health and beauty treatment.
Pure argan oil’s chemical makeup is what makes it so valuable for skin, nails and hair. Argan oil is made up of 43% oleic fatty acids and 37% linoleic fatty acids, which provide extreme moisturizing capabilities. Argan oil also contains phenolic compounds that help protect the skin from harmful free radicals. Finally, this miracle oil contains squalenes, a chemical compound that softens skin and protects collagen, the building block of smooth, supple skin.
Argan oil is effective for the treatment of a variety of illnesses and conditions, including acne, eczema, psoriasis, rheumatism and burns. It even can help reduce the appearance of stretch marks, and strengthen brittle nails. However, these benefits pale in comparison to what argan oil can do for your hair!
Your Hair Loves Argan Oil!
Argan oil excels at repairing stressed and damaged hair. The high levels of Vitamin E, omega 3 and 9 fatty acids, and other antioxidants found in this miracle oil make it a super-effective treatment to treat all manner of hair problems. Whether your hair is stressed from over-processing, coloring, hot styling tools or environmental factors (or all of these!), argan oil can hydrate your hair and help it heal from the inside out.
Argan oil quickly and effectively penetrates the pores of your hair follicles and shaft. This provides necessary nourishment to your hair, resulting in more elastic and resilient hair. Argan oil’s natural antioxidants help strengthen weakened hair strands, and create smoothness and a healthy shine.
Because of its exceptionally high levels of Vitamin E and antioxidants, argan oil is extremely effective in promoting healthy new hair growth. It also fights dandruff and dry scalp, tames frizz and promotes shine and gloss. Argan oil used regularly can greatly improve the manageability of your hair.
As A Shampoo
If you suffer from dry, brittle or damaged hair, using a shampoo that contains argan oil can help give you back softness, shine and smoothness that is gradually lost due to the environment, coloring and use of hot styling tools. A quality argan oil shampoo should be gentle enough for daily use, and when used regularly will give your hair an improved appearance that keeps improving after every wash.
As A Daily Conditioner
To bring hair back to its natural health, nothing is more effective than following up your hair cleansing routine with a highly moisturizing, argan oil conditioner. By combining argan oil with moisturizing creams, your hair gains instant protection against heat from styling tools, chemical damages from coloring or other processes, and natural threats like UV exposure. When used regularly, argan oil-based conditioners can give you the smooth, sexy tresses you deserve.
As A Hair Mask
Hair masks are the unsung heroes of hair care. Powerful in small quantities, an argan oil-based hair mask treatment is an excellent way to infuse your locks with the amazing power of this miracle ingredient. Because hair masks are designed to be applied and left on for a specific amount of time (and often used in conjunction with heat), a hair mask can better penetrate the hair shaft and provide maximum argan oil benefits to your hair.
As A Styling Agent
Pure 100% argan oil in serum form is the preferred leave-in treatment that helps to both smooth the hair cuticle and fortify the shaft, resulting in sleek, smooth, shiny hair. Breakage and split ends are a thing of the past when this miracle oil is applied daily. The concentrated nature of 100% pure argan oil serum means a little goes a very long way to provide impressive results every time.
Pure Argan Oil or Products Containing Argan Oil?
The answer is…BOTH!
Hair care products such as shampoos, conditioners and masks that incorporate argan oil provide a multitude of benefits beyond what argan oil can do alone. Daily cleansing can be tackled at the same time as you reap the rewards of argan oil use – essentially shortening your beauty routine and killing two birds with one stone. Plus, because argan oil can be very expensive – due to its rarity – choosing a product that contains argan oil can be a more affordable way to enjoy this miracle oil’s benefits without breaking the bank.
When you choose a 100% natural argan oil product, you are applying the most concentrated form of this miracle oil while avoiding the introduction of other unwanted or unnecessary chemicals or ingredients. Pure argan oil serum is an excellent and extremely effective way to facilitate cell rejuvenation, protect hair from the heat of styling tools, and gently smooth the hair for all-day shine and control.
Argan Oil To The Rescue!
No matter how you use it, argan oil is truly a liquid gold miracle oil. From improving chronic skin conditions to strengthening brittle, dry nails to helping give you long, luxurious locks like the beautiful Moroccan women, argan oil is truly a breakthrough in beauty care for women around the world.
The Health & Cosmetic Benefits of Argan Oil, (June 11, 2012), Wall Street Journal.
Liquid Gold in Morocco, (November 18, 2007), New York Times.
The Ultimate Guide to Using Argan Oil For Hair, (2014), Argan Oil World.
Argan Oil Benefits & Information, (2014), Herbwisdom.com.
Retrieved from: http://www.herbwisdom.com/herb-argan-oil.html