What is argan oil? Learn about it in detail in this article and how to use it for the skin, hair and body, and important information about its most prominent benefits.
Argan oil is a vegetable oil used in cosmetics for its nourishing and antioxidant properties.
Argan oil is also naturally rich in vitamin E and fatty acids (omega 6 and 9).
Argan oil is obtained by pressing the kernels of the fruits of the argan tree, which is mainly grown in Morocco.
It is a very hardy tree thanks to its roots that draw water from a depth of more than 30 meters underground. Its oval-shaped fruits, about the size of a walnut, contain in the pulp a very hard stone containing two to three seeds called almonds.
The fruits are harvested and the oil is produced in the traditional way. The kernels are manually milled to extract the beans without damaging them.
It is crushed in a conventional mill and then cold pressed. 10 hours of work and 30 kg of fruit yield one liter of synthetic oil.
To make edible argan oil, the beans are first roasted before being squeezed, to give the oil its distinct roasted taste. As for cosmetic oils, the kernels are not roasted to preserve their benefits for skin and hair.
Argan oil is known for its nourishing and antioxidant properties. Nourishes and strengthens the skin and gives it shine and suppleness for dry and brittle hair.
For centuries, the Berber population has used argan oil as a cosmetic product for skin and hair care.
Thanks to its essential fatty acid content (omega 6 and 9), argan oil helps restore the hydrolipidic layer of the skin, strengthens the skin barrier and limits water loss from it. These proven benefits are scientifically recognized.
The benefits of argan oil on hair have also been scientifically proven. It is particularly in demand due to its ability to add shine and suppleness to dry, brittle and frizzy hair.
What is argan oil?
Argan oil originally comes from southwest Morocco, where it grows in forests that act as a natural barrier against desert encroachment, prevent soil erosion and protect water resources.
Therefore, the argan forest is a valuable ecosystem and has been designated a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve since 1998.
Once you get there, you will have a nice surprise to see the goats climbing the trees. These Moroccan tree goats have been known to climb the argan trees to obtain the delicious fruit and then extract the oil from the nuts and grains that the goats discard.
Fortunately for us, the fruit is now harvested like any other, straight from the tree.
Argan is a multi-purpose plant. Once the fruits are collected, they are first dried before proceeding with the extraction process. Argan oil was extracted by cracking and pressing argan kernels to extract fresh argan oil.
The argan oil obtained is then used for cooking as well as for cosmetics. In addition to argan oil, thick argan paste is produced after squeezing it, and it is used separately.
Virgin Argan Oil, or Moroccan Argan Oil, is a precious specialty oil produced by cold-pressed kernels of the Argania Spinosa fruit.
Used by women for centuries as a major beauty ritual, the oil has a good reputation for its natural content of vitamins and rich antioxidants and is believed to have moisturizing and nourishing properties, both for the skin and for the hair.
Therefore, argan is sometimes referred to as “liquid gold”.
Argan oil is produced from the nut kernels found inside the argan fruit of the Argania spinosa tree, native to southwestern Morocco.
On average, it takes about 25-30 kg of argan fruits to produce 2-2.5 kg of grain, which in turn yields one liter of oil.
This process often takes a day or two when done manually. Due to its long production time, it is usually considered an expensive oil. Hence the nickname“liquid gold”.
Oils vary in weight and rate of absorption, and it is important to note this when used in skin care.
Due to its relatively small particles, argan oil has a fast absorption rate and is classified as a medium-weight oil, which means that it is neither too heavy nor too light.
Traditionally, the oil has been used for its medicinal and healing properties to help moisturize and protect the skin from the harsh sun and dry desert climate.
Over the years, it has become a staple in many North African households, and is used in food and on skin and hair.
Rich in vitamin E, fatty acids and squalene, argan oil is used to treat many skin problems such as dryness, eczema and scars.
Fatty acids and squalene help retain moisture while Vitamin E helps soothe skin, protect against environmental aggressors, and act as an anti-inflammatory.
Argan oil also contains carotenoids and phenols that act as antioxidants to protect against harmful free radicals.
When your skin is exposed to environmental factors like pollution and harmful UV rays, it produces free radicals.
These are unstable molecules that damage cells in your body, which can cause your body to age or become diseased. Antioxidants work by reducing free radicals, which in turn contributes to delaying the aging process and maintaining a healthy body.
Argan oil contains an ingredient that does not clog the pores of the skin, which actually helps regulate oil production and makes it great for acne-prone skin.
In addition to being a great moisturizer for skin and hair, vitamin E and antioxidants help promote hair growth and maintain a healthy scalp. It also helps improve frizz and frizz.
Can everyone use argan oil?
Pure Argan Oil is generally suitable for all skin types. Although it is classified as a vegetable oil, given its source, it may irritate those with nut allergies.
If you fall into this category, it is always best to seek advice from a doctor first. When using them in beauty products, it’s important to look for other ingredients that may not be suitable (such as avoiding scented products if you have sensitive skin).
With all beauty products, it is advisable to do a test to make sure it is right for you.
How do you find the best type of argan oil?
The quality of argan oil varies in the market. For example, it may not always be extracted by cold pressing, or it may have been exposed to conditions that have caused it to deteriorate over time.
If you buy pure argan oil, it is important that you check a few things to make sure it is 100% pure:
- The ingredients should say 100% Argan Oil or 100% Argania Spinosa Kernel Oil.
- High quality argan oils are often packaged in dark colored packaging (such as the brown bottle). This protects the oil from light, and reduces its spoilage. Beware any argan oil packed in clear plastic bottles.
- It should have a slight nutty smell that will disappear once the skin absorbs it.
- The texture should be soft and silky.
- To increase the shelf life of your argan oil and prevent contamination, store it in a cool, dark place with the lid tightly closed.
How to use argan oil for hair
One of the easiest ways to add argan oil to your hair care routine is to use an argan oil shampoo.
If your hair looks dry and brittle after shampooing, this technique will prevent that from happening, plus it’s fast. You can either buy an argan oil based shampoo or do the following:
- Pour a coin-sized amount of shampoo into the palm of your hand.Add two drops of argan oil to this and rub your palms together to mix well.Gently massage your hair and scalp with your fingertips.Wash and rinse as usual. For best results repeat 2-3 times a week.
- Wash your hair thoroughly using your favorite shampoo. Using a cotton towel or T-shirt, squeeze the excess water out of your hair. Once you notice that no water is falling out of your hair, rub 2-3 drops of argan oil into the palm of your hand and apply it to your hair. Dry and style as usual. Repeat every time you wash your hair.
- Castor oil and argan oil work well together, as they both have similar properties. Both provide excellent hair conditioning and penetrate deeply into the follicles to repair the hair from within. This mask works especially well for those with frizzy and damaged hair.
- Mix argan oil and castor oil in equal amounts and apply generously to your hair, starting from the roots to the ends.
- Massage it in for a few minutes and wrap your hair in a small wet towel. Let the mask work its magic for at least 30 minutes, for an intense treatment you can leave the mask on overnight. Wash and rinse your hair in the morning with your regular shampoo and notice the difference.
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Can I use argan oil on the hair every day?
Argan oil is rich in vitamins and essential fatty acids, meaning that it has super nourishing properties. A one-time use of argan oil will keep your hair shiny for 2-3 days, so there is no need to apply it every day.
Can argan oil be applied to the scalp?
Yes, despite its density, the oil is easily absorbed into the hair and scalp. You can definitely apply argan oil on the scalp because it can treat a lot of scalp problems like dandruff and infections.
Hair mask with argan oil and coconut
Another great combination of a hair mask is to mix argan oil with coconut oil.
Both have reparative and protective properties that keep the hair protected and nourished from harmful environmental factors such as UV rays. Wondering how to use argan oil with coconut oil? Here’s how.
- Take equal amounts of argan oil and coconut oil in a bowl. Comb your hair to remove knots and tangles. Apply the oil mixture to the hair and scalp, concentrating on the lower half of the hair.
- Comb again to distribute the oil evenly. Cover your hair with a cap and leave it for 30 minutes. Wash it off with shampoo. Argan oil can withstand heat, so it can be used as a styling product to protect hair from heat styling.
- Put 2-3 drops of argan oil in the palm of your hand and rub your hands together. Gently apply it to clean, dry hair without massaging the scalp. All you need is a light paint or shield. Style as usual.
For use as a moisturizing conditioner
Rub three drops of argan oil into the palm of your hand. Run your hands over your hair, covering your strands with the oil from the middle to the ends. Comb your hair to distribute the oil evenly. Leave the oil on and carry on with your day as usual.
Argan oil may also help reduce itching and flaking on your scalp.
To be used as a scalp treatment
Add two or three drops to your dry scalp.
Massage well for five minutes.
Leave the oil on your scalp for an hour.
Then wash with a mild shampoo.
How to use argan oil for the body
1. Keep the skin hydrated
Simply put a few drops of argan oil on your hands and massage the oil evenly onto the area of your choice. For the whole body, you may need a few drops for each large part of the body.
It is especially great to use in place of moisturizer after shaving (for both women and men).
For those who need extra skin hydration, it’s best to use a moisturizer or lotion first, then oil on top to lock in all that moisture.
For best results, apply immediately after showering (after drying yourself first) while your skin is still damp. It is best to wait a few minutes before getting dressed to ensure that the oil has time to absorb into the skin naturally.
2. Moisturize your lips
Gently massage a drop of argan oil onto your lips as needed, wiping off any excess and using the excess as a treat for your hands.
3. Soften your feet
After washing and exfoliating, apply argan oil generously to your feet, massaging your heels, toes and nails. It is best to do this before bed and immediately put on a clean pair of cotton socks to allow the oil to soak in well overnight. Repeat as needed. This is especially great for treating cracked heels.
4. Treat your nails and skin
Put a few drops of argan oil and massage it into your (cleaned) hands, nails and skin. It’s best to do this right before bed, and it’s especially helpful for dry hands, peeling nails, and cracked skin.
5. Reduce stretch marks
Reduce the appearance of stretch marks on the skin by massaging a few drops of argan oil on the area daily.
For best results, apply before bed. It is perfect for pregnant belly.
6. Nourish the skin
Put a few drops of argan oil on your bath to soften and nourish the skin while you soak it. It is a safe oil to use for babies and mothers.
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