Argan oil itself is a powerful beauty serum full of antioxidant power, can be combined with other oils such as Bergamot oil, an essential oil, to create a blend that makes your skin smooth, healthy and beautiful.
In the past fifteen years, this oil — once difficult to obtain outside Morocco — has become increasingly popular as an ingredient in cosmetics in Europe and North America. It is also increasingly popular and fashionable to use it directly as a carrier beauty oil, alone or combined with other oils, including essential oils such as Bergamot.
Because of its high antioxidant contents, this oil can be more resistant to oxidation damage than olive oil.
The Berber people where it grows have used the oil on their skin for hundreds perhaps thousands of years.
It contains: 44% Oleic acid, 30% Alpha-linolenic acid, 12% Palmitic acid, 6% Stearidonic acid, 5% Linoleic acid, and 3% Myristic acid.
Also: tocopherols (vitamin E), phenols, carotenes, squalene and fatty acids. Main phenols are caffeic acid, oleuropein, vanillic acid, tyrosol, catechol, resorcinol, epicatechin and catechin.
It’s highly moisturizing, so it helps with dry skin, flaking, eczema, and peeling scaly patches. It contains a high volume of Vitamin E, which helps it protect skin against photodamage caused by the ultraviolet A and B spectrums in sunlight, UVA and UVB.
It also helps to regular acne by normalizing skin’s natural production of sebum (oil or wax from sebaceous glands). It is not greasy.
The antioxidants also help to regenerate and rejuvenate damaged skin cells, and reduce inflammation. Thus soothing red, cracked, inflamed, itchy, rough and sore areas.
The nutritional contents also help strengthen and regenerate your skin’s collagen and elastin. Those are your skin’s structural support. When age and free radicals damage it, your skin is weakened, developing wrinkles and fine lines, including crow’s feet at the corners of your eyes. Dealing with that makes your skin stronger, more elastic and supple. It smooths out those wrinkles.
By increasing skin elasticity, using during pregnancy may help reduce or prevent stretch marks. Rub a little into your breasts, stomach, bottom and thighs during your pregnancy.
It regulates your skin’s pH balance, protecting it from damage. It also diminishes scars.
A good habit to get into is to apply a few drops of the oil to the t area of your face and any problems areas every night just before you go to bed, so it can soak into your skin work its magic while you sleep.
Also, comb a few drops into your hair at the same time. It moisturizes dry, curly, frizzy hair, making it more manageable.
Rub a little bit onto your finger and toe nails and cuticles also every night. This helps moisturize dry and cracked nails.
Also apply to cracked heels and lips, especially during the low humidity and dry skin of winter air.
It is made from the kernels of the argan tree. This tree — Argania spinosa — is the only species within the genus argania, from the word for the tree in the Berber language of Shiha.
Argan is native to the western Mediterranean area, particularly the Sous valley and Tindouf in Algeria. These locations are semidesert, and that’s the climate argan likes. It’s also grown in the Negev area of Israel.
The branches began growing close to the ground, and then spread out wide to catch lots of sunlight. This provides shade under which to grow other pasture grasses.
They grow eight to ten meters high. The trunks are gnarled and thorny. They can live up to two hundred years.
The roots grow deep, no doubt to reach the most water possible. This helps the land resist desertification, encroachment by the surrounding Sahara Desert, and soil erosion.
The fruit takes over a year to ripen. It’s small, from two to four centimeters long and from one and a half to three centimeters wide. A thick peel surrounds a pulpy pericarp, which contains the hard nut, which contains two or three seeds. The oil is in the seeds.
Traditionally, the tree is used for timber and forage for goats as well as a source of the oil. Goats are a common domesticated animals, and they climb up the trees to eat the top leaves. Goats also eat the fruits, and the seeds may be collected from their manure.
Over the past one hundred years the arganeraie forests have lost half their area due to charcoal-making and overgrazing. Over 8,000 hectares have been designated a UNESCO biosphere reserve.
Now that local people have an economic incentive to preserve the trees, it’s hoped they will choose over sustainable harvesting of the oil over cutting down the trees. Often, rights to the fruit are government by local traditions and law.
In Morocco, much of the work producing argan oil is done by women’s cooperatives.
The collected fruit are dried in the sun.
The most labor-intensive task is extracting the seeds from the fruit. The discarded pulp is used to feed animals. The kernals can be stored and used to make argan oil for up to twenty years later.
The hard nuts are cracked by hand between two stones. The seeds may be removed and roasted. However, if the oil is destined to be sold for cosmetic use, it’s not roasted.
After roasting, the seeds are grown in a stone rotary quern with a little water, which turns them into a brown paste. Workers squeeze the paste by hand to extract the oil. The remaining paste is fed to cattle. This hand pressed oil is good for three to six months.
The oil is left stationary for two weeks to allow the sediment to settle to the bottom.
It takes one woman three days to produce just one liter of this oil.
People eat the oil by dipping bread into it, and on coucous and salads. One dip, called amlou, is made from peanuts and almonds, and sometimes sweetened with honey.
The oil is good for all skin types, including sensitive, dry and acne-prone. That’s why it’s often called “liquid gold” or “gold of Morocco.”
You can also add it to facial toner. And to your facial mask. To make your face glow, add a few drops to your foundation, bronzer or tinted moisturizer.
Add a few drops to your hair conditioner, and leave on your hair a long time. Add a few drops to your bath or body oil.
Of course, no one oil — or anything else — is a perfect, total solutions to health and beauty issues.
Therefore, sometimes you see Argan oil added to other oils, including Bergamot essential oil.