Argan Oil Benefits For Hair and Skin
What is Argan oil ?
Argan oil is a fatty acid and vitamin e loaded oil produced from the kernels of the argan tree (argania spinosa l.) which is native to the northern Africa region specifically morocco. It is also known as the liquid gold or the Moroccan oil. The fruit that produces the oil resembles an olive in size. This special oil is rich in essential unsaturated fatty acids like Oleic and Linoleic. Its biochemical analysis can be compared with that of Olive Oil; however, Argan Oil is richer in Linoleic (29.3 %) and Tocopherol (vitamin e) which are the most important features.
Where is Argan oil from ?
Argan tree (Argania spinosa) is a slow-growing tree exclusively endemic to the barren lands of southwest Morocco, where it covers an area of 3200 square miles that constitutes a unique biotope. Argania spinosa are thorny, evergreen tree with small, green, lanceolate leaves forest species which can grow up to 8-10 meters high and are resistant to drought, heat and lives approximately 150 – 200 years. The argan tree is one of the oldest species of tree ( 80-million-year-old relic tree species) and it grows wild and profusely in the area extending from Safi to the fringes of the Sahara and bounded by the Atlantic Ocean to the west and the Atlas Mountains to the east.
Worldwide Argan trees cover only about 8000 km2 of land. This means the trees and consequently the oil is very rare and precious (liquid gold). The argan tree also grows very slowly, it takes fifteen years to mature.
Types of Argan Oil
Argan oil is found in two forms, Culinary argan oil and Cosmetic argan oil. The difference between these two variants lies in the processing of the Argan nuts
Culinary Argan oil
Culinary argan oil/ edible/ food grade oil. The Argan nuts are roasted first on an open fire and then grinded using a stone mill, producing oil with a deep nutty flavor and scent.
Cosmetic argan oil
Cosmetic argan oil which is used for skin and hair, the Argan nuts are pressed without being roasted, also called “cold pressed”. This produces a very light oil without that deep nutty scent.
The Extraction of Argan Oil
The argan fruit is first dried in open air and the fleshy pulp is removed. Some of the producers do not dry the fruit and just removed the pulp mechanically. Traditionally, the pulp is removed by hand or goats are allowed to feed on the fruits then the argan kernel is later on retrieved from the goat dungs or droppings. The argan nut is then cracked by hand by the Berber women who are actively involved in the production process of argan oil. It is believed that the nut is 16 times harder than the hazel nut. These women sit in circles to crack the nuts patiently and skilfully to obtain the kernels which are then roasted, then cooled, ground and pressed in case of the production of the culinary argan oil. The brown coloured mash obtained expels pure, unfiltered argan oil which is decanted into containers/vessels for storage for about 2 weeks to let the oil sit and the residue sink below. The oil is then filtered as many times as possible to obtain clear pure oil for cooking. The percentage yield of argan fruit is 35 percent.
Cosmetic argan oil is extracted in the same way only this time the roasting part does not happen inorder to avoid the nutty smell. Today the extraction process of argan oil is much more hygienic and people do not have to go collecting the argan nuts from goat dung.
Uses of argan oil in the ancient times.
Since the oil is native to the people of Morocco, they have been using the oil since ancient times for culinary purposes and also cosmetic purposes as a skin moisturizer and hair conditioner. Today in Morocco the Berber women who are actively involved in the production process of the oil are known all over the world for their exotic beauty because of the use of argan oil. They believe in it for its benefits for their hair, face, bodies and also nails.
The Phoenicians in 1550BC used argan oil to heal and beutify their bodies.
Leo Africanus, an African explorer came across argan oil when travelling across Morocco. From this point, argan oil was introduced in Europe where only the rich and wealthy people had access to the costly, rare and exotic commodity.
Properties of argan oil.
Benefits and use of Argan oil for Skin
- Prevents premature aging
- Promotes healthy and glowing skin
- Good for sensitive skin.
- Good for acne prone skin
- It is a natural remedy for some skin conditions like eczema, psoriasis, dermatitis and also chicken pox.
- It fades away stretch marks and scars
- Provides protection against the sun.
- It reduces inflammation of the skin.
Benefits and use of Argan oil for Hair
- Tames frizzy hair.
- It takes care of split ends.
- It adds shine to hair.
- It repairs damaged hair
- It is a dandruff remedy.
- It also soothes the scalp.
How to use argan oil for face
Argan oil, however, falls in the middle of the spectrum—it’s not too heavy, not too light—making it perfect to use on all skin types.
As an oil cleanser.
Argan oil is one of the best oils for cleansing your face to remove dirt, impurities, make up, sunscreen before you go in with a foam cleanser to prevent from drying out and irritating the skin. You will need a quarter sized amount of argan oil and then massage the oil gently to the skin as it breaks down the makeup and dirt you had for the day. Wipe the oil off with wet wipes or a paper towel then go in with a foam cleanser or a facial soap.
As a daily moisturizer.
Argan oil can be used for your face and body as your daily moisturizer. Apply a small amount of Argan Oil (one or two drops) to your face massaging gently into your skin. Let the light oil penetrate deep into your skin then allow to air dry.
How to use argan oil for Hair
As a leave in treatment.
Argan oil can be added to your daily leave in treatment, or you can just make your own. You will need argan oil of course, and rose water or just water and use it daily to add moisture to your hair. You can also apply and massage argan oil to your hair and leave it on overnight then wake up to shiny silky hair in the morning.
As a styling oil.
Argan oil can be used when styling your hair. Just rub a few drops of the oil on your hands then style your hair as you would normally do. The oil adds shine to the hair.
As a conditioner for hair.
You can find an argan oil deep conditioner for your hair in the stores or if not, you can add argan oil to your own conditioner so that you can reap its benefits as well.
Points to consider when buying argan oil.
The ingredients list.
The argan oil has to be pure without an added ingredient in order for you to reap its full benefits.
Argan oil goes through a tedious production process and therefore cannot be sold at a throw away price. Beware of vendors who sell the oil for cheap.
Pure argan oil even though not roasted has a distinct nutty smell that will disappear immediately you apply on your skin and hair. Odourless argan oil may not have all the needed nutrients.
Pure argan oil is light weight, non-greasy smooth and slightly thick and can easily be absorbed into the skin.
Beware of the forms of argan oil in the market. For culinary purposes and cosmetic purposes
Argan oil 35 year research
Benefits of Argan Oil on Human Health
How to store argan oil.
Argan oil should be stored in a cool place and in a dark bottle because it is sensitive to light and heat which will lessen the impact of vitamin e and its antioxidants if exposed to them.
By Eila Oketch.