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Ingredient Insights: Argan Oil

Posted by Smita Kishore on

Often referred to as liquid gold, argan oil is extracted from the nut of fruits on the argan tree, which grows exclusively in the foothills of the Atlas Mountains in Morocco. This powerful oil is so nutritious that goats climb the trees just to eat them! 

Argan is a slow-growing tree, taking up to 15 years to mature and produce fruits. It is extremely resistant and can live up to 200 years. Argan trees help stabilize soil, reduce erosion and maintain moisture in the air. It is a precious source of livelihood for Morocco's Berber population and was declared a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve in 1998.

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Healing Properties 

Argan oil is rich in Vitamins A and E, antioxidants and fatty acids that are great for acne-prone skin and deep conditioning: 

    • Oleic Acid (43-49%): A moisturizing, anti-aging and soothing omega-9 fatty acid that helps keep skin soft while also repairing damaged cells present in conditions like eczema. Also helps ingredients absorb into the skin. 
    • Linoleic Acid (29-36%): An omega-6 fatty acid that's helpful in reducing inflammation and protecting the skin's barriers. Improves skin hydration. 
    • Palmitic Acid (11-15%): Helps soften and smooth skin and hair while retaining moisture. 
    • Vitamin A: Natural antioxidant that heals and prevents stretch marks and scars and strengthens the skin’s outer layer.
    • Vitamin E: Naturally boosts cell production, promoting healthy skin. Powerful antioxidant that heals and soothes irritated skin, helps reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and rejuvenates and moisturizes the skin.

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Uses

Hair/Beard Conditioner. Argan oil penetrates deeply into hair making it an excellent conditioner. Because of its quick absorption it won’t leave hair feeling greasy but will add a healthy shine. It also promotes hair growth and reduces dandruff and scalp inflammation, which is why it's one of the main ingredients in our Healthy Hair BalmTip: Apply to dry hair/beard after styling or air drying, or leave in overnight for a deep conditioning treat.

Exfoliant. Because argan oil helps to smooth out the skin and reduce acne-related blemishes, it’s a great oil to add to homemade face scrubs. It will leave your skin feeling soft and hydrated, with a natural dewy glow. Tip: Check out our quick recipe here! 

Face Oil. Argan oil absorbs deep into the skin making it a great oil for acne-prone and oily skin. I recommend applying at night after washing your face. It’s lightweight and won’t clog pores, and absorbs quickly so you don’t have to worry about dirtying your pillowcase ;) Tip: 1-2 drops is enough for your entire face! Gently spread drops between your palms and pat onto face. The oil will absorb in naturally within in a few minutes. 

Combat Oily Skin. Oily skin results from an overproduction of sebum, our skin’s natural oil. While it might seem counterintuitive to use an oil to combat oily skin, argan oil does just that by helping to balance out our skin’s sebum production and cleaning out our pores.

Tip: Use the oil cleansing method for best results. Massage your face with a small amount of organic argan oil, working it in around your nose, t-zone and other build-up prone areas. Allow the oil to work it’s magic for 5-10 minutes, then take a soft washcloth and run it under warm-hot water. Place the washcloth over your face and gently wipe (don’t rub!). Rinse the washcloth and repeat once or twice. The steam and warm water will be enough to remove the excess oil, leaving your face feeling soft and fresh!

Acne Remedy. Argan oil helps regulate sebum production and fight inflammation, which can lead to breakouts. Its natural combination of fatty acids and Vitamin E help boost cell production, repair damaged cells and smooth out the skin, reducing the appearance of acne-related scars and blemishes over time. Tip: Try starting with the oil cleansing method or night oil tips mentioned above!

Heat Protectant. If you like to blowdry, curl or straighten your hair, argan oil is one of the best oils to use to protect your hair from heat damage due to its high smoke point. It will also condition your hair and lock in moisture, giving it a healthy shine. Simply apply a few drops to hair before styling. Tip: For added shine or to control frizz, rub 1-2 drops between palms and apply through hair once styled. 

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Where to Buy

Most argan oil is harvested by women in Morocco who depend on the oil for their livelihood, so it's important to source from companies who support women's cooperatives and are committed to preserving the health of the Argan forest.

I recommend Mountain Rose Herbs who's argan oil is certified organic and sourced from a cooperative located on the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, a vast area of land that protects the native argan trees, as well as provides research on environmental issues and promotes responsible socioeconomic development of local communities. Their oil is created by hand in small batches.   

If you want to save on the shipping costs, another great option is Aura Cacia’s Organic Argan Oil, which can be found at Fresh Thyme, Whole Foods, and other natural food stores. Aura Cacia is a member of Frontier Co-op and is committed to ethical sourcing and sustainability. 

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Recipes

If you're feeling crafty, try these simple and effective recipes below. I recommend the same brands mentioned above for the ingredients if you don't already have them on hand. Enjoy!

Lavender Argan Leave-in Conditioner

    • Ingredients
      • 1 tbsp organic argan oil
      • 1 tbsp organic jojoba oil
      • 3 drops organic lavender essential oil
      • 3 drops organic rosemary essential oil 
    • Method
      • Mix argan and jojoba oil together in a 1oz glass jar. Add essential oils and stir. 
      • Rub a pea-dime sized amount between palms and work through wet hair from the nape down if airdrying or after blowdrying/styling. 

Argan Acne Face Mask

    • Ingredients
      • 3 drops organic argan oil
      • 1-2 teaspoons locally sourced raw honey (natural antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and exfoliant properties)
      • A small pinch of cinnamon (natural antibacterial properties that help fight acne)
    • Method
      • Mix ingredients together in a small bowl. 
      • Apply to a clean face avoiding the eyes. 
      • Gently wash away after 5 minutes with warm water and moisturize as usual.  

Relaxing Bath Oil

    • Ingredients
      • 10 drops organic argan oil
      • 5 drops organic lavender essential oil
    • Method
      • Simply add to bath water and enjoy!
      • Tip: Add a scoop of magnesium salt to relax sore muscles ;) 

Love + Light,

Smita :)

P.S. Check out our daily conditioning Healthy Hair Balm made with organic argan oil below! 

    Argan oil DIY Education Ingredient Insights Skincare Hacks

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