There was a point when mankind was too influenced by brand ads on television to concentrate on product ingredients. But fortunately, we’ve crossed that era and have transformed into a more aware and alive society. We know what works for our skin and what doesn’t. We take care of our hair and skin. We know that in all shapes and conditions, organic and natural ingredients will perform better than chemically-induced, store-bought concoctions do, without any side effects. We know how to pamper our skin and hair better and that’s relieving, rather amazing. All the nani-dadi ke nuskhe that we had forgotten about have made a come back in our busy lifestyle and out of a zillion beauty secrets, Argan oil is Ayurveda's one of the best-kept ingredient. After all, Argan oil is also known as ‘Liquid Gold’ and is the most expensive oil in the world. Of course, there’s a good reason for that.
Argan oil is also known as the ‘Oil of Morocco’. The true value and nature of Argan oil is only known to those who go to extra length and research a lot to improve and take care of their hair and skin. It is grown in small and specific areas. Due to its limited production, Argan oil is expensive and lesser known about. It, in fact, is one of the rarest oils.
The produce comes from the Moroccan tree, also known as the tree of life, that grows in South Western Morocco. The tree is extremely well adapted to drought and many other harsh environmental conditions. The tree might not be so rare but the fruit it bears is. It’s rich in nutrients. Its fruit is a delicacy for tree-climbing goats. Goats only eat the flesh of the fruit and they leave the hard-shelled nuts. Then, the nuts are collected by the locals and later, the Argan oil is extracted from the kernels through the process of cold pressing.
In the process, the women of the area crack the nuts open to reveal the Argan inside. The Argan is then cold pressed using hands to release the oil in it. In many traditions, the oil was boiled but that may destroy a lot of nutrients.
The traditional produce of Argan oil demands about 58 hours from a single person. The quantity produced in these hours is about 2 to 2.5 litres of Argan oil. The process uses about 100 kg of fruit. No wonder it’s called Liquid Gold. Even with the modern machinery, which is now an adopted process by some places in Morocco, the production of 4 to 6 litres of Argan oil takes about 13 hours of work and uses 100 kg of fruit. The process of making Argan oil isn’t easy, hours of manual labour makes its existence possible, hence, in case you were wondering, there’s no such thing as cheap Argan oil. So beware when you buy your bottle.
Mostly, the Moroccan Argan oil products available in the market are infused with cold pressed certified organic Argan oil. But what does cold pressed mean? The fruits for cold-pressed Argan oil are handpicked and then cold pressed. Cold pressing is actually considered as one of the most effective ways to produce the nutrient-rich oil as it causes no damage to the nutrients stored in fruit or seed. Hence, it produces a better quality of oil or extract that is richer in antioxidants and moisture. Other methods of extracting oil include boiling, solvent extraction and refining operations. These methods can damage the benefits and properties of the oil taking away the naturals vitamins, antioxidants and colour present in the fruit. Thanks to the well-read and aware customers, Argan oil is now getting popular by the day. With this, many products are popping up in the market and are claiming to have used pure Argan oil. However, there are chances that these products don’t contain a hundred percent fresh and pure Argan oil as many variations of Argan oil quality are available in the market. So while purchasing, you need to be careful and well-aware about what are you looking at. Also, if your product is labelled as certified organic, rest assured that the production process involved organic produce of the ingredients.
Argan oil is extremely rich in Vitamin E and healthy fatty acids. It is known for its moisturising, conditioning and nourishing properties. It provides nourishment to skin and hair and keeps the skin cells hydrated. Did you know that the cold-pressed Argan oil is considered better than the famous olive oil? Argan oil is considered as a superfood for our body. More than that, it holds twice the amount of Vitamin E, antioxidants, phenols, carotenes, squalene and essential fatty acids as compared to olive oil. Argan oil is non-greasy, lightweight and gets easily absorbed in skin and scalp.
The Moroccan Argan oil has a range of ingredients with are rich in antioxidants, Vitamin E, omega-6 and omega-9 which are essentials fatty acids needed by the hair and skin to maintain intense hydration and moisture.
You may know of Argan oil as an oil that’s often used in beauty products and people keep talking about it in every good way possible but have you wondered why? What does this rare oil does to the skin that makes everyone in the beauty industry go Gaga over it? Yes, we do have some insights for you so go on, keep reading!
1. It’s not the same as the other oils
When we say oil, you picture sticky, greasy skin which invites dirt and pollution to the skin but no, not all oils are the same. Every face oil has a different formulation, weight and absorption rate which makes them more suitable for skin than others. For instance, Avocado oil and coconut oil are highly moisturising for dry skin but grapeseed oil and castor oil are beneficial in treating acne-prone skin. However, Argan oil falls somewhere in between. The oil is neither too heavy nor too light, which makes it perfect for all skin types. It’s rich in omega fatty acids, vitamin E and linoleic acid which can soften the dry patches, reduce acne along with moisturising the skin lightly. It works as nature’s nurturing and protective superfood for the skin.
2. It can help the breakouts
The Argan oil heals the skin barriers that are dry, damaged and inflamed due to harsh acne products which stops the cycle of overproduction of oil by clogged pores. It balances the sebum and helps with the spots and redness on the skin. It soothes eczema and eventually fades scars.
3. It doesn’t clog pores
While oils, makeup products and many creams on the market are popular for clogging pores, this one stays clear off that blame. Coconut oil and olive oil are also at the low risk of clogging the pores of a sensitive skin but Argan oil doesn’t do it at all.
4. It’s easy-to-use and feels comfortable on the skin
Oils aren’t moisturisers. They are actually the agents that keep the moisture on the skin from evaporating. Best way to apply oil is on a damp skin so the skin pores can take in water and oil together to lock the hydrating ingredients. As Argan oil is lightweight, it sets in quickly and leaves a subtle glow on the skin which looks natural. Do not apply it in the daytime though. Best time to apply it is after washing your face before bed at night. It’ll keep your skin hydrated and fresh throughout the day.
You’ll often find Argan oil in hair treatment products and conditioners as it is beneficial for both hair and scalp. It has vitamin E antioxidants which are essential for hair health and growth. Argan oil acts as a moisturiser for scalp and helps in fighting dandruff and dry scalp. It makes hair stronger and can mend split ends as it works with the cells. It is also capable of undoing the damage done by chemical-induced hair dyes and other chemical treatments. These are few benefits of argan oil for hair growth
It is an excellent agent for treating frizzy hair and makes them softer and more manageable. Don’t be surprised if your hair starts to look glossy and shiny as well.
Argan oil comforts hair as it is non-irritating. People often prefer to use it in its pure form for their soft, healthy and shiny hair. If you have damaged, brittle and dry hair, Argan oil-induced products are the perfect choice for you. They’ll nurture your hair while working on the damage. Here are a few other benefits of Argan oil for hair.
1. It’s like a leave-in conditioner
Argan oil is a leave-in conditioner that intensifies the effects of good products on hair. As it makes hair soft, shinier and sleek and is lightweight, it acts as an excellent conditioning agent. Unlike other leave-in conditioners, it isn’t greasy. Hair easily absorbs the oil and don’t leave any greasy residue while doing so. To apply, you can take a few drops in your palm and rub it. Then comb it through your towel-dried or damp hair using fingers.
You can add Argan oil to your hair masks as well and leave it for at least twenty minutes before washing it off with water.
2. It’s a styling agent
Argan oil makes styling so easy, especially when you are in a hurry. That’s why is a favourite of many hairstylists. It’s a long-term solution to dry and damaged hair as it gives strength and nourishes while it adds gloss to the frizzy hair. It repairs damaged hair. It’s a great product to use before you start straightening as it would protect hair against heat damage. Apply it exactly like a leave-in conditioner. Just remember to not use too much.
3. It can be used in shampoos, conditioners and moisturisers.
Argan oil is effective as both, a product and an ingredient. However, a lot can be done but to maximise the effect of Argan oil, it is best to use it for an overnight treatment. Using it as a hair mask overnight will allow your hair and scalp to absorb as many nutrients as possible leading to extra smooth, sleek and voluminous hair. Massage it on scalp, hair and tips and wrap your hair in a towel to prevent your pillow from stains. Leave it overnight and wash your hair the next morning with a regular shampoo. As Argan oil has already done the job of conditioning your hair, you won’t have to use a chemical-induced conditioner later.
Due to its rarity, pure Argan oil is expensive, hence, many people avoid using it. However, beauty brands have made it more affordable for buyers by using Argan oil as an ingredient.
Argan oil’s benefits are not limited to skin and hair. The consumption of Argan oil can also help treat and prevent many health conditions including high blood pressure, diabetes, atherosclerosis and osteoarthritis. As per scientific studies done on Argan oil, the benefits are enhanced when the oil is consumed orally. Here are a few culinary Argan oil benefits.
1. Heart diseases
During an experiment done of 60 men who were asked to consume Olive oil and Argan oil, scientist discovered that both the oils helped in improving heart health and metabolism.
2. Insulin resistance
Consumption of Argan oil also fights insulin resistance and protects the body against obesity-related issues and lowers blood pressure.
As per the experiments performed, topical Argan oil can treat second-degree burns.
If you use Argan oil right, you can reduce the risk of experiencing health problems. So follow a few basic steps. Whenever you are using the Argan oil on the skin, pour a small amount on the palm of your hand and rub it between your fingers and gently massage it on your skin. To speed up the absorption process and enhance the effectiveness of the oil, use a circular motion for the application. You can always add Argan oil to your regular cream, mask and lotions. Just add a few drops to the jar and stir it until the il is fully absorbed by the cream. After that, you can apply the product whenever needed. Choose cold-pressed Argan oil over others as it’s great for strengthening hair. For hair, you can add the oil to your conditioner or use the oil as a leave-in conditioner. You can apply the Argan oil after having a shower, while your hair is still well.
Pour a few drops in the palm of your hand and brush it through the length of the hair. It gets absorbed quickly. You can apply it before using a hair straightener, blow dryer or curling iron as it’ll protect your hair against heat.
Everyone wants healthy, lustrous skin and hair and the safest and long-lasting method of getting to perfect skin is a natural one. The women of Morocco have been using Argan oil for the same for centuries and the effects of this miraculous ingredient are making it popular amongst the Western countries and in the beauty industry. TBH it’s a super-ingredient, but can a super-ingredients come with side effects? Perhaps.
However, Argan oil is taken well by most skin types, the side effects of it are extremely rare, but it can cause some health problems in a small group of people. To check if your skin can tolerate Argan oil in daily life, you must perform the tolerance check by patch test before going for the products. Apply a patch of it on your hand, let it get absorbed and observe any unusual occurrence. If it’s irritating your skin or causing any redness, you must discontinue the oil. Speak to your dermatologist regarding what makes your skin so sensitive towards Argan oil and if there are any alternatives for the future.
In rare cases, Argan oil may cause rashes, excessive itchiness on the skin, redness, allergic reactions and it can even cause difficulty in breathing. Sometimes, it’s not your skin that’s the problem but the quality of the oil. The Argan oil used in your product might be impure or low quality. To avoid this, buy it from a trusted brand. Before purchasing it, be sure of its origin and the process of its making. In the case of Argan oil, don’t go for bargains as Argan oil in its true form, is expensive and if you are getting a bargain or an unexpectedly high discount sort of deal, chances are that it’s ‘too good to be true’. So be smart about it as a cheap product means cheap ingredients and if you have sensitive skin, it will not react well to such a product.
To reduce the side effects, you can take a few measures. Don’t pick Argan oil that’s stored in a clear plastic bottle as the light can affect its quality. A good manufacturer will always store it in a dark glass bottle. To maintain the quality of the oil, store it in a cool and dark place. Don’t go for the Argan oil that has a strong scent as pure Argan oil is almost scentless. The artificial fragrances are added to the oil to make it more enticing but it can cause irritation. Also, avoid buying a bottle that has a bad smell and the oil stored in it is heavy as it means the oil has gone rancid. It would be best to use raw and cold pressed Argan oil.
Argan oil is lightweight and is of gold colour and there are no particles or sediments present in the liquid so check that before purchasing it.
Experience the head-to-toe nourishment with Moroccanoil’s Treatment which comprises of pure Argan oil. It’s non-greasy and can be used on hair for nourishment and shine. It improves hair health in every possible way and glides on like silk and gets absorbed quickly. It restores the lost protein in hair. It’s fragrance and paraben free.
Price: Rs 3,150. Buy it here.
Give a little extra care to your dry skin and lacklustre hair with The Body Shop’s nourishing and soothing solid oil. It hydrated both skin and hair and adds radiance. It’s convenient to travel with and the oil comes straight from Morocco.
Price: Rs 1,850. Buy it here.
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This story was updated in February 2019.