Argan oil has been utilized by native Moroccans for centuries, with little scientific research reaching the rest of the world. Known for its cardiac and integumentary (skin and protective surfaces of the body) benefits, Argan oil is not only enjoying popularity as a food item, but also as a beauty product. It is fast becoming a popular aromatherapy carrier oil as well.
Some users claim a noticeable benefit to the appearance of their skin, and we’ve included it in our Super Skin Care base for this reason.
Argan oil is rich in natural nutrients. It is high in tocopherols (vitamin E compounds), phenols, phenolic acid and carotenes (additional antioxidants), squalene, essential fatty acids, containing approximately 80% unsaturated fatty acids. These are all wonderful for skin care, as well as a massage base or other aroma-therapeutic diluting agent.
Native to northwest Africa, the land where Argania spinosa grows, is currently listed as a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, after 50% of the tree’s natural habitat was destroyed in pursuit of firewood, charcoal, and overgrazing.
Marketing Argan oil as a luxury product is part of the strategy to keep farmers, particularly women, on the land after deforestation. It is said, also, that Argan trees fend off the advancing Sahara desert, as they have deep roots and are suited to the harsh conditions in northern Africa. Thus, buying Argan oil encourages the planting and protection of Argan trees, as well as supports the local economies in Morocco.
Several women’s cooperatives produce Argan oil presently. The women split the notoriously hard nuts by pounding them between two rocks. Once inside, they remove the soft pulp to extract two or three small oil-rich seeds that yield the oil as we know it. Roasted and then ground, the paste is placed in water, to the top of which the oil rises. It takes 5 1/2 lbs. of kernels and up to 20 hours of labor to produce one liter of Argan Oil.
The research done involving Argan oil suggests that Argan oil is not only indicated for healing skin conditions, but also is anti-proliferative and anti-diabetic when ingested. Argan oil inhibits the growth of cells, malignant ones in particular, making it an excellent carrier oil in which to base the essential oils researched for their anti-cancer properties.
In addition to its cardio-protective capabilities, Argan oil is a luxurious hair and skin conditioner. On fine and normal hair, both straight and curly, Argan oil smooths the cuticle and replenishes moisture. It can be used as a shine agent, though definitely with a light hand. The skin absorbs Argan oil very quickly, leaving no oily residue within a minute or two.
Argan nut oil, when produced responsibly, yields benefits for women’s cooperatives, the ecology of the now-protected land, and the heart, skin, and hair of the consumer.