What is Argan Oil
Argan oil is a plant extract taken from the kernels of the argan tree. This plant is scientifically known as Argania spinosa L. and is native to Morocco. In Morocco, locals traditionally use argan oil as a dip for breads or an ingredient in pasta.
For centuries, women who sought its nourishing and hydrating qualities for their beauty regimens have revered argan oil. Many of today’s brands of argan oil bring this secret of the ages to modern women. With a widespread use for hair and skin, argan oil is also a key ingredient in many cosmetic products.
Where It Comes From
Argan oil comes from the fruits of the argan tree, a native desert plant in Morocco. These fruits are often called “argan nuts”. It is a small fruit with an oval or conical shape. It has a thick peel of light green color, covering a fleshy pulp that surrounds the hard-shelled nut inside. This nut makes up 25% of the fruit’s total weight. It contains one to three pieces of argan kernels, the main raw material for argan oil extraction.
How It is Made
To obtain the precious argan oil, workers need to collect the kernels of the argan nuts first. It begins by drying the fruits and removing the fleshy pulp that covers the nuts. When they pick them, they look very similar to green olives. They turn brown and wrinkled after drying.
Each nut is cracked to obtain the kernels by hand. They use stones to break apart the dried flesh and crack the shell. This is a time-consuming and laborious process often done by local Moroccan women. After collecting all the kernels, they are ground and pressed to expel the oil. Workers collect and filter pure argan oil before putting into bottles. The remaining argan cake is rich in protein and frequently used as feed for cattle.
Two Types of Argan Oil
Argan oil comes in two types: the culinary oil and the more popular cosmetic oil. They differ mostly in their method of production. Manufacturers roast the kernels before grounding and pressing. This gives the finished product a stronger and more distinct nutty taste and aroma. Cosmetic argan oil is made in similar ways without roasting. Therefore, it is raw and often called cold pressed.
Most cold pressed essential oil products are better than the heated versions. Heat can diminish the natural properties of the oil. A cold pressed argan oil is perfect for cosmetic use because it contains higher amounts of essential nutrients your hair and skin needs.
Argan Oil Composition
What makes argan oil the ultimate Moroccan miracle oil? It all boils down to what the oil is made of. It is rich in essential fatty acids, antioxidants, and vitamin E. Argan oil is about 80% fatty acids by composition. It carries a mix of 43% oleic acid, 37% linoleic acid, and 12% palmitic acid. The remaining 8% is made up of other types of fatty acids such as stearic and linolenic acid. It also contains natural phenols, which are aromatic compounds with disinfectant and antiseptic properties. Few of the key phenols in argan oil are caffeic acid, vanillic acid, and tyrosol among others.
Common Uses of Argan Oil
With a unique oil profile, argan oil comes with awesome uses for hair, skin, and body as well. There is no wonder why this oil has crossed oceans and seas to bring the beauty of its benefits to many users around the world. Here are the common uses of argan oil.
Split ends and dryness are never a problem if you use argan oil for hair care. Applying argan oil directly to hair helps reduce frizz as it conditions hair for a smooth and shiny finish. The vitamin E content of argan oil is a great antioxidant that rejuvenates hair and improves its shine and texture. Using argan oil for hair as a weekly hair treatment helps restore damaged hair and keep it nourished.
Moroccans traditionally use cosmetic grade argan oil for skin. They apply the oil topically on the skin to treat dry skin conditions. It helps eliminate dark spots, scars, and even acne. It makes skin look flawless and youthful as it helps maintain skin elasticity. It absorbs easily and is non-greasy. Applying argan oil regularly is a great anti-aging treatment for skin that stays healthy and glowing.
Due to excellent properties that help nourish the hair and skin, argan oil became a popular ingredient for many types of cosmetic products. Shampoos, conditioners, skin care products are few examples. The addition of argan oil makes their formula richer to keep hair and skin healthy.
Culinary argan oil is perfect for bread dips, salads, and other similar dishes. A bread dip called amlou is made with argan oil, almonds, and peanuts. Sometimes honey or sugar is added to make it sweet. Argan oil is also a key ingredient in preparing couscous, a North African cuisine in Morocco, Alegria, Libya and other Arabic countries.
Looking for tips on how to use essential oil products effectively? Learn about essential oils safety and warning signs of low-quality goods you should look out for and avoid.
Argan Oil Benefits
Using argan oil for various applications can actually do a lot for you. Whether you apply it topically or add it to your favorite dishes, argan oil provides specific benefits.
The fatty acids found in argan oil naturally carry an anti-inflammatory property that helps relieve redness and swelling of the skin. Due to this property and its moisturizing quality, argan oil makes a great skin care product that repairs and protects skin from damage. Here are its benefits for the skin:
- Moisturizes Skin
- Prevents Skin Aging
- Reduces Acne
- Fades Stretch Marks
- Soothes Razor Bumps and Burns
- Softens Lips
- Helps Relieve Eczema and Psoriasis
With its high content of antioxidants, essential fatty acids, and vitamin E, argan oil naturally helps revitalize hair. It restores shine to dry lifeless hair with regular use. You can use it as a leave-in conditioner or an overnight hair treatment for these hair benefits:
- Conditions and Moisturizes Hair
- Grows Longer Hair
- Relieves Dry Itchy Scalp
- Tames Frizz and Split Ends
- Restores Damaged Hair
Just as you can put argan oil for face and skin, it also has extra benefits for other parts of your body such as your hands, nails, and feet.
- Keeps Nails Healthy and Strong
- Treats Dry Cracked Feet & Heels
Consuming culinary argan oil as part of your dishes helps improve many bodily functions and provides these health benefits:
- Lowers Cholesterol
- Stimulates the Nervous System
- Improves Brain Function
- Relieves Joint Pain and Rheumatism
- Supports Digestion
- Calms Hypertension
- Stabilizes Blood Sugar Level
Looking for other essential oils with benefits for your hair, skin, body, and health? Learn about various types of essential oils, their distinguishing properties, uses, and benefits!
Safety When Using Argan Oil
While there are no common side effects of using argan oil, possible allergic reactions could include rashes. Be mindful especially if you have any allergies to argan oil.
You can always test through a simple patch testing. Just put one to two drops of oil and spread it at your wrist or the back of your elbow. A diameter of 1 inch is enough. If negative reactions such as redness, itchiness, or a burning sensation occur, stop using argan oil immediately. Wash it with water and seek medical help if necessary.
When using argan oil to your sumptuous dishes, make sure you are using a food-grade argan oil product. Check the label first. This is a basic instinct you should always be mindful of. One way of avoiding these essential oil mishaps is to purchase argan oil from a reputable source. The next section teaches you how.
Where to Buy Argan Oil
Essential oil products such as argan oil have become easier to find these days. It is available in department stores, pharmacies, and beauty shops. When looking for argan oil in department stores, go to the beauty aisle and look for natural products section. You can also check out organic stores that sell all-natural and organic products.
The number of brands selling argan oil has increased due to higher demand. With that in mind, always make sure to buy from trusted sources that offer high-quality goods. And speaking of trusted sources, Amazon is your best option when buying argan oil online. Amazon is an online shop that offers various personal care products including essential oils. They got the top-selling brands of essential oils in the market today!
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