The Complete Guide to Argan Oil & its Benefits

beautiful woman with argan oil and nuts

If you could bottle up liquid gold, then what you’d have is Argan Oil.

Extracted by hand from Argan nuts, this elixir is packed full of highly revered vitamins and minerals.

From nut to oil, every drop is steeped in tradition, making it a prized Moroccan export most widely celebrated in the beauty industry.

Transforming skin, hair & nails, let’s dive deeper into argan oil’s cosmetic benefits, as well as taking a journey through its rich history.

Get ready to become an argan oil connoisseur…

Feel free to skip ahead to fast track your way to the parts of Argan Oil’s story and benefits you’re interested in by using the table of contents below.

argan nuts and oil bottle

What is Argan Oil?

Argan oil is a completely natural elixir that’s extracted from the kernel of the fruit seeds of the Argan tree.

In it’s native land of Morocco it’s actually pronounced “Arkhan oil”.

The Argan trees are native to the southwest region of Morocco, with the fruit bearing trees that provide the oil exclusive to this arid landscape.

The oil within the nuts also proves difficult to reach.

However, due to its abundance of vitamins and minerals, Argan oil has become a prized substance world over.

Earning it the nickname of Moroccan miracle oil.

Rich in vitamin E, fatty acids and antioxidants, 100% argan oil has been long touted for its multitude of benefits.

Many devotees to the oil finding it unsurpassed by other products when it comes to beauty.

If you’re here to discover more about the benefits of Argan Oil feel free to skip ahead.

However, while the western world has only just begun to appreciate the benefits of this natural oil, its history dates back several centuries.  

The history of argan oil is an important part of understanding it’s allure…

Argan Oil dates back to over 4,000 years ago

Steeped in history and tradition, the origins of Argan oil can be dated back some 4,000 years.

Whilst there’s no official documentation for this claim, there are verifiable facts revolving around a doctor named Ibn Al Baythar.

In 1219 this Andalusian doctor wrote a paper about the oil’s benefits and its been heralded as a beauty resource ever since.

Full of beneficial vitamins and minerals, its nature’s way of providing ultimate nourishment to your skin, hair & nails.

From the stories passed down through the years, we know that Phoenicians have used Argan oil for centuries for a myriad of beauty applications.

The same can be said for the Moroccan Amazigh women who discovered the oil from a need to protect their skin from the harsh climates of the desert.

Requiring a potent moisturizer to combat the drying effects of their environment, the Amazigh woman became an important part of the oil’s storyline.

Firstly, let’s take a look at the argan tree, a unique plant preserved by fiercely dedicated natives…

Argan trees in Morocco

The Argan Tree of Beauty

Although found across the globe, the Argan trees of southwest Morocco are the only species that give fruits.

It’s these fruits that hold the oil, making them a valuable natural commodity to the region.

The environment of this region of Morocco provides the ideal growing conditions for the trees, making it almost impossible to grow elsewhere.

In fact, Argan trees tend to grow where no other plants can thrive, at an elevation of around 4,900 feet along challenging soil conditions.

These trees have unique characteristics, including:

  • 10 meters tall when fully mature
  • A “bonsai” appearance to the branches
  • An age of up to 200 years old

Each part of the tree has a distinct purpose and evolutionary history that makes it well suited for the Moroccan landscape

The Decline of Argan Trees

Around 2 thousand years ago, it was estimated that there were 3 million acres of land covered with Argan trees in Morocco.

However, the tree is slowly dying out.

Why?

One main reason resides in the usefulness of Argan trees themselves.

As big and sturdy structures, the trees are composed of high quality wood throughout their trunks and branches.

Because of its strength, the tree’s wood was once a highly prized building material.

Native Moroccans also created charcoal from the Argan tree to be used as a cooking and heating fuel.

Unfortunately, people didn’t realize that they were decimating the Argan tree’s numbers.

As the trees declined in numbers, the environment was quickly impacted.

It’s not just the local people who depend on the trees for resources.

Plants and animals also rely on the tree for shade, protection and sustenance.

Did you know that around 1,200 plants and animals depend on this tree?

Something had to be done to save the argan tree and its dependent neighbors…

UNESCO Steps in to help save the Argan tree

The tree gained the attention of UNESCO due to its rapid decline in numbers, severely affecting the environment.

In 1999, this organization declared the argan-tree region as a biosphere reserve.

No trees can be cut or removed under the reserve’s rules.

Because the reserve has no limit to its protections, the trees can stand for generations to come.

The Moroccan government have been working on an intensive reforestation project that will increase the number of trees in the area.

Cooperatives also do their best to preserve the Argan tree region and we’ll explore their role in more detail in the next section.

Argan trees have a long lifespan, but they don’t grow very fast or in great numbers.

The area will still be recovering from the decimation for a long time.

However, there is hope for this tree as more people see it as a critical part of Moroccan life and liberty.

It’s thanks to the efforts of the Amazigh women, that people worldwide are able to appreciate the oil and it’s multitude of benefits…

Berber women producing argan oil

Introducing The Amazigh Women

The Amazigh women have been inhabitants of Morocco for generations.

They’ve learned to use the land and its resources, including the argan tree.

These ladies are also referred to as Berber women, but this name is term is considered insulting.

Therefore, we have chosen to call them by their traditional Amazigh name, meaning “free humans”.

These women have been playing an important role in the production of Argan oil for many centuries.

Cooperatives & Amazigh Women

Women cooperatives were set up to help the Amazigh women with the production and distribution of the oil.

The first cooperative was set up in 1996.

But they are still being formed, because there is still a world to be gained by these women.

These co-ops acts like unions where they can carefully cultivate the oil with an honest paycheck.

In the past, women weren’t educated or offered compensation for their work.

But thanks to the cooperatives they are taught about environmental programs and business skills.

This also allows their children to go to school, paving the way for education and future success for generations to come.

These cooperatives also make it a point to find ways to conserve and re-plant argan trees.

To gain a greater insight and appreciation for the work these women do, it’s important to understand the oil extraction process…

Argan Oil’s 4-Step Extraction

Extracting Argan oil is a labor-intensive procedure.

In order to harvest the oil the Amazigh women follow these steps:

Step 1. Collect the Ripe Fruits

The Amazigh women fan out across the region to pull fruits that have fallen to the ground between June and September.

Whilst green initially, the fruit can be identified as fully ripened once brown or yellow in color.

It’s the ripening process that also causes the fruits to fall naturally from the trees.

Step 2. Dry the Fruits

Before they can continue to work with the Argan fruits, they must first be allowed to dry fully.

To do this, the Amazigh women lay out the fruits on the ground out in the summer sun and heat.

This allows the outer skin to dry out completely.

The dry skin can now easily be removed.

These skins are a valuable resource for locals who use it as an animal feed or a heating material.

It’s clear to see how the Argan tree is able to benefit the local communities in more ways than one.

After peeling away the skin, only the argan nut remains.

These nuts are collected in baskets ready to undergo the next step of the extraction process.

Step 3. Crack the Nuts

One of the most difficult jobs in this process is the cracking of the argan nut.

Many times tougher than a hazelnut, the Argan nut is incredibly strong.

The women place the Argan nut on a large stone and use a smaller stone to crack it open by hitting the nut with precision.

What remains are one to three almond-shaped Argan kernels from which the oil can be pressed.

Wondering about the leftover nut?

They go on to be used as fuel for cooking or to warm up the water in local hammams (steam baths).

All leftovers are used up in the Argan oil extraction process, nothing is left to waste.

Step 4: Extracting the Oil

Whilst traditional pressing methods are still used, there are alternative ways to extract the Argan oil from the kernels. The archaic method involves manually extracting the oil by hand, but more modern methods involve the use of machines.

Benefits of Argan Oil 

Are you wondering what argan oil can do for your skin, hair and nails?

A better question would involve what CAN’T argan oil do for your body.

Packed full of hydrating essential fatty acids and anti-inflammatory vitamin E and sterols, Argan oil is a nutrient powerhouse.

It works to soothe and smoothe skin, as well as to strengthen hair and nails.

It’s quickly become a go-to product for women of all ages.

beautiful woman with argan oil and nuts

Argan Oil, Natural Anti-aging for the Face

Argan oil has gained its anti-aging popularity from the numerous antioxidants and nutrients it contains.

These all work to reduce and prevent fine lines and wrinkles, tell-tale signs that the skin is aging.

Argan oil has the highest concentrations of vitamin E in any oil available today.

In fact, it’s among the most potent antioxidants we are aware of in modern times.

So if you want to delay and minimize the appearance of lines and wrinkles, Argan oil is your new skincare weapon!

Aside from its anti-aging benefits, the oil is also well known for its ability to relieve dry skin…

mature women with ageing skin

Argan oil, best Moisturizer for Dry Skin

As a potent moisturizer, Argan oil has long been celebrated for its ability to relieve dry skin.

The Amazigh women use it to combat the drying effects of their desert based environment.

In fact, it’s still used to this day to combat the effects of dryness.

Harnessing Argan Oil’s Moisturizing Qualities

Argan oil is able to absorb almost instantly into the skin, providing quick relief to dry skin.

It’s not just it’s absorption rate that makes it an ideal dry skin cure.

The power lies within its moisture retaining abilities.

When applied, the oil acts like a barrier, keeping moisture trapped within the skin instead of evaporating out.

Fatty-acids within argan oil, including vitamin E and sterols, are key to moisture retention.

While vitamin E’s main role is as an antioxidant, it also helps to soften skin.

Penetrating deep into the skin, these antioxidants are able to heal from within, protecting and repairing cells.

Essentially, the vitamins and nutrients found in Argan oil help to repair and promote cell growth and development.

This strengthens weakened skin cell’s, working towards a healthier complexion.

itchy, dry, and scaly skin

Argan oil for Oily skin?

Then you might find it more pleasant to apply argan oil only in the evening.

Women with oily skin may not think of argan oil as a solution.

However, argan oil actually balances out the skin as it absorbs into it.

Because argan oil is relatively lightweight, it sinks in and absorbs quickly.

This leaves you with a subtle, glow-y sheen, rather than an oil slick.

It’s not just oily skin that Argan oil can work wonders on.

It’s also a highly prized for its ability to diminish and prevent the appearance of scars…

stretch marks on different body parts

Argan Oil and Scar Prevention

Highly rich in vitamin E, argan oil is a wonderful preventative measure for stretch marks and various scars.

Burns, surgical scars, and even acne scars will benefit with regular usage of this oil.

Whilst there aren’t any miracle cures for completely fading scars, Argan oil is renowned for its ability to prevent and diminish their appearance.

different skin problems

Argan Oil & Chapped Lips

One of the most effective solutions to chapped or cracked lips is argan oil.

This is because it’s rich in vitamin E, unsaturated fatty acids, and antioxidants.

Argan oil is able to soften dry and cracked lips, soothe itchy lips, and prevent bleeding from already chapped lips thanks to these nutrients.

With no added chemicals or harmful ingredients, the oil is the leading choice of moisturizer for many.

Not only is it safe, but it is also proven effective.

How Does Argan Oil Help Acne?

Whilst treating oil with oil seems counterintuitive, it’s usually the best way to help breakouts.

Oftentimes, people break out not because they have naturally oily skin.

It can actually be because their skin barrier is dry, damaged, and inflamed from a regimen of harsh acne products.

That damaged skin barrier overcompensates by producing even more oil, which can clog pores and trigger breakouts.

Argan oil, however, can help break the cycle by

  • Soothing inflammation
  • Balances oil production
  • Neutralizes bacteria
  • Unclogs Pores
different hair types

Argan Oil for Hair Care

Argan Oil has a softening, silkening and shining effect on your hair.

It contains vitamin E, which is highly moisturizing whereas the unsaturated fatty acids improve the elasticity of your hair cells.

This rich composition makes arganoil ideal for hair treatments and is therefore called liquid gold for hair by hair specialists.

It’s even suitable for all hair types…

As well as benefiting skin and hair, Argan oil also has benefits for the nails.

applying oil on healthy nails

Argan Oil for Nail Care

Well-nourished cuticles are key to healthier and stronger nails.  

With chronic damage, the cuticles and the nails might have tears or breaks.

Fortunately, Argan oil can offer a moisturizing solution, as well as nursing nails back to health.

Believe it or not, there are other applications for argan oil besides beauty purposes.

It acts well as a massage oil too.

relaxed woman getting massage

Argan Oil For Massage

Because argan oil has anti-inflammatory properties and soothing effects, it has been known to be a great massage oil.

A few drops of this oil will not only make massages feel better, it will also make skin smooth and more radiant.

Fatty acids in argan oil contribute to prostaglandin production.

Prostaglandin is a fatty acid that’s naturally produced in the body, and it offers these benefits:

  1. Anti-inflammatory processes
  2. Circulatory system improvements

Your massage therapist can rub argan oil into your sore muscles and joints.

Both the oil and physical movement might improve your muscle alignment and overall health.

Discover these perks from your massage with argan oil, including:

  • Pain relief
  • Muscle relaxation
  • Skin-tightening processes

One last positive side effect is increased skin flexibility. The oil nourishes the skin as it targets the muscles and joints.

Over time, your skin has a more supple appearance without any unsightly stretching.

Argan oil seems to work in almost any situation, not excluding shaving…

Argan Oil For Shaving

Pulling out your shaving cream and razor is commonplace before a shower, but this habit is full of skin hazards.

Standard creams have ingredient lists that are chock-full of chemicals.

Your skin is reduced to dry and unsightly conditions.

Argan oil offers these benefits to your daily shaving routine, including:

  • Smoothing skin for easy, razor gliding
  • Creating a barrier to the razor that reduces nips and scrapes
  • Improving visibility of both the razor and your hairs as the oil is transparent.

If you like to sunbathe, liquid gold helps you more than any other product.

Read on to discover the skin perks of using argan oil during and after sunbathing…

Argan Oil As An Effective Aftersun

After a day out in the sun it’s not unusual for skin to feel dry.

Redness can also occurs, which signifies skin damage.

Argan oil helps to minimize UV-induced damage by rendering free radicals harmless before they can damage cells.

Sun induced Damage

The sun naturally feels wonderfully warm and relaxing, but it is also a very harmful source for your skin.

After an afternoon in the sun, your skin is probably irritated and dehydrated.

Even when you have used a good sunscreen.

Therefore, use argan oil as an after sun to soothe and care for your skin.

healthy food and skin care products

Is Your Bottle of Argan Oil The Real Deal?

Because of the increasing popularity of Argan oil, it’s important to be wary of fake products.

Despite the numerous potential benefits of Argan, an impure oil can do more harm than good.

7 Ways to Identify Genuine Argan Oil

Below you’ll find 7 ways that you can pinpoint quality oil when you shop for cosmetic Argan products.

1. Oil Cultivated in Morocco

The truth is, Argan oil doesn’t come from any area of the world besides Morocco.

This region must be named on the bottle to signify its pure contents.

If you find a bottle listing Morocco with other locations, this oil is a mixture of different ingredients and won’t be as pure as real Argan oil.

2. Single Ingredient Listed on Bottle

Some retailers might try to convince you that additives and oil blends enhance Argan.

In reality, extra ingredients don’t equate to a better product.

Look for 100% Argania Spinosa oil listed on the label.

Skip the product if you see any other ingredients, including other oils or perfumes.

They don’t belong in pure Argan.

3. Proper Oil Packaging

Ideally, look for an Argan oil packaged in dark-colored and frosted glass.

These bottles block the sun’s ultraviolet rays from harming the oil’s molecules.

Some people prefer a transparent bottle so they can see the oil’s pure appearance.

If you do choose to go that route, store them in a cupboard away from sunlight at all times.

Argan oil will lose its potency if it’s exposed to sunlight for even a short duration.

UV rays are a form of radiation, which changes any organic substance over time.

4. Light-Golden, Yellow Color

The Argan oil that you use on your hair, skin and nails should be golden and translucent.

Note that some sediment at the bottom of your Argan oils container is a sign of good quality.

This effect occurs when the bottle has been able to sit for some time.

Darker Argan oil is usually used as a culinary ingredient.

It’s more suitable for cooking because it is greasier, has a stronger scent and absorbs less readily than cosmetic types.

5. Telltale Nutty Smell

Cosmetic Argan oil has a subtle, nutty scent that wafts upward from the container.

Don’t worry about smelling like a nut – the fragrance will quickly dissipate after application.

A lower quality oil can often be identified by the following characteristics:

  • No smell at all
  • A pungent scent to the oil
  • An unpleasant odor with improperly filtered oil

Another feature that you may need to look out for is an olive-like scent.

If you apply the oil to your body and the olive scent rapidly fades, you more than likely have a quality oil that comes from a humid region.

If, however, the olive scent remains, there’s most likely olive oil mixed into your “pure” Argan oil.

6. Reasonable Pricing

Pure Argan oil is typically priced at 50 dollars or more for a 100-milliliter bottle.

This may seem expensive, but it’s a reflection of the labor intensive process.

Remember that the oil extraction carried out by the Amazigh women requires a specific skill set.

If you find oil at a cheaper price than this, be wary of the quality.

Any low cost Argan oil bottles may not be pure as there is not easy, quick way to produce a high quality oil.

One hundred percent pure Argan oil is an investment worth making.

Because it’s so versatile, it can replace all of your moisturizers, serums and treatments for your skin, hair and nails.

It’s gentle enough to use on your eyes and lips but strong enough to see results from the get-go.

7. Oil Rapidly Absorbs Into the Skin

Testing the Argan oil is the only way to find out if it absorbs rapidly.

After applying it, the oil shouldn’t leave a film on the skin.

In fact, you should have a radiant appearance without a shiny complexion.

This is the sign of a pure product.

These are the main properties, but there are also a few other important things to look out for if you seek the very best Argan.

Read on to discover the properties of pure Argan oil of PREMIUM quality…

reasons for low quality argan oil

What is Premium Quality Argan Oil?

Premium Argan oil is a powerful oil with a balanced and rich composition.

When you find a premium quality oil, you instantly notice the difference in your skin, hair and nails.

It gets absorbed faster and therefore leaves no greasy layer behind when using the right amount.

The 3 Key Properties of Premium Argan Oil:

1 – The quality of the region

Not all Argan trees are created equally.

Just as with wine, the quality varies region to region.

The climate and the composition of the soil in which the tree grows makes a difference.

These factors determine the quantity and quality of the active substances in the Argan nuts.

Some areas in Morocco are known for the high quality of their nuts.

The farmers from these regions are aware of the quality difference and therefore typically charge more for their nuts.

2 – The ripeness of the nuts

Premium Argan oil is produced using only ripe nuts. This is because only fully ripened nuts contain the highest concentrations of active substances.

Ripe means that the fruit has fallen from the tree by itself.

Often times, in an attempt to speed up the harvest, farmers pick the fruit before they’re ripe. This reduces the quality of the end-product.

3 – The extraction process

Using a cold-pressed extraction preserves the beneficial properties of the Argan oil.

This leads to the most powerful oil, but yields less oil per nut compared to higher temperature methods.

Because of this, commercial producers often offer oil that has been pressed at a higher temperature.

This way, they get more oil from the nuts and can offer lower prices.

Unfortunately, this significantly reduces the efficacy of the oil, making it of little value to the consumer.

Why Opt for Premium Quality Argan?

When you use the oil, in most cases you’ll quickly be able to discover whether or not you are dealing with premium quality.

The difference is immediately noticeable.

Remember – premium quality Argan oil is absorbed better and deeper by your skin and hair.

The results (making the skin smoother, smoother and softer, reducing lines, acne or skin irritation) are also clearer and fast-acting.

Why Does Argan Oil Cost so Much?

There’s no avoiding the fact that pure Argan oil can be pricey, but there are many reasons for this.

The Argan tree is scarce, which means that only a limited quantity of oil can be made.

Moreover, extracting Argan oil is an intensive, long process.

The gathering and breaking of the nuts is done entirely by hand.

The good news is that by purchasing premium Argan, you’re helping to support a 100% organic, sustainable and fair product.

In addition, you only need a small amount of oil to care for your skin or hair – a little goes a long way.

Argan oil can benefit your health outside of cosmetic applications…

how to produce premium argan oil

Can Argan Oil Cause Allergies?

For the majority of people, there’s no cause for concern when it comes to allergies.

Argan oil is a natural product of the Earth.

While not technically a tree nut, it is a stone fruit and the oils come from the nut.

Therefore, if you have a nut allergy, however, try a small dab of the oil at first.

You should immediately know if there’s a reaction.

The same process applies if using Moroccan oil for wound healing.

Apply to a small portion of the wound first and wait 24-48 hours.

If reaction free, start using Argan oil every day to start seeing results…

Beware, as not all Argan Oil’s are created equally…

Now it is your Turn

Congratulations, you’re now well-informed on everything Argan oil.

Get out there and use your newfound knowledge.

Don’t hide this information from others either.

Share this article so that everyone can benefit from the Argan tree’s liquid gold.

Argan oil is the present and future of DIY beauty.

Keep a steady supply in your bathroom from now on and continue to support the Argan Tree region and it’s community in southwest Morocco.

Do you have any tips that are shareable with the readers?

Offer your knowledge by sharing your comments in the section below.

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