The Benefits of Argan Oil
Praised by the indigenous Amazigh, Argan oil is made from the fruit pits of a 20 million year old species, used by mankind for thousands of years. They have used it as a source of dietary fat and applied topically to protect their skin from the sun. Argania spinosa is commonly adulterated and highly processed, so it is important to find a brand that is single-origin (similar to coffee). Unless companies are buying it from co-operatives, there is no way to tell its purity. Argan trees are ubiquitous along the Anti-Atlas. They are drought resistant and incredibly difficult to grow outside of their native habitat.
“It takes one argan tree one year to produce one liter of argan oil.”
Argan oil is the main source of income for the Amazigh. Grazing from the goats and a growing population, argan trees are protected by UNESCO, making it illegal to cut down an argan tree without permission. Before it became popular in the western world, it was always hand-made by women. Less than 10% of Moroccan argan oil is made by women’s cooperatives.
‘Ghost co-operatives’ pretend to sell authentic argan oil. Instead, their workers aren’t paid well, and the argan is oxidized out in the open, and often is eaten, digested and excreted by goats. This gives off a rancid smell, and is then deodorized to disguise the odor. The highest quality argan oil is made on a small scale, is hand harvested, unrefined, hand-cracked & hand-pressed.
When the fruit is ripe, it falls to the ground and gets collected. The flesh is removed and the nut is hand cracked with stone. The kernels are put through a mill, the sediment and fibers get filtered out, and the clear argan oil is left behind.
Argan oil is
- Rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids (including Omega-6&9) and natural tocopherols (vitamin E).
- Nourishing, regenerating, and protective.
- Excellent anti-free radical properties for preventive anti-aging.
- Provides lightweight moisture that penetrates and hydrates the skin well (squalene).
- Nourishes all skin types by helping to restore the skin barrier (sterols).