When it comes to healing and treating the skin and your hair you can’t beat the multi-tasking properties of pure Argan oil. It is one of the new age cold pressed oils that is pretty much exclusively grown and produced in Morocco (which is why it is sometimes also called or referred to as Moroccan oil). And although there seems to be a skin care trend right now with using a number of new and often Eastern grown and manufactured skin care oils, Argan oil is one of the first to become extremely well recieved and marketed here in the west. It is no wonder that Argan oil has become so popular as it is a completely holistic and natural product that is sold at a mid range price that has been showing up as a central ingredient in a multitude of skin, hair, body and face products. The oil that has traditionally been used to heal skin problems for years. It has also been used as a culinary oil that is still used for dipping bread into, and in traditional Moroccan meals such as couscous and salads. Because it is a healthy form of many essential fatty acids, eating it, especially as a replacement for butter, can improve one’s cardiovascular health and even help with losing weight.
As mentioned earlier, Argan oil is almost exclusively grown and produced in Morocco. The production of the oil is actually quite labour intensive. The oil is produced from the kernel found in the fruit that grows on the Argan tree. These trees can live for 150-200 years, but the Argan tree’s oil is only used after the tree reaches 30-50 years of age. The fruit of the Argan tree is small and round with a thick peel that contains a fleshy pulp underneath it. Beneath this fleshy fruit is a small nut that contains several small kernels that contain the precious Argan oil. To get this oil out of the kernels is where the intensive labour happens as it is often done by hand as past mechanical processes have failed in keeping the oil pure. When not used for cosmetic purposes the kernels are roasted, then cooled followed by grinding and pressing out the oil. When Argan oil is used for skincare or cosmetic purposes it is an even more tedious process than when it is used for food. In this case the oil is decanted from the kernels and left for several weeks until it becomes solid and it settles at the bottom of the seed. At this point the oil is further filtered so it becomes clear, but still usually contains some sediment within the oil. It has become a lucrative industry for the country of Morocco, and the government plans to increase the production of the oil from roughly 2,500 tonnes at present to 4,000 tonnes by 2020.
Moroccan or Argan oil is very high in many essential fatty acids including the following: Olec, Linoleic, Palmatic, Stearic and Linolenic fatty acids. Fatty acids are essential for human consumption as they can not be produced by the human body itself. Eating fatty acids helps to keep the skin healthy and helps the hair to grow strong. It also helps reduce blood pressure, helps to prevent arthritis, lowers triglyceride levels and is necessary for normal brain function. If you suffer from the skin care issues of eczema or psoriasis you should try adding an oil like Moroccan oil to your diet to help improve the skin’s well being. Here in the west Moroccan(or Argan) oil is mainly used for cosmetic purposes. The oil when bought as a cosmetic oil can be applied directly to the skin and it will help balance both oily or dry skin types. It may seem odd to add more oil to already oily skin, but the pure Moroccan or Argan oil is light and nourishing and can help to heal oily skin imbalances. If you have oily skin and you want to try applying the oil onto the skin try adding several drops of an essential oil that also helps to reduce oily skin. For example adding a few drops of a citrus essential oil such as lemon or lime can help to clean and balance the skin. Try adding just 3-4 drops of the citrus essential oil to an ounce of Argan oil and then gently rub or massage it into your skin. Other essential oils for oily skin include: tea tree oil and cedarwood essential oil.
Alternatively Argan or Moroccan oil can be used as a base oil for dry or mature skin as well. You can also add some essential oils for dryer skin to an ounce of Argan oil for the best skin care results. A few drops of one of the following essential oils such as: rose, frankincense or geranium essential oil can be added to an ounce of Argan or Mococcan oil. Some tree oils also work well for dry skin such as sandalwood or rosewood essential oil. Once again, all you need is a few drops of essential oil for an ounce of Argan or Moroccan oil and then gently massage it into the skin.
Argan oil is also great for moisturizing or calming the hair. If your hair is feeling dry and frizzy,a few drops of argan oil can be rubbed into the hair to help prevent dryness or to help the hair to lay flat. If it is the scalp itself that is feeling dry and itchy, then once again Argan oil can be the answer. Just rub a little of the oil into the scalp and hair and after a few times the problem should be resolved. You can also use Argan or Moroccan oil as a deeper moisturizing treatment to hydrate both your hair and scalp by using several ounces of the oil and rubbing it into the hair and scalp and leaving it to soak into the hair and scalp for several minutes or upto an hour. Then simply wash out the hair with a shampoo and condition as normal. So, even though Moroccan or Argan oil appears a little pricey, it is still well worth the investment as there are so many ways it can be used to balance both oily and dry conditions of both the hair and the skin.
There are also a large number of Argan or Moroccan oil based products on the market that one can try for the face, hair and the body. Several that I have recently tried and enjoyed include: Lanocreme, Collagen Formula, Nourishing Night Cream, which is made in New Zealand and contains many nurturing ingredients for the skin including; Argan oil, and magnolia bark extract. It cost $16.00 for a one ounce jar(or 30 ml jar). For the body there is Olio di Argan Silhouette, Intensive Body Treatment Cream, which contains Argan oil and is made in Italy. It is roughly $20 for the 5 oz.(or 150 ml) tube of body moisturizer, but I bought some at Winners for $8.99. For the hair: Herbal Essence has a shampoo and conditioner both with Moroccan or Argan oil : Moroccan My Shine, Nourishing Shampoo and Conditioner are reasonably priced at: $5.09 for a 300 ml. bottle.