Often referred to as ‘Liquid Gold’, Argan oil is one of nature’s treasures. First mentioned by the Phoenicians around 1500 BC, Argan oil is packed with healing antioxidants, fatty acids, minerals and the vitamins A and E. This light, non greasy oil is the perfect multi-purpose beauty elixir for hair, skin and nails. And taken internally it’s a powerful health tonic.
What is Argan Oil?
This amazing oil comes from the Argan Forest in Southwestern Morocco. For centuries, natives of the forest have harvested the nuts from the Argan trees and extracted this versatile oil.
The Argan tree is ancient, it has existed since the Tertiary Age (65 million to 1.8 million years ago), and the tree once covered most parts of North Africa. Now its area is much reduced and Argan trees cover an estimated 8,280 km2.. With the tree considered an endangered species, the Argan Forest came under the protection of UNESCO in 1998 when the Argan Forest was declared a Biosphere Reserve.
The extraction process which creates Argan oil is incredibly consuming and labor intensive. The oil is processed in all-female fair trade cooperatives where it can take one worker three days to produce one liter of this valuable oil from the kernels of 8 Argan trees.
Luckily a little Argan oil goes a long way – a couple of drops is sufficient for most uses – so even though it’s a fairly expensive oil, it’s still cost effective to use. When purchasing Argan oil make sure that the oil you choose is packaged in a dark bottle (to preserve shelf life) and is labeled 100% Argan oil or ‘argania spinosa’.
Fatty acid percentages in Argan oil
Fatty acid Percentage
- Oleic 42.8%
- Linoleic 36.8%
- Palmitic 12.0%
- Stearic 6.0%
- Linolenic <0.5%
Specific benefits of Argan oil
- Emollient – moisturizes
- Cicatrizant – heals wounds
- Anti-Sebum – prevents oily skin
- Antioxidant – reduces free radical damage both externally and internally.
- Hepatoprotective – Protects the liver.
- Anti-diabetic – can prevent blood sugar spikes
- Choleretic – Increases bile secretion from liver.
- Chemopreventive – Ability to reduce or delay cancer.
- Hypolipidemic – Improves the lipid profile.
- Hypocholesterolemic – It improves HDL cholesterol and slows the oxidation of LDL cholesterol.
1. Boost Your Inner Health
Argan oil is made up of 80% essential fatty acids. The unique composition of Argan oil with its unsaturated fats, sterols, omega 3, 6, 9, fatty acids and vitamin E makes it seriously beneficial to health.
With over 42% oleic acid Argan oil is effective at lowering cholesterol, while the prostaglandins formed in the body improve circulation, suppresses inflammation and boost the immune system.
Vitamin E acts as a powerful antioxidant by combating oxidative stress.
Linoleic acid has positive effects on rheumatologic conditions and vascular problems.
Argan oil also appears to have blood-pressure lowering properties. A 2004 study found that rats fed a diet containing argan oil had a significantly lower blood pressure than the placebo group.
Recent research has demonstrated that Argan oil has some chemo-preventive properties, attributed to the presence of polyphenols and sterols. With the researchers concluding that
“These data suggest that argan oil may be interesting in the development of new strategies for prostate cancer prevention.”
Argan oil can help heart health. Consumption of edible argan oil is linked to increased levels of HDL cholesterol and a reduction in oxidation of LDL cholesterol.
In one study 60 men were fed 25 g of butter per day for two weeks to establish baseline conditions. Then for one half of the group butter was replaced by 25 mL/ day of Virgin Argan oil, while the other half received the same amount of virgin olive oil. After 3 weeks the Argan oil group had significantly increased HDL cholesterol and decreased triglyceride levels.
Argan oil also protects your arteries, with its antiatherogenic activity, which prevents the formation of arterial plaques.
Consumption of Argan oil lowers blood sugar levels and may help to lower the risk of developing diabetes. In an animal study, it was found that of argan oil reduced the spike in blood sugar for up to 3 hours after the dosage.
Argan oil has been used in Morocco as food and applied to the skin for centuries. There are no known acute or chronic toxicity levels.
Therapeutic doses to prevent metabolic diseases range from 1-2 tablespoons (15-30g) Argan oil per day, with maintenance dosing of 3-6 g daily. Argan oil can be used as a salad dressing or added to dishes after cooking.
2. Light But Rich Moisturizer For All Of Your Skin Care Needs
Argan oil is easily absorbed and non-greasy. After cleansing your skin, take a couple of drops of the oil and warm it your palm. Use a circular motion to apply to your face and neck. In cold, or dry climates, you may need to use a little more.
Because it’s high in vitamin E and antioxidants, Argan oil is anti-aging and can help to fight against wrinkles and other skin changes. One research study looked at the benefits of using Argan oil on postmenopausal skin. The researchers concluded
“Our findings suggest that the daily consumption and/or topical application of argan oil have an anti-aging effect on the skin demonstrated by the improvement of skin elasticity…”
The anti-free radical activities in Argan oil come from its vitamin E, squalene, carotenoids and essential fatty acids. Squalene is nutrient-rich antioxidant oil which is able to anchor itself to cell membranes and promote cell growth.
Argan oil is mild enough to use around your eyes and many people have found that it helps to eliminate dark under-eye circles. Just tap it gently onto the under-eye area and over the eyelids.
If you suffer from greasy skin, then you’ll love Argan Oil. It acts as a sebum production regulator, reducing the skin’s production of natural oils. Yep, to combat too much oil, just add oil!
Use Argan oil as a restorative face mask. For soft, silky, deeply nourished skin, mix a few drops of the oil with a spoonful of honey and apply to your face. Relax for 30 minutes, then wash it off.
If you suffer from Eczema or Psoriasis Argan oil can offer fast relief and soothe your inflamed skin while providing deep penetrating moisture.
Argan oil is mild enough to use on your baby’s delicate skin. As an all natural alternative to petroleum based baby oil, it makes a perfect massage oil and since Argan oil is edible and nutritious, it doesn’t matter if your little one puts their fingers in their mouth or sucks their toes. It won’t hurt sensitive eyes either if it gets rubbed in by little hands.
It’s also an effective treatment for diaper rash. Anti-inflammatory and soothing, this light oil is quickly and completely absorbed and provides a protective barrier to delicate skin. It’s an ideal choice if you use cloth diapers, as it won’t soak into the diaper and interfere with its absorbency.
Massage a few drops of Argan oil into your baby’s scalp and watch cradle cap quickly become a thing of the past.
3. Healthy Nails And Conditioned Cuticles
Brittle nails that split, flake and break off easily are a nuisance and it’s quite difficult to rectify the condition. Argan oil helps to restore thickness, strength and flexibility to the nails making them far less likely to break. To make a nail strengthening treatment, mix equal parts lemon juice and Argan oil. Smear onto your nails and leave for 10 – 15 minutes, then wipe off.
The oleic acid in argan oil makes it deeply nourishing, remedy dry and ragged cuticles by massaging a teeny drop of the oil into your cuticles.
To cure fungal infection on the nails apply a small amount of Argan oil directly to the infected area. For best results apply 2 – 3 times a day.
4. Anti-Frizz Serum
To tame wild hair and add shine, mix a few drops of Argan oil a few drops of essential oils. Rub your palms together then smooth the serum over your hair.
- Use peppermint or myrrh essential oil for dry hair
- Use lavender essential oil for fine to normal hair
- Use basil or patchouli or rosemary essential oil for oily hair
5. Hairstyling Pre-Conditioner
Use Argan oil as a nourishing leave-in “conditioner” to protect hair from the stresses of hot curling irons, curlers, hair straighteners and styling products. Apply a small amount of Argan oil to damp hair, then dry and style as normal.
6. Argan Oil For Acne
If you suffer from acne, then Argan oil is a gift from the gods! Chemical preparations can be harsh and can ultimately do more harm than good to your skin. Argan oil is rich in linoleic acid which helps to reduce inflammation and helps to repair damaged skin cells. And it’s been clinically proven to reduce sebum production in individuals with oily skin.
Using Argan oil as a twice daily moisturizer is a good place to start, but you can also dab extra oil onto problem areas. If your acne is infected, you can add tea tree oil and pack a powerful antibacterial punch. In a clean container, mix 30-40 ml of Argan oil with 6-7 drops of tea tree essential oil. Shake well and apply with your fingertips twice a day.
Argan oil has a comedogenicity rating of 0 which means that it won’t clog pores. Argan oils skin healing properties will also help to heal acne scars.
7. Eradicate Stretch Marks
Thanks to its vitamin E and A content, Argan oil can improve the elasticity of the skin and prevent stretch marks from forming. Warm 2-3 drops of Argan oil in your palms and gently rub into your stomach, hips, thighs or any other potential problem areas.
To treat existing stretch marks by massaging argan oil and brown sugar into the affected areas before your next bath. Rinse well and apply the oil to the affected areas prior to dressing.
8. Makeup Magic
Use this simple trick to get an all day, dewy glow. Add one drop of Argan oil to your moisturizer, liquid foundation, or bronzing cream before you applying. Your base will have more staying power since the Argan oil reduces the sebum production that causes foundation to slide. And your skin will have covetable glow. It will help to control an overactive T-zone too.
9. Soothe Razor Burn
Razor burn is usually caused by using blunt razors or an improper shaving technique and, oh my lord is it painful! Especially in the underarm or bikini area, where every tiny movement you make, makes your skin smart. It’s enough to bring tears to your eyes.
Argan oil with its skin soothing, anti-inflammatory properties is the perfect remedy. And because it’s quickly and completely absorbed, it doesn’t leave an unpleasant oily residue on your skin.
Make a skin soothing mix of Argan oil and essential oils to keep in your bathroom, so that this burn buster is always within reach.
The best essential oils to add to your razor burn remedy are
- Lavender – Lavender essential oil is without doubt the most versatile essential oil on the planet. It is anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, antibacterial, astringent, cleansing and moisturizing making a perfect choice to treat razor burn.
- German or Roman chamomile – Chamomile gently soothes and calms irritates, inflamed and burning skin.
- Frankincense – Its soothing properties help to calm inflamed skin and its antiseptic properties fight off germs.
- Calendula – Helps to calm painful, burning and irritated skin
- Peppermint – Due to its high menthol content, peppermint provides cooling relief to razor burn. It helps numb the pain and soothe the burn.
- Geranium – Soothes aggravated skin and nourishes dehydrated skin.
- Tea tree – Heals damaged skin thanks to its antibacterial, antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties
You can use a single essential oil or create a blend.
10. Exfoliating Scrub
Exfoliating is an essential skin care treatment to remove the buildup of dead skin cells, clear excess oil from pores and leave skin with a healthy glow, but it can irritate sensitive or weather damaged skin.
A homemade exfoliating scrub containing Argan oil is a gentle alternative to commercial preparations. It’s rich in anti-inflammatories and moisturizers, and will leave your skin clean and conditioned. It’s a proven anti-aging oil too!
This scrub is super simple to make. Just take one tablespoon brown sugar and add a couple of drops of Argan oil. Rub into your face using a circular motion for a couple of minutes, then rinse with warm water and par dry.
mix 1 tablespoon of brown sugar with a couple of drops of argan oil in your hand. Rub into your face in a circular motion for 2-4 minutes; pay special attention to acne prone areas and areas that are dry. Rinse with warm water, and pat dry.
This exfoliator is perfect for dealing with rough dry patches on the rest of your body too.
11. Deep Conditioning Hair Treatment
An overnight deep conditioning treatment with Argan oil works wonders for dry, brittle, colored or chemically treated hair. You’ll need a shower cap to keep your pillowcase clean.
First take 4-10 drops of Argan oil and massaging into your scalp for 3-4 minutes. Then draw the oil through your hair, all the way from the roots to the tips. If you’ve got long hair, you’ll need to twist it up onto your head, then slip the shower cap over your hair. Next morning, wash your hair as normal.
A weekly treatment should be sufficient for most hair types, but if you have dandruff or a dry itchy scalp, use the Argan oil conditioner twice a week until your scalp is back to normal.
12. Lip Moisturizer
Argan oil is easily absorbed into the skin unlike many lip balms which contain petroleum. Argan oil provides instant nourishment and promotes the healing of dry, cracked lips. Simply take one drop of oil on your finger tip and smooth it across your lips. Use regularly, especially in the wintertime to have moisturized, luscious lip. A convenient way to apply Argan oil to your lips when you’re out and about, is to use a small, roller ball capped bottle. You can add a few drops of peppermint essential oil too for a lovely minty fresh flavor.
13. Remedy For Dry/Cracked Heels
Cracked heels are unsightly, and deeply cracked skin is painful to walk on. Argan oil can restore normal skin condition.
This treatment is best done at night so that the oil has plenty of time to get to work.
Apply a few drops of Argan oil to the cracks and rub gently to ensure that it penetrates deeply into the damaged skin. Slip on a pair of light cotton socks. The deeply hydrating oil will sink into the skin cells, ease the pain, and soften your feet.