The Abundant Argan Oil Benefits & Uses Breakdown
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Colloquially known as the “Tree of Life”, argan trees are indigenous to Morocco, and have formed an integral part of the Berber lifestyle for centuries. Every part of the plant is used to sustain the desert’s human population and their animals. The leaves and fruit feed livestock and the nut shells which house the valuable kernels are used for fuel. Also, the pulp remaining after oil extraction is a protein-rich food source for cattle.
Yep. You read that correctly. People consume argan oil. Known as “liquid gold” and famed for its anti-aging properties, argan oil is rich in vitamins A and E. People even use argan oil when oil pulling!
It encourages cell production while gently moisturizing, helping the skin refresh itself and retain a soft, youthful appearance. It’s packed with antioxidants that fight aging, ease inflammation and moisturize the skin, making it valuable for treating everything from acne and burns to lackluster hair and dull skin.
A solution of argan oil and green tea can be used as a skin-calming toner and using pure oil as a moisturizer improves the skin’s natural elasticity and can help prevent stretch marks. It even fights off wrinkles. So, really, it’s no wonder that the best skin and hair care companies in the world clamor to add this exceptional oil to their products.
Argan oil conditioner, for instance, is widely praised for its ability to smooth and soften hair in a natural, healthy way. But… this most prized, special and expensive ingredient, used exclusively in the best shampoos and moisturizers money can buy, is also salad dressing in Morocco.
What Is Argan Oil?
Let’s start at the very beginning of an argan’s life. Argan oil is made from the kernels that originate on the argan tree. These trees are native to Morocco which is why argan oil is typically referred to as ‘Moroccan Argan Oil’. It’s actually one of the natural oils that you most typically use in your beauty routine as opposed to your cooking rituals. It’s not often that you’ll hear someone say they’re going to add a dash of argan oil to their dressing. Meanwhile, nearly every reputable salon holds a bottle of Moroccan argan oil in their post-styling kit. It adds shine and luster to your tresses, but we’ll get to that soon.
In its native Morocco, argan has historically been used cosmetically. It was mainly used to treat the flaky skin and dry hair that are intrinsic problems of life in an arid desert, and the scarred, chafed hands and feet that are a natural bi-product of intense work under the hot sun. But it is not just valued for its cosmetic properties. The argan kernels intended for culinary use are roasted before extraction to produce a nutty-flavored oil, ideal for bread to be dipped into at breakfast.
It’s also drizzled over couscous, pastas and salads, in the same way as we would use olive oil. A delicious and decadent peanut butter-type spread, Amlou, is made by combining crushed roasted almonds with almond and argan oils and honey and is used locally as a dip.
Although it’s true that this is likely to be an oil that many are familiar with, it’s important to know the benefits so that you can use the right natural solution for the right ailment or concern. With this in mind, let’s get into exactly what makes this golden elixir so beneficial and well-known.
Argan Oil Benefits Explained
To beauty aficionados, this seemingly cavalier use of a prized ingredient may seem unforgivable. If you look a little deeper, a wealth of ancient African wisdom is revealed.
The main reason as to why argan oil is so beneficial is due to the fact that it contains essential nutrients. It’s primarily composed of fatty acids. These healthy fats are mostly from oleic and linoleic acid. The good news is that these are the ‘good’ fats that nourish rather than punish your body and skin. The fatty acids work to not only externally moisturize and nourish your body, but also potentially boost heart health and reduce signs of aging.
Modern research has revealed argan oil to be richer in omega 3 than olive oil. It’s also more abundant in vitamin E even than sweet almond oil. Studies suggest that the culinary use of argan oil can help to lower cholesterol and protect the body from some cardiovascular and inflammatory diseases. It can also help to relieve rheumatoid and arthritic pain, improve blood circulation, and even prevent certain cancers from forming.
The benefits we just mentioned (moisture, anti-aging, and heart health) are enhanced by other compounds in argan oil. Specifically, vitamin E oil. This is a nutrient that is necessary for healthy hair, skin, and nails. The wonders of this oil are mostly attributed to its powerful antioxidant properties. Additional phenolic compounds boost the antioxidative qualities of argan oil, making it extremely effective in eliminating free radical damage. Free radicals harm your cells, which means that you can never get too many antioxidants. It can not only protect your skin from the signs of aging but also reduce your risk of cancer to some extent.
The antioxidant content also makes argan oil a dynamic anti-inflammatory agent. You can use it on your skin to promote healing and reduce the inflammation caused by infections – but more on that later.
Argan Oil For Hair
If you want to achieve shiny, soft, and silky hair, then argan oil is the must-have natural oil to get you there. The essential fatty acids and vitamin E content means that your hair receives the boost it’s been craving.
The fact that I have curly hair means that my hair has always been on the frizzier and dryer side of the hair spectrum. I remember when a hairstylist I went to as a teenager applied argan oil to my hair for the first time, post-cut. My hair looked like it had just come to life. Not only did it have a healthy shine, but it was also frizz-free.
There are so many different ways to use argan oil for hair, so let’s take a look at a few. This will help you find the right use for your particular hairs’ needs!
Argan Oil As A Hair Oil
Hair oils are created to infuse your hair with that healthy glow and reduce unwanted frizz. A good quality, pure Moroccan argan oil can go an incredibly long way to eliminate flyaways without leaving your hair looking greasy. There is a fine line between shiny and greasy. Anybody who has used a hair oil knows what I’m talking about. Argan oil is light enough that when you apply it to your ends it doesn’t weigh down the whole strand. You get the shine without having to worry about any stringy, flat pieces of hair. Just apply a pea-sized amount to dry tips for salon-smooth locks.
Argan Oil Hair Mask
Maximizing the moisture-boosting and antioxidant properties of argan oil (and any oil for that matter) is often best achieved through a hair mask. Damaged hair can benefit from a more intensive treatment. The vitamin E oil works to sooth the hair shaft and seal the tips to avoid split ends. Meanwhile, the fatty acids strengthen and hydrate your hair for locks that are totally revived from the inside out. A hair mask is also ideal because it not only works on your ends but also on your roots. It reduces inflammation on the scalp to balance your hair follicles and ensure proper hair growth. Speaking of hair growth, that’s just another benefit of argan oil.
Argan Oil For Hair Growth
The fact of the matter is that healthy hair grows. When your hair isn’t living its best life (and that includes your scalp health), hair growth can become stunted. Oftentimes, hair shedding, hair loss, or just a lack of real growth, goes hand in hand with dry, brittle, and lackluster strands. Rarely do you see someone with healthy-looking hair complain that their hair growth is slow.
With this in mind, it’s unsurprising that one of the uses of argan oil is to help hair growth. The moisture and antioxidants that come from the compounds in the oil reduce scalp inflammation and improve overall scalp health. Many of us would do well to remember that a healthy scalp is at the forefront of healthy hair. The roots of your hair are at the scalp. This means that everything coming out of the scalp affects the rest of the hair. When your scalp is balanced, your tresses reflect it.
Argan Oil Shampoo Breakdown
It’s an underrated fact that hair care is somewhat of an art. Hair products are not one-size-fits-all. Similar to skincare, you can’t just grab any old bottle, apply the product, and hope for the best. When you buy the ‘best smelling’ or ‘cutest bottle’ of shampoo, that’s essentially what you’re doing. With this in mind, it’s necessary that conscious consumers become comfortable with ingredients labels. Knowing your way around an ingredients label is the foundation of proper haircare, skincare, and really, overall wellness.
In fact, not realizing that your hair has unique needs is often the reason that your hair needs an extra boost, to begin with. Your hair changes depending on the season, environment, hormones, and a whole host of other factors. That’s why there are so many shampoo options out there to choose from!
A shampoo that is infused with argan oil provides your tresses with completely different benefits to a shampoo that’s infused with peppermint essential oil. Argan oil shampoo nourishes, hydrates, and balances your scalp and hair. What’s more, is that argan oil actually helps to clean your hair. This means that you can avoid unwanted harmful ingredients such as SLS and other sulfates. Although these ingredients help to clean your hair, they do almost too good a job. Let’s just say that you’ll also find sulfates in floor cleaners, and you get the picture. Argan oil contains cleansing properties that clear your hair and scalp from buildup and dirt without stripping it of its natural oils.
If you’re not sure how to start using it, here’s a quick rundown. Rinse your hair with warm water, massage your scalp to loosen and wash out any buildup. Follow with a cold rinse to increase blood flow to the scalp. Finally, add a few drops of argan oil into your hair and massage thoroughly. You can give your hair a quick rinse or leave it in, it’s up to you! Alternatively, you can invest in an argan oil shampoo that’s prepped to cleanse, hydrate, and soften your hair strands.
Argan Oil For Skin Explained
If you thought that argan oil was only good for hair, think again. There are numerous reasons as to why argan oil has become a cosmetics-counter staple. Those same antioxidants and vitamins that make argan oil shampoo such a valuable commodity when applied to the hair, work on your skin too.
The fatty acids and antioxidants in argan oil make this oil a powerful anti-aging oil. The compounds help to fight signs of aging from the inside out, undoing the damage caused by free radical cells and promoting cell renewal. Encouraging skin cell turnover is the primary goal of anti-aging products, and that’s what makes argan oil such a useful natural alternative for keeping your skin looking and feeling youthful!
It comes as no surprise that argan oil is a powerful moisturizing agent. Most oils are if we’re being honest. That being said, argan oil is unique in that it penetrates deep into the skin’s layers to lock in lasting hydration. It creates a moisture barrier on the skin that allows essential nutrients to be trapped in the skin. It sounds like a bad thing but it’s not! These nutrients are able to nourish the skin rather than escape into the atmosphere. When applied topically (and when taken orally!), argan oil can improve skin elasticity. Supple skin is at the core of healthy skin, which means that argan oil can help improve the overall health of your complexion.
You know the term ‘glowing complexion’? Well, it might have been coined by the first person who ever used argan oil on their face. The numerous properties of argan oil that we’ve mentioned so far in this article, work to create an even, smooth complexion. Your skin can never be too hydrated (and I mean true hydration, not added oils). With an abundance of fatty acids, argan oil is here to help! Additionally, the antioxidants work to balance and protect your skin while reducing inflammation, so your face is living its healthiest life.
I know I’m not the only one who finds it hard to believe that an oil can balance your sebum production. It’s like saying that adding more sugar to your food will make it less sweet … impossible, right? The truth is that argan oil possesses powerful balancing properties that extend to your facial oils. Studies have revealed that using argan oil on your face has the potential to reduce excess sebum levels and mattify your complexion.
It’s not the only natural oil to do this. However, it’s definitely something to keep in mind next time your face is on the oily side. When your sebum production is under control, you reduce your risk of breakouts and other skin concerns that come with oily skin. With this in mind, if you suffer from acne, you might want to add some argan oil to your skincare routine. It clearly helps to nourish, hydrate, and rebalance your skin!
A major benefit of argan oil for face is that it helps to reduce the appearance of sunspots. In fact, you can also use this golden elixir as a preventative from these pesky spots. This is due to the fact that argan oil contains a filter that protects from UV light. Don’t get too excited, it’s not a sunscreen in its own right. However, it’s true that this oil works to prevent sun damage, at least to some degree. Additionally, vitamin E in the oil works to reduce scarring and pigmentation that you might get from sunspots.
If you’re not sure how to start using this wondrous oil on your face, let me give you a quick tip. Fill a bottle with argan oil and add essential oils of your choice. If your skin is particularly oily, I recommend adding lavender oil to balance your sebum production. Do your research and see which essential oil works best for you. The idea is that argan oil remains your primary carrier oil. Shake the contents of the bottle well and ta-da! One facial oil ready to go. Apply a couple of drops to your freshly cleansed face before bed. This will allow the active ingredients to penetrate deep into the skin while you sleep, giving you a glowing complexion overnight.
The bottom line is that if you’re not already using argan oil in your beauty routine, you probably should be. It happens to be one of those oils that many people are familiar with or have at least heard of. However, many favor coconut oil over this more traditional natural oil. It’s important to remember that different natural oil can be used for different things. Each one has its place in your wellness kit at some point in your life.
Argan oil can do pretty much everything. From healing scar tissue to binding split ends, stabilizing blood cholesterol levels and moisturizing skin, argan oil is an incredible natural ingredient. Its cosmetic properties are impressive; its culinary ones are nothing short of miraculous. No wonder we call it “liquid gold”.
Further Reading: The Complete Carrier Oil Guide