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What is Argan Oil? Posted June 19, 2014

Hailed as "liquid gold," argan oil has taken center stage as the latest magic elixir for beauty and health. What's the big deal, anyway?

Hailed as "liquid gold," argan oil has taken center stage as the latest magic elixir for beauty and health. What's the big deal, anyway?

With its high concentration of fatty acids, Vitamin E, sterols and Omega 3, 6 and 9, argan oil is a cocktail of nutrients that will benefit your body inside and out.

For healthy skin & hair

Although the global popularity of argan oil is a relatively recent phenomenon, it has long been hailed as an powerful elixir by communities in Morocco. Argan oil is skin’s best friend. Its nutrients combat dry and oily skin, helping your epidermis to maintain good health. Argan oil has a rich concentration of linoleic acid, a fatty acid whose anti-inflammatory properties promote smooth, healthy skin.

Vitamin E also serves as an antioxidant that shields skin from damage from sun, wind, and other elements.

And oleic acid makes argan oil a great tool to combat mild acne. This substance regulates the skin’s sebum production, ensuring that it maintains a healthy balance. Our skin needs sebum to prevent it from getting cracked and dry, but if it has too much then it can take on an oily quality. The linoleic acid also removes dead cells to keep skin fresh and keep it from flaking.

Argan oil gives hair a silky texture and a lustrous shine. It moisturizes dry, frizzy hair, restoring it to a healthy condition. Just remember that a little goes a long way; if you use too much, your hair might look greasy. Argan oil also revitalizes dry scalps. Massage the oil into your roots before bed and let it sit overnight. Rinse it out in the morning and you’ll find yourself cured of any flakiness or itchiness.

Argan oil has the same effect on skin that it does hair. Its nutrients join forces to act as a moisturizing agent, restoring dry, cracked skin to a healthy state. It is also more effective than many other humectants; whereas most oils sit on the skin’s surface, argan oil naturally penetrates, providing an unparalleled moisturizing experience. Despite its effectiveness, argan oil isn’t harsh, making it ideal for most skin types.

A beneficial addition to your diet

Say what?? Yes, you can eat it too. Argan oil is loaded with “good fats” that give our bodies energy. Preliminary studies through the University of Maryland's Center for Preventive Cardiology revealed that argan oil is associated with lower levels of harmful cholesterol. More research is currently being done to explore how the oil can improve heart health. It has also been linked to reduced risk of obesity, cancer and cardiovascular disease.

In the kitchen, it's typically used as a dip for breads or a binder for couscous, pasta and other starches. Argan oil can also be mixed with almonds and honey to create amlou, a Moroccan treat that is similar to peanut butter.

There’s a reason that argan oil has acquired such a devoted following in recent years. Its health and beauty benefits, combined with its safe, natural qualities, make it a great asset in your daily beauty routine. A word to the wise: thanks to its increasing popularity, many companies are advertising “genuine argan oil” that is neither authentic nor pure. Always make sure that your products have ingredients listed with “100% argan oil” - otherwise, you’re probably receiving an imitation cut with fillers, or worse.

Liquid gold from Morocco

Argan oil’s history is as exotic as its nickname. The substance comes from the fruit of the argan tree, which is only found in Morocco. The trees, which can live to be over 200 years old, do not begin producing fruit until they are nearly half a century old.

How is argan oil made?

The extraction process is a labor of love - and patience. Each fruit is about the size of a nut and contains a few kernels inside, so it takes at least eight argan trees to produce a single liter of oil. To “unlock” the argan oil, the nuts have to be pulverized repeatedly until they’re reduced to a syrupy brown mash. A small amount of clear argan oil sits on the top layer of this mash, looking much like organic peanut butter does before it’s mixed. It has a distinctive silky texture with a light, aromatic scent.