These days, it’s difficult to go skincare shopping without coming across at least one product enriched with argan oil. It’s been touted as a “miracle ingredient”, and some have even gone as far as to call it “liquid gold”. But what is argan oil, and why is it so coveted?
Simply put, argan oil is a type of plant oil extracted from the kernels of the argan tree, which only grows in Morocco. In Morocco, argan oil is commonly used in cooking. To extract the oil, workers dry the argan fruit in open air, then remove the fleshy pulp. The fruit is then cracked open to extract the kernel.
For culinary use, the kernel is roasted, and then ground and pressed to extract the oil. In cosmetic use, the oil is extracted and cold-pressed without first roasting the kernels. The whole process is labour-intensive, which is why argan oil isn’t exactly the cheapest. Here’s more that you should know:
1. It slows down signs of ageing and helps skin heal
Argan oil is rich in essential fatty acids, antioxidants, polyphenols, squalene and vitamins A and E – all good stuff for your skin and hair. Vitamin E, as you may already know, is a potent antioxidant that helps fight the damaging effects of pollution and free radicals. This slows down the signs of ageing, helps keep your skin plump and wards off fine lines.
Additionally, a 2017 study found that argan oil is effective in promoting wound healing. The same study also showed that daily application of argan oil improves skin elasticity, restores skin barrier function, helps your skin hold on to moisture, and softens the skin.
2. It is anti-inflammatory and can help fight acne
Did you know that many people experience breakouts because their skin barrier is damaged, thus causing their skin to over-produce oil that inevitably clogs pores and triggers acne? Thanks to its high vitamin E content, argan oil can be used to fight skin inflammation and repair your skin’s moisture barrier. Not only that, it can also help keep sebum production in check. In short, it can help reduce the chances of breakouts.
Argan oil has a zero rating on the comedogenicity rating scale, which means that it is highly unlikely for it to clog your pores. On top of that, argan oil is relatively lightweight and absorbs into the skin quickly. To maximise its effectiveness, try using argan oil either on damp skin, or after your moisturiser. That is because argan oil is an occlusive – a fancy way of saying that it seals in all the products that comes before it. If you’re worried about argan oil making your skin too oily, we recommend applying it only at night.
3. It’s also great for your hair
Besides skincare, argan oil can also be used on your hair. Like your skin, your hair is also susceptible to the elements – heat styling, pollution and UV rays.
Mix it with your shampoo, apply it as a leave-in conditioner, use it as a pre-shampoo treatment – argan oil is surprisingly versatile when it comes to haircare. If you aren’t fond of using straight argan oil, you can always opt for products that contain the ingredient and leave DIY-ing to others. Why not try a heat protectant spray containing argan oil? Or choose an argan oil-infused styling product to keep frizz at bay. Whatever you choose, you can be sure that argan oil will do wonders for your skin and hair.
Click through the gallery below to shop our favourite argan oil products.