Argan oil has gained popularity over the years, both as a health and beauty ingredient. Most people who’ve tried to get your hands on a bottle of this amazing oil were struck by the oil’s expensive price tag which is around $20 for a one-ounce bottle. When you’re paying that much for a simple ingredient, you want to know that you’re getting more bang for your buck and thus we come to the question of effectiveness and purity. The market of argan oil is saturated with counterfeit products making customers feel weary about buying argan oil. Furthermore, the claims attached to products containing argan oil as well as pure argan oil may seem a bit misleading at times. To help you decide if that bottle of argan oil you were planning to buy is worth the splurge, here are some facts about Argan oil you need to know.
What is argan oil?
Argan oil is an oil extracted from the kernels of the argan tree which is endemic to Morocco. Making Argan oil is a lengthy process that sometimes involves roasting argan kernels, and that is up until this day done by hand. Traditionally, Moroccans used the roasted variant of argan oil in salads, couscous, and as a bread dip. The unroasted version was used to treat acne, eczema, and even certain types of arthritis or even as a hair and beauty ingredient. The oil is of a light-yellow color, has a slightly nutty smell, and is relatively dense when compared to other plant oils. Argan oil is superior nutrient-wise even to extra virgin olive oil. It is rich in vitamin E, phenols, unsaturated fatty acids, and carotenes. The nutrient profile of argan oil has attracted the attention of the scientific community, and numerous studies on its potential health benefits were conducted as a result.
Uses of Argan oil
Argan oil comes in different forms for different uses. You will find argan oil labeled as the virgin, extra virgin, edible, beauty argan oil, and cosmetic argan oil. Edible Argan oil is made by roasting and cold pressing argan kernels, and the result is either virgin or extra virgin oil. Virgin oil has an acidity value of 1.5 while extra virgin argan oil has an acidity value of 0.8. Edible Argan oil can be used in salad dressings, added to sauces, and used as bread dippings. Beauty Argan oil is also cold pressed, but the argan kernels are not roasted to avoid the nutty aroma and are used to condition the skin and hair and to treat acne, wrinkles and even bags under eyes. Cosmetic argan oil is extracted with a solvent, and it contains less volatile components than cold-pressed argan oil. Cosmetic argan oil is considered safe for cosmetic use, and despite the type of extraction method use, the oil still does provide many of the same benefits associated with cold-pressed argan oil.
Health benefits of argan oil
Moroccans have traditionally used argan oil for thousands of years as a food item, as a treatment for various diseases, and as a beauty ingredient. Today, studies on argan oil have found that the edible version provides a range of health benefits. A systematic review published in Nutrition Reviews states that the total antioxidant capacity of virgin argan oil is much higher than that of any other plant oils. Furthermore, studies have found that argan oil can potentially lower bad cholesterol levels, help control blood sugar levels, and subsequently lead to better cardiovascular health. As it turns out, edible argan oil provides the same range of health benefits of extra virgin olive oil but to an even greater extent due to its potent nutrient profile. One study published in Natural Product Communications even found that men who regularly consumed argan oil had greater testosterone levels suggesting that the oil positively affects male reproductive health.
Beauty benefits of argan oil
Unfortunately, only a lucky few outside of Morocco can afford to dress their salads with extra virgin argan oil. The oil is far too expensive to be used in meals, and most people can get the same health benefits associated with argan oil use olive oil. However, olive oil cannot compare with argan oil when it comes to beauty benefits. Unlike olive oil beauty and cosmetic argan oils absorb well into the skin and hair and won’t leave a greasy finish as a result. Argan oil made from unroasted kernels usually has a mild and pleasant smell to it making it suitable as a cosmetic product. The oil can be used to treat acne, moisturize the skin, and condition the hair. One study found that argan oil applied topically reduces the appearance of wrinkles and improves skin hydration. A different study published in Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine found that argan oil even protected the skin against hyperpigmentation and cancer.
Argan oil is not easy to produce. First of all, the argan tree is endemic to Morocco where it can be found only in an area covering 3,100 so mi. Although Morocco is planning to cultivate more argan trees to meet the global demands, the trees take 15 years to start producing ripe argan kernels. As a result, you’ll find fake argan oil being sold on the market, usually mixed with petroleum products and other low-quality oils. When testing for argan oil purity, check for an oil that is light-yellow, has a slight smell to it, and that has some sediment on the bottom of the bottle. To test if your oil is real, put it in the fridge for 24 hours. If you the oil starts to solidify, it is pure argan oil. Pure Argan oil will also be expensive and imported from Morocco.
Argan oil is one of the best oils you could be using for your skin, hair, or salad dressing. The versatile oil is highly sought after, but the limited supply of this rare oil means that you will find it only in high-end products and at high prices. If you decide to purchase a bottle of this “liquid gold,” you’ll notice a range of benefits from less acne, shinier hair, to a reduced appearance of neck and chest wrinkles.