What is Argan Oil? Argan Oil is pressed from the nut of the fruit of the Argan Tree, which is only found in the semi-desert area of South- Western Morocco. The argan tree lives to be about 150 to 200 years old and does not start producing the fruit, which is smaller than apricots, until it is 30 to 50 years old. Because the tree is found only in a limited area, the oil itself is quite rare. Argan Oil is not made from a nut at all. Argania spinosa trees are fruit bearing, and Argan Oil is made from the kernel inside of the pit of the fruit. So this product is nut-free. The extraction of the oil from that kernel inside the fruit is done by hand is very time consuming. The fruit of the Argan tree is green in early spring and then turns gold and falls from the tree. At that point it is then picked up and opened. The outer layer of fruit is often given to local goats to enjoy and the pits are taken from the inside of the fruit. These pits are then allowed to dry in the marvelous Moroccan sun. Then the hard work begins. Each pit is cracked between two stones. The kernels are then removed, crushed in a mortar with a pestle, and then ground into a thick paste by hand with a stone quern. The paste is then squeezed to produce the oil. The solid part of the paste is used as animal feed or a type of soap.
There are two varieties of Argan Oil:
Argan Oil for Culinary Use: One is for culinary purposes and the other is for cosmetic use. If the oil is to be used in cuisine, the kernels are roasted before grinding. This brings out the delicious nutty flavour in the oil. Roasted kernels produce a lot more oil than unroasted kernels. This is why culinary Argan Oil is less expensive than cosmetic version.
Argan Oil for Cosmetic Use: This is made from raw, unfrosted pits. It, too, has a bit of a green, nutty aroma when you first apply it, but that scent completely disappears within a few minutes. Beware of “deodorized” Argan Oil. The process used to take the aroma out of the oil is said to damage the miraculous abilities of pure, unaltered Argan Oil.
What do Goats Have to Do With it?
Morocco’s mountain goat, called the Tamri goat, eats the fruit of the Argan tree. The goats literally climb the tree to get to the nut. Goats find this fruit so delicious they are willing to climb the prickly Argan trees to get at it, sometimes even ten goats at one time! For a tree that only grows to be about 35 feet tall, that’s a lot of goats!
Goats also damage Argan trees as they climb them in their quest for lunch. In the past, the pits from the goat’s droppings were cracked open and the kernels inside were pressed to make Argan Oil. The argan oil producers would then take the droppings of the goats, which had the seed completely undigested, and use that to produce the argan oil. While we’re sure that is still practiced today, some argan oil producers today are producing the oil, goat-free. The journey through the digestive system of a goat is not a necessary step in the process of making quality Argan Oil.
Argan Oil Beauty Benefits:
Argan Oil is the best beauty ingredient. Here are some easy ways to include argan oil in your beauty regimen.
- Hair: Argan oil is a great product to calm frizzy ends, add moisture to dry hair as well as add a little shine. Apply to your hair while it is still damp for an all over treatment or apply just to your dry ends after your hair is dry.
- Scalp: If you’re dealing with dry scalp, apply some argan oil to a cotton ball and dab your scalp with the oil. If you do this before bed, you’ll give the oil plenty of time to moisturize your scalp before you wash your hair in the morning.
- Face: It might seem scary to apply a pure oil to your face, especially if you have sensitive skin, but it will become smooth, clear and radiant, all thanks to using argan oil as your daily morning moisturizer.
- Body: You can use argan oil for a full body moisturizer, applying just as you would a body lotion or cream. Apply the oil right after you get out of your shower for best moisturizing results.
- Hands: Argan oil is a great oil to use on your hands, especially on your cuticles and on your nails, if they are prone to cracking and peeling.
Composition of Argan Oil:
Argan Oil is made up of unsaturated fatty acids, Vitamin E/tocopherols, squalene and sterols. Each of these components is unique and useful for different reasons. Some act as antioxidants, while others help with chronic inflammation. Some properties are even known for their ability to protect against skin cancer and for being anti-tumorigenic.