Argan oil, one of the rarest oils in the world, is highly renowned for its capabilities as a beauty product, food additive, and even traditional medicine. Originating in Morocco, argan oil was cultivated by the Berber people by taking the seeds of the Argan fruit from digested goat droppings. Thankfully nowadays, machines or people (sometimes–the traditional method is still widely practiced) process the seeds, making the process a bit more sanitary. Argan oil is so valuable, it is often referred to as “liquid gold,” and the argan Forest in Morocco was declared a protected biosphere by UNESCO in 1998. The argan tree does not bear fruit until it is 30-50 years old, adding to the rarity of its oil.
Argan oil is brimming with vitamin E and essential fatty acids–making it work wonders for skin, hair, and nails.
Uses for Argan oil include:
1. Rub a few drops sparingly on split ends after your shower! Argan oil can repair the most damaged of hair.
2. As a cooking oil, replacing olive oil or another oil.
3. To rid oneself of acne. Argan oil will not clog pores.
4. As a moisturizer (you can even add a few drops to your favorite lotion).
5. To help decrease the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines. This is because Argan oil contains anti-aging properties.
6. Rub some Argan oil on stretch marks–they will fade, quickly!
7. If you have a dry scalp, try putting some argan oil on a cotton ball and dabbing your scalp at night.
If possible, buy organic and fair trade Argan oil. There are even brands that are made by the ethnic Berber women of Morocco, where women do not traditionally work outside the home. Over 5,000 jobs for these women have been created by 170 co-ops due to the Argan oil boom. Once on the brink of extinction, over 60,000 new Argan trees are planted per year. It takes the women up to 20 hours to make 1 liter of argan oil with the traditional stone pressing and kneading methods.
Have you tried using argan oil? What do you think?
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Photo: lorda via flickr; grand parc – bordeaux france via flickr; jorge diaz via Flickr