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:
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.
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.
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.
Shop some of our favourite argan oil picks below:
A favourite of discerning French women, this multi-purpose oil from Nuxe contains macadamia, hazelnut, sweet almond and argan oil to intensely nourish and soften the skin. Apply on damp skin right after you step out of the shower. The gorgeous scent is a plus, too. You can also use it on your face, hair, cuticles – anywhere you can think of.
This fast-absorbing body serum is scented with mandarin, angelica root, bergamot, cedarwood and chamomile to soothe the senses while it hydrates and moisturises your body. Use it post-shower, or as a cooling treatment after you’ve been out in the sun.
Sachajuan is one of those brands you’ll keep seeing over and over again on social media, probably because everyone wants to rave about how good the products are. This leave-in treatment contains a blend of argan oil, sunflower seed oil and rosemary extract to tame your tresses. Just one pump goes a long way, so use sparingly.
Yes, K-Beauty is moving back towards semi-matte finishes, but we aren’t ready to give up our glowy miens just yet. This Glow Mist from Pixi contains argan oil and propolis to hydrate, nourish, and add that coveted K-drama glow with just a few spritz over your makeup.
This is straight, unadulterated argan oil – no frills, no fuss. Work a few drops through damp hair to keep frizz in check, or apply it on your face as the last step in your skincare routine. You can also try mixing it into foundation for a glowy finish. Just make sure you’re not using a water-based product, as it will not work well with oils.