What is Argan Oil?
Argan oil is a plant oil which is extracted from the kernels inside the heart of the fruits that grow on argan trees.
Where in the world does Argan Oil grow?
The argan tree is particularly special because it can only be grown in the south West of Morocco, which has a unique eco-system.
The argan forest area stretches out over 800,000 hectares across the southern region which reach from the Sous Valley region down to the mountains of the Anti-Atlas surrounding Agadir and Taroudant.
What makes Argan Oil so good for us?
Scientific studies have shown that Argan oil is an excellent source of Tocopherols (vitamin E) and fatty acids (oleic acid, linoleic acid, palmitic acid and stearic acid). All of which are known to be good for the skin and hair.
Some of the main benefits of applying the argan oil for cosmetic purposes are as follows;
- Stretch Marks - The vitamin A and vitamin E will help to rejuvenate the skin while moisturizing, making stretch marks less likely to form.
- Protection and healing purposes - The antioxidants in argan oil are generally beneficial for healing skin which is irritated, cracked, damaged or even burned.
- Moisturiser - The vitamin A and E make Argan oil a fantastic skin moisturiser
Argan oil has been used for thousands of years by Morocco's indigenous people, known as Amazigh or Berbers. Traditionally, the Amazigh people use argan oil for culinary, cosmetic and medicinal purposes. In addition to this, the leftovers which are extracted during the traditional argan oil process is given to the goats to use as fodder. This way nothing is wasted.
When and how is Argan Oil harvested?
Argan fruit is taken from the tree during the harvesting period (July / August), it is then laid out to dry for around seven days.
Once dry, the pulp is removed to get the argan nut out (known as ‘Akkayn’ in Arabic). These nuts are then cracked open to reveal the kernel.
The traditional method of extracting Argan oil from the Argan nut is a laborious manual process;
It takes 2 days just to crack 1.5kg of argan nuts and extract the kernel.
The process itself is very physical, as women traditionally use stones to crack the argan nuts
Unlike culinary argan oil which is first roasted, cosmetic argan needs a lot more work to be processed into a paste which is traditionally made with a stone hand mill. This part of the process is particularly labour intensive for the Berber women. The argan paste is finally further squeezed to produce the argan oil.
It takes a staggering 25-30kg of argan nuts to produce just one litre of argan oil! Which makes you understand just how precious this oil is.