Argan hair oil is one of the latest and greatest beauty solutions. It is widely marketed, stylist approved, and customer adored. This rare oil comes to us from the desert southwest of Morocco. In fact, Moroccan women, especially the Berbers who live in this region, have been using argan oil for their skin, hair and nails for hundreds of years. In the past ten years, the growing awareness, popularity and demand for this product has had a major impact on the region.

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How does argan oil benefit hair?

This enriched oil contains vitamin E, omega 9, various fatty acids and antioxidants that have been proven to supply hair with the nutrients it needs to maintain a silky and manageable texture. The oil, which has a light non-greasy consistency, quickly absorbs into the hair to heal prior damage and to protect the hair shaft from environmental stressors and repeated heat styling. The oil locks in moisture and seals the cuticle for a smooth, frizz-free appearance chebe powder.

This nourishing oil has been compared by some to the very popular jojoba oil. Many have found it to be very beneficial to color treated hair, and in fact, is credited with extending the life of color or other chemical treatments. It works best when applied to wet hair after shampooing, and as a plus, is known to detangle tresses. By adding argan hair oil to your beauty regimen, you are adding an organic substance that is being lauded as a miracle solution.

Where does argan oil originate?

Argan oil comes from the argan tree. It is a very hardy tree that survives the heat and drought-like conditions of the desert of this part of Morocco. This is the only place in the world that the tree currently grows indigenously and plentifully. It used to grow rather abundantly in other parts of the African continent, but it disappeared from most of those other regions. This was mostly due to the demand for the tree as firewood, charcoal and building material. In addition, livestock and goats, who like to climb the trees, have devastated some of the areas because of overgrazing. It is quite a sight to see these goats high in the trees, poised on the unique twisted branches of the argan tree.

The tree is known for its slow growth, and therefore, takes many years to mature. Some programs have been started to re-introduce the argan tree in regions of Israel and Algeria.

What is the process for producing the oil?

Argan oil is extracted from the almond-shaped kernels or seeds inside the argan fruit. It is quite a laborious process to produce the oil. The fruit vaguely resembles an olive, because it has an exterior that is green and fleshy. The argan is larger than the olive and a bit rounder. Inside the fleshy fruit one finds a nut with a hard shell. This shell is cracked open, often with the use of large stones. Once it is cracked open, the kernels are removed and placed in the sun to dry. After drying, the kernels are then mashed to constitute a paste, which is then squeezed to provide the oil. It has been said that when this traditional process for producing oil is used, it takes 20 hours of work to produce one liter of oil.

In addition to the traditional method for producing oil, there are some methods being attempted using machines or hydraulic and hand held presses. Even in the Berber region, the process is being studied to determine the best way to increase production time.

How does this production impact this area of Morocco?

The popularity of the argan hair oil, along with the increased demand for the oil for cooking and other beauty products, has brought with it some concerns about the harvesting. Many wonder if it will have a negative impact on the environment and the argan trees themselves.

It seems that the growing demand may actually be benefitting the region and the trees’ future. A women’s cooperative of Berber locals is overseeing and physically producing the oil from the fruit, and they have established an ecosystem reforestation project. With this in place, the trees can be protected from deforestation, or destruction, and the product of the oil provides a commodity that is currently supporting the people in the region. Fair trade practices seem to be in place to ensure the people are receiving a fair wage for their work and their product.

The discovery of this Moroccan beauty secret is spreading to the rest of the world. And, argan hair oil is taking its place among many of the high-quality ingredients currently being offered in products coming to the marketplace.