Argan oil is a plant oil extracted from the kernels of the argan tree. The Argan tree (or Argania) is an endemic tree species that grows in the semi-desert of the Sus Valley in south-western Morocco and has a lifespan of an incredible 200 years. The fruit from which the oil is extracted takes more than a year to mature.
The process of extracting the oil from argan seeds is long and difficult, as most of it is still done by hand. It takes 40kg of argan seeds to produce a single litre of oil.
Argan oil has been extracted and used for centuries by the Berber tribe of Morocco. Its original purpose was as fuel in oil lamps, but it soon came to be used for culinary and medicinal purposes.
By the end of the 1990s, the Argan tree was on the verge of extinction. The demand for other types of oil led to the decline of Argan. In 1999, however, UNESCO inscribed it on its World Heritage List for its medicinal properties and rich history. It has enjoyed a new boom since the cosmetics industry discovered its benefits for skin and hair care. Since then, the production of argan has increased dramatically, contributing to a reduction in female unemployment in Morocco.
Argan oil has anti-ageing properties due to its high levels of vitamin E and saponins, which soften the skin. It helps to reduce wrinkles by restoring the skin's aqueous lipid layer. Its antioxidant properties help to neutralise free radicals. It helps to cool skin that has been exposed to wind and sun and protects it even in cold weather.
Argan oil is dark golden in colour and has a slightly sweet scent. It is non-greasy and absorbs quickly into the skin. Just a few drops warmed on the fingertips are needed to moisturise and protect the skin. It contains vitamins A, B1, B2, B6, C, E, proteins, fatty acids and minerals.
Argan oil is used in cosmetics, culinary and medicinal applications. In cosmetics, it is primarily used for skin and hair care. It replenishes the skin with nutrients, reduces dehydration, increases skin elasticity... When used on the hair, it prevents damage to the outer layer of the hair shaft, preserves the natural pigments (melanin) and makes the hair shinier.
All these exceptional properties have made argan oil the No. 1 cosmetic oil and essential for beard care.