I have a secret. I think I may have found the fountain of youth, the key to great skin, and the hair serum that will transform the frizziest mop into Megan Fox locks. And it’s one product. In Morocco, they call it “liquid gold.” I have nothing to add to that description; quite simply, it is perfect, and I would like to share it with you. May I introduce argan oil: your new BBFF (beauty best friend forever).
My love affair with argan oil began when I tried Lee Stafford’s MoroccanOil hair serum before a night out with my friends; after trying this stuff once, I have been using it ever since. It is a consistent winner when it comes to giving me L’Oreal moments—heck, even L’Oreal days. I am not ashamed to admit that my relationship with this product has been just as obnoxious as that couple on your Facebook news feed who just won’t shut up: I rave about it to strangers, I tweet approximately every three days about how it has transformed my life… I’m not sure why I don’t kiss it goodnight, as well.
I thus expanded my selection of argan oil-infused products to include shampoo, conditioner and body lotion. And, after using these products for a long time, when I saw a bottle of straight-up, pure organic argan oil on the shelf of my favourite drug store, I had to buy it. And the verdict? I would never like to imagine my life without it. Argan oil is nothing short of an elixir; it heals broken hair and skin, giving your body and beauty a whole new lease of life (and a pretty lush smell to boot). Wham bam.
Oh, and there’s more good news. Buying products containing argan oil is one of the few beauty purchases you can make that is environmentally sound. The argan tree—which traditionally grows in southwestern Morocco—provides protection against soil erosion and the northern advance of the Sahara in this dry, hostile environment. It was, however, likely to become an endangered species, due to a few extremely arid years, lack of management by the administrative authorities and over-exploitation of the trees by the local population. It is the demand for argan oil for cosmetic purposes that will ensure an incentive to plant more argan trees and cultivate the area known as the Arganeraie Biosphere Reserve.
Furthermore, producing argan oil is a very labor-intensive practice, so in order to meet demand, many local women’s co-operatives have been participating in the agricultural process. This provides a steady income for the local women and their families. As argan oil can only be produced in very small, specific areas, argan oil production will continue to provide an income for these women as long as there is a market for it. It’s a good thing that a little goes a long way with argan oil, though, because it takes one woman three days to produce just one litre of oil. Maybe this is why it’s known as liquid gold—and, like gold, it’s absolutely worth the price.
Much as I would like to prattle on, it’s not my words that will count in favour of my so-called “miracle oil”—it’s the miracles themselves. Here are four ways to use argan oil that you simply must try:
- Add it to existing products to give them an extra kick. Add a few drops of argan oil to your bath oil, your face mask, your hair serum, your body lotion, your hair conditioner … any product that is designed to condition and moisturise will be enhanced by a small amount of argan oil.
- Use as a face moisturiser. I know, I know. Oil – on your face? Yes. Seriously. While your face is still wet after showering or cleansing, warm a couple of drops of argan oil between your palms and dab it over your face. Pat off any excess oil with a soft towel. My skin is that difficult oily/dry combination and I have tried many different moisturisers in my time, but none work so well at keeping my skin moisturised all day—and prevent breakouts—like straight argan oil. Try it for a week and you’ll notice a marked difference.
- Boost your finished hairstyle. Warming a couple of drops of argan oil between your palms and smoothing them over your finished hairstyle will prevent those annoying stray hairs and maximise shine like nothing else. I can’t remember the last time I had a bad hair day, thanks to this little trick.
- Use as an overnight hair treatment. Massage a generous amount of argan oil into your hair, ends and scalp, then wrap your hair in a warm towel and leave it on while you sleep. In the morning, wash your hair as usual and you’ll have super-shiny, supercharged hair all day. Oh baby.