Argan oil is a powerhouse in the beauty world. Alone or in combination with other ingredients, it nourishes, smooths and revitalizes the skin and hair. But while you may have heard the name, you may not know that it works great for all skin and hair types, regardless of your concerns. Or that goats are fond of argan as much as we are. Here are five other cool facts you may not know about this potent ingredient.
1. It’s nothing new.
You probably didn’t hear about argan oil until a few years ago, but women in Morocco have been using it in their beauty rituals for centuries. Living near the harsh, dry Sahara Desert, it helps protect and nourish their skin and hair. The process of cracking nuts by hand and cold-pressing to extract the oil has been developed and refined over hundreds of years.
2. Moroccan argan forest is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Argan oil is extracted from the hard nut of the argan tree, which grows only in forests in Southwestern Morocco along the border of the Sahara. In 1999, the Moroccan argan forest was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Local argan farming helps grow and protect the forest.
3. Goats risk life and limb just to have it. (We’re not lying, see below for visual.)
The argan nut is a hard, almond-like seed covered by a hard shell and fruity outside pulp. Goats find this pulp quite delicious (the visual below—real, by the way—says it all). In order to protect the quality of the argan oil, the nuts have to be gathered with the pulp intact—meaning the goats haven’t yet eaten and digested them. “Goat nuts,” as they are called, have a foul smell and are sold at a lower price on the market. Buyers then deodorize the oil, which strips the essential nutrients. Look for brands that work with the harvesters to ensure that the oil you find doesn’t have this certain “goatiness.”
4. Argan oil penetrates the skin better than most other oils.
Squalene is a lipid produced by skin cells that helps lock in moisture. Starting at age 20, our body’s own squalene production slows down. Argan oil naturally contains squalene, and applying it can help boost skin hydration, cell regeneration and oxygenation. Since it occurs naturally in our skin’s sebum, argan oil is very compatible with the skin and penetrates more deeply and easily that most other oils. It also contains three times the amount of vitamin E as olive oil as well as high concentrations of omega-6 and omega-9 fatty acids, both essential for building and maintaining healthy skin.
5. You can replace a host of skin and hair care products with argan oil.
You can add argan oil to your facial ritual after cleansing and toning. Since it absorbs quickly, you can easily layer an additional moisturizer or makeup on top—or try bare-faced with a bright lip. You can also apply argan oil to hair to add shine and reduce frizz, as an all-over body oil or to your hands to replenish moisture lost to daily dryness.