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Argan Oil – “Liquid Gold”
Argan oil has become increasingly popular in the west in the past few years. The tree is native to south-western Morocco where it happily exits in drought conditions and is perfect for semi-arid soil. The native tree, Argania spinosa also helps prevent soil erosion and even provides the perfect resting spot for goats. In 2007 UNESCO added this wonderful tree to the endangered species act, but since then Morocco has planted many more argan trees to cope with demand. A body was established in 2002 specifically to regenerate the “Arganerie”, which refers to the native populations of trees in Morocco. At this stage I can’t seem to find if the UNESCO ruling has been altered, but the positive effects of new plantations of argan trees has already been felt, especially in regards to employing women.
The oil comes from the kernels in the fruit which are split open by hand, mainly by local women. It is labour intensive which is one of the reasons the oil is more expensive than other oils such sunflower, grapeseed and almond, for example.
Sometimes referred to as liquid gold, the oil is high in oleic acid, similar to olive oil. The kernels are roasted if the oil is intended for culinary use (again, in similar ways to oilve oil in the Mediterranean region), but is left natural when the oil is to be sold for cosmetic uses.
Argan oil has really made an impact in hair care, but as with any cold pressed oil, it’s great for skincare too. I recently watched a YouTube instructional video by Aromatherapist Danielle Ryman. She makes her facial serum with almost all argan oil, only a few drops of rosehip oil and of course some essential oils. I also have a locally made face serum that contains, but is not limited to, argan oil. I haven’t used this oil straight on my face like I would with rosehip oil – but now I really want to!
We must ensure that our demand helps build Morocco and not rape it of its natural resources. Maybe we are so desperate for new things, driven by our consumer attitudes, that we are always looking for the next best thing. Argan oil seems to fit the bill perfectly and various websites claims many properties. We must not forget that many carrier oils do the same thing, so as long as it’s sustainable, embrace this wonderful oil and try it in your new formulas. You could use this oil for –
* warm oil hair masks
* warm oil facial treatments
* face and body oil blends
* cuticle and nail treatments
and just about anything else you can think of.
Happy blending and remember to use your intention when you are creating your formulas. See my article about intention.