Deeply golden with a nutty aroma, argan oil is up there with one of the most impactful carrier oils for our wellness needs.
Plant-based oils have been all the rage for a while now, popping up in almost every body cream, facial moisturiser, and hair serum on the market.
Among these special ingredients, one that has increasingly earned a spot in the limelight is argan oil.
Packed full of fatty acids and nutrients, argan oil has been used for centuries in Morocco for its rich benefits to skin and hair. Now that dermatologists and haircare experts are catching on, it's very easy to see why this oil has become so popular.
If you're not familiar with what argan oil has to offer, or if you want to learn a little bit more about why this carrier oil is so great, we're here to help with some key facts on what argan oil is, some uses of argan oil, and the primary argan oil benefits.
What is argan oil?
While its origin plant is native to this region alone, argan oil can now be found all around the world, thanks to its numerous applications across the culinary arts, the cosmetic industry, and in medicinal practices.
Argan oil can be easily identified by its golden colour, and is considered suitable for all hair types as well as most skin types in spite of its mid-weight consistency.
What are the argan oil benefits for hair?
That's because argan is filled with powerful antioxidants and vitamins that can hydrate, restore, and strengthen the hair in many different ways.
We've listed some of its most impactful benefits for hair below.
1. It can prevent breakage and styling damage
Argan oil is filled to the brim with vitamin E - an essential nutrient that has been known to protect the hair from damage caused by styling tools, hair dyes, and environmental factors.
This is particularly true in the case of sunlight, and many people use argan oil as a way to protect their strands and their hair colour from fading in the summertime.
These protective effects are further reinforced by two fatty acids found in argan oil - linoleic acid and oleic acid - which one 2015 review noted could prevent breakage by producing a rich layer around the hair shaft.
2. It moisturises hair and minimises frizz
Linoleic acid and oleic acid are not just great for protecting the hair, but for moisturising it too.
These acids work together to help lubricate the hair shaft and lock in moisture, keeping all the goodness that argan oil has to offer in your hair while also maintain its hydration levels.
Argan oil's high vitamin E content also helps to reduce frizz without leaving a greasy residue behind.
3. It can improve scalp health
Argan oil is not only great for the hair, but for the scalp too.
This is thanks to its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant qualities, which can help combat dryness, reduce irritation, and create a sounder environment for hair follicles to grow.
4. It may boost hair growth
While specific research is lacking on the long-term effects of argan oil for hair growth, its potent effects for the scalp, as well as its protective qualities against breakage, can greatly influence hair growth over time.
One small 2010 study also confirmed the positive impact that vitamin E can have on hair growth, which is something argan oil has in abundance.
What are the benefits of argan oil for skin?
So, it's clear that argan oil can do a lot when it comes to your locks, but what about your skin? Perhaps unsurprisingly, it can pack a punch for that too.
We're running through some of the most prominent argan oil effects for skin below.
1. It hydrates the skin
Once again, the greatest power that argan oil has to offer is its high levels of vitamin E, which can provide a major hydration boost for the skin.
By improving water retention along the skin barrier, vitamin E can strengthen the complexion and allow it to retain more moisture throughout the day.
It can also tackle causes of dryness by helping to prevent transepidermal water loss, which is when water evaporates too quickly from the skin into the air.
2. It may help to treat wounds and infections
Argan oil is full of antioxidants, which can reduce inflammation and heal potential damage on the skin.
One 2016 study showed the impact of argan oil on burns, noting that they healed much faster after application of the oil than with other trialled methods.
That being said, this study is yet to be replicated on humans, so these effects cannot be totally guaranteed.
Argan oil also contains strong antibacterial and antifungal properties which can help clear the skin of infections.
3. It reduces signs of aging
Argan oil has been used to treat signs of aging for centuries, and one 2015 study actually confirmed these claims by highlighting the power behind argan's antioxidant levels.
Antioxidants can increase and improve elasticity in the skin, which in turn leads to the reduction of fine lines, wrinkles, and stretch marks to produce an even, smooth skin tone.
4. It can help treat acne breakouts
Remember those trusty fatty acids, linoleic acid and oleic acid? They're great for fighting acne breakouts too.
This is as a result of their strong anti-inflammatory properties, which have been known to soothe redness and inflammation around flare-ups as well as prevent dryness.
Argan oil can also regulate the production of sebum in the skin. As excess sebum is a key cause behind acne breakouts, this regulation could reduce their severity as well as prevent them from coming back at all.
To top it all off, argan oil is a non-comedogenic carrier oil, which means it won't clog your pores up with frequent application.
5. It protects against damage and reduces hyperpigmentation
Argan oil's antioxidants work the same way on our skin as they do our hair - protecting against damaging factors like sunlight, pollution, oxidative stress, and free radical damage.
One 2013 study particularly focused on argan's protective effects against UV rays, concluding that frequent use of the oil could further prevent long-term damage when used on top of commercial sun protectants.
If you're frequently bothered by sunspots or hyperpigmentation on the skin, argan oil could help to banish these too, thanks to the tocopherols found in its natural composition.
These inhibit the production of excess pigment as well as protect the skin from further damage.
What are some popular argan oil uses?
Now that you know how argan oil can benefit your skin and hair, it's time to evaluate the best ways to incorporate it into your daily routine.
How to use argan oil for hair
There are many ways to include argan oil in your weekly haircare rituals - from the simple and quick to the deep and nourishing. Here are some of our favourites.
Make your own hair treatment
Don't be fooled by the simplicity of this method - it's one of the most effective choices on this list.
All it takes is some argan oil and a little bit of rosemary essential oil to create the ultimate nourishing hair mask.
- Add a tablespoon of argan oil to a small dish.
- Sprinkle three drops of rosemary essential oil into the dish and mix well.
- Using your fingertips, pick up a little bit of oil at a time and smooth the solution across your hair - starting at the roots and ending at the tips.
- Wrap your hair securely in a towel and leave overnight, or for a few hours.
- Wash out as normal in the shower.
Use as a leave-in conditioner
Argan oil is a great all-natural alternative to commercial conditioners, and can give your hair a soft and silky boost without any extra hassle.
- After showering, wash and towel dry your hair.
- Add two to three drops of argan oil to your palm.
- Using your fingertips, spread the oil evenly across the mid-section and tips of your hair.
Use as a styling serum
Why splash your cash on expensive serums when you could just use argan oil instead? This method is ideal for taming frizz and puffiness just before heading out the door.
- Add a pea-sized amount of oil to your palm.
- Using your fingertips, apply the oil very lightly to the surface of your dry hair.
- Style as usual.
How to use argan oil for skin
Argan oil is fairly simple to apply to the skin, and there's one method that is sure to guarantee the best results for your complexion over time.
The method below refers specifically to facial application of argan oil, but the same steps can also be followed should you choose to apply it to the body instead.
- Wash your face with warm water and pat dry with a clean cloth.
- Dispense a small amount of argan oil onto your palm and warm the oil in your hands.
- Apply the oil in gentle, circular motions across your face.
- Once the oil has mostly absorbed, dab any excess off with a clean cloth or towel.
- Repeat once or twice daily as desired.
Which argan oil is best?
The best argan oil to choose for your skin and hair will always be the 100% pure and natural kind. This will help you to achieve the maximum benefits you possibly can from the oil.
Good argan oil will have a golden, amber-like hue and will apply smoothly to the skin. It should also absorb very easily.
It's also best to steer clear of argan oils used specifically for cooking, as these may have gone through a roasting or heating process that could destroy its natural fatty acids.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can argan oil clog pores?
Thankfully, argan oil does not clog pores, so it's a great choice for sufferers of acne.
How often should I use argan oil on my hair?
We recommend using argan oil on your hair around two to three times per week. From there, you can adjust the frequency based on how well your hair and scalp are reacting.
Is it okay to use argan oil on your face?
Yes! Argan oil is more than safe for use on the face.
This golden oil from Morocco is certainly worth the hype - whether you're using it for skin, hair, or anything else for that matter.
Enjoy its uses, but remember to always listen to your body and its reactions before going too overboard. If your skin or hair aren't happy, there are plenty of other carrier oils to choose from, too.