Any tree that can withstand the seemingly arid lands of  Morocco for up to three hundred years must be made of strong stuff and indeed it is!  The Arganier Spinosa tree grows in Morocco’s southwest, helping to prevent the spread south of the Sahara desert and providing a rich source of oil for the local Berber women.

In 1999 the area was designated a UNESCO world heritage site to try to put a halt to the negative impacts of over grazing and deforestation and over the last ten years the area has flourished. In keeping with tradition the oil is still farmed by the Berber women and some oil is still hand produced. However, the practice of collecting undigested nuts from the faeces of Goats and crushing those is no longer an option due to higher microbiological controls and product specification standards!  Many of the Berber women  now receive a fair price,business support and an education in exchange  for their endeavors. The land is protected and nurtured to ensure that the oil flows for many more years to come.

argan oil berries stockphoto

Here are some quick facts about this wholesome beauty treatment – a good oil indeed!

*  The cosmetic grade oil comes from the nuts which are cold pressed, a process that was traditionally done  by hand.

*  It takes around 20 hours to produce 1 litre of oil using traditional methods (ref Zoubida Charrouf and Dominique Guillaume)

* Most cosmetic grade oil is now produced by solvent evaporation under laboratory conditions to ensure that it complies to       the strict microbial and quality guidelines required by the industry.

*   The oil is rich in Oleic acid (approx 46%) and  Linoleic acid (approx 33%) which is quite similar to Canola oil!

* Linoleic Acid is an essential fatty acid  (Omega 6 fatty acids). Dermatitis is often a sign of a deficiency in this acid and so keeping up a good supply to the skin is a great idea!

* Oleic acid is a mono-unsaturated fatty acid (Omega 9).  On death bees emit this acid as a trigger for the other bees to clean away the body!  In humans it is said to increase memory but I can’t remember why 🙂

* The Berber people use the oil medicinally to lower blood pressure.  This was investigated in the British Journal of Nutrition 2004.

If this oil sounds too good to be true then you will be pleased to hear that you can buy a whole range of cosmetic and personal care products that include this oil – looking good has never been so tasty!  Do remember though that this oil comes from a protected species that only grows in a small region of Morocco so it is not going to be cheap.

If you are on a tight budget and don’t need the oil for medicinal purposes it may be worth blending your own mix of canola and olive oil to get the fatty acid mix without the cost. This will give you a similar consistency and fatty acid content but won’t have the exact same mix of trace elements. However, it should serve as a great (if not a little greasy) moisturiser for tired skin.

moroccan woman

Why not feed your skin from the outside? It will thank you!

Buy the oil from Argan Oil online.

Argan Oil cosmetic range available to purchase online.

Fight the frizz with Argan oil – reviewed in Vogue Australia.