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Argan oil has long been used for its internal and external benefits, from a healthy alternative to cooking oil to a deep conditioner for the hair.
Indeed, the oil has been used for thousands of years across the globe for beauty and health purposes.
The first report of the Argan tree, the origins of the oil itself, comes from explorer Leo Africanus in 1510. He took the specimen around with him, but it wasn't for another two hundred years that it was written about again.
Largely, the Argan tree is found in extremely dry conditions such as South Western Morocco.
In fact, owing to the fact that the tree can only grow in very specific temperatures, the oil is one of the rarest to this day.
So rare is the oil that Berbers, an indigenous ethnic group of North Africa, used to collect it from the waste of goats which climbed the trees to eat their fruit. This is something that we do not need to go into in this day and age, thankfully.
The Berbers would then ground and press the waste until they got the nutty oil, which they would use (as we do today) for food and beauty.
Types of Argan oil
Most commonly now, argan oil is cold pressed. A cold pressed oil is made by pressing or grinding the fruit or seed to extract the natural oil present in it.
Normally, the oil is extracted through the use of heavy granite millstones or modern stainless steel presses, which are normally heated (despite the name).
However, the temperature never goes above 120°F (49°C) otherwise they would not be considered cold pressed.
This method of extraction keeps in all of the flavour and aroma innate in the fruit or seed. Argan oil is a deep orange in colour, although the colour differs slightly depending on if it used for beauty or for cooking. Put most easily, it looks in colour a lot like honey.
Benefits of Argan oil
Many people choose to use argan oil in cooking, either to fry things in or for dipping. It can be mixed with anything of your choice, often roasted almonds or honey for a sweet flavoured dip.
Researchers have found that the oil can help in lowering cholesterol, and, with a healthy diet, can help reduce the risk of obesity.
Although it can be used for a healthier alternative in cooking, one of the biggest advantages of argan oil is probably it's cosmetic properties.
"In cosmetics, Argan oil is advocated as moisturizing oil, against [juvenile acne] and flaking of the skin as well as for [nourishing] the hair. This oil has also medicinal uses against rheumatism and the healing of burns … Externally, argan oil is used … for hair as brilliantine, to fortify and … in the treatment of wrinkled or scaly dry skin", journal Phytomedicine explained.
Indeed, the oil is now often present in a number of creams and lotions to help with dry skin conditions, as well as dry hair.
(Check here more information about argan oil benefits)
Tips for Argan oil and hair
Owing to its deeply moisturising properties, as well as the fact that it is full of antioxidants, this organic oil is perfect for a quick de-frizz fix before a night out.
Not only does it help get rid of those stray hairs; it also makes the hair look incredibly shiny and healthy.
Simply use the oil as you would a serum - squeezing just a little bit out and rubbing it into your hands. Then, apply the oil to wherever you feel your dry 'do needs it.
It's not just appearances as well; the oil really does have nourishing properties that condition dry and broken hair.
Either use the oil as a serum when your hair is already styled, or alternatively use the oil before drying your hair when it is still wet.
Some women choose to put the Moroccan oil on their hair overnight as a deep conditioner, which should mean that you wake up with shiny, healthy tresses. Remember to wash it out when you wake up though, it could be a little greasy!
It has also been noted that this organic oil can help with dandruff. If you suffer from dandruff, look at applying it after you have a shower. Don't overload with it though - just use it as you would a serum.