Pure Argan Oil | World of Beauty Morocco Voyage 

Documentary Beauty filmed a Morocco voyage to explore the story behind the purest argan oil on Earth for the World of Beauty docuseries. Spotlighting the traditional ancient organic cold press process to learn all the deets on the powerful clean beauty ingredient straight from the Fairtrade source known as the women owned cooperatives.

DOCUMENTARY BEAUTY EXCLUSIVEWORLD OF BEAUTY
DESTINATIONMOROCCO
CREATIVE DIRECTORKayla MiChele
PHOTOJOURNALISTLori Patrick
TRAVEL TOURSPhoto Coteries

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Let’s explore the kingdom of Morocco and take a deep dive on learning all about the treasured native beauty elixir known as argan oil and why Morocco is renowned as one of the most beloved places to travel to in the world.

Visiting Morocco – The land of argan oil 

Located in the northwestern tier of Africa and on the shores of the Atlantic Ocean you will find a land steeped in traditional values of craftsmanship and exquisite beauty. The terrain has vistas of the High Atlas Mountains, the legendary Sahara Desert, ancient indigenous communities of the first settlers of Berber people to its modernized cities that delight and entertain travelers in a most colorful and memorable way. There’s no wonder why many well traveled people consider Morocco as their favorite place they ever visited.

To visit Morocco is an understanding of living in the region while there. You are immersed in the culture and its people who are friendly and welcoming.

In Marrakech, a popular destination, you will find the city behind walls of red and orange, a design composed of red clay. Step out of your riad and into the medina of the famous Djemaa el-Fna square where you find cafe’s mixing French and Berber cuisine with many of the dishes cooked and served in tagines. Most anywhere you go, you are greeted with a taste of Moroccan mint tea which is always a sign of welcome. 

From the square are several entry points into the Souk which covers so many mysteries and avenues of shops where you can find almost anything you will want to bring home. You will find craftsmanship of most everything handmade in the tradition of ancestors through centuries. Leather goods, hammered lamps, in varying shape and metal choices, clay tagines, spices, teas, Berber rugs, clothing in traditional styling, and so much more. 

As you travel into the Atlas Mountains and along the roads from city to city, you find many opportunities to shop along the way in tented shops. You find that vendors will offer free shipping for your bigger purchases of let’s say rugs or lamps.

As you head up the river road into Ourika Valley on the way to the waterfalls of Setti Fatma for a hike into the mountains, you will view the fantastic riverside restaurants that seem to go on for miles. Here is a must stop to dine and take in nature in a way you will never forget. 

When arranging your drive to the beaches of Essaouira or Agadir, be sure to ask your driver to bring you to one of the women’s cooperatives. Here you will discover the most incredible beauty regimen that you can bring home from the most trusted source available, all while experiencing a tour of the making of argan oil, along with a presentation of why you will love to include it as a staple on your beauty shelf. Even more options of beauty solutions are here to explore in its most organic, purest form.

Here are some of the things we have learned about the process and benefits of pure argan oil on this exploration in the kingdom of Morocco.

Pure argan oil 

The ancient beauty secret has gained international respect and desirability as a must-have beauty elixir due to its miraculous results for both skincare and hair rejuvenation. 

Where does argan oil come from

The oil is produced by the fruit of the argan tree, Argania spinosa. For centuries this low growing, long rooted, gnarly shaped trunk specimen is able to withstand the desert. Found in a small area in southern Morocco, it is so obscure and important that it is within a UNESCO-protected biosphere reserve.

The tree has survived for millions of years, the discovery of its oil happened several centuries ago and was long regarded as a coveted beauty secret in the region. Fortunately, they opened this information to the world in this past century leaving us with a beautifully natural and organic solution in its simplicity and ease of use.

Why cold pressed argan oil is best

Cold pressing is the only method utilized for argan oil to maintain all of the nutrients while preserving antioxidant properties. There is no heat used except what would occur during the grinding process which is minimal and only caused by friction. Think about if you opened the leaf of an aloe plant and used the sap on your skin, you are receiving direct raw benefits.

Benefits of argan oil for skin

The argan oil elixir often referred to as “ liquid gold” is a perfect skincare companion for daily use as science has proven that the benefits are rewarding. Rich in trace nutrients, unsaturated fatty acids, minerals, squalene, sterols, omega 6 and vitamin E, making these components offer benefits including antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compounds, and even helps protect against skin cancer.

The benefits of pure argan oil are noteworthy and go beyond amazing hydration as it is popular for helping to combat wrinkles, fine lines, scars, dark spots and blemishes. It is a powerful cellular renewal booster, helps to protect against UV rays and is non-comedogenic, so it won’t clog pores.  Dry skin conditions like rosacea or eczema can be helped by using only a few drops to promote healing. 

“Daily topical application of argan oil has also been shown to improve skin elasticity and skin hydration by restoring the barrier function and maintaining the water-holding capacity.”

National Library of Medicine

The applied oil is absorbed quickly by the skin and it is not greasy which helps to restore the natural balance of the skin. There is a slight nutty natural aroma in the bottle that disappears instantly once applied. This clean beauty oil is safe to use for all ages with no side effects, but not recommended for people with nut allergies.

How to apply argan oil to the skin

“The first step is to always wash your hands before applying skincare to prevent spreading germs and bacteria. Next wash your face with your favorite cleanser or at the very least just use a washcloth and water. Start with dropping a couple of drops of pure argan oil the size of a dime into your hands. While the face is drying off but still damp, apply the oil all over the face and neck with a focus on starting with a heavier saturation onto dryer areas. Layer and apply more in small increments as needed. The body will love being saturated in argan oil as well, just wait until the oil fully absorbs before putting on clothing to avoid oil stains. Elevate your beauty ritual by implementing some positive affirmations as you massage the oil into the face and body for an extra magical touch.”  

Kayla MiChele | Celebrity and Fashion Hair Stylist

Benefits of argan oil for hair and scalp

Looking for softer hair and a balanced scalp? The properties found in argan oil have gained worldwide praise in modern times for its beauty benefits which also include rebuilding damaged or dry hair, protecting the hair from heat styling damage and even offers UV ray protection from the sun.

Pure argan oil applied on the scalp helps to soothe a dry and itchy scalp and helps heal flaking dandruff. Even people with oily scalps can benefit from applying treatments of argan oil as it has the ability to balance it out. 

How to apply argan oil to the hair and scalp

“Advice for applying oils in hair changes drastically depending on the hair type. Argan oil can be applied to dry or wet hair daily as needed. Dryer hair textures can benefit with extra moisturizing effects by saturating heavier layers of argan oil starting with the scalp and down the strands from roots to ends. Finer and silky hair types only require 1-4 drops of argan oil with a focus toward the ends to midshaft applied as a lightweight application to prevent an oily look. All hair and scalp types can benefit from weekly or bi-weekly argan oil intensive treatments which offer the most potent benefits and results. One way to indulge in this beauty ritual treatment would be to saturate the argan oil very heavily into both the scalp and hair to a point where the hair looks very greasy. As an added bonus make it a hot oil treatment by putting on a shower cap which will help to trap in some body heat for extra deep penetration. Leave it on for at least 20 minutes or even overnight while sleeping before washing it out if it still looks oily.”  

Kayla MiChele | Celebrity and Fashion Hair Stylist

Where to buy trusted cold pressed 100% pure argan oil

When you search for argan oil to keep in your beauty cabinet it is very important to find your source to be of the true form of production in Morocco. There are many products that claim to be the real thing, but they can be heavily adulterated with foreign oils or downright counterfeited. An important factor to look for is the Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) or an Organic ECOSERT certification which guarantees authenticity and organic value. The ingredient list should only say 100% argan fruit or argan nut oil with no other ingredient listed.

The purest oil is produced in women’s cooperatives in southern Morocco where they utilize traditional extraction methods which preserves the full potential of the benefits. The women see through the entire production process from being sure to only pick the best fruits to eliminating factors of concern including the oxidation of the kernels that are sold by suppliers.

You can travel into Morocco and you will find the oil there that you can purchase to bring home. You must be very careful even in the shops inside the souks and medinas. Here, they are not always real. Going to a real cooperative is where you will find the pure product and even see it being processed by the women there. 

Trusted sources to buy cold pressed, organic, 100% pure argan oil online

Look no further to purchase pure argan oil online as we did the research for you. These are some websites that can be trusted to obtain pure argan oil sourced from the women’s cooperatives in Morocco.

Argan Oil Direct

Argan Farm

Production of organic argan oil in Morocco

Organic argan oil women-run cooperatives

Moroccan women of Amazigh or Berber origin were given a non-traditional opportunity to work in order to help support their families financially and gain literacy skills. Around 1998, the first rural women-run cooperative started in T’manar, which had become the organic argan industry capital.

The cooperative’s put women in the center of producing argan oil from the harvested fruit and finishing all the way to packaging where they are committed to ancestral hand production ensuring the highest quality standard. 

The cooperatives offer a travel enthusiast experience worth adding to the itinerary as they offer a tour of their process and a retail environment in their showrooms for consumers to purchase and bring home authentic products straight from the source. 

Fairtrade status and women owned

It is wonderful to support the women owned cooperatives knowing that the women who work hard to produce the oil are the same women who benefit from its sales, protecting them to earn fair pricing due to their Fairtrade status.

Harvesting argan tree fruits

Deciduous argan tree fruit grows on the celebrated Argania spinosa trees which are often referred to as “the fountain of youth” and the “tree of life”. They are endemic to southwest Morocco, where they have a lifespan up to 200 years and can grow up to 26-33 feet in height. They have unique trunks that are gnarled and twisted with thorny stems that produce small green leaves and pale yellow-green flowers that begin blooming in April.  

The fruit develops on the tree during growth season and it takes six to twelve months to fully ripen and then typically harvested during July and August. Premature harvesting will result in a more acidic kernel. There is no rushing the process, the best time is when the fruit starts falling from the tree naturally with a special shade of yellow. 

Goats involvement for the process of argan oil

In the past, goats were helpful to collect the fruits as they love to climb the trees and eat them, which would result in the women collecting the pit of the fruit off of the ground after the goats spit them out or digested them. This very slow process is not used as often nowadays due to the high demand for the oil. The method is not to cause much of a concern in regards to sanitation because the kernels used to press the oil are found deep inside of the nuts, so they do not absorb anything found on the outside of the nut.

Sustainability

The oil has made the area economically sustainable for its people. These important trees and the land with its entire 2.5 million-hectare argan forest region were given UNESCO Biosphere Reserve status beginning in 1998. They provide a natural barrier to the harsh conditions of the Sahara Desert and help against soil depletion of trace minerals. The trees are in a constant planting and protective program. 

How is cold pressed argan oil made after harvesting 

In the past, traditional techniques were used for the production of argan oil which was done entirely by hand. Nowadays, modern methods such as machine cold-pressing have also been introduced to speed up the process at some places. Let’s take a further look into all the different processes that are practiced today to produce argan oil from fruit to oil and break down why the traditional method still is the best.

How much argan fruit is needed to make 1 liter of argan oil?

Approximately 30 kg of raw argan fruits extracts 2 kg of kernels which produce one liter of oil. Two days are required to remove the pulp and crack that amount. After cracking, it takes around 4 hours of labor to finish 1 liter of oil.

Dried

Once harvested into baskets and brought to a cooperative, the fruits are laid out into the sun or air dried for a few weeks so they can dry to a shriveled brown color. Drying the fruit helps to peel off the pulp.

Peeled 

The dried argan fruit goes into the peeling process of removing the outer layer to expose the nut which contains the kernel. 

Cracking the nut to extract the kernels

Once the hard nut is extracted the cooperatives remove the kernel the traditional way by placing the nut onto a base rock, then the women will pound at it with a second sharp stone to crack it open exposing the precious soft seed kernel inside. This handmade with love process carries an energy and a quality much more superior to the alternative modern machine process.

Oxidation matters

Producing a lower quality but much faster volume, some facilities use modern machines made of metal to slam the nut causing it to shatter the nut and kernels. The problem with this method is that breaking up the kernels into pieces causes extra oxidation. Argan kernels begin oxidizing as soon as they come in contact with air, so processing the kernels as soon as possible after extraction is important to maintain the best quality possible. 

Extracting the oil from the kernels

Traditional extraction

The next step is the extraction of the oil where the kernels are placed into the traditional stone quern. This is a hand operated traditional rock grinder called R’ha, where two stone plates are placed together and turned utilizing a handle and spinning the apparatus thereby crushing the kernels while it forms a thick paste that drops into a bowl placed below. Once there is enough paste, it is then hand squeezed until the oil separates and is siphoned off to be placed into bottles where it rests for 2-3 weeks to allow the solid remains to settle to the bottom.

Mechanical extraction

Because of the worldwide interest in argan oil, the decision was made to speed up the process by using machines to extract the paste. It has not taken the place of the traditional hand process at some of the cooperatives because they respect the ethics of producing the oil into its purest and most beneficial form.  

Chemical extraction

In the event of chemical extractions, additives are included into the formulation by soaking the kernels to produce a higher volume of oil and intended only for the cosmetics industry. This method questions concerns on the toxicity of the chemicals used and its negative effects on the quality. 

The difference between enriched argan oil and cold pressed

The industrial method of extracting argan oil from pulverized kernels by lipophilic solvents, also referred to as flash distillation, terms the final product as “enriched argan oil”. Cold pressed is not treated with questionably toxic chemicals and retains the highest quality of the end product. Making cold pressed the superior and cleanest choice.

Purification process

Since the traditional processed oil is pure and organic, the purification process is simple. After the oil rests to allow the sediment to settle, many filtrations are required to reach the desired clarity. The oil is lastly placed into the final bottle to reduce the sediment volume, though the final product still might contain a minimal amount of sediment inside of the bottle, which is regarded as a good sign of proof of authenticity.

How long does argan oil last?

Pure cosmetic argan oil is protected against oxidation through the very same antioxidants it contains which protect your skin, hair and nails. You can expect a 18-24 months shelf life of non-preserved cold pressed pure argan oil if stored properly out of the sunlight and in normal household temperatures.

The difference between food grade and cosmetic grade argan oil

There is another form of argan oil that has health benefits as a culinary choice. The difference between cosmetic and culinary is that the kernel is roasted to pull out the unique nutty flavor. This nutritious oil is popular as a cold oil and not to be used for cooking itself. Use it as an oil drizzle, a dipping oil for bread, to make salad dressings and so many more uses. You would not use the culinary oil on the skin since it is heated taking away the important cold pressed quality.

This wonderful treasure that planet earth has provided for us to intermingle with is a new must have for my daily clean beauty routine and I hope you find it to be the same for you.

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Lori Patrick
Lori Patrick

Lori Patrick began her craft for beauty starting in Cosmetology school and later progressed to making her mark in many mediums of artistic expression as an award winning photo-essay journalist, a cultural travel guide with PhotoCoteries, celebrity photographer and educator for Portrait Symposium and on the stages of world renowned conference workshops.

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