A staple in Moroccan cuisine and skincare for centuries, Argan oil has recently taken the beauty world by storm.
Word on the street is that it does it all: makes your skin softer than a baby’s, fights off premature wrinkles and regulates excess oil production – without giving you pimples.
Is this the skincare miracle we were all waiting for? Not really… Argan oil is good for skin, but not that good. Let’s separate truth from myth, shall we?
What’s Argan Oil?
Argan oil is a non-fragrant plant oil derived from the kernels of the Argan trees. This type of tree is so rare, it grows only in Morocco (although, some people are now trying to export it to other regions). You’ve guessed it, that makes the price skyrocket. *sighs*
Dubbed “the gold of Morocco”, Argan oil is a rich source of moisturising fatty acids, like Linoleic, Oleic, and Palmitic. Plus, it has its fair share of antioxidants, including Vitamin E, Ferulic Acid, and carotenes.
FYI, you can tell if Argan Oil Is refined or not. Unrefined argan oil (no bleaching, preservatives, or anything like that) is golden-yellowish in colour and has a slightly nutty scent. Refined Argan oil is both colourless and odourless.
Related: Is Ferulic Acid The Best Antioxidant Of All?
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What’s The Best Type Of Argan Oil?
There are three types of Argan oil:
- Unrefined: This means the oil has’t been bleached or deodorised to remove its yellow color or strong scent. No preservatives or anything extra added, either. This is good because, during these refining processes, oils lose a lot of the goodies that make them so good for skin. Refined only are cheaper, but you’re losing out on benefits big time.
- Extra-Virgin: This means Argan oil is extracted from the earliest pressings of the Argan kernels, so they have a stronger scent, a deeper colour, and more goodies (like fatty acids and antioxidants). It’s more expensive than unrefined, but it works better.
- Cold-Pressed: The oil is extracted from the plant mechanically, without extra heat. Heat is what kills a lot of the antioxidants in Argan oil before it reaches the bottle. In other words, cold-pressed Argan oil has the most goodies and is the most beneficial for it. But it’s the most expensive, too.
P.S. Argan oil is so expensive, few brands use it alone. You’ll often find it mixed with other oils (like olive oil) and other stuff.
Related: How To Read A Skincare Ingredient List (Even If You Hate Science)
Argan Oil For Skin: What Does It Do?
There’s a reason (or more) Argan oil is so popular in skincare:
- Antioxidants: Argan Oil is a rich source of antioxidants, like Vitamin E. Rumour has it, it has twice as much Vitamin E as olive oil! Antioxidants fight free radicals, the little molecules that give you wrinkles and dark spots. The more antioxidants you use in your skincare routine, the more damage you can prevent.
- Cleansing: Like all oils, Argan oil works thanks to the “like attracts like” principle. The oil attaches to the oils on your skin and in your makeup, melting them away.
- Moisturising: Its high fatty acids content strengthens the skin’s protective barrier. This helps moisture stay into the skin, keeping it soft and hydrated for longer. Plus, it protects skin from germs, pollutants, and anything else that attacks it during the day.
- Sebum-regulator: There’s some research that suggests that Argan oil can regulate the production of sebum and reduce grease in oily skin. But, in the study, researched used antioxidants from Argan oil, so it’s hard to know if using pure Argan oil gives the same results.
- Soothing: Argan Oil is high in Linoleic Acid, a fatty acids with anti-inflammatory properties. Inflammation is the main cause of both acne and premature aging. Anything that can reduce inflammation is good news for skin.
- UV Protection: The antioxidants in Argan Oil also have UV-protective properties that enhance the sun protection of your sunscreen.
Related: How Do Antioxidant In Skincare Work?
How Do You Use Argan Oil?
Like all oils, Argan oil is very versatile:
- Cleanser: Argan oil is great at removing makeup. Simply massage a few drops on your skin and rinse it away with a washcloth. You can also blend it with other oils, like Castor, to improve texture and cleansing power. But it’s so expensive, this isn’t probably the best use for it.
- Conditioner: Argan oil makes hair softer and shinier. You can apply a few drops all over your hair or use it as a pre-shampoo treatment. Apply a generous dose all over your hair, wait a few hours, and the shampoo and condition your hair as normal. The extra oil will give it that extra ooomph!
- Moisturiser: You can use Argan Oil on its own or with a few drops with your moisturiser to deeply hydrate skin and make it soft and supple. It works on the face, body, nails… You name it.
Related: What’s The Oil Cleansing Method And Should You Use It?
Is Argan Oil Comedogenic?
A quick Google search turns up many sources saying Argan Oil isn’t comedogenic. But is that true? Mmm…
Here’s where things get complicated. Oleic acid makes up roughly 40-50% of the fatty acid content in Argan Oil, while Lineoleic Acid makes up for 30-40%.
What does this mean? Linoleic Acid has anti-acne properties that help you fight pimples. Oleic Acid is the opposite and tends to cause pimples.
The balance between these two fatty acids is so close, it’s impossible to tell if Argan oil will clog pores for you, unless you try it.
I recommend you try it on a small patch of skin first. And if it makes you breakouts, ditch it. You’re not crazy. Argan oil can clog pores.
Related: What Are The Best Facial Oils For Oily Skin?
What Are The Best Skincare Products With Argan Oil?
- Josie Maran 100% Pure Argan Oil ($49.00): Available at Dermstore, Free People, and Sephora
- Paula’s Choice Resist Moisture Renewal Oil Booster ($38.00): Available at Dermstore and Paula’s Choice
- The Ordinary 100% Cold-Pressed Moroccan Argan Oil ($6.80): Available at Beauty Bay, Cult Beauty, and Ulta
The Bottom Line
Argan oil is a wonderful multitasker that moisturises skin, soothes inflammation, fights off premature aging, and even helps protect against UV rays. But it’s not the miracle potion it’s made out to be and it can clog pores in some people.
Have you ever tried Argan oil for skin? Let me know in the comments below.