Guide to buying the Best Pure Argan Oil
Argan Oil is internationally recognised for it’s power to improve your skin and hair. Loaded with skin healing antioxidants and fatty acids - it moisturises, repairs and nourishes the skin and restores condition to damaged dry hair. But Argan Oil is a rare oil and quite pricey, and only premium Argan is suitable for use on the skin. So how can you know if your Argan Oil actually is the real deal? Follow our guide for all the tips on securing the best pure authentic Argan Oil.
Premium authentic Argan Oil is a deep yellow colour, which is why it has been given the nickname: “Morocco’s Liquid Gold”. Argan that is clear or straw coloured has likely been subject to industrial processing, or been diluted with cheaper oils. Alternatively, oil that is more brown than gold (and smells very strong), may well be Culinary (Roasted) Argan Oil.
Quality cold-pressed cosmetic Argan has a natural scent because it comes from the seed / kernel inside the Argan nut. The scent is often described as “light and nutty” and well tolerated by most people, although it can be considered a little too "aromatic" for those with a strong sense of smell. Be rest assured that the natural scent of quality Argan will disappear once the oil has been absorbed into your skin. Generally, those that know their Argan Oil, are reassured by an aroma as it is a good indication of authenticity and purity.
Most of the Argan available for sale or added to other products is refined Argan oil. That means it has been deodorised (had the natural scent removed by steam processing). This makes make it more appealing for cosmetic formulators to mix into their products. However, deodorising also makes it easier to both mask the aroma of low quality Argan seeds and extend the sale life of stale oil. Further, the bulk of the Argan Oil in commercial products is actually Industrial Argan and has been extracted using chemical solvents such as hexane. These types of processing reduce the quality of the oil. Deodorising reduces the skin healing antioxidants by 20% and chemical extraction degrades the oil qualities by more than 60%. So the tip here is to avoid deodorised and over-processed Argan if you want to use it on your skin.
Texture & Absorption
Premium Argan oil has a rich, weighty texture on the skin. It spreads very easily and is absorbed within minutes. Poor quality oil is light-weight or has a lasting slippery feel on the skin, and has probably been diluted with a cheaper oil or over-processed.
What else should you know?
a) Ingredients: Pure Argan Oil should be listed as the only ingredient on the bottle, i.e. 100% argan oil or 100% Argania Spinosa. Nothing else. If the label states “with added Argan” or the Argan is not listed as the first or second ingredient, then you will not be getting any value for the extra dollars you spend because the Argan content will be less than 50%. Also the term “Moroccan Oil” is frequently used but it is a description for marketing purposes and not an ingredient. This often applies to products with formulations that contain only a small amount of refined Argan Oil (i.e. < 20%) but have lots of added silicons.
b) Packaging: Mechanically pressed virgin Argan Oil has a 2 year shelf life due to the high levels of Vitamin E that are naturally present in the oil. No need for added Vitamin E, unless the oil is refined or likely to spend time on the shelf after it's use-by date. However, Argan is a vegetable oil and prone to oxidation just like olive oil. So packaging is important. The best packaging is dark glass bottles (amber, green or blue). Aluminum bottles and opaque plastic bottles are equally effective against oxidation, but may have additional issues regarding leaching and waste disposal.
c) Certifications: Quality Argan Oil in Australia will have organic certifications from Ecocert and Australian Certified Organic which provides a guarantee that the oil has been grown, harvested, processed and packaged according to the highest standards of organic production. Certification means that the argan producers and suppliers are regularly audited to assess their compliance.
So where is the best pure Argan Oil?The best Argan comes from the women’s co-operatives of Morocco. The Berber women harvest the nuts and use a combination of traditional hand and machine cold-press extraction methods to produce extra-virgin Argan Oil. The co-operatives follow the guidelines of the Moroccan Department of Agriculture and Ecocert to ensure sustainable harvesting and organic production. They also provide the women with income and education, and invest in programs that protect the dwindling reserve of Argan trees.
Images of Berber women are commonly used to sell Argan Oil, however the truth is that much of the oil on the market has been produced away from the co-operatives, by Moroccan and international businesses who buy the nuts from local farmers.This means that the women are no longer involved in production, the quality becomes reduced by over-processing, the profits are not being returned to the community and there is no reinvestment in the Argan forests.
So if you are not in a position to visit a co-operative in Morocco, make your precious dollars go further and buy quality Argan from suppliers like us, who personally source authentic Argan Oil direct from the co-operative door for you. You can learn more about Argan Life Australia's Premium Argan Oil here and here.