I know, I know. I have been going on and on about facial oils lately but darling friend Linsey brought me back a bottle of Argan oil from her Moroccan adventure over New Years and it's kind of like gold dust. It's super expensive to buy on Amazon or in health food shops here so I was exceptionally grateful that she gave me one of her four bottles which she says she bartered for at a decent price.
Has anyone heard of it and it's amazing qualities? It's an oil made out of nuts that grow on a very special Argan tree. The Argan grows wild in arid semi-desert conditions. The Argan tree flowers in the spring producing green olive-sized fruits that ripen to yellow. When they have dried in late summer they fall to the ground and are hand gathered. Argan trees are generally found on common land and belong to the Moroccan Forestry Commission. Families have hereditary gathering rights for specific areas close to where they live. Animals are forbidden to graze in the Argan Groves for three months before the harvest. The sharp spiny thorns prevent the fruit being picked by hand, but in the past this did not stop large number of goats clambering to the topmost branches to devour them, so much so, that the argan groves were known as tree meadows. However, nowadays the goats are kept out by forestry wardens and their owners are fined if they stray!
The seeds are in very hard casings inside the fruit layer. These are cracked open by hand between a stone and a stone anvil. It takes 10-12 hours to crack enough nuts to obtain sufficient seeds to yield one litre of oil!
- Nourishes skin/hair/nails. Argan's anti-ageing properties, due to high levels of Vitamin E and saponins (which soften the skin) are well documented. It helps to reduce wrinkles by restoring the skin's water lipid layer and it also cools and soothes inflammation. Its antioxidant properties contribute to the neutralization of free radicals, particularly useful in the polluted Western hemisphere. It helps cool skin that has been exposed to wind and the sun and also protects it in cold weather.
- Traditionally used in Morocco to soothe dry eczema, chicken pox, acne and psoriasis, it can also help to reduce scarring and prevent stretch marks.
- Argan is not greasy, only a few drops warmed on the fingertips are needed to moisturize and protect the complexion including the delicate skin under the eyes.
- It soothes inflammation massaged into painful areas, either due to muscular strain or arthritic or rheumatic joint pain.