Are you looking for a magic potion to help you get rid of skin issues like acne, wrinkles, dryness, scars etc.? Read our in-depth guide on argan oil and few effective, easy to make DIY recipes.
The Ultimate Guide to Argan Oil
The argan tree (Argania Spinosa), native to the country of Morocco, bears a fruit that is covered with a thick peel and a hard-shelled nut. This nut’s kernel contains an oil called Argan oil that has a plethora of culinary, health, cosmetic, and skin care uses.
The History of Argan Oil
The argan tree originated in a village in Morocco called Argana. This village is located near the northeastern city of Agadir, but the tree now grows wild in Morocco’s southwest region. Moroccan goats love to eat the pulp of the argan fruit, but they do not consume the hard nut portion that contains the kernels and argan oil.
As early as 600 B.C., Moroccans discovered that argan oil, when extracted from the nut’s kernels, can moisturize, condition, and heal skin. Known in ancient times as “liquid gold,” Argan oil is a rich amber color. The North Africans, particularly the North African Berber tribes, used it for centuries to heal and beautify their bodies.
The Berbers were especially connected to the argan tree, its fruit, and oil. They used the trees for firewood and fed the fruit to their animals. They then learned to turn the kernel into an oil to help clear up skin conditions, make the skin more lovely, and even to devise the oil into an edible paste, like butter, that went well with bread.
Women of ancient Berber tribes discovered that goats were eating the fruits but leaving behind or expelling the nuts. The women would sit together in circles to pound the argan’s hard outer shells, which were about 16 times harder than a hazelnut’s shell. It took patience and skill to crack the nuts without damaging the little kernels that lay inside.
Over hundreds of years, the Berbers mastered the techniques of cracking the nuts to save the kernels and passed this information down through the generations. The process was labor-intensive, taking about 250 pounds of the fruit to the product just 4 kilograms of the kernel.
In 1510, an African explorer named Leo Africanus, took note of the oil as he traversed Morocco. He brought some of it to Europe and sold it to very wealthy people who would use this exotic, expensive oil to beautify their skin and hair. The product did not find a large market in Europe at that time, likely due to its expense.
By the 20th century, Moroccan farmers started to clear away argan tree forests to make room for other fruit plants, like orange trees and tomato crops. Scientists important, drought-tolerant tree provided protection for Morocco from the Sahara desert encroaching upon the area.
The argan forest acted a green curtain for Morocco. By the late 1990’s argan oil production increased, with certain aspects of production using modern machines. Tribal women working in cooperatives, however, still crack open the shells by hand, making decent wages doing so.
Argan Oil Benefits
#1 Skin Moisturizing
Used to soothe and moisturize skin, argan oil has a high Vitamin E content along with unsaturated fatty acids, both of which are excellent for skin moisturization. The oil is quickly absorbed into the skin without leaving a greasy residue.
Ancient peoples have used argan oil to add moisture to skin for centuries. Dermatological studies have shown that nightly applications of the oil increase moisturizing effects and decrease water loss in the skin.#2 Anti-Aging
Scientific studies have shown that both consumption and topical application of argan oil can have anti-aging effects on skin’s elasticity. The oil’s inherent tocopherols and fatty acids fight free radical damage that causes wrinkles and increases skin elasticity.
Argan oil also contains antioxidants that fight environmental pollutants and UV radiation that damage skin. Apply a few drops onto skin nightly.#3 Acne Preventative
Scientific research shows that creams containing argan oil and other ingredients are highly effective in controlling excess sebum. Sebum is the oily substance produced by sebaceous glands and is a major cause of acne.
Using argan oil can help prevent acne breakouts because it balances the skin with natural moisture that is non-greasy. Rub a drop onto facial skin to prevent breakouts.
The skin becomes inflamed when acne breakouts occur. These blemishes also damage skin cells, sometimes causing scars to form after the acne has cleared. Argan oil has been used for centuries to heal skin scars.
Due to its anti-oxidant Vitamin E component and its squalene property, this oil can heal the damaged cells, aid in new cell growth, and help fade scars. Massage a couple of drops of the oil gently onto skin; let the excess air dry.#5 Makeup Remover
Argan oil is very gentle, making it a fine cleansing agent to remove makeup from your face. It doesn’t sting or burn skin as some chemical cosmetic removers might. Simply apply it on the face and eyelids with your fingertips and wipe makeup off with a cloth.#6 Temporary Tatoo Remover
Just as argan oil can remove cosmetics, you can also use it to safely remove temporary tattoos, even on a child’s skin. Let the oil soak in for a minute or so before rubbing the image away with a washcloth. Finish up with a soap-and-water wash and pat the area dry.#7 Healing Accelerator
Speed up the healing process for skin that is cracked, irritated, or burned by smoothing argan oil onto skin.
The oil’s antioxidant properties help reduce inflammation and soothe the pain that can come from razor burn bumps, sunburn, chafing, dry skin and other conditions.
The antioxidants in argan oil that help in healing include Vitamin E and squalene, a fat-soluble antioxidant.#8 Stretch Mark Preventer
When the abdomen stretches out as it does during pregnancy, post-pregnancy stretch marks often occur.
Prevent these light-colored marks and the puckered, sagging skin that appears after birth by applying argan oil during pregnancy. The oil’s Vitamin E increases skin elasticity, reducing the development of stretch marks.#9 Nails, Hands, and Feet Protectant
Fingernails and toenails can get dry and brittle. Hands and feet can become cracked and develop hard skin patches. Most of this is due to dry skin.
Argan oil has to soften properties that keep these parts of the body soft and supple, plus it adds health and vitality to your nails.
Massage a few drops onto cuticles, hands, and feet every evening, as Moroccan women did in ancient times and continue t do during their beauty regimen.#10 Lip Protectant
In cold or dry weather it’s easy for lips to become chapped, sore, dry, and cracked. Argan oil is rich in Vitamin E, oleic acid, and linoleic acid. Linoleic and oleic acids are fatty acids that can aid in the prevention of inflammation. Rub a couple of drops of argan oil on dry, cracked lips. Wipe off the excess oil.#11 Hair Treatment
Argan oil’s moisturizing properties are fantastic for dry scalp relief and hair health. Tocopherol (Vitamin E) is the beneficial ingredient in the oil that aids in hydration of the scalp and hair. Antioxidants boost cell growth to help improve your hair’s overall health.
Some even claim that the oil helps to grow new hair. Massaging a bit of argan oil into the scalp helps control dandruff by keeping sebum under control. The oil can also be applied directly to hair strands to control frizz and add a shiny softness.#12 Cholesterol Aid
Bad cholesterol levels can be lowered with the use of culinary-grade argan oil when it’s substituted for less healthy oils in the kitchen. The plant sterols in argan oil, namely schottenol and spinasterol, stop the intestinal tract from absorbing bad cholesterol.
Argan oil is also extremely rich in omega fatty acids that help regulate good cholesterol. Studies have shown that when these fatty acids are combined with plant sterols, as they are in argan oil, they are doubly as effective as fish oils.
#13 Arthritis Pain Reliever
The pain and inflammation associated with arthritis and rheumatism can be aided with an argan oil massage.
There are flavonoids in argan oil that are strong anti-inflammatory agents, helpful in the relief of pain and swelling that accompany arthritis.
The high linoleic content in argan oil helps rheumatologic conditions by increasing the production of prostaglandins.#14 Head Lice Soother
Lice are parasites that live on your scalp, bite the skin, and cause extreme itchiness. Although you need an over-the-counter or prescription product that specifically kills lice to get rid of the pests, using argan oil will help with your symptoms.
The oil will soothe the irritation from the bites, including helping to heal any scratches you’ve caused from the itching, which can lead to infections. The chemicals in head lice shampoos can damage your hair, so the argan oil will also aid in keeping your mane smooth and manageable.#15 Anti-Cancer Effects
The dietary intake of food-grade argan oil has been shown to have possible cancer-preventing effects. Using virgin argan oil can slow the growth or prevent the formation of cancer cells, especially of human prostate cancer cells. Preliminary studies show that the micronutrients in argan oil, polyphenols, and sterols, aid in cancer prevention.
Argan Oil homemade recipes
1. Argan Oil Silky Hair Serum
If your hair suffers from flyaway strands, frizz, split ends and is generally dry and lifeless, you might get an oil treatment at your favorite hair salon. But those can be expensive and time-consuming.
You also don’t always know what is in the ingredients of what is going on your hair and scalp. It’s much more economical and healthy to know you are using Moroccan argan oil with all of its nourishing healthy benefits to smooth and condition your hair yourself. This recipe for a hair serum is simple to prepare and will last for quite a few applications.
- 1 ounce of pure, organic argan oil
- 2 drops of ylang-ylang oil
- 2 drops of rosemary oil
- 2 drops of cedarwood oil
- Use an amber-colored 1-ounce bottle with a dropper. Fill it with the Argan oil. Add the drops of ylang-ylang, rosemary, and cedarwood oils. Shake the bottle well.
- Place about 4 drops of the mixture onto the palm of your hand and rub your hands together. Run your hands through your hair, placing the majority of the serum onto the ends of hair to combat dryness.
- Rub any excess that remains on your hands onto the crown of your head where you may have flyaway strands. Do not place too much on the top of your scalp, as you don’t want to create a greasy look to hair. Keep bottle stored in a cool, dry spot.
2. Dry Skin Moisturizer
The Vitamin E and various unsaturated fatty acids in argan oil make it the perfect vehicle for moisturizing your skin. You can apply it directly onto your skin for a quick hydrating boost or you can create your own dry skin treatment that incorporates other nourishing essentials for the ultimate dry skin body butter. This moisturizer is good for any skin type.Ingredients:
- 2 ounces of argan oil
- 15 drops of frankincense oil
- 10 drops of lavender oil
- 5-10 drops of carrot seed oil*
- Add the multiple drops of the three different oils to the 2-ounce bottle of argan oil.
- Use approximately 3-6 drops (or 1-2 pumps) of this mixture to apply to your face both morning and night, after cleansing the skin. Keep the bottle stored in a cool, dry place.
The carrot seed oil is an optional ingredient. This essential oil is useful if you will be spending time out in the sun, as it is a natural sun protectant for the skin.
3. Natural Lice Repellent
Argan oil helps keep lice from attacking the scalp and back of the neck. The oil, especially when blended with other ingredients, can also help soothe the scratching and itching associated with lice once they’ve invaded your scalp, but it’s even better to avoid these nasty critters from taking hold in the first place.
Head lice are a common issue, especially for groups of children in schools and gyms. Try this recipe if lice are present to remove them and prevent further infestations from occurring.
- Approximately 1.5 ounces of argan oil
- 15 drops of bergamot oil
- 15 drops of lavender oil
- 15 drops of geranium oil
- 15 drops of eucalyptus oil
- Mix the bergamot, lavender, geranium, and eucalyptus oils into the bottle of argan oil.
- Shake the bottle well.
- Massage the blend into the scalp and throughout the hair.
- Cover the head with a shower cap and leave on overnight.
- In the morning, wash hair with a mild shampoo.
- Comb through hair with a fine tooth comb to remove lice and any nits.
- Three or four of these treatments may be necessary, done every other day, to get rid of the eggs.
For a nice fragrance, add a bit of lavender oil to your final hair rinse after shampooing.
4. Acne Treatment
Pimples can crop up at any age and on just about any skin type. They can be painful at times and can mar your appearance, especially when acne appears on the face. An acne spot treatment to treat pimples and blemishes that pop up can soothe the skin and promote healing without leaving a greasy residue or over-drying the skin.
The rich antioxidants in argan oil found in its Vitamin E component reduce inflammation, while its linoleic acid helps prevent clogged pores that cause acne.
- 10 drops of argan oil
- 3 drops of lavender oil
- 3 drops of tea tree oil
- 3 drops of lemongrass oil
- 3 drops of rosemary oil
- Use a small, amber-colored glass bottle that has a tight cap. Combine all of the oils in the bottle and shake to mix well.
- Use a dropper to apply 1-2 drops of the treatment directly onto acne spots before retiring for the night.
- Keep stored in a cool, dark place.
5. Anti-Aging Facial Serum
The antioxidants in argan oil work to scavenge free radicals that cause wrinkles, lines, and other undesirable effects that are associated with skin aging. This natural oil can help reduce fine lines, increase skin elasticity, and protect the effects of UV exposure on skin that leads to premature wrinkling.
Try using this simple facial serum that is easy to put together and targets fine lines, wrinkles, enlarged pores, and hyperpigmentation. You can customize and tweak the essential oils you use along with the argan oil to suit your skin’s needs. This serum should provide you with about six months of anti-aging serum
- 2-2.5 ounces of organic argan oil
- 1-1.5 ounces of rosehip oil
- 1 teaspoon of lavender oil
- Use a 4-ounce, amber colored bottle to mix and store ingredients. Preferably use a bottle with a pump. Combine all of the oils into the bottle and shake to blend well.
- Apply to cleansed face in the morning and at night. Moisten the face with slightly wet hands. Shake the serum bottle and place 5-7 pumps of the oil onto your hand and rub hands together. Rub both hands over your face. A pre-dampened face helps lock in moisture.
6. Cholesterol-Fighting Amlou Spread
Culinary-grade, edible argan oil is flavorful and safe to eat. It’s great for cooking with and as a nutritional supplement. It has a nutty flavor that adds richness to salad dressings, sauces, and some foods fried over medium, not high, heat.
Food-grade argan oil is often used for its health benefits as it has been shown to lower cholesterol levels that are bad for your system, namely LDL levels.
Many people, especially in Morocco, love to dip their bread into the oil and eat it in that way. Try making this delicious Moroccan dip called Amlou that you can spread onto thick slices of bread for a healthy treat.
- 6 ounces (1.5 cups)) of almonds
- ¾ cup of culinary argan oil
- 3-4 tablespoons of warmed honey
- 2 tablespoons of sugar
- 1/8 teaspoon of salt
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
- Place the almonds on a baking sheet and toast in the oven for about 10 minutes, until lightly browned. After letting the almonds cool, grind the musing a food processor until they resemble a powdery paste. Slowly stir the argan oil in with the almond paste and blend together.
- Add the honey, sugar, and salt and mix well. Serve with bread.
- Keep this spread covered tightly in a jar in a cool, dark place, where it will keep for about 2 months. Stir before serving.
7. Argan Oil Nail Treatment
Your nail’s skin and cuticles can become dry and discolored. Chipped, hardened nails are unhealthy and not pleasant to look at. Argan oil can improve your nails’ health much as it is excellent for hair health.
The oil provides the extra moisture your nails and cuticles needs, especially if your nails are brittle and crack easily. Argan oil treatment can also soften and help prevent calluses from forming around your nails, especially helpful for your feet and toes.
- 1 egg yolk
- ½ tablespoon of honey
- 1 tablespoon of argan oil
- 2-3 drops of lavender oil
- Approximately ¼ cup of milk for soaking
- Beat the egg yolk well using a fork or spoon.
- Add the honey, milk, and ½ tablespoon of the argan oil to the egg yolk mix well. Add the lavender oil and blend.
- Soak your nails in this mixture for 15 minutes.
- Rinse off the treatment and wipe nails with a clean cloth. Let nails air dry for about 10 seconds.
- Now apply the remaining ½ tablespoon of argan oil to your nails and cuticles.
*Note: The argan oil adds powerful moisture and Vitamin E for stronger, smoother nails while the other ingredients provide protein, calcium, and softening agents for stronger, less brittle nails.
8. Natural Lip Balm
Dry, chapped lips are irritating. Argan oil is a wonderful moisturizing agent that is natural and can be used to treat lips instead of using traditional lip balms. It’s non-toxic, but only culinary-grade argan oil is actually edible, so this is not a balm for ingesting. It’s absorbed into the skin quickly, so there’s no glossy shine, and a little bit goes a long way, with any excess useful as a facial moisturizer.
- 2 teaspoons of organic argan oil
- 4 teaspoons of a carrier oil (jojoba, coconut, sweet almond oil, etc.)
- 2 tablespoons of beeswax
- 2 tablespoons of shea butter or cocoa butter
- 2-3 drops of an essential oil you like, such as peppermint, lemon, orange, etc.
- 12 new, empty lip balm tubes
- Using a double boiler pan, heat the shea or cocoa butter together with the beeswax over a low heat to melt.
- Next add the argan oil, carrier oil, and essential oil of choice and immediately turn off the heat.
- Remove the pan from the stove and transfer the mixture to lip balm containers. Let set.
- This recipe should fill about 8-12 lip balm containers. Once the balm containers are set and dry, they are ready to be used on lips as needed.
9. Makeup Remover Towelettes
Argan oil is very gentle on the skin, yet it’s an effective makeup remover and cleanser that has anti-aging and skin moisturizing benefits. Make your own makeup removal pads using gentle, effective essential oils and a water-soluble cleanser to cleanse daily grime and cosmetics without stinging your eyes or irritating your skin.
- 1 roll of a quality brand, thick but soft, paper towel
- 4 cups of warm water
- 1 tablespoon of tea tree oil
- 2 tablespoons of argan oil
- 2 tablespoons of a gentle cleanser, such as a baby shampoo that’s tear-free
- 1 airtight container deep enough to hold half a roll of paper towels
- Using a sharp, non-serrated knife, cut the roll of paper towels in half in order to have smaller-sized pieces for making the towelettes. Place the half roll of paper towels in the container.
- Blend together in a separate container the water, tea tree oil, argan oil, and cleanser. Pour this mixture over the paper towels.
- Place the airtight lid on the paper towel container and turn over the container a few times to ensure the towels become saturated with the oil or cleanser mixture.
- Open the container and discard the cardboard core from the paper towels, which should easily slide off.
- Now pull the towelettes from the center of the container, much as you in a store-bought wipe tube. Each towel should tear at their perforation.
The tea tree oil keeps the towels from accumulating mold from the tap water. If you opt to omit the tea tree oil, use distilled water to discourage mold. Also, Tea tree oil helps with acne breakouts!
You can also use this recipe as an effective eye makeup remover without the paper towels. Instead, make the recipe in the airtight container. Then dip store-bought cotton pads that are used to apply makeup to the oil blend. Wipe over eyelids and makeup is cleansed, as the skin is rejuvenated.