On Argan Oil
Argan Oil is a multipurpose wonder that can be used on the face, hair and all over the body and even slathered on food, so it’s perfect for healthy holidays. Wellbeing writers Kate O’Brien & Jane Alexander unravel its benefits.
- What is Argan Oil?
The Berber women of Morocco have used the pressed juice of the argan kernel for centuries to combat the dry desert air and reduce signs of aging. The oil is sourced from the argan tree (argania spinosa) that grows exclusively in the Souss valley of Southwestern Morocco, an area that is now a UNESCO biosphere reserve. Locally it’s known as the ‘Tree of Life’.
- Why is it so good for me?
Find a brand of the highest quality, and it will be overflowing in Vitamin E, essential fatty acids and antioxidants, which together help soften, repair and rejuvenate every skin type. The oil is a wonderfully soothing anti-inflammatory too, thanks to its rare plant sterols (take it internally if you have dodgy joints). Used topically, on the skin, it is light and non greasy, absorbing easily to give the skin a radiant glow.
- How should I use it?
Slather it on your hair, face and body, and beef up the benefits by eating it – it has a warm nutty taste. Drizzle it over pasta, sluice it through your salads or just dunk bread in it. Don’t heat it though – you’ll lose all its health properties (and, like many oils, it degenerates when heated).
You can use it to make your own Amlou too – the heavenly mix of argan, honey and almonds that the Moroccans often use in place of jam for breakfast, or as a dip for bread. It’s really easy: simply grind 300g of roasted almonds (it’s up to you how crunchy or smooth you prefer it – we go for the texture of crunchy peanut butter). Blend in 250ml of argan oil and 125ml of runny honey. Experiment with the ratios to find your own perfect mix.
We’re great believers in the old adage that you shouldn’t put anything on your skin that you wouldn’t eat. Cosmetic companies have cottoned on now and it crops up as an ingredient in all sorts of products, but we stick with the pure stuff.
- So which brands should I choose?