Moroccan Argan Oil – Beauty elixir or marketing scam?

Everything you need to know about the so-called 'wonder' product

Argan Oil – also known as Oil of Morocco or Liquid Gold – is a plant oil produced from the nut kernels of the argan tree which grows in Morocco.

Beloved by Moroccan Berber women for centuries, the oil is used both in cooking – usually drizzled on pasta, couscous or salads for its nutty flavour – and for cosmetic and skincare purposes, thanks to its alleged anti-aging properties.

Moroccan argan oil is rare as the argan tree only grows in a specific area of south western Morocco.

In fact, pure argan oil is regarded as the most expensive oil in the world, Silk Oil of Morocco reports.

What are the benefits of argan oil?

Argan oil is a rich source of Vitamin e, antioxidants, linoleic acids, essential fatty acids and free radical fighting molecules.

Pure argan oil contains hydrating, moisturizing and conditioning properties that improve the quality of hair and skin, leaving both feeling nourished.

Moroccan argan oil is non-greasy and absorbs quickly into the skin for a practical, efficient and effective method of maintaining a radiant, youthful appearance.

It also claims to gradually reduce the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, scars and stretch marks with extended use by restoring elasticity and plumping collagen in the skin over time.

However Glamour Magazine reports the oil will not help with existing wrinkles – it only works to slow down the signs of aging.

Pregnant women often use moroccan argan oil to keep skin supple around the breasts, stomach, bottom and thighs to prevent stretch marks deepening.

In terms of hair care, it’s a good antidote to split ends and is suitable as a leave in conditioner for dry, brittle or dull hair.

Argan oil is known to hydrate hair making it softer, silkier and shinier.

moroccan tea
Traditional mint tea is served in Fez, Morocco (Credit: Getty Images)

Argan oil vs Coconut oil

In 2018, a series of studies found popular DIY moisturizer coconut oil could have more detrimental effects on the skin than previously thought.

Glamour Magazine spoke to British skin consultant to the stars, Dr Yannis Alexandrides, who revealed coconut oil is actually an occlusive moisturizer and a comedogenic – which means it traps excess sebum beneath the skin’s surface, clogging pores and causing breakouts particularly in those with acne-prone or oily skin.

“One of the main causes of acne is excess oil; consequently, rubbing more oil on your skin can lead to clogging of hair follicles, and ultimately, can lead to inflammation and breakouts,” he said.

Experts advise using natural oil alternatives such as hazelnut or grapeseed oil for anyone who struggles with excessively oily skin.

Argan oil, on the other hand, is ideal for oily skin as it falls in the middle of the density spectrum – it’s neither too heavy nor too light – making it suitable for all skin types, Marie Claire notes.

Thanks to its rich content of omega fatty acids, Moroccan argan oil is especially suited to dry skin as it works to soften skin, smooth rough patches and even reduce acne.

According to Argan Oil World, pure argan oil contains more antioxidants than coconut oil, but coconut oil takes the top spot for fighting infection and irritation thanks to is antibacterial properties.

In terms of coconut or argan oil for hair, the website recommends keeping coconut oil as a “once-in-a-while treatment for scalp health” while argan oil can be used much more regularly on the lengths of the hair to promote strength and fight frizz.

Just remember: a little goes a long way with both!

moroccan souk
A souk in Marrakech which sells cosmetics and skincare products like argan oil (Credit: Getty Images)

Is it safe to put on face and skin?

Yes, argan oil is perfectly safe to rub anywhere on the body, neck and face. You can even apply it on your lips to prevent dryness and cracking in cold weather!

How much should you use?

Gently massage a few drops into the skin as you would any toner, lotion or moisturizer.

For hair, incorporate a few drops of argan oil into your blow-drying routine by rubbing a small amount over your palms and combing through the dry ends of the hair.

10. Moroccanoil Moisture Repair Shampoo

According to BeautyCrew, Moroccanoil’s shampoo is a “must-have for healthy hair” suitable for all hair types, especially dry, curly and frizz prone.

The formula intensely repairs and hydrates, and is colour safe, sulphate, phosphate and paraben-free.

Price: A little goes a long way and at $37.95, the price of lustrous locks doesn’t seem out of reach!

Where to buy: Available online from Adore Beauty Australia.

9. Essano Argan Oil Nourishing Shampoo

Made with 93.6 percent natural ingredients, this shampoo is not only enriched with organic argan oil – it also contains macadamia oil, pomegranate, aloe vera and antibacterial plant proteins!

BeautyCrew rated this the best argan oil haircare product, leaving locks soft, silky and shiny.

Price: At just $15.99 it’s cheap, cheerful and easy on your bank account – not to mention the brand doesn’t test on animals! 

It’s a yes from us already.

Where to buy: Shop online at Priceline Australia – it’s on sale for just $9.59 for a limited time only.

8. Melvita Cold Pressed Organic Argan Oil

This cold pressed, Vitamin E enriched argan oil was voted one of Australia’s top three argan oils in 2017 by Argan Oil World Australia.

Melvita oil is suitable for use on hair, body and face, with reviewers praising its quick and effective results and good quality ingredients.

One American reviewer credited Melvita argan oil for adding radiance and glow to her combination oily and dry skin.

Another user said: “I love this beauty oil, I use it twice a day. My skin doesn’t dry out and it feels cared for. I sometimes add a few drops of rosehip oil too!”

Price: $45 with free postage.

Where to buy: Shop on eBay Australia.

7. Babyliss Pro Argan Oil Treatment

This treatment is designed specifically for hair, and promises “exceptional conditioning, lasting shine and stunning smoothness” without leaving sticky residue.

Babyliss Argan Oil boasts a 4.8/5 star rating on My Haircare Australia, with one calling it “my favourite way to control my frizzy ends”.

Reviewers on Product Review Australia also loved the Babyliss treatment with one user leaving a five star rating and declaring the product “left my hair soft, silky and easily detangled”.

However some consumers were unhappy with the thickness of the formula, advising a single drop is enough for most hair types.

Price: Currently on sale for $19.75.

Where to buy: Grab it quick from Oz Hair and Beauty online.

6. John Masters Organics 100% Argan Oil

This nourishing oil for skin and hair is harvested and produced by hand in the argan tree forests of Morocco.

The product comes with multiple five star ratings, with users praising the high quality formula and quick results which are visible with just three weeks of use.

One reviewer said: “My skin has improved so much from the hyperpigmentation and indented scars I got from quite serious acne and my skin is smoother and softer. My hair was also quite dry and frizzy and has improved quite a lot. Not 100% yet but getting there. 5 stars!!!”

Another consumer said the oil works well in hair as a substitute for conditioner.

Price: $71.95 for 59ml.

Where to buy: Shop online from Cosmetics Now Australia.

5. Tata Harper Beautifying Face Oil

This antioxidant face oil promises to brighten and fight free radicals all day long for a radiant, luminous complexion – the only issue is, it doesn’t technically contain any argan oil.

But what it does have is a whole dose of the finest Sacha Inchi Seed oil, Alfalfa, Camellia Oil and Squalane which create an anti-aging barrier for the skin.

The formula is enriched with lashings of Vitamin B and boasts a five star review on Sephora Australia.

One reviewer said: This oil is simply gorgeous on the skin, feels so hydrating and the smell is so fresh. I will continue to buy this as I feel like this really does it for my skin. Worth every cent I spent on this life changing oil, love love love.”

Price: Tata Harper Beautifying Oil comes in at a rather pricey $116, but if reviewers are correct it’s worth it every time.

Where to buy: Available from online from Sephora Australia.

4. The Ordinary 100% Organic Cold-Pressed Moroccan Argan Oil

Cult brand The Ordinary is known for their cheap yet brilliant skincare product.

Their cold-pressed Moroccan argan oil is suitable for skin and hair, made from natural seed oil rich in fatty acids, Vitamin A, Vitamin E and carotenes which work to hydrate and nourish skin, hair, lips and nails providing essential moisture.

The product comes with a 4.5 star rating on Myer, with one consumer saying: “This product is amazing, the price is great and it really works to keep skin moist and supple. It does have a slight odour that reminds me of olives, but that doesnt last long. I put it all over my face and the results show.”

Price: At just $12.90, this cold-pressed argan oil is a serious steal!

Where to buy: The Ordinary is available in store and online from Priceline and Myer Australia.

3. Kiehl’s Smoothing Oil-Infused Leave-In Concentrate

Cult brand Kiehl’s market this Babassu and argan oil infused product for dry or frizzy hair, claiming it “tames frizz and smoothes dry ends with its nourishing treatment”.

Suitable for use on dry or wet hair, between washes and morning or night.

The 75ml bottle comes with a 4.6 star rating on Myer Australia, with one person declaring the formula gave her curly hair “lots of moisture and shine”.

Another reviewer said: “I received a sample a while ago and loved it so much, I now have the full size. I have fine hair, which can we oily on top and dry at the ends. This product is weightless and isn’t traditionally oily. It also makes my hair really shiny and soft. Love love love it!”

Price: At $35, it’s not too heavy on your wallet.

Where to buy: Available to buy from Kiehl’s Australia official website.

2. Shea Moisture 100% Pure Argan Oil

Shea Moisture 100% Pure Argan Oil promises ‘head to toe smoothing’ thanks to its rich content of raw, natural ingredients, essential fatty acids and antioxidants including Vitamin A and Vitamin E.

The ‘liquid gold’ oil is suitable for use on skin and hair, to fight the appearance of fine lines, boost radiance and control frizz.

The brand recommend using the oil along with your favourite hair mask, body lotion or facial moisturizer for maximum results.

Shea’s Pure Argan Oil comes with a five star rating on the brand’s official website, with one reviewer writing: “I’ve tried other oils in my hair and was always disappointed at the heavy, sometimes greasy feel – but this oil absorbs like magic into the hair. A touch goes a long way, on wet or dry hair!”

Price: At just $10.99, Shea’s Pure Argan Oil is a steal – why not give it a try?

Where to buy: Available online from Shea Moisture’s official site.

1. Josie Maran 100 Percent Pure Argan Oil

Josie Maran superfood argan oil comes with a 4.5 star rating on Amazon.

It is clinically proven to “improve skin hydration, smoothness and visibly reduce course lines and wrinkles in just four weeks”.

The brand recommend using the pure oil from head to toe, even on hair and nails.

Price: At $73 for 50ml, it’s not exactly a bargain – but a few drops does a lot of good work! The recommended usage is just two to four drops on your hands, as part of your skincare routine both day and night, for a “healthy balanced glow”.

Where to buy: Josie Maran is available to buy online from Mecca Australia.

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