Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Argan oil

I'm getting a lot of e-mails asking for more information on this oil and the products in which it is contained, the Moroccan oil hair care products. So let's take a look at argan oil!

Argan oil contains 12% palmitic acid (C16), 6% stearic acid (C18), 42% oleic acid (C18:1), and about 36% linoleic acid (C18:2), which makes it very similar to pumpkin or sesame oil. It has about 56 mg per kilogram polyphenols and between 480 and 620 mg/kg tocopherols, with about 69% of that amount found in the form of alpha tocopherol (Vitamin E). This means it has a nice long shelf life, although no one will tell me exactly how long, I'd be comfortable with it having about 9 months to a year.

Where argan oil is very interesting in is in the unsaponifiable portion of the the oil, which makes up about 1% of the oil. It has about 37% carotenes, which accounts for its yellowish colour, 20% triterpenic alcohols, 20% phytosterols, and 5% xantophyls.

The phytosterols are very interesting - schottenol and alpha-spinasterol are not often found in vegetable oils. Schottenol may have some anti-tumour effects and alpha spinasterol has some cell stimulation activity. As with all phytosterols, they are also helpful for reducing inflammation.

It may help suppress sebum production (click here for the study), and it is supposed to protect our skin and strengthen our hair, but I haven't been able to find any studies confirming these last two claims. (And what does "strength hair" or "protect skin" really mean, anyway?)

So what about using it in hair care products? Sure. Seems like a nice oil to me. Any oils will offer a decrease in friction and an increase in lubricity, both of which can prevent damage to our hair. Is there anything special in it specifically for our hair? I don't know. There's simply not enough information out there to make that kind of statement.

The very nice thing about this oil is the way it is sold - by co-operatives of women who are protecting the rare trees and using the money to support the community and provide health care and education to the tribe. (Click here for more information.)

Join me tomorrow for a look at the MoroccanOil products that use argan oil!

9 comments:

Meaue said...

I, myself, am having a love affair with this oil. Do treat yourself to the undeodorized oil as it has a lovely nutty scent (unlike tamanu - pee yew!), at least mine does. I've used it neat on my face and hair. It is very light - and I am thinking of mixing with the esters for a body oil - as it is that light and penetrating (IMO). I am so very anxious to use this in a facial moisturizer. I do recommend giving this oil a try!

Naomi said...

I also love Argan Oil especially in hair serums. I find it non-oily and leaves my hair soft and shiny. But what is its comedogenicy? I read that Argan contains a lot of oleic acid which is highly comedogenic but then I read that Argan oil is non-comedogenic (will not clog pores).

Tola said...

This is a very timely post, I just bought some Argan oil and I can't wait to try it on my hair. Thanks for the info!

Anne-Marie said...

I haven't played much with Argan oil but having read your post, I definitely want to - especially if it smells better than Tamanu Oil! =)

Ann Larson said...

I use argan oil in one of my face serums, and it's terrific! It is absorbed so quickly, and seems to really moisturize the skin.

I'm lucky though - I nip across to Tangier to buy it, so it is about 70% cheaper than buying it from my usual supplier. And more money goes to the grower that way!

BTW, all the lovely stories about coops of women who make the oil? Not exactly true, according to the herborista who sold me the oil! She claims it's a marketing gimmick, but who knows...

Katie H. said...

I would also like to know about argan oil for the face. I was thinking of using it in a facial lotion.

Anonymous said...

About the cooperatives . . . I can't speak as to all cooperatives, but I was in Morocco last month and visited a female-run cooperative in the arganerie region (outside Essaouira). The place was legit and incredibly amazing. We observed the complete operation (except for harvesting) including hulling/cracking the nuts, cold pressing, separating, bottling, and packaging (and toasting, for the cooking oil product). This cooperative did everything for the argan oil in-house, on location. (They also sold lotions, but those were not done on location and did not have ingredient lists, so I did not purchase those.) I was very impressed with the operation and everyone I met. The workers were comprised of local little old ladies who would not have had jobs otherwise, and the management were local women who had gone away to college and returned home. I was happy to support them and even happier to get high-quality argan oil! Thanks Susan for posting the oil composition and qualities.

--Tina

Clive said...

I'm using a relative of the Argan shrub, the Mamey. There is not a lot of information available but so far, I've tried Mamey oil in a skin cream and it is amazingly hydrating and softening.

Jo Shepherd said...

I use this neat for my hair but am thinking of using it in my hair care line with dimethicone to lighten it up for some clients who have oily hair. Has any one tried this combo?