Let me introduce to you the argan tree and the production process which gives that luxurious (and quite expensive I might add) argan oil for hair care.
What is Argan Oil for hair, where it comes from & how it is produced?
Either you have used argan oil for hair growth or not, these questions may have crossed your mind, as they’ve crossed mine.
I know that your time is precious. That’s why I have tried to put together all the essential things you need to know about the precious argan tree and its oil for hair, in simple words. I want to share with you interesting information that won’t sit heavy on your stomach (if it does, please let me know). Enjoy!
How Argan Oil got its name?
Well, you probably have experienced the pleasure of using argan oil on your lovely hair, even if it was just an ingredient among others in your hair product and you haven’t noticed it. The scientific name of the oil is Argania Spinosa Kernel Oil, and this is how is usually written on the back of several hair products.
So, how argan oil got its name?
The tree most likely originated in Argana, a small rural village north-east of the Moroccan city of Agadir. Argan is the name of the tree in Shilha, the Berber language. The Berbers are an ethnic group indigenous to North Africa who most of them now live in Morocco.
So, what is Argan Oil?
Argan oil has many great beauty uses but here we care (madly, truly, deeply) for what it does on our gorgeous hair. Just consider the fact that Moroccan women use it in their beauty rituals since antiquity! And now that exotic secret is shared with us all! What a delight!
We can use this oil for hair as a carrier oil but I wouldn’t recommend mixing it with other carrier oils like the super famous sweet almond oil, jojoba oil or coconut oil for hair.
Why I don’t recommend mixing it with other carrier oils?
Basically for 4 reasons:
- its price is high, in fact it’s one of the most expensive oils for hair but it’s worth every penny.
- it is quite rare due to the time-consuming, intensive and arduous manual labor it takes to produce it.
- it is highly concentrated carrying powerful components, so you only need a small amount of argan oil .
- it has many benefits as it is for all hair types.
Why mixing it with other oils, since it has superb properties and can be used for repairing and healing most hair conditions with just a few drops?
I don’t say it can’t be done, but it’s crazy! As a matter of fact you should be very careful when you search for pure argan oil. It’s very important to find a trustworthy provider because sometimes it’s mixed with olive oil. Of course, olive oil has great uses for your hair, but it shouldn’t be mixed with argan oil and sold as pure because its consistency will be changed (for profit reasons obviously, what else?). So watch out my darling!
On the other hand, if you want you can mix argan oil with essential oils to dilute them and to soften that earthy scent of the argan oil.
And tell me, where do Argan Trees grow?
Argan tree is found almost exclusively in the south-west of Morocco and it’s among the endangered species.
Morocco’s argan forest has 20 million trees and having environmental importance and economic value to the region, in 1998 was declared by UNESCO as a biosphere reserve. That’s why the agricultural methods used are sustainable and protected by fair trade agreements.
It is known as the “Tree of Life” to the Berbers due to its many health benefits as a source of nutrition and for its healing powers.
It grows in semi-desert soil which due to its deep roots that reach water survives dry seasons. It starts to give its first fruits after 5 years and it reaches maximum production after 60 years. The tree lives 200 years or sometimes even more than that.
DID YOU KNOW THAT?
It is believed that argan tree is a pre-historic surviving species of the Tertiary Period, lasting from approximately 66 million to 2.6 million years ago.
We can definitely say, that tree has its past!
This evergreen thorny tree has a twisted and gnarled trunk and its average height is approximately 10 meters. The argan tree bears small oval leaves and flowers with greenish or white petals which appear in late Spring. These are followed by the argan fruit. The fruit needs over a year to mature, so the ripening takes place in June to July of the following year.
The fruit’s size is like a large olive and can be found in three shapes, round, oval, or conical. It has a thick peel that covers the pulp which surrounds the hard-shelled nut. That nut contains usually one, but occasionally two or three kernels that deliver the precious, rare and luxurious argan oil.
Did you know that?
Goats love to climb the prickly argan trees to eat the fruit. In the past, the Berbers used to gather the nuts from the goat’s droppings to make argan oil. But (thankfully) no more, since the oil produced that way held a bad odor from the goat’s intestine degrading the oil’s quality. Goats also damage Argan trees as they climb them, so now in many cases guards are appointed to protect their trees!
Don’t keep me hanging, how is Argan Oil produced?
Argan production is a cottage industry, managed mainly by women.
Argan oil extraction is a difficult and a time consuming process.
The 8 steps othe production are:
- harvesting and gathering the fruit
- drying the fruit in the sun
- removing the fruit pulp
- gathering the nuts
- cracking the nuts to get the kernels
- grinding the kernels
- kneading and pressing the kernels
- extracting the argan oil manually or mechanically.
The Argan fruits are harvested in July when turn from green to golden-yellow and fall to the ground. Then the fruits are exposed to the sun, usually for a week, to dry. When the pulp covering the fruit turns dark brown and dry, it’s ready to remove it.
Berber women then crack the hard nut shells by hand, using a stone. Attempts have been made to mechanize that process but they were unsuccessful.
DID YOU KNOW THAT?
It takes 30kg of fruits, which give 2 to 3kg of kernels,
and 20 hours to produce just 1 liter of argan oil.
1 argan tree yields only 1 to 2 liters of argan oil per year!
One to three kernels, which look like almonds, are taken from each argan nut and are ground, either manually in a traditional stone mill or with an electric oil press made of stainless steel, to make a brown-colored mash. That paste when kneaded and squeezed by hand, is mixed with water to extract the oil. But for cosmetic use, the electric press is the best way to produce pure, unrefined argan oil, provided that the proper cold-press method is used.
To be more specific, the semi-mechanical production requires no additional use of water which is definitely needed when it’s done by hands. But adding water degrades the potency of the components and therefore makes the argan oil for hair more vulnerable to oxidation and shortens the shelf-life from about 2 years to only 3 months!
Did you know that?
There are two varieties of Argan Oil, one for culinary purposes and one for cosmetic use. The only difference lays in the kernels. If it’s used in cuisine, the kernels are roasted before grinding. That changes the scent and flavor making the oil more nutty and less concentrated. The unroasted kernels produce less oil but more concentrated, which is just what our hair needs.
No wonder why culinary argan oil is less expensive than cosmetic!
There are so many famous and effective carrier oils for hair growth like coconut oil, olive oil, avocado oil, sweet almond oil, castor oil for hair but argan oil combines so many benefits that make it a 5-star oil on the list of oils and natural hair products.
So use pure, organic, unrefined argan oil which is the best for the hair.
DID YOU KNOW THAT?
Once the argan oil is extracted, the remaining protein-rich paste is often used as feed for the livestock. Also the pulp remains makes excellent cattle feed and the nut shells are used as firewood for cooking.
Yep, in the villages nothing goes to waste!
LITTLE INFO ABOUT ARGAN OIL
|Botanical Name:||Argania Spinosa|
|Part of the Plant used:||Kernels|
CHARACTERISTICS OF PURE ARGAN OIL FOR HAIR TO LOOK FOR
|Extraction Method:||Cold Pressed|
|Aroma:||Nutty, earthy scent that is quite characteristic of this oil when it is raw and unrefined|
|Viscosity & Absorption:||Light and easily absorbed|
|Contains:||Vitamin E (Tocopherols), Phenols, Carotenes, Squalene & Fatty Acids: Palmitic, Stearic, Omega 9 (Oleic), Omega 3 (Linoleic)|
IS ARGAN OIL FOR YOUR HAIR?
|Hair types and Conditions:||All hair types, especially for damaged, dry, coarse, unmanageable, frizzy, brittle hair and split ends. Moreover, for scalp conditions like eczema, dandruff, loss, psoriasis, and itchy dry or oily scalp|
Have you used argan oil ? Are you a fan of this natural hair product or it’s not your cup of tea?
To You With Love.