Get full access to Outside Learn, our online education hub featuring in-depth nutrition, fitness and adventure courses, and more than 2,000 instructional videos when you sign up for Outside+..
Oil is the new all-over beauty treatment. Derived from nuts, berries, leaves, and herbs sourced from the far corners of the earth, oils are ideal for those times when your hair, skin, and nails crave moisture and more. Treatment oils are packed with essential nutrients to repair, nourish, and protect your hair, skin, and nails. They replenish lost moisture and create a barrier that locks hydration in.
Argan oil has been around for a long time, but has only recently grown a reputation for the magic it works on skin and hair. Made from the kernels of argan trees, which can only be found in Morocco, argan oil is rich in vitamin E and essential fatty acids, which hydrate and repair dry skin and hair.
Only one group of women is allowed to harvest the nuts and make the oil—the Berber women of Morocco. Not only are these women part of a fair trade cooperative, the argan forests are kept alive and protected by an ecosystem reforestation project. In fact, UNESCO has designated the 10,000-square-mile argan-growing region as a biosphere reserve.
High in the Tibetan Himalayas (12,000 feet above sea level) grows a tiny but resilient fruit that resists the harsh weather and altitudes. The sea buckthron berry fortifies itself against the elements by producing powerful nutrients. With more than 190 bioactive compounds, sea buckthorn is an unsurpassed source of omegas 3, 6, and 9, which improve the turnover of skin cells and protect new ones. And it’s a rich source of the elusive omega-7, an essential fatty acid vital to collagen production and healthy skin, hair, and nails.
For centuries, the Europeans have treated their hair with rosemary. Used in shampoos and hair rinses, rosemary oil conditions and prevents frizz. Rubbed into the scalp, it treats dryness, itch, and flakes; and may stimulate hair follicles into producing new hair.
Neem, a tree native to India and Southeast Asia, is known as “the village pharmacy” for its ability to treat a variety of conditions. It is an important herb used in Ayurveda, one of the world’s oldest medical systems, and has been used as a medicinal herb for nearly 5,000 years. Neem oil is rich in antioxidants and essential fatty acids, and has anti-inflammatory, antifungal, antibacterial, and antiviral properties. It’s also used to heal and protect skin, scalp, hair, and nails.