Argan oil is pressed from the nut of the argan tree, which is found almost exclusively in a small desert region in Morocco. The tree's life span is about 150-200 years, but it doesn't start producing fruit until it's at least 30 years old.
Moroccans slather the oil on their skin, hair, nails, and even their babies. They eat it, too-drizzling it over salads and couscous, or using it to make amlou, a tahini-like spread with almonds and honey.
And for good reason. Rich in vitamin E, antioxidants, and essential fatty acids, argan oil can remedy dry skin, psoriasis, eczema, acne, and wrinkles. It soothes brittle or frizzy hair, helps control itchy scalp, and can moisturize flaky nails and rough cuticles.
The real appeal of the oil is that it is lightweight, yet very moisturizing, and it creates a barrier that locks moisture in and dryness out. Unlike many anti-aging products that are too hydrating for oily skin, the fatty acids in argan oil have anti-inflammatory properties that are beneficial for all skin types.
A concentrated formula of 100 percent argan oil is dense, so apply it in small amounts. Use it as a daily facial moisturizer, morning or night. Apply a drop or two and then rub gently until evenly absorbed. You can also use argan oil for a full-body moisturizer, applying right after you get out of your shower. Massage a drop or two into dry cuticles and nails that are prone to cracking and peeling.
For dry hair, emulsify a couple of drops in your palms and apply to the ends of your hair while it is still damp for an all-over treatment. For dry scalp, massage in a few drops of argan oil and give it time to moisturize before you wash your hair.
1. Smooth and protect hair with Giovanni2Chic Ultra-Sleek Leave-In Conditioning & Styling Elixir. Moroccan argan oil and Brazilian phyto-keratin banish frizz and split ends, soften and add shine, and shield your hair from the elements-even styling heat.
2. Replenish moisture from head to toe with Derma e Skin, Hair and Nail Oil. A trifecta of pure plant oils-organic argan, jojoba, and kukui-hydrates and protects skin; boosts hair's shine and tames frizz; and deeply conditions brittle nails and dry cuticles. This light, nutrient-rich oil absorbs easily and is ideal for all skin types.
3. Do your lips need a little love? Eco Lips Renew Rejuvenating Lip Balm, shown here in Orange Spice, revitalizes and smooths with a blend of yummy oils, including free-radical-quenching argan oil and fair trade cocoa butter. This lip treatment is also gluten-free and non-GMO. Put simply, this balm is the bomb.
4. Rich in fatty acids and vitamin E, Naked OrganixArgan Nourishing Therapé Cleansing Bar gently purifies while also moisturizing dry, flaky skin. Made with only certified organic oils, this soap has a thick, velvety lather.
5. Revive dry skin, scalp, hair, and nails with Aura Cacia OrganicRejuvenating Argan Oil. Minimal refinement ensures the quality of argan's natural fatty acids and skin-shielding nutrients, providing maximum antioxidant benefits.
6. Firm and smooth your skin with AubreyCollagen Restorative Moisturizer, enhanced with organic argan oil to help attract and retain moisture. This rich lotion delivers 100 percent pure, soluble collagen and elastin to improve skin's texture and reduce visible signs of aging.
Sherrie Strausfogel is the author of Hawaii's Spa Experience: Rejuvenating Secrets of the Islands. Writing about beauty, spas, health, cuisine, and travel, Strausfogel's work has appeared in more than 100 magazines, newspapers, guidebooks, and websites. She is based in Honolulu.