Argan oil may have earned its beauty reputation for transforming dry, damaged hair into luscious strands, but its other hidden talent is its ability to nourish your skin and leave it all glowy and smooth. And then some.
What is argan oil?
Argan oil is a plant oil that has many beauty benefits. Argan oil of Morocco has become a popular ingredient in haircare and skin care formulas due to its nourishing yet lightweight properties. But it’s not just dry skin that will love it, it’s great for oily skin, too.
What is argan oil made from?
“Argan oil is a special type of oil that comes from a nut of the argan tree, that exclusively grows in southwest Morocco and has been used for centuries by the Berber people throughout Northern Africa,” says Swisse Expert, Lauren McDowell. “The kernels from the argan tree are squeezed together to extract the rich, amber liquid that is abundant in beneficial nutrients for the skin,” she explains.
Argan oil benefits for skin
We’ve already touched on the perks of adding argan oil to your haircare routine, so let’s focus on argan oil for skin, and all the wonderful things it can do for your complexion. “Argan oil, often referred to as liquid gold, is rich in fatty acids, including linoleic acid, which is known for its anti-inflammatory properties,” notes McDowell. It’s also rich in oleic acid, which McDowell says, “soothes the skin, protecting it and restoring hydration”. Besides its amazing hydrating properties, McDowell notes, “Argan oil is rich in vitamin E - an antioxidant that reduces free radical damage oxidative stress, improving the skin’s overall appearance and strength”.
Josie Maran, whose entire namesake skin care and cosmetics brand is based around the golden elixir, shared all these reasons why she swears by argan oil in an interview with Mecca Cosmetica:
“Argan oil, I believe, is THE best anti-ager on the planet. I always say ‘less is more’; just a few drops, and you can use it as your face moisturiser, your hair moisturiser, your eye treatment, your makeup remover… a lot of makeup is hard to take off but [with argan oil] it just comes off easily, and at the same time you’re treating your skin.”
Is argan oil good for skin that’s acne-prone?
The goldilocks of facial oils, argan oil is not too heavy and not too light, which is why all skin types can benefit from using it, including - make that especially - acne-prone skin. Argan oil is anti-inflammatory, helps balance sebum production so you get fewer breakouts, and it is at the lowest end of the comedogenic scale so it’s unlikely to clog your pores. In addition, vitamin E in argan oil can help fade acne scars by removing damaged skin cells and promoting healthy cell renewal.
A note for sensitive skin types: Watch out for cheap alternatives that don’t contain pure argan oil; they may cause skin irritation.
How to use argan oil
While you’d be forgiven for thinking you should apply argan oil as a serum, you should actually be using it on top of your serum and moisturiser.
Keen to introduce the endless powers of argan oil into your skin care routine? These are our picks for some of the best argan oil skin care products to get you started.
#4 / Kiehl’s Superbly Restorative Argan Dry Oil
An argan oil for face concerns like dryness, dullness and a lack of elasticity, this argan oil is enriched with a combination of skin-loving oils (it also contains olive fruit oil and apricot kernel oil) and will help restore a healthy sheen to skin and protect it from future damage and moisture loss. One reviewer on the Kiehl’s Australia site said, “This stuff is awesome. Can't say enough wonderful things about it. I also use about a drop each night around my eyes. I'm 48......most people think I'm early 30s.”
#3 / Swisse Argan Oil Face Oil
Containing 100 per cent naturally derived ingredients, this pharmacy buy is lightweight yet hydrating and won’t leave you with a greasy residue. It has a 4.8 star rating on Chemist Warehouse, with one customer saying, “I have been using this Argan Oil nightly for 12 months now and the results are excellent! My 61 year old skin looks more like a 40 year old!”, while another said, “My winter face says thanks”.
#2 / The Ordinary 100% Organic Cold-Pressed Moroccan Argan Oil
The price is cheap (yay!) but The Ordinary is known for still delivering on quality. They’ve used a cold-pressed technique to extract this argan oil, which ensures the ingredient’s integrity and optimal benefits. This 100 per cent pure and organic argan oil has multiple uses - you can apply it to your skin, lips, hair and nails. “I love using face oils once every few days and this leaves my skin plump and prevents fine lines,” said one Adore Beauty reviewer; another noted, “It’s a light oil so it doesn’t exacerbate my oiliness and doesn’t clog up my pores”.
#1 / Josie Maran 100% Pure Argan Oil
Up there as the best argan oil for face (and even body and hair) use, Josie Maran’s argan oil has 106 five-star reviews on Mecca’s website and over 5000 five-star reviews on the Sephora US site! One Mecca customer said, “when you wake up, you can LITERALLY feel how much hydrated, plumped and softer your skin is”, while another claimed, “This oil is the star of my skin care regime. I use it every night after applying my other products and I find it to really lock in the moisturiser and eye cream. It hydrates deeply overnight and I wake up with smooth, soft skin.”
Want to know the difference between argan oil vs coconut oil? Read up on all the benefits of coconut oil to see which one’s right for you.
Do you use argan oil on your skin? What’s your favourite argan oil skin care product?
Main image credit: @gisele
Chelsea is BEAUTYcrew’s Contributing Editor. She has a sweet spot for anything that claims to make skin glow and won’t leave the house without a slick of mascara. Chelsea has 10 years of experience as a beauty editor and her words can be found on BEAUTYcrew, Women’s Health, Daily Addict, The Joye and Primped.