Friday 17 June 2016

Argan oil - what is it, how to use it and where to buy it?

Hello, jelly beans! As promised, today's post is going to be all about argan oil - its benefits, uses, and tips on how to ensure you buy the best quality stuff (without spending a fortune). During our trip to Morocco (which is where argan oil originates from) I had the pleasure to learn a lot about the 'liquid gold', and witness its production first-hand. We visited an argan oil cooperative in a small village outside of Marrakesh, where local women work to produce the oil. It is a labour-intensive process, which involves smashing and grinding nuts from argan trees to produce a thick paste. The paste feels a little like pizza dough (trust me to make a comparison to pizza!), which is then drained away to extract pure oil. From what we've learned, it takes days of hard manual work to produce just the smallest amount of oil. The argan oil cooperative we visited had its own shop attached to it, with plenty of locally produced argan goodies of all kind - from pure oils to soaps, perfumes and shampoos. Everything was lovely, but also very expensive, so I ended up purchasing a small soap made from argan paste as a souvenir.

Unlike a lot of other oils, argan oil is very lightweight and fast-absorbing, so it won't leave your skin or hair feeling greasy. It won't clog your pores even if you have very oily skin, and it's suitable for people with sensitive skin (I can vouch for it!). Argan oil contains antioxidants, vitamin E and essential fatty acids, and you can use it in lots of different ways. Remember, a little goes a long way with argan oil, so you only ever need to use a few drops at a time!

♥ As a conditioner. After shampooing, take a small amount of argan oil and massage it into your hair, focusing on the ends. Leave it in for about ten to fifteen minutes, then rinse off. You can also add a couple of drops to your regular conditioner, or your favourite hair mask.
♥ As a leave-in conditioner. Argan oil can help to repair damaged hair, and is especially great for split ends. You can apply a small amount on wet hair and comb through it with a round brush.
♥ As a styling product. Apply it the same way as you would with a leave-in conditioner, except on dry hair. Argan oil is great for unruly, frizzy hair; making is soft and glossy (but not greasy!). You can also apply it before using a flat iron or a curler, to protect your hair against heat damage.
♥ On your lips. Argan oil is incredibly fast-absorbing, meaning that you can use it as a lip balm if your lips are dry or chapped, especially during colder months.
♥ As a night moisturiser. Take a small amount of argan oil and massage it into your face for a rich, overnight treatment. You can also add a couple of drops to your regular night moisturiser (this is my preferred way), to give your skin a nourishment boost.
♥ As a toner. This is a little trick I discovered myself when experimenting with argan oil - adding a couple of drops to your regular toner will help to thoroughly cleanse and hydrate the skin.
♥ On your hands and nails. You can apply argan oil on hands and cuticles, preferably as part of your night-time routine. It will help to straighten the nails, and make the skin softer.

Finding pure, quality argan oil outside of Morocco can be difficult. Most oils sold in drugstores aren't pure, but are processed and diluted with water, preservatives and fragrance. There are tons of beauty products out there that claim to contain argan oil, but when you actually look at the ingredients, argan oil is usually very low down the list. This is why I think it's best to purchase pure argan oil, and add it to your cosmetics as needed. The best places to find pure argan oil are online stores, from reputable shops such as Simply Argan (not sponsored!) or Holland & Barrett. There are a few things to look out for when buying argan oil, which will help you determine its quality:

♥ Check the ingredients list. The ingredients should say 100% argan oil (or Argania Spinosa Kernel Oil). Anything extra will just deteriorate the quality of the oil (that includes fragrance or even water).
♥ Check the colour. Pure argan oil should have a golden yellow colour. If your oil is darker, it's likely culinary as opposed to cosmetic, which is an entirely different product.
♥ Check the scent. Contrary to popular belief, pure argan oil is actually almost completely fragrance-free. There is a faint, nutty aroma to it, but it's very light and fades away after application. If your argan oil smells too strong, it could mean that it's turned, or that it's culinary as opposed to cosmetic.
♥ Check the texture. Pure argan oil absorbs quickly, and doesn't leave any greasy residue behind. It should feel smooth and silky, not sticky or watery.

Have you ever used argan oil? What are your favourite argan oil products?

PS.: I've upgraded my blog template! I loved my old one, but grew a little tired of looking at the same layout every single day. I think the new one is more elegant; with a few, girly pink touches (which I think suits Shoes and Glitter quite well!). Hope you like it as much as I do!


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