Argan oil is an all-natural product of the argan tree native to Morocco that can be used as a source of healthy fats and, more commonly, as a moisturizing agent.
It’s currently one of the hottest rejuvenating skin, nail, and hair oils, and argan oil found in everything from shampoo to facial moisturizers.
But argan oil can also be used in its pure form, and might even be more effective this way. Our research team has ranked the ten best argan oil products in terms of quality and purity. Read on to see our rankings.
1. Viva Naturals Organic Argan Oil
If you are interested in argan oil for its health properties as well as its cosmetic benefits, Viva Naturals is the way to go.
The company specializes in supplements, so they know how to deliver a certified organic oil that has minimal processing and maximal health benefits.
The pump top makes it easy to blend this argan oil into moisturizers, shampoos, or body scrubs, or to use directly in its undiluted form on your skin or hair. Thanks to its purity and ease of use, Viva Naturals Organic Argan Oil is our top choice.
2. Eve Hansen Argan Oil
Eve Hansen makes some of the top all-natural cosmetic ingredients, and their argan oil is no exception. It’s certified organic and comes in an amber glass container to protect it from light-based oxidation.
Users love it both on its own and combined with other natural rejuvenating products like shea butter or coconut oil.
3. ArtNaturals Argan Oil
ArtNaturals Argan Oil makes what they call a “therapeutic grade” argan oil. It’s designed either for cosmetic use or for health supplemental use—you can consume this without worrying about any impurities that might be toxic or harmful.
The eyedropper lid is less convenient for large-scale cosmetic uses, but makes it easier to estimate dosing if you are taking this as a supplement.
4. VoilaVe Organics Argan Oil
VoilaVe Organics Argan Oil makes a certified organic argan oil that works great for imparting shine and moisture into long hair.
It’s increasingly becoming one of the top products on the market when it comes to argan oils directed specifically at cosmetic uses, and for good reason.
5. US Organic Moroccan Argan Oil
US Organic Moroccan Argan Oil is a pretty solid argan oil that has the added benefit of being certified organic. It’s particularly effective at moisturizing long hair, but it works well on skin too.
6. Pura D’or Organic Argan Oil
Pura D’or Organic Argan Oil comes in a bottle with a pump top, which makes application onto long hair or large swaths of skin a breeze. It has a faint nutty scent, which is a byproduct of its pure and unprocessed form.
7. Kate Blanc Argan Oil
Kate Blanc makes a certified organic argan oil. It comes in a four ounce bottle with an eyedropper lid, making it ideal for treating your face, hair, or nails.
It’s been subject to some processing to remove some of the nutty, oily scent from the oil, so while this makes Kate Blanc Argan Oil more accessible to people who don’t want the scent in their hair, it will also drive away purists who want an argan oil with minimal processing.
8. Orchid & Temple Argan Oil
Orchid & Temple makes an argan oil product that’s organic and has a convenient pump top dispenser on top of an amber glass bottle.
If you’re picky about sourcing, you might not like the fact that this argan oil isn’t clear about where its argan oil is sourced from, but only a small minority of users will care about this.
9. Aria Starr Beauty Argan Oil
Aria Starr Beauty Argan Oil comes in a small, portable one ounce vial with an eyedropper lid. Unlike some other competitors, it is not certified organic, and regular users may go through the small bottle fairly quickly—especially if you have long hair or use it on a large area of skin.
While this might not be the best option for regular use, it’s a good choice for travelling or for the occasional user.
10. One N’ Only Argan Oil Spray
One of the mildly frustrating things about applying argan oil to your hair is that it’s too thick to spray in. One N’ Only has a product that solves this problem, though at the cost of purity.
One N’ Only Argan Oil uses organic solvents to dilute the argan oil enough so it can be sprayed out of a nozzle, and users find it incredibly convenient for easy application.
However, the solvents themselves might dry out your hair, counteracting the benefits of the argan oil. You’ll have to weigh the convenience of the spray top against the potential downsides of the extra solvents included in this product.
Argan oil benefits and side effects
Argan oil is emerging as one of the most coveted oils in cosmetics thanks to its ability to heal skin, increase the shine and strength of hair, and to act as a moisturizer for everything from nails and hair to skin on your face and body.
What’s the science behind this incredible oil? We’ll take a look at some of the research into the applications of argan oil.
Argan oil is an excellent moisturizer. Research into the uses of argan oil for moisturizing the skin have sometimes focused on post-menopausal women, because the hormonal changes that happen during menopause predispose many women to developing dry skin.
One study that used post-menopausal women to study the moisturizing effects of argan oil was published in 2013 in the journal Skin Research Technology (1).
In this study, the authors had the women apply ten drops of argan oil to one of their forearms every night before bed. The women continued this protocol for two months, after which the researchers assessed the women’s transdermal water loss, a measure of how much water is contained in the skin.
The results showed that the women experienced a significant improvement in skin moisture content. Another study published in 2014 by researchers in Morocco confirmed these results, but their study looked at both topical application of argan oil and consumption (2).
Another group of post-menopausal women were assigned to use either argan oil or olive oil on a regular basis. However, some of the women in each group consumed their assigned oil orally, and some of them applied it topically to their skin.
Again, after 60 days, the researchers studied the water content of the women’s skin and found that the argan oil was superior to the olive oil when it came to skin moisture. Interestingly, the women who took argan oil orally also seemed to experience skin moisture benefits.
Argan oil can also be used to moisturize and rejuvenate hair and nails. One of the most popular uses of argan oil is for hair and nails, which (believe it or not) are made out of the same protein.
A 2011 article in the European Journal of Lipid Science and Technology detailed the benefits of argan oil on hair and nails (3).
According to the author, the compounds in argan oil have unique rejuvenating properties for the proteins in hair and nails (as well as skin). For this reason, you’ll find argan oil in some of the best beard oils.
Consuming argan oil orally could help prevent diabetes and lower your cholesterol levels. Argan oil is currently popular thanks to its cosmetic uses, but in Morocco, it is also used as a food.
Taking argan oil orally has been associated with a number of health benefits, as it appears to be a good source of healthy fats. One study, for example, published in the journal Phytotherapy Research in 2011, studied whether argan oil could exert an anti-diabetes effect in an animal model (4).
The study involved administering argan oil or a control oil to a group of rats for seven days, then exposing them to a chemical agent that induces diabetes.
The researchers found that the rats fed argan oil were resistant to the diabetes inducing effects of the chemical, which provides some initial evidence that argan oil could be useful for treating or preventing metabolic disease.
While it’s hard to extend such research up to humans, some experiments in people do attest to other health benefits of consuming argan oil.
One study was published in the Annals of Nutrition & Metabolism in 2005 by a team of researchers in France (5). This study used sixty volunteers who first consumed a controlled amount of butter (to establish a baseline level of blood lipids), then took either 25 grams per day of virgin argan oil, or 25 grams per day of olive oil.
The researchers monitored blood lipid levels and cholesterol in all of the study subjects for the next three weeks.
The results showed that, compared to the group that consumed olive oil, the argan oil group saw a decrease in their cholesterol levels as well as a decrease in their blood lipid levels.
It’s important to emphasize that the control group was consuming a healthy oil too, so it suggests that argan oil could be particularly useful supplement for cardiovascular health, even compared to other healthy oils.
Because it’s naturally derived directly from the kernels of the argan tree, argan oil has a very low potential for any adverse effects.
Like any plant-derived compound, there is some risk of an allergic reaction. A number of case studies in the scientific and medical literature have detailed these.
One such report was published in The European Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, and describes a case of anaphylactic shock precipitated by argan oil (6).
A case series published by doctors at the Dermatology Clinic at the University of Bari in Italy described four different people who developed a skin rash and inflammation after using argan oil on their skin (7).
Such events are rare, and these kind of adverse risks are shared across pretty much any type of plant extract, from well-known allergies to things like peanut or almond butter to more obscure adverse reactions reported in milder foods—one study even describes a case of contact dermatitis to olive oil (8).
For moisturizing and rejuvenating skin, you can apply a small amount of argan oil (just enough to cover the area you’re treating) twice per day.
Pump-style containers can make it quick and easy to dispense a small amount of argan oil and lightly massage it onto your skin.
Hair may need to be treated less often, and treating hair is often easier with an eyedropper style bottle. The amount of argan oil you’ll need to apply is obviously going to depend strongly on how much hair you have.
Make sure you run your hands through your hair several times after applying argan oil, as you want it to be evenly and thinly distributed, otherwise your hair will look oily and uneven. If you are looking for better scalp health, massage a bit of argan oil directly into your scalp, too.
For use as a dietary supplement, argan oil is usually taken in doses of about 25 grams per day in clinical research. You can mix it into a salad, smoothie, or even drink it raw if you prefer.
Argan oil is a great cosmetic product for moisturizing your skin, hair, and nails, buts benefits go far beyond that. Newer research is uncovering benefits linked to diabetes risk, blood lipids, and cholesterol levels.
Though argan oil is currently popular for beauty and cosmetics, it could be an even bigger hit when it comes to health benefits.
Argan oil, like any other plant derived compound, does carry a small risk of an allergic reaction, so before consuming or using it on large areas of your skin, you should make sure that you aren’t going to have an adverse reaction.
Applying a small amount to your skin or hair is the best way to take advantage of its cosmetic benefits, and doses of 25 grams per day are most typical in clinical research on consuming argan oil orally.
Argan oil is one of the few oils that do double duty as a cosmetic agent and a source of healthy fats, so it’s definitely worth a look.
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Author: John Davis