Written by Grove Collaborative

Grove’s guide to argan oil uses & benefits.

Last Updated: August 17, 2021

Dry skin or dull hair? Change your "argh" to argan, as in argan oil, which works wonders on your skin, hair, and overall health. Let's drill down on the basics.

We at Grove are committed to sifting and sorting through the myriad beauty claims out there so that you can reap the benefits of products like argan oil, which, as you'll learn, really can be the liquid gold it's often called.


This article is for informational purposes only. It is not, nor is it intended to be, professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Please consult with a physician or other healthcare professional regarding any medical or health related diagnosis or treatment options.

So what is argan oil?

Argan oil is derived from argan trees native to Morocco. The oil's history dates back centuries, and it still to this day is created primarily through traditional methods by women in North Africa.


How is argan oil made?


  1. Rural workers — primarily women — pick and dry the fruits of the argan tree.
  2. The nut is extracted from the inside of the fruit by hand.
  3. The nut is cracked and several small kernels are removed from it.
  4. The oil is extracted by crushing and grinding the kernels.

Sound tedious? Get this: Creating one liter of argan oil takes these artisans about 16 hours.


Unfortunately, women in this region have historically not been paid fairly, but we're happy to report that that's changing. Read more about improved wages and government protection of argan oil workers here.

What is argan oil used for?

Food

In the area where it's grown, argan oil is eaten similarly to olive oil — it's often used for dipping bread and for cooking.


Though common in tropical countries, argan oil's health benefits as an ingestible are making it more and more popular throughout the rest of the world.

Beauty

Since around 2010, information about the proven benefits of argan oil for skin and hair have spread around the world and wildly increased the oil's demand.


Today, it is an ingredient found in thousands of beauty products.

Browse natural argan oil beauty products at Grove

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The health benefits of argan oil

Argan oil benefits your body, skin and hair. Here are some health benefits from ingesting it:


  • Improves heart health: Science shows that ingestion can lower cholesterol, blood sugar, and blood pressure, thus improving cardiovascular health and diabetes.
  • Decreases cancer cells: Polyphenols in edible argan oil have been shown to help lessen cancer cells (though more research is needed).

Note: These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

GROVE TIP

Edible argan oil vs. cosmetic argan oil

Edible argan oil isn't the same as cosmetic argan oil.


Food-grade argan oil is made from roasted kernels, and cosmetic oil skips this step, so keep them separate.

Skin benefits

  • Softens and protects skin: Argan oil is full of fatty acids, which provide a softening, emollient layer and protective skin barrier.
  • Stops free radicals from penetrating your skin: The oil also contains polyphenols, which are antioxidants that eat up and destroy pollutants, aka free radicals that can damage your skin.
  • Reduces inflammation, hyperpigmentation, and scarring: Similar to olive oil, the presence of vitamin E in argan oil is an anti-inflammatory and helps lighten, brighten, and heal skin, while fighting the effects of aging and the sun.
  • Has anti-aging effects: Whether ingested or applied directly to the skin, this oil helps hydration and skin elasticity, which decreases signs of aging such as wrinkles and dryness.

Hair benefits

We abuse our hair fairly often, but studies show that applying argan oil to hair helps lessen damage and protect it.


It also smoothes hair follicles and keeps hair soft and shiny. So go ahead with your post-breakup platinum, and read more about how to get shiny hair here.

GROVE TIP

Edible argan oil vs. cosmetic argan oil

Learn more about the benefits of argan oil for skin and hair from dermatologist and skincare aficionado, Dr. Dray on YouTube.


Try some argan oil hair products from Grove

Argan oil side effects

Skincare

Although it is a gentle, soothing substance, you should still test it in your skin or hair care routine as there’s always a chance of an allergic reaction or irritation.


Start with just a few drops if you're using a pure oil or serum. Other beauty products will likely have a lower percentage of argan oil, so just be aware when you start using them.

Healthcare

With edible argan oil, typical side effects may include nausea, bloating, gas, or diarrhea, but overall, argan oil is gentle and easy on the system.


Make sure you're ingesting 100% pure food-grade argan oil.

What to look for when buying argan oil

  • Percentage: Make sure you know the ingredients — 100% pure argan oil is the gold standard.
  • Price: It doesn't have to cost a fortune, but argan oil is labor-intensive, so keep that in mind when you're comparison shopping.
  • Packaging: Avoid clear plastic or glass, as these can degrade the oil. It should be stored in brown glass bottles and should be mostly kept in the dark.
  • Properties: It should look more golden than the greenish hue of olive oil and shouldn't be cloudy. It should also have a nutty scent similar to popcorn.
  • Purveyors: Look for ECOCERT — which verifies environmentally aware practices — and fair trade labeling to ensure that workers are justly compensated for the production of the oil.

Argan oil FAQs

What's with the goat poop reference on a bunch of sites about argan oil?

In traditional (and may we say, pretty efficient) methods, goats would climb the argan trees, eat the fruit, and poop out the nuts.


This saved workers a step in production, although one would argue it added a certain aroma. Most sources note that argan oil is made by hand — not by goat butts — these days.


I have oily skin. Should I use argan oil?

Yes! Though it might seem counterintuitive, using this oil can actually reduce your skin's own production of sebum (oil). Read more about oily skincare routines here.

Can I use argan oil every day?

Absolutely! It's light, soothing, and has great health benefits. The key to a good skincare routine is consistency.


Can I cook with argan oil?

On very low heat, yes. Similar to the best olive oils, cold-pressed argan oil is excellent when eaten raw with bread or veggies or in hummus and salads. Just make sure you have 100% pure food-grade oil.


Does argan oil expire?

Yes. Look for expiration dates on your bottle or go by the scent. If it smells rancid, it’s time to toss it. (If only that worked as easily with relationships, are we right?)

Check out more argan oil products at Grove

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