The people of Northern Africa have been harvesting the fruit of the argan tree for food and medicine for centuries. Often called "liquid gold," the oil produced by argan kernels is beneficial for healthy and great-looking hair, skin, and nails. There's even data from the National Institutes of Health to back up argan’s greatness. Research and data aside, argan addicts can't get enough of the stuff. You can even use culinary-grade argan oil in recipes (just know that it doesn't withstand heat well), salad dressings, and just to dip bread in.
We’ve rounded up a dozen ways to use argan oil for hair, skin, and nails. Check out these benefits before you click "add to cart" or head to the drugstore.
Moroccan oil shampoo (which contains argan oil) has been gracing shower shelves for years. The wildly popular oil makes otherwise dry, brittle hair feel silky smooth. Curly-haired girls are obsessed with this stuff and its spin-offs. For example, argan oil cream helps create soft, bouncy, curls. And it's not just for curls—it works on all different types of hair.
Maybe you blow dry then flat-iron; maybe you air-dry then curl; or maybe you wash and go.… whatever your hair routine is, a few drops of argan oil at the end of your styling routine will add a final dose of shine. A little bit goes a very long way, especially if your hair tends to get greasy.
Use It on Your Skin To…
Patricia Farris, MD, a dermatologist who serves as clinical faculty at Tulane University, explains the specific make-up of argan oil, "It's comprised of fats including linoleic acid, which is important for skin moisturization; it's also an antioxidant, and antioxidants protect your skin from aging."
Argan oil enhances the skin's barrier function, too. "The skin's bricks and mortar are in the epidermis, and that top layer is responsible for barrier function. Maintaining barrier function is important in protecting against skin aging," Farris adds. Here are some more skin benefits:
Out, damned stretch mark! You can paraphrase Shakespeare, or you can rub argan oil on stretch marks. It contains vitamin E and vitamin A, which can really help fade those nasty stretch marks. Use it on skin to help prevent stretch marks from forming in the first place.
Between pedicures, use argan oil on your feet to prolong post-pedi smoothness and battle that dreaded rough heel syndrome.
With all of these benefits, there's a word of warning. Farris cautions people to wade into the argan oil pool carefully: "The main risk is some sort of reaction, contact dermatitis," she says. "Do a spot test, rub it on your neck every night for four to five days before you put it all over your face. I would advise people to look for skincare products that contain pure argan oil; it's a very common ingredient in many products."
This article is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended to be used in the place of advice of your physician or other medical professionals. You should always consult with your doctor or healthcare provider first with any health-related questions. See our full health disclaimer here.