Moroccan oil is oil extracted from the fruit of the argan tree (Argania spinosa ) natively grown only in an area of 3200 square miles in south-western Morocco. Traditionally, aragan oil is pressed by hand from lightly roasted kernels, but the quality of this product is inconsistent. Aragan oil for cosmetic use can be either cold-pressed or solvent extracted. You should prefer cold pressed oil, because of the preservation of high antioxidant content.
Anti-sebum property of aragan oil has been clinically shown and makes it useful for cleaning oily hair and skin. Essentially, sebum is an oily substance excreted by glands under the skin all over the body, and in the scalp. This substance protects the skin from breakage. But, if too much sebum is excreted, the skin is oily, bacteria and dead cells can accumulate in the hair, and lead to dry scalp. Using Moroccan oil shampoo can help keep hair clean and healthy.
Other traditional claims about aragan oil have not been tested clinically, but include anti-aging, moisturizing and wound healing activities. Additionally, aragan oil is claimed to make hair shiny.
Aragan oil is rich in antioxidants such as vitamin E that may be useful as anti-aging agent.
A single case of severe allergy to aragan oil – smell and ingestion, was reported in the literature. Thus, use caution when using.
Moroccan oil shampoo products and brands
Many aragan oil containing shampoos are organic and are sulfate free and paraben free. Sulfate is an irritant, and may cause itchy of dry scalp if you are sensitive, you can read more about its effect here. Parabens are preservatives, that have been linked to breast cancer. As with many other sulfate free products, you should not expect to see the lathering effect that you normally see with traditional shampoos. You should expect smooth, silky, clean and healthy feeling hair after using a Moroccan oil shampoo, but different products include different ingredients, that may affect the other properties of the product. You may need to try several different product before you find your favoriate one. Brands that specialize in cold pressed Moroccan oil cosmetic products include –
- Agadir International – established in 1964 and produce hair treatment products that contain aragan oil. Their Agadir Argan Oil Daily Moisturizing Shampoo is color safe, and contains mild detergents that do not contain sulfate.
- DermOrganic Laboratories, Inc. – established in 1995, this company provides 100% vegan hair products free of sulfate, gluten, paraben and any artificial preservatives. Aragan oil in their products is cold pressed and maintains all of the antioxidant and natural properties of the oil. DermOrganic Sulfate-Free Conditioning Shampoo contains mild detergents to keep hair clean, radiant, healthy and shiny.
- Moroccanoil products are made with aragan oil, but it is not clear how the oil is extracted from the kernels. Their product line includes Moisture Repair Shampoo, Extra Volume Shampoo, Hydrating Shampoo, Clarifying Shampoo and additional hair treatment products that contain aragan oil.
- Accure Organics – produces hair and skin care products that are “free from animal testing, parabens, sulfates, phthalates, synthetic fragrances, harmful preservatives and artificial colors”. This company does not specialize in Moroccan oil products, but their Triple Moisture Repairing Shampo For Normal to Dry/Damaged/Curly Hair contains organic aragan oil and mild plant-based detergents. This product also contains aragan stem cells, but I’m not sure how that would be beneficial.
Image credit – Daniel*D