Did you know that Argan oil is one of the rarest types of oil available for natural hair? As a natural, you may have seen this oil in the hair section of a shopping mall and flipped at its high price. You may even have wondered, "Why does such a small 50ml bottle of oil cost so much money?"
Argan oil has numerous benefits for natural benefits and can be used in different ways to achieve a healthy, thriving head of hair. If you’re curious about this oil, in this article, I will be sharing everything you need to know about Argan oil, how to use it, and how to spot the fake Argan oil from the original one.
Background of Argan Oil: Where It Comes From and How It Is Extracted
As I have mentioned already, Argan oil is one of the rarest types of oils and this is because of its source. The Argan oil comes from the Argan tree which is rare as it is mainly found in Morocco and only grows in a certain area. One Argan tree can not produce enough oil, for example, to get one liter of Argan oil, you will need a total of 8 trees! The native Moroccans extract Argan oil from the nuts that grow on the Argan tree.
To extract Argan oil, the seeds are dry-pressed with a machine. This process allows Argan oil to last longer in storage (between 12 to 18 months).
Argan oil is also rich in vitamin E, carotenoids, ferulic acid, phytosterols, polyphenols, and 80% unsaturated fatty acids comprising oleic acid, alpha-linolenic acid, palmitic acid, Stearidonic acid, myristic and linoleic acid.
This YouTube video documentary by Business Insider shows you more information about the background of this oil:
Is Argan Oil Good for My Type 4 Natural Hair?
Due to its composition of small molecules, Argan oil helps to provide deep moisture for natural hair. After you have applied a moisturizing cream to your natural hair, you can use Argan oil to lock in the moisture. The oil will produce a protective layer around the moisturized hair, thus keeping your hair hydrated for a longer time. One notable feature about this oil is that it absorbs easily into your natural hair — it won't stay afloat on your hair.
Benefits of Argan Oil for Natural Hair
There are numerous benefits of using Argan oil for natural hair and they include:
1. To grow your hair
Because Argan oil contains vitamin E and natural phenols, it can help to thicken and strengthen your hair follicles thus helping your hair to grow. To achieve hair growth, you can massage Argan oil into your scalp once a week. Another way is to coat your hair strands in it either on damp hair or hair that you might have applied moisturizing cream on.
2. To help with irritated or damaged scalp
Because Argan oil contains anti-inflammatory properties and antioxidants, it can help to protect the scalp from irritation and damages. It can also help to reduce irritation and damage to the scalp. If you have an irritated or damaged scalp, simply massage Argan oil in it and leave overnight. Do this three times a week while monitoring for results. Also, if you have dandruff and/or an itching scalp, Argan oil can help fight off dandruff and soothe the itching. Simply massage a few drops of the oil into your scalp three times weekly.
3. To help with damaged hair
Dyes, chemical ingredients, heat application, among others may hurt your hair over time resulting in damages. These damages may include hair thinning, hair breakage, hair loss, or dull hair. The small molecules present in Argan oil can deeply penetrate your hair follicles and shafts, and help to reverse the damage. To help reverse hair damage with Argan oil, massage a few drops of the oil into your hair three times weekly, preferably at night.
4. To help with hair breakage and hair loss
If your hair is breaking into small strands or pulling out of your hair when you style or comb, it may not grow. Due to its composition of antioxidants and vitamin E, Argan oil can help in strengthening your hair, thus preventing breakage and hair loss. Simply massage a few drops of it into your hair three times weekly.
5. To moisturize your hair
By itself, pure Argan oil is a great moisturizer. If you are battling dry frizzy dull hair, Argan oil can help to moisturize your hair thus restoring its shine. Argan oil contains oleic acid which is powerful in locking moisture in the hair for a long time — until you wash it out.
6. To protect from heat damage
As a natural, you will still have to use heat-styling tools such as curling irons, blow dryers, hair straighteners, etc. However, you need to protect your hair before using these tools so as to avoid hair damage. When you apply Argan oil to your hair before using heat styling tools, it forms a protective layer against heat damage.
How to Use Argan Oil for Natural Hair
Now that you know the benefits of Argan oil for your natural hair, how do you use it?
1. As a moisturizer or sealant
You can use Argan oil either as a moisturizer or a sealant. As a moisturizer, Argan oil will help keep your hair hydrated for a long time — until you wash it off. As a sealant, it will help to lock in the moisturizer in your hair, thus keeping your hair hydrated until you wash it off.
2. To condition your hair
Argan oil contains omega-6 fatty acids, linoleic acid, and vitamins A, C, and E which are properties every good conditioner should have. Using Argan oil on your hair will help it to penetrate your strands, making it easy to detangle, more manageable, and well-moisturized.
3. As a hair mask
If you have damaged hair whether as a result of dyes, chemicals, or heat styling tools, using Argan oil can help restore your hair to a healthy state. To use as a hair mask, coat your hair generously in Argan oil and cover it with your shower cap for 30 minutes. You can do this once a week and make sure you monitor the progress for results.
4. To protect against the sun
For naturals who live in hot areas, you will notice that your hair gets dry quickly and can also get damaged by the sun. When massaged into the hair, the antioxidants in Argan oil helps to protect your hair from the sun's damage.
How to Spot a Fake Argan Oil From a Real One
As I have emphasized in this article, Argan oil is rare because its trees are not available everywhere. Manufacturers of Argan oil have to get this oil from its trees in Morocco and spend a lot of money in extracting and packaging it. Thus, the reason for its high price. And because of this, scamming companies package fake or diluted oil and brand it as Argan, selling it for ridiculous prices. So, how can you spot a fake Argan oil from a real one? Below are some helpful tips:
1. Judge it by its label
Argan oil should have only Argania Spinosa or Argan oil listed on its label. If it contains fragrances, water, or paraffin, then it has been diluted and as such will not be effective on your hair.
2. Avoid those in large bottles
Because Argan oil comes from rare trees, it should only come in small bottles. Argan oil in large bottles has been diluted with other oils or fillers.
3. Sniff and feel
Because it is extracted from nuts, original Argan oil has a nutty natural scent. If it has a pleasant fragrance smell, then it must have been diluted with chemicals. After smelling, you can feel it. Original Argan oil should not feel too watery or too sticky, it should have the right consistency.