9 posts tagged "Argan oil"
Despite the rise in popularity of argan oil in haircare and cosmetics around the globe, Morocco, the country from which this “liquid gold” originates, remains steeped in tradition and shrouded in mystery. Much of the female population, particularly in the ancient Berber communities that reside in the arid foothills of the Atlas Mountains, are still modest in their dress—often keeping everything but their hands and faces covered. It was only during a recent excursion to the Sous Valley with The Body Shop (which sources argan oil for its new body-care line from Toudarte, a fair-trade cooperative in the area) that I discovered these incredibly hard-working women have some of the softest skin I’ve ever encountered. Interestingly enough, they also wear the proverbial pants in their respective households.
Harvesting the argan fruit (which women young and old collect from the ground with perfectly aligned, downward-dog-like backs), drying it in the sun, separating the pulp from the seed, cracking it open, and pressing the “almond” (now widely done by machine) to release the precious oil inside is a long-standing tradition. What is relatively new is the notion of doing it outside of the home—a foreign concept in this patriarchal society. Comprised entirely of women, the Toudarte cooperative (part of a larger organization known as Targanine) is revolutionary in that it not only provides the surrounding villages with a source of substantial income (approximately 1,060 dirhams, or $289, per person a month) but also access to education. An on-site school teaches cooperative members how to read, write, and speak Arabic—skills that only men were privy to in the past. “Women are [now] autonomous,” explained commercial director of Targanine Cooperative, Latifa Anaouch, of the impact the project has on the population. “A woman can fulfill her needs and those of her children.”
Gaining independence, however, doesn’t come easy. One would assume by the speed with which these women crack baskets full of argan nuts that splitting one open with a rock to reveal the sliver of seed inside would be a fairly simple task. After joining the ranks for 45 minutes, I managed to set free only four seeds…and ruin my manicure. To put that number in perspective, it requires 2 kilos of cracked almonds to produce just 1 liter of argan oil. The Body Shop placed an order of 6,000 liters for the launch of the line. In short, that’s a lot of nuts. But manual labor and harsh environmental conditions aside, when my nut-cracking partner pulled up her long sleeve and gestured for me to feel her arm, it was insanely smooth—a factor I can only attribute to the fruits of her labor.
When I was later laid out on a marble slab at my hotel’s hammam and scrubbed vigorously until my flesh turned pink, I fully appreciated the final step in the treatment: a full-body massage with The Body Shop’s Radiant Oil. While the glowy, moisturizing effects of the hydrating elixir are certainly worth their weight in gold, discovering firsthand the storied beauty secrets of newly empowered Berber women is, well, priceless.
To re-create the hammam experience at home, try The Body Shop Wild Argan Oil Bubbling Bath, Body Lotion, Radiant Oil for Body & Hair, Rough Scrub, Massage Soap, Body Butter, and Solid Oil, from $6 to $25, available at thebodyshop-usa.com.
Josie Maran has made a career out of slathering organic argan oil all over her face and body—and she has convinced a good many beauty fiend to follow suit. After launching her eponymous empire with pure versions of the Moroccan-born elixir, she branched out into color cosmetics as well, loading everything from illuminizers and tinted moisturizers to cheek-color sticks and lip glosses with the do-it-all salve. For her latest trick, Maran has shifted gears to focus her attention—and the moisturizing, smoothing, and reparative benefits of argan oil—on parched, overworked manes. Argan-based hair products are well-charted territory, of course. But Maran’s offerings have managed to find a niche for themselves regardless. Her first two efforts included a Hair Serum to boost shine and enhance softness as well as a texturizing mist to create hydrated waves, and now comes news of her Argan Hot Oil Self-Heating Hair Treatment. It’s really a no-brainer: Boosted with additional infusions of bergamot oil and soybean oil, the miniature argan ampules come with an advanced self-heating mechanism that allows them to warm up when rubbed together in hands in order to penetrate split ends and porous strands. Used once a week and left in for about three minutes (or longer if you want to increase efficacy), a single tube should start to reverse the past eight weeks of summer fun, which have no doubt left your locks a little worse for wear.
We’re happy to report that our war with seasonal skin disorder is over. Beauty Counter 1, dry unattractive facial issues, 0. We’d like to give a few shout-outs to those products that have helped us claim this victory: Josie Maran Argan Oil, Prescriptives Comfort Cream—we couldn’t have done it without you. But a special thanks goes to Aveda’s new Green Science Perfecting Cleanser. A few weeks ago, we realized that the real culprit in what, at the time, was a losing battle with the encroaching winter weather was the oil-fighting scrub that had kept us acne-free all summer long. In search of something gentler, we found this geranium, grapefruit, and bergamot-scented cleansing milk in our coffers and gave it a go. A recent addition to the brand’s Green Science line, which uses powerful plant actives to target skin aging, the creamy formula is packed with organic nopal cactus to stimulate collagen synthesis and a naturally derived salicylic acid from wintergreen oil that assists in exfoliation. What really won us over, though, were the effects of a healthy dose of fatty-acid rich murumuru butter and a specialized, sugar-based cleansing agent derived from sugar cane, sugar beets, and palm that effectively rid our skin of dirt and grime without stripping it of its natural oils. Even as we washed the latherless film off of our face for the first time, it felt as though we were adding moisture, not taking it away. To the victor go the spoils.
As previously mentioned, we’ve become big argan oil devotees and have lately taken to slathering it on as a nighttime replenishing treatment and a daytime moisturizer (topped off with sunscreen) for hydration and a healthy glow. Josie Maran’s organic version is currently in our rotation, and it apparently has way more uses than the two we listed above. The model-turned-naturopath has created a video series in which she illustrates how to make the most of argan oil’s versatility. First up: a refreshing mist using a few drops of the skin-quenching oil and lavender from your garden—or in our case, from the flower shop. Click above to watch. Oh, and if you’re wondering what nail polish Maran is wearing in those camera close-ups, we asked: Busy Lizzie Impatien, a nontoxic red from Priti Nails. Being eco-chic is a total body commitment.
Happy Earth Day to you and yours! We’re assuming that you’re making an effort to do something eco-conscious today—whether that means using less electricity and hot water, planting a tree, or partaking in one of the many green beauty initiatives we’ve clued you in to over the past month. For our part, we’d like to introduce you to a new skincare brand that celebrates Earth Day, every day. Meet Giving Beauty, a simple organic skincare line created for people seeking products that work and that they can feel good about buying. The idea behind the brand is to source ingredients from women’s cooperatives around the world, creating collections based on key ingredients and donating a portion of all profits to the workers who provide the raw materials. The first range, which launched earlier this month, is called Kahina and is based on 100 percent organic argan oil (so hot right now) sourced from women’s cooperatives in Morocco. The four-piece line includes a facial cleanser boosted with organic willow bark extract and organic honey to cleanse without stripping skin of its natural oils, a serum fortified with organic coffee oil to rejuvenate skin, a facial lotion with organic shea butter for deep moisturization, and a pure argan face oil to condition and add radiance. The packaging is equally planet-friendly, made from recyclable violet glass housed in boxes produced from 100 percent post-consumer waste and made in a wind-powered facility. Go on, peruse the Web site: Just looking counts as an Earth Day contribution as far as we’re concerned. (We know; the idea of a cold shower is a tough pill to swallow.)