review: argan oil

(now that I’ve finally got round to putting this up on MUA…)

OILS I TESTED (samples only–not being a rich person!):

  • Argan Oil and More
  • Eden Allure
  • Garden of Wisdom
  • John Masters Organics
  • Josie Maran
  • Kae
  • Kahina
  • Melvita
  • Mountain Rose Herbs
  • New Roots Herbal

OIL I ENDED UP BUYING AND WOULD REBUY:
Mountain Rose Herbs: partly as I like the company and their general ethics, and buy other oils from them anyway
New Roots Herbal: decent price, readily available in real-life stores here, & buying Canadian.
MRH (Oregon) is actually closer, geographically (NRH are based in Québec).

gnarly knobbly wise old tree! goats galore!!

[Tightened-up version of my old review and update on this here blog, from back in August…]

Yes, it’s fashionable and faddy. It’s an oil. It’ll moisturise. As with all oils, and anything else, YMMV.

It’s a lightweight oil, a light yellow-gold colour with a slight earthy smell. Similar viscosity, texture, fluidity, feel to oils like sunflower or mineral; not as light or dry as grapeseed, nor as heavy as almond, let alone olive. Features good (in human skin terms) balance of fatty acids and high doses of antioxidants. I decanted mine into amber glass bottles with plastic pump-tops: more practical than droppers/rubber squeezy droppers; while not completely sealed, they’re airtight, vs. removing the top every time you use an oil. Some oils are sold in pump-bottles like those: Argan Oil Direct, Watts, and Melvita, for example.

QUICK PROS
Does the job of moisturising, without irritation or clogging (YMMV). Good on hair. No clogging or irritation.

QUICK CONS
Careful on contents (oil vs. oil blend) and brand: there are some serious rip-off merchants out there. List of sample prices at end of review. I tested out some cheap ones and some expensive ones (will copy-paste this review over there). Aside from slight differences in immediate smell–which fade rapidly–the results on skin and hair have been the same. Testing period: nearly 4 months (mid-July to early November).

USE ON SKIN:
Moisturises, but other (cheaper) oils work as well. If other oils haven’t worked for you, worth adding to your list of things to try.
1. Used on top of rosehip seed oil, on any drier patches of skin.
2. Tested out on some minor eczema (stress, work, the usual boring causes…): calmed well and moisturised. I used the oil alone, and I also used it under my usual stage 1 eczema stuff (A-Derma): works better than that cream on its own.

USE ON HAIR:
1. Pre-shampoo oil treatment: no difference in results, compared to using other oils. As it’s quite a thin dry oil and I have long fine thick hair, economically unviable. Preferred oils for this: the ones that actually do something useful to hair: avocado, jojoba, olive (coconut works too, but not good on my scalp and neck). But all of these (except jojoba) are too heavy to use on my hair, cos it’s fine; though fine as hair-product ingredients, in moderation. But: argan mixed with olive, jojoba, or avocado works very nicely. Also, cheaper than argan alone.

2. 1-2 drops mixed with conditioner: great: either as a pre-wash (for the condition-wash-condition method, on long hair) or when conditioning or both.

3. A tiny drop just applied to the very ends of towel-dried hair, before usual styling product. From trial and error, I’ve figured out that on this hair anyway that has to be the minutest of teeny droplets; any more and hair greases up. I’d tried this before with other oils, and even the lightest of those that do actually do anything to hair were too heavy and greasebally. Argan or the argan/olive mix has a better finish on my (fine) hair; lighter, finer, more fluid. Bonus: I’ve needed less and less de-frizz stuff afterwards. Now using none: argan alone, or the argan mix, defrizzes. I leave hair to dry naturally, and it’s naturally slightly wavy with some tendencies to frizz. There’s been noticeably less of that. Which means saving money on my expensive anti-frizz stuff.

THINGS TO WATCH OUT FOR
1. Check the ingredient list: difference between “contains 100% pure argan oil” and “100% pure argan oil.”

2. Avoid being ripped off: ALL argan oil is sustainably-produced, organic, hand-crafted, and fair-trade. The trees only grow in a certain area of Morocco, protected by UNESCO biosphere mandate. The nuts are gathered and processed, and the oil produced and sold on, by Moroccan women’s cooperatives (with UNESCO, EU, and SDA support). They have a global monopoly. All the bigger western companies (Moroccanoil, Josie Maran and the like) selling argan oil and argan oil-based products buy their oil from these cooperatives, ℅ the intermediary of a small number of brokers and shippers. Except for a few small companies–mainly Moroccan and French + some US wholesalers–buying straight from the coops, skipping the intermediate stage and buying cheaper as more directly. In all cases: there’s a markup along the way.

SOME PRICES:
In order of price per ounce. All prices are in USD: CAD tend to be higher (ex. JMO, where USD38.00 somehow works out as CAD50.00) + shipping.

  • Majestic Mountain Sage: $8.45/4 oz; $15.60/8 oz, $26.00/16 oz
    = $1.65-2.11 / oz
  • Mountain Rose Herbs: $17.00/4 oz; $29.00/8 oz, $49.00/16 oz
    = $3.06-4.25 / oz
  • Lotioncrafter: $9.20/1 oz (30 ml); $15.95/2 oz, $27.60/4 oz, $47.60/8 oz
    = $5.95-9.20 / oz
  • Argan Oil and More: $9.99/1 oz; $17.99/2 oz, $28.99/4 oz, $54.99/8 oz.
    = $6.87-9.99 / oz
  • Garden of Wisdom: $8.20 1 oz; $60.50/8 oz
    = $7.56-8.20 / oz
  • Argana (Argan Oil Direct): $13.10/35 ml (1.18 oz); $22.93/70 ml, $22.87/85 ml eco-refill, $39.32/140 ml
    = $6.42-11.34 / oz 
  • MUAC (Makeup Artist’s Choice): $10.00/1 oz; $32.00 4.5 oz
    = $7.11-10.00 / oz
  • Watts (c/o Amazon): $13.45 1 oz; $17.45/2 oz, $27.45/4 oz
    = $6.86-13.45 / oz
  • The Posh Peddler (allegedly supplies Josie Maran): $9.95/1 oz, $33.95/4 oz, $48.95/6 oz (3 x 2 oz bottles); also bulk
    = $8.18-9.95 / oz
  • New Roots Herbal (Canada): $13.99/1.7 oz; prices vary, highest seen (2013-04) was $17.99/1.7 oz
    $8.25 / oz
  • Melvita: $25.00/1.7 oz (50 ml)
    = $15.00 / oz
  • Eden Allure: $18.00/1 oz; $30.00/2 oz
    = $15.00-18.00/oz
  • John Masters Organics: $38.00/2 oz (59 ml)
    = $19.00 / oz
  • Argan Sense: $35.00/1.7 oz (50 ml)
    = $21.00 / oz 
  • Kahina: $82.00/100 ml (3.4 oz)
    = $24.60 / oz
  • Kae (used to be called Kaeline): $46.00/50 ml (1.7 oz)
    = $27.60 / oz
  • Josie Maran:  $48.00/1.7 oz
    = $28.80 / oz

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