This summer I had the opportunity to travel to Morocco and spent almost a week in Marrakesh. It’s a beautiful city, a visual feast of color and design. Morocco is unique for many different reasons, one of them being that they are the only producers of argan oil.
In recent years argan oil has received a lot of publicity and for good reason. Argan oil contains a high level of antioxidants, fatty acids (read good fats), and vitamin E, which can contribute to its skin smoothing benefits. It’s claimed argan oil can reduce the appearance of wrinkles, fade dark spots, and even help decrease stretch marks. Studies show these properties to be true of the oil when applied topically and used for consumption. Edible argan oil is made by roasting the kernels before extraction. It has many health benefits, including improving cholesterol, blood sugar levels, as well as decreasing blood pressure. The oil that can be eaten is different than the cosmetic preparation, so don’t eat the argan oil you put on your face!
I am a lover of all things natural, especially when it comes to cosmetic products. Naturally, when I went to Morocco I had to get my hands on some argan oil. This is where my story ends on a sour note. Due to my naiveté and my limited exposure to argan oil, I was sold the edible version which is cheaper than cosmetic argan. After that experience I took it upon myself to learn as much as I could about the real thing.
Thankfully for us natural beauty lovers, there is now a source of good quality argan oil right here in Beijing. Safia is a relatively new company which imports argan oil directly from Morocco (safiaarganoil.com). I tried their product and looked for signs that it was authentic. Here is what I found. Argan oil has a mild nutty smell. The scent of Safia oil is very faint, but it’s there. Check. Some sources claim that true argan oil must be a little cloudy and have sediment at the bottom. That’s not exactly true. If it’s filtered carefully the sediment can be removed. My bottle of Safia has no sediment and is clear. Argan oil is absorbed quickly and doesn’t leave a greasy residue on the skin. Safia is easily absorbed. The color of the oil is a light golden yellow, check. The bottle has a pump that doesn’t allow oxygen to mix with the oil, this helps to maintain its freshness. Unfortunately the bottle is clear so I would suggest keeping it in the dark. Safia is also certified organic, which is great!
I use the oil on my body and face. Application is best when skin is slightly damp, to help seal in moisture. I also use it on my hair to add shine and prevent breakage. It can be used on lips and nails as well. Argan oil may be touted as the cure-all to every skin ailment, but some people seem to react to it, especially on the face. I would suggest trying it on a small part of your body first, especially if you have sensitive skin. If you’re trying it for the first time, go easy and use only a small amount.
Got a question?
Dr. Melissa Rodriguez is a naturopathic
doctor and mother of two, who works at Beijing United Family Hospital. To find out more, check out her website at www.drmelissarodriguez.com
This article originally appeared on page 18 of the November/ December issue of beijingkids magazine. Click here for your free online copy. To find out how you can obtain a hard copy, contact email@example.com.