With Argan Oil gaining in popularity, there are a lot of products popping up on the internet and even in stores claiming to be “Pure Argan Oil”. Unfortunately, there are a lot of brands that you want to avoid.
If you’ve read our story, you’ll know that even getting your Argan Oil in Morocco doesn’t guarantee it’s authenticity.
As it is so difficult and time-consuming to produce, a lot of Argan Oil is completely fake, diluted or over-processed. So here are a few ways to decide if a particular brand is worth investing in or not.
1. The Ingredients
The ingredients list should be very short. It should just say 100% Argan Oil or 100% Argania Spinosa Kernel Oil. If it has anything else listed you don’t want it.
2. The bottle
We are wary of Argan Oil sold in clear or plastic bottles. Both can make the oil deteriorate, and most producers of quality Argan Oil wouldn’t put this liquid gold in anything other than a dark coloured glass bottle (amber or cobalt blue, for example). Aluminum or stainless steel can work well, too. Light breaks down the oil’s best properties and keeping it inside something dark is the best way to store Argan Oil.
3. The price
Argan Oil is very difficult to make. It takes hours of manual labour and that does not come free. So there is no such thing as cheap Argan Oil. $10 for 2 ounces/60 ml seems like a bargain, but if it’s just vegetable oil in that bottle? It’s no bargain at all. You might as well just step into your kitchen and use whatever you’ve got in the cupboard.
This is not to say that the most expensive Argan Oil is the best either. You might just be paying for elaborate packaging and extensive marketing.
Sometimes you can find authentic CULINARY Argan Oil at a more economical price. But know that even though this oil will taste amazing, it will not produce the best results on your skin, hair and nails. Raw, cosmetic-grade oil is from unroasted Argan fruits, and it is much more difficult to extract oil from raw materials.
4. The scent
Strong-smelling Argan Oil that smells absolutely awful should obviously be avoided. It most likely has gone rancid. (To ensure freshness, keep the cap or dropper screwed on to your bottle well!)
Also, if the Argan Oil you have is very fragrant and so delicious smelling enough that you want to eat it, it very well could be Argan Oil intended for culinary use. The Argan kernels for this type of oil have been toasted first. And this means great things for your salad, but it won’t give the results you want on your skin and hair.
Argan Oil that smells like absolutely nothing might suspicious, too. It could be entirely fake, or at least diluted beyond olfactory recognition. Or, it could be machine-made and possibly even put through a “deodorization” process. However, with this said, some of the batches we get (particularly in the spring and summer) have a very, very light aroma. Fall and winter seem to bring oil that has a deeper natural scent.
Genuine, raw, cosmetic-grade Argan Oil can smell unique to the uninitiated nose. Most say it smells ‘nutty’. My daughter thinks it smells like popcorn. I used to think it smelled a bit like a rubber band. Now I just think it smells like pure luxury. (But remember, some batches have a lighter scent than others.)
If you do get a bottle that is a bit more aromatic, after a couple of days you become used to the scent and know what results the use of this oil brings, so you savour that raw, green, nutty aroma. Even if you never learn to love that smell, the scent always disappears after a few minutes on your skin, as true Argan Oil absorbs so quickly and beautifully.
However, many brands do put their precious Argan Oil through damaging heating and deodorization processes. If a brand consistently smells like ABSOLUTELY NOTHING, then it is possible that their oil is consistently deodorized. This process strips the oil not only of any smell it might have had, but also of some of its healing, restorative properties.
Sometimes chemical solvents are used to pull the oil from the Argan kernels. And frequently during the refining process the oil is heated to a very high temperature (up to 375-400 degrees F for 30-60 minutes). But as mentioned, light and heat break down the oil’s best properties, so we firmly believe it’s best to leave this precious oil alone in its most natural state.
Again, we stress that the scent of raw, hand-pressed Argan Oil varies from batch to batch. Sometimes the scent is lighter, sometimes it is a quite a bit more aromatic. In our experience, the smell of the oil most definitely varies with the seasons.
5. The texture
Argan Oil should be smooth and silky. Disappearing into your skin. It should not feel slimy, sticky or watery. It most definitely should not sting. Even on uncomfortable skin conditions, Argan Oil should bring a soothing effect, not a painful one.
6. The sediment
Authentic Argan Oil often has a tiny bit of sediment at the bottom of the bottle and it appears a bit “cloudy”. The highly refined or fake oil will not have this sediment and will look very clear. Saadia Organics Argan Oil does have a few traces of sediment in some of our bottles. Don’t be alarmed if you do spy a wee bit. Just let it settle and enjoy knowing that you have the real thing.
Our oil is also cloudy. We do not heat the oil at all, and it is run through a simple strainer, rather than put through a rigourous filtration system. In our opinion, the less the oil is messed with and manipulated, the better.
7. The results
As they say, “the proof is in the pudding”.
Every single day we get people telling us how much they love our product. Telling us they’ve tossed other things they were using for skin care, hair care and baby care. Some even have stopped using prescription medications* as our pure, raw Argan Oil works better on their psoriasis or on their child’s eczema. (Without the cost, potentially questionable ingredients or side effects.)
You might know that a woman named Saadia is our Production Manager over in Morocco. Not one drop of Argan Oil is imported without her stamp of approval. She is highly suspicious of fake, impure and refined Argan Oil. Recently, I took Saadia’s son, (my husband!) to check out a brand of Argan Oil found in one chain of stores. He seems to have inherited her discerning ways.**
So let’s run through our checklist of 7 warnings:
1. The ingredients list just said: 100% Argan Oil. Check.
2. Nice dark amber glass bottle. Check.
3. The price. On the high end. $58 (before tax)
4. The scent. Zero. It smelled like cooking oil. It has obviously been deodorized.
5. The texture. Slimy.
6. No sediment as far as we could see. And the oil was crystal clear, not cloudy.
7. The results. Unsure. After failing tests 4, 5 and 6 we would be unwilling to buy this product to bother testing it.
I hope you found this informative! We just want you to make an informed decision as you attempt to purchase this rather elusive oil only made in a rather elusive country.
*Speak with your doctor before discontinuing use of prescription medications.
** The view expressed in the video is just one by a person who grew up with Argan Oil. It is not the official view of Saadia Organics.