Entering the seemingly vast world of skin oils can be a little intimidating. Take it from someone who has tested out a lot—especially in the past three or so years, when it seems a large part of the beauty world’s focus has shifted toward oils and their many benefits. In trying out so many different options, I’ve really experienced how each provides a specific kind of nourishment to the skin and body, whether that’s deep hydration or amplifying the skin’s suppleness; evening out texture or reducing fine lines, etc.
I will say that when it comes to choosing the best oil, not all pack the same kind of punch. And argan oil is certainly one that’s continued to stand out among the rest since I started my skin oil journey. Lauded for its intense moisturizing abilities, quick absorption, and glowy-quality upon application, argan oil certainly deserves a spot in your medicine cabinet. Major added bonus? It’s terrific for traveling with because it really delivers on the hydration front—something that can get out of control when hopping on and off planes, especially in the winter months.
What Is Argan Oil?
Argan oil comes directly from the kernel of the Moroccan argan tree (the kernel is kind of like an almond). A big part of the reason that argan oil performs so well is that it’s rich in both Vitamin E and fatty acids, two essential ingredients that give argan oil those especially redeeming qualities that will make your skin soft, dewy, and very happy. Essential fatty acids are vital for producing the skin’s natural oil barrier and creating healthy cell membranes, while Vitamin E nourishes, protects, and works hard to reduce damages caused by the likes of UV rays (don’t forget to integrate sunscreen into your daily routine, too!). One of the best things about this oil is that it absorbs super quickly, and doesn't leave an icky residue — more on that below.
Adding Argan Oil to Your Skincare Routine
Based on the fact that argan oil is chock full of Vitamin E and those essential fatty acids, it’s easy to see just how beneficial the oil is for your skin. While you don’t need to slather it on day and night, argan oil can be added to your daily moisturizing cream, or you can just use it in lieu of your usual moisturizer. If I feel like I need a rich, deep hydration, especially when it’s cold and/or dry outside, I’ll use quite a few (four to five) drops of argan oil before I go to bed and let my skin just drink it in overnight. If I’m looking for more moderate hydration, I might add a drop or two to a lightweight day cream before I head out the door. A very common misconception is that skin oils will make your skin more oily, especially if you already have oil-prone or combination skin. Wrong! Using an oil (especially a quick-absorbing one like argan) in moderation shouldn’t mess with your skin’s oil balance. Actually, many people shy away from oils thinking it will cause more oil production, but then accidentally strip the skin of its natural oils, causing it to OVER-produce. While everyone’s skin is completely different and may have a different reaction, it’s likely that integrating a little argan oil into your daily skincare routine will only yield dewy, travel-ready skin. But take the time to test out what works best for you, because, of course, all skin reacts to new products differently.
Argan Oil Benefits
The benefits of argan oil certainly don’t stop with skincare. It’s great for your hair, too—it can promote cell growth, ease dandruff, get frizz under control, and provide that rich argan hydration. A few drops of the oil can be added to your regular conditioner and left on in the shower for five minutes or so for a deeply moisturizing hair mask (or you can invest in an argan mask like this one). Additionally, rubbing a few drops into your palms and massaging into the ends of towel-dried hair, especially when it feels dry and brittle, can make a big difference with silkiness, shine, and hydration.
Facial Hair Benefits
If you’re looking to give your beard some special attention, argan oil might just be your best bet. Based on all of its benefits—and how hydrating it is for the hair on your head—it comes as no surprise that argan oil is usually the main ingredient in beard oils, used to style, tame, and hydrate facial hair. Not only does argan oil hydrate the actual beard hair, but it reaches below the hair follicles and moisturizes the facial skin, which helps get rid of dead skin cells, thus promoting faster beard growth.
So, Which to Buy?
There are a lot of brands to choose from. Be sure to look for 100 percent argan oil, and opt for organic — I recommend vegan, Fair Trade, not tested animals — all that good stuff. My tried and true choice is the Kahina Giving Beauty Argan Oil, because it checks all of those boxes, and they fully explain on their website exactly how they extract the oil from argan nuts. This oil is truly magical, and has helped my skin immensely through harsh northeast winters.