ARGAN OIL Argania spinosa
An exotic oil derived from the nuts of a tree native only to a small area in the south western desert of Morocco, where it has been utilized for centuries. The tree plays such an important role in the local ecosystem and culture that it has been elected onto the UNESCO world heritage list. The traditional process of extraction is very cumbersome and time consuming, even involving the digestive system of the local goats who graze on these trees. Modern mechanical presses have made the process much easier and more efficient. Today the harvest and processing of the nuts are largely managed by a Moroccan women's cooperative. The survival of these trees is their livelihood and they have done much to protect the last stands against the encroaching farmers. The oil is rich in oleic and linoleic acids as well as vitamin E. It is particularly beneficial for aged and chapped skin.
In southern Morocco the Argan tree is revered as a tree of life.
Vegetable oils and butters are derived from seeds and nuts or very oily vegetables like olives or avocadoes. Just as such nuts and vegetables are healthy and nutritious for the body when included in the diet they also nourish and help to maintain healthy skin, nails and hair when used in cosmetic preparations. Each type of oil has its own specific characteristics, feel and consistency. Some are quite drying, while others are rich and thick. Some have a chemical structure that is very similar to the skin's sebum and are thus particularly healing. Some oils are particularly rich in unsaturated essential fatty acids (also known as EFAs, such as oleic or linoleic fatty acids) and vitamin E and other fat soluble vitamins, which are essential to our health and well-being. Such oils are considered vitalizing and rejuvenating and are thus particularly suitable for tired and worn skin.