Argan oil has outlasted flash-in-the-pan It Ingredient status – but will it join the ranks of time-tested beauty powerhouses? April Long packs off to Morocco to investigate.
As Katharine L’Heureux, the founder of eco-luxe skin-care brand Kahina Giving Beauty points out, there’s another factor key to argan oil’s ubiquity: Reams of science back up the oil’s effectiveness. Long used as a folk remedy by Berber women to treat wrinkles, scars, and acne, argan extract now has been clinically proven to reduce hyperpigmentation and is said to regulate sebum (argan, improbably, makes oily skin less oily). The pure oil “is extremely rich in vitamin E- containing two to three times the amount in olive oil- and polyphenols, which are powerful antioxidants that neutralize free radicals. Plus it’s anti-inflammatory, highly moisturizing, and easily absorbable,” L’Heureux says. “It’s a single, clean ingredient that can really deliver on anti-aging promises.
For L’Heureux – who led me through a crowded souk to illustrate the olfactive layering of vetiver, rose, and neroli with sandalwood, cumin, and cloves that inspired her to create the new Kahina Giving Beauty Fez Body Balm – the potential social impact of broadening the market for argan oil was a big part of her desire to launch a beauty company. “It intrigued me that I could provide something that people at home wanted while also serving a purpose here in Morocco by giving an economic opportunity to women who have nothing,” she says. …[C]ompanies such as Kahina also donate funds for schools and clean water.” by April Long