The latest superfood for skin and hair? Argan oil, say top dermatologists.
From BBC reports to beauty blogs, 2012 has seen much ado about argan. And rightly so: The Moroccan must-have oil, touted most famously by model Josie Maran as a natural anti-ager, brims with skin- and hair-softening Omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin E.
The argan nut, which only grows in certain parts of Morocco, produces oil that locals have been using for thousands of years to solve everything from eczema to frizz. The oil's Omega-3 helps cells form healthy membranes so they hold on to hydration longer, and the vitamin E thwarts damage from free radicals so your skin can keep collagen healthy. Plus, "it’s great as a hair treatment because it naturally hydrates strands and soothes an itchy scalp," says Joshua Zeichner, MD, the director of cosmetic and clinical research at Mt. Sinai Medical Center in New York City.
Another benefit? As beauty companies stateside catch on to the oil's beauty benefits, more Moroccan women than ever are empowered to work in cooperatives that produce argan to help support their families. Use it straight up, or try one of these argan-spiked options:
Oribe Hair Care Royal Blowout Heat Styling Spray
Spritz this styling staple from mid-strand down before you blowdry. Not only will the argan oil add major silkiness and shine, but the styler has UV-absorbing particles to keep color bright.
The Body Shop Spa Wisdom Morocco Black Olive & Argan Oil Scrub
The combo of ground argan nuts and olive stone exfoliate rough spots while the oil’s omegas protect skin from free radicals in pollution and sun. Another boon: community trade honey moisturizes as you scrub. All you're missing is a hammam. (Available April)
Josie Maran GOGO Natural Volume Argan Mascara
Water-resistant mascara that won’t dry out lashes? Finally. This formula uses argan to help lashes grow healthy, making them thicker over time. And not only are you supporting women pressing the oil, you’re helping a few close to home: For very mascara you buy, Maran donates a dollar to City of Hope’s research, treatment and education on women’s cancers.
Murad Acne Oil-Control Mattifier SPF 15
This AM essential for oily skin has willow bark extract to clear breakouts, acne-friendly zinc oxide to block UV rays and a shot of argan to soften. Major bonus: you can use it under makeup to block shine for up to eight hours.
NUDE Advanced Eye Complex
Sometimes the super-thin skin around your eyes needs a little extra love. This serum gives it in a major way. Use your ring finger to pat it around eyes, and you’ll block free radical damage with argan, erase puffiness with mountain ash and firm skin with milk peptides.
Darphin Age-Defying Lip Balm
Move over, Chapstick. Every time you slick on this light salve, an argan and rosemary oil combo protects lips from aging. Plus, mango butter repairs skin so it holds on to moisture longer, while collagen-boosting peptides add plumpness.
Moroccanoil Extra Volume Shampoo and Conditioner
Supercharge your shower by sudsing up with this argan-fortified duo. The sulfate-free shampoo uses argan oil to add shine, while the conditioner uses it to strengthen fine hair without weighing it down.