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Argan and skincare – a journey from tree to moisturizer

  • 5 min read

Argan oil benefits have been celebrated in the beauty industry over the last couple of decades. Focusing on its homeland, Morocco, argan skin care is a growing industry. We are keen to harness the argan oil benefits for skin, whilst supporting sustainability and an industry which is gaining ground in a developing country. As such, we use the finely ground powder of discarded argan shells in our Moisturizer, which is suitable for all skin types. It’s a key ingredient, and we’d love to share more about it with you.

The origins of argan

Argan trees are native to Morocco. Argan oil is found within the kernels inside each fruit (or nut). In Morocco it started out life as a foodstuff. Now, it is being harvested for cosmetics, skincare and hair care, and is exported around the world.

Extraction of argan oil is quite difficult. First the fleshy fruit needs to be removed from the nut. The nut then needs to be cracked to find the kernels, which is still mostly done by hand by local Berber women. The kernels are then pressed to release oil which is then filtered.

At the moment, there are a lot of positives about the argan oil industry. The tree itself helps to prevent desertification and soil erosion. It provides food and shelter to local communities. The leaves and fruit are used as animal feed. It also supports around 2.2 million people in the major production area, the Arganeraie, predominantly through women’s cooperatives.

Nonetheless, it is vital to support argan oil production where workers are paid a fair wage and to keep an eye on the dangers of such growing industries. We also believe that the kernels of each nut can be used more effectively and sustainably – hence we use the discarded argan shells in our moisturizer. It’s a wonderful example of upcycling within the skincare industry.

Empowering women

Numerous women’s argan oil cooperatives have been established in Morocco over the past decade thus providing employment opportunities for women inhabiting the argan forest area. Female employment in the Moroccan paid workforce is generally lower compared to that of male employment, so this change means lots of women have for the first time started working outside the household.

Argan oil cooperatives have operated as tools of empowerment to women both individually and collectively. Here at UpCircle our team is predominantly female, so we are proud to support an industry which provides one of the few opportunities for paid work for women in rural Morocco.

Argan oil benefits

Primarily, argan oil is known for being rich in vitamin E. Indeed, that’s why we’ve chosen it to be a key ingredient in our moisturizer. Argan oil skin benefits centre on vitamin E which can be nicknamed the repair and rejuvenate vitamin. Moroccan women lovingly use argan oil on their babies – but we love the benefits for all, particularly focusing on argan for skin:

  • Anti-sebum effects: Argan oil helps to regulate sebum production which helps to control oily skin. This is excellent news for acne sufferers as it has moisturizing properties whilst helping to prevent breakouts. 
  • Omega fatty acids: At the same time, argan oil is rich in omega fatty acids which boost collagen production and aid hydration, making it equally ideal for those who suffer with dry skin and eczema.
  • Phenols and linoleic acids: These antioxidants are believed to tackle the free radicals our skin is exposed to which contribute to aging, thus giving argan oil its reputation for helping to prevent the signs of aging. One study found that use of argan oil on the skin of postmenopausal women increased skin elasticity significantly.
  • Healing properties: Argan oil has anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties and other benefits which can help combat the dangerous effects of sunburn. It’s also recommended as a good product for healing stretchmarks and scarring and is safe to use in pregnancy.

The argan oil skin benefits are certainly compelling. We particularly love that it is suitable for all skin types. That’s why we have just one Daily Moisturizer which we can confidently say is suitable for everyone.

Is argan oil vegan?

Yes, argan oil is vegan, as are all the other ingredients which make up UpCircle skincare products. You do need to take care when choosing argan skin care, as not all products are 100% vegan. So whilst argan oils and kernels are, they may be combined with other non-vegan ingredients.

Is argan safe for everyone?

Argan, both its oil and its ground up kernels and shells which contain the oil, is largely suitable for anyone with any skin type. However, if you have a tree nut allergy, you will want to carefully check if you have a reaction first. Most allergy-sufferers don’t react to argan, but it’s always best to be sure.

Is argan oil better than other oils?

Many different natural oils bring us skincare benefits. For example, in our popular and award-winning Organic Face Serum with Coffee Oil we use not only coffee oil, but also rosehip, jojoba and sea buckthorn oils for their various benefits.

However, where argan oil differs is that it is suitable for the vast majority of individuals and skin types. It isn’t just good for those with acne-prone skin, or those with dry skin. It can reliably be used with both. This differs from something like coconut oil which is really only suitable for very dry skin, or castor oil which is often recommended for those with acne.

How can I get argan oil benefits in my skincare?

As a result of argan oil creating a buzz in the haircare and skincare industries, it is often listed on ingredients of products. However, not all products are created equally. Some will include lesser amounts of argan oil, or may be combined with other ingredients, such as parabens, which aren’t great for you.

The best approach is to choose a skincare brand that upholds your wider values. At UpCircle, we are proud of our values which include a natural approach to skincare, sustainability and a vegan commitment. But more importantly, we firmly stand by them and we make sure that our products are made in the UK, upcycling precious by-products from other industries but which is valuable to us because of its properties.

We get the coffee for our Coffee Scrubs from London coffee shops. And the same principle applies with argan. We don’t simply buy argan oil, but instead use the remnants of the industry which would otherwise go to waste – the argan shells. We grind these down into a fine powder which blends beautifully with cocoa butter, aloe vera and blood orange to make a delightfully smooth and hydrating Moisturiser for all skin types.

Our moisturiser means that you can use argan skin care which doesn’t compromise your other values. Simply include it once or twice a day as part of your usual skincare regime.