What is the Best Argan Oil?

We’ve said it before, and we will say it again. All brands of Argan Oil are not created equal. It’s sad, but true.

There are three things to look for as you decide on which brand of Argan Oil to spend your money on.

Beautiful Argan pits ready for cracking.

First, it needs to be authentic. If it’s not real Argan Oil, it’s not worth buying. There is a lot of junky stuff available that is trying to pass for Argan Oil. Some of these products contain as little Argan Oil as 2% or less.  Argan Oil is amazing, but if 98% of what’s in the bottle is something else? The Argan Oil’s best properties cannot be enjoyed or benefited from.

But what about brands that say “100% Pure Argan Oil” on the label?  Well, if you see this in Morocco, you can be pretty safe to guess that the oil is fake.  Much of what you can buy in the souq in the medina will be grossly diluted, or perhaps will just be pure sunflower oil instead.  (Sunflower oil is far cheaper than Argan Oil.) It’s not worth the money.

If you are in Morocco visiting an Argan Co-op you probably will be getting pure Argan Oil, but is it ethical?  Is it eco-friendly?  More on those things later.

As for what you can find online and in shops where you live, it will be a mixed bag.  Even if a brand hasn’t diluted their Argan Oil, many of them will have been manufactured by machines and will use chemical solvents to pull the oil out of the kernels of the Argan fruit.  Also, the oil might be deodorized.  That sounds like it might be a good thing if you aren’t a fan of pure, raw Argan Oil’s green, nutty scent!  However, it means heating the oil to 400 degrees for 30-60 minutes.  The nutrients are all but obliterated by that point.  It’s better to tolerate a scent that you don’t love for the few minutes it takes for the oil to sink in.

So with this in mind, how will you know that you are getting the best, most effective and most authentic Argan Oil on the market?

First, do your research.  If they make it hard for you to learn about their brand, perhaps they have something to hide?  If they do make information available, read their stories.  Are they transparent about where they get their oil from?  If they say from “a co-op”, that really isn’t good enough.  There has to be more to it than that.  Do they give information on the particular co-op that they use?  Is it cold-pressed?   Or deodorized?  Is it hand made?  Or machine made?  If it’s machine made, have chemical solvents been used?  Does the company seem intent on getting the best, quality Argan Oil out into the market, or are they just trying to make some fast cash?

At Saadia Organics, we know our oil is authentic.  Saadia and her relatives have been making it for themselves for decades, now they are making it for this company.  We have absolutely nothing to gain by selling fake or impure oil.  You’ll definitely see the difference in the results.  One woman we know ran out of our oil while in the United States and she picked up an expensive, high profile brand of Argan Oil in a high end store.  She said “It was nothing like yours!  It made me break out!  I really didn’t like it at all.”

So that’s #1.  Make sure it’s real!

As for #2, try to find a brand that is eco-friendly.  Argan trees are protected by UNESCO. They are endangered and the oil that can be gained from the fruit is a lucrative commodity.  We are so glad that it is now illegal to chop Argan trees down and use them for firewood.

However, with the demand for Argan Oil rising, harvesting is becoming more aggressive.  And once a farmer enjoys his payment for his Argan fruit, he most often invests in goats.  And those goats climb the Argan trees and eat the fruit.  There is no comparison between a tree that has been climbed by a herd of goats versus one that is on a goat-free farm.  The former is ugly with many branches broken, the latter is lush and beautiful – all branches in tact.

Does this tree look healthy and happy to you?

Saadia only buys fruit from goat-free farms for our brand.  She also only will buy from a farm that uses the most gentle of harvesting practices.  The fruit is not picked from the tree, but is picked off of the ground after it falls naturally.  (Don’t worry about cleanliness!  Argan Oil is made from the kernel from the inside of the pit of the fruit, so it doesn’t matter if the outer layer got a little dusty at one point.)

In addition, Saadia inherited a farm a few years back.  And last year she began to plant Argan trees on it to help with the survival of the species.  In October of 2012, my business partner Ainslie and I are going to Morocco to look at purchasing a mature Argan farm for our oil to exclusively be made from.  Then we can be sure that our materials will be secured and eco-friendly for years to come.

And finally, #3, the best brands of Argan Oil are ethical.  Argan Oil co-ops have been romanticized to high degree.  They seem to be these wonderful utopias where women in need are given work and education and ample money to support their families.  This might have been true at one time, but many of the co-ops are depressing little places.  Wages are as low as 5 Euro or 50 dirhams per day.  The women are made to work in a place that makes them visible to the curious eyes and cameras of tourists.  Moroccan women are modest by nature.  Their Muslim faith and culture makes them uncomfortable with being on display.

Our company prefers our workers to be able to do their hard labour in privacy.  When Saadia and her team get together, they make it fun.  They can talk and laugh freely and they don’t have to worry about having strangers watching them.  They also get to enjoy excellent wages.  Their hourly rate is higher than that of a man working in many professional jobs in Morocco.  That is something we are very proud of.

So there you have it friends!  Be sure that any Argan Oil you buy is Authentic, Eco-Friendly and Ethical!

Happy shopping!




7 Warning Signs Your Argan Oil is Impure

With Argan Oil gaining in popularity, there are a lot of products popping up on the internet and even in stores claiming to be “Pure Argan Oil”. Unfortunately, there are a lot of brands that you want to avoid.

If you’ve read our story, you’ll know that even getting your Argan Oil in Morocco doesn’t guarantee its authenticity.

As it is so difficult and time-consuming to produce, a lot of Argan Oil is completely fake, diluted or over-processed. So here are a few ways to decide if a particular brand is worth investing in or not.

1. The ingredients

The ingredients list should be very short. It should just say 100% Argan Oil or 100% Argania Spinosa Kernel Oil. If it has anything else listed (even water!) you don’t want it.

2. The bottle

We are be very wary of Argan Oil sold in clear or plastic bottles. Both make the oil deteriorate, and any producer of quality Argan Oil wouldn’t put this liquid gold in anything other than a dark cobalt or amber glass bottle. Light breaks down the oil’s best properties and dark glass is the only way to store Argan Oil.

3. The price

Argan Oil is very difficult to make. It takes hours of manual labour and that does not come free. So there is no such thing as cheap Argan Oil. $10 for 2 ounces/60 ml seems like a bargain, but if it’s just vegetable oil in that bottle? It’s no bargain at all. You might as well just step into your kitchen and use whatever you’ve got in the cupboard.

This is not to say that the most expensive Argan Oil is the best either. You might just be paying for elaborate packaging and extensive marketing.

Sometimes you can find authentic CULINARY Argan Oil at a more economical price. But know that even though this oil will taste amazing, it will not produce the best results on your skin, hair and nails. Raw, cosmetic-grade oil is from unroasted Argan fruits, and it is more difficult to extract oil from raw materials.

4. The scent

Strong-smelling Argan Oil that smells awful should obviously be avoided. The materials might have passed through the digestive system of a goat, and no one wants to put that on their face.

But at the same time, Argan Oil that smells like nothing is highly suspicious, too. It could be entirely fake, or at least diluted beyond olfactory recognition. Or, it could be machine-made and put through a “deodorization” process.

Genuine, raw, cosmetic-grade Argan Oil smells unique to the uninitiated nose. Most say it smells ‘nutty’. My daughter thinks it smells like popcorn. I used to think it smelled a bit like a rubber band. Now I just think it smells like pure luxury.

After a couple of days you become used to the scent and know what results the use of this oil brings, so you savour that raw, green, nutty aroma. Even if you never learn to love that smell, the scent always disappears after a few minutes on your skin, as true Argan Oil absorbs so quickly and beautifully.

However, many brands do put their precious Argan Oil through the damaging deodorization process. This strips the oil not only of its smell, but some of its healing, restorative properties. Sometimes chemicals are used in this refining process, or sometimes the oil is steamed to a very high temperature (over 400 degrees F for 30-60 minutes). But as mentioned, light and heat break down the oil’s best properties, so we firmly believe it’s best to leave this precious oil alone in its most natural state.

5. The texture

Argan Oil should be smooth and silky. Disappearing into your skin. It should not feel slimy, sticky or watery. It most definitely should not sting. Even on uncomfortable skin conditions, Argan Oil should bring a soothing effect, not a painful one.

6. The sediment

Authentic Argan Oil often has a tiny bit of sediment at the bottom of the bottle. The highly refined or fake oil will not have this sediment. Saadia Organics Argan Oil does have a few traces of sediment in some of our bottles. Don’t be alarmed if you do spy a wee bit. Just let it settle and enjoy knowing that you have the real thing.

7. The results

As they say, “the proof is in the pudding”.

Every single day we get people telling us how much they love our product. Telling us they’ve tossed other things they were using for skin care, hair care and baby care. Some even have stopped using prescription medications* as our pure, raw Argan Oil works better on their psoriasis or on their child’s eczema. (Without the cost, potentially questionable ingredients or side effects.)

A handful of reviews are posted here and some others are here. Feel free to comment and add your own!


You might know that a woman named Saadia is our Production Manager over in Morocco. Not one drop of Argan Oil is imported without her stamp of approval. She is highly suspicious of fake, impure and refined Argan Oil. Recently, I took Saadia’s son, (my husband!) to check out a brand of Argan Oil found in one chain of stores. He seems to have inherited her discerning ways.**

So let’s run through our checklist of 7 warnings:

1. The ingredients list just said: 100% Argan Oil. Check.

2. Nice dark amber glass bottle. Check.

3. The price. On the high end. $58 (before tax)

4. The scent. Zero. It smelled like cooking oil. It has obviously been deodorized.

5. The texture. Slimy.

6. No sediment.

7. The results. Unsure. After failing tests 4 and 5 we would be unwilling to buy this product to bother testing it.

I hope you found this informative! We just want you to make an informed decision as you attempt to purchase this rather elusive oil only made in a rather elusive country.


*Speak with your doctor before discontinuing use of prescription medications.

** The view expressed in the video is just one by a person who grew up with Argan Oil.   It is not the official view of Saadia Organics.