The Business of Fake Argan Oil

As a hair stylist, I ask every single person in my chair what products they use on their hair. And as Argan Oil is becoming more and more popular, I am hearing from many clients who have experience using it.

Having co-founded Saadia Organics, I am especially interested when my clients mention it. I want to know everything: where they bought it, how much it cost, what it smells like, what changes have they noticed in their hair.

Sadly, I have yet to come across a client who has actually found real, authentic Argan Oil.

It’s always the same story: they found a big bottle that cost very little that says something like “authentic Moroccan Argan Oil” on the label. Either it smells floral or like nothing at all. It is generally watery and even slimy in texture. The biggest reason I know it’s fake? I always bring out the sample bottle of Saadia Organics Argan Oil for my clients to try. And they can’t believe the difference!

Of course, there will be fake Argan Oil in the market. There is fake everything on the market. The problem is that even the fake stuff seems to work to some degree.  Putting any oil on your hair will make a small difference. My clients have noticed small changes and seem to like the fake Argan Oil. However, because it’s not real, the effects of the oil are not amazing. And so they are unaware of the true value of real Argan Oil.

Luckily, I am able to share a sample of the real thing with my clients. And when they try it, they fall in love with it.

So, how can you prevent yourself from wasting your money on fake oil?

You no longer have to worry. Saadia Organics actually has the genuine stuff! It is handmade by Saadia Organics co-founder Joèl’s mother-in-law and her relatives. And Saadia herself sends the oil directly to Vancouver.  And my clients couldn’t be happier!


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.