To put it lightly, buying quality cosmetic argan oil can be a challenge. Souks in particular are a nightmare, as most vendors love to tout fake product as the real deal. The marketed “100% pure argan oil” is often 100% olive or vegetable oil. Keep in mind these 6 points to get your hands on some real liquid gold:
#1 – Who are you buying from?
The best bet is to buy directly from women’s cooperatives. Their prices are fixed, but you know you will be supporting their livelihood and getting a quality product.
If you are unable to buy directly from a cooperative, the best alternative is finding some argan oil in small cities and villages. The larger the city, the higher risk you run of getting fake product.
In general, avoid buying argan oil in the large medinas (Marrakesh, Fes, etc.). If you really can’t help it, pharmacies and apothecaries are the way to go. As a rule of thumb, don’t buy from a vendor that sells everything under the sun!
#2 Does the label have the right information?
The content breakdown may be different from what the vendor is claiming. Argania spinosa is the scientific name for argan, and it is the most commonly used term on these labels. This should be the only term on the ingredients list!
You could totally have a bottle of pure argan oil which is not organic. But if you’re looking for the best of the best, these certifications are important:
ECOCERT MA – These companies are officially ECOCERT Morocco certified, meaning their argan oil is organic and ethically sourced.
USDA Organic – Unfortunately, there is not an index where you can search up certified companies. But this is the official logo, letting you know the product meets USDA standards.
You should take caution if the bottle (or the vendor) claims the contents are 100% organic, but the bottle is missing these logos. Companies seek these globally recognized certifications, as they bring legitimacy to the business. If the bottle lacks the certifications, there’s a good chance it’s because the company’s production processes are not up to standards.
In general, quality argan oil will have the company’s contact information on the bottle. This is because the producers believe in their product, and want recurring customers!
#3 – What type of bottle is used?
Have you ever kept an unopened plastic water bottle for a few years? The bottle starts degrading, and the plastic becomes thinner and more pliable. Chemicals are released into the water.
Following the same reasoning, the best argan oil is stored in glass containers.
But glass-bottled argan oil can be difficult to track down. Let’s be honest here…most argan oil is still sold in plastic bottles.
#4 – Where is the bottle stored?
Argan oil should be stored in a cool place, away from direct sunlight. The more sunlight it receives, the faster it spoils! So if the vendor has bottles of argan oil lined up near the entrance, run.
#5 – What does it smell like?
Argan oil has a very faint smell, like a cross between rubber and almond (weird, I know). But what’s important is that it has a very faint smell. If the oil smells fragrant (most likely floral), it is not 100% pure. On the other hand, a strong, fecal smell will tell you the oil has gone bad (probably from poor storage).
#6 – Does it feel right?
This is super important. Argan oil absorbs very quickly on your skin. It feels smooth and light, not sticky and suffocating.
I hope these tips help! They should be used together to create a wholesome evaluation on the product. Using one point alone won’t provide a definitive answer!
I should also say that price isn’t listed as an indicator, as it varies a lot depending on the producer and the quality. Just be wary if the oil is dirt-cheap.
Check out my post on everything you need to know about argan oil:
Until next time! ✌️