By Chere Di Boscio
Despite searing temperatures, desert aridity and the occasional sandstorm, Moroccan women manage to stay gorgeous, with their ropes of shiny black hair, supple skin and thick eyelashes. While good genes surely play a role, there are some traditional local beauty products that help these women preserve their good looks. One of these is Argan oil.
The myriad benefits of this natural ingredient include:
Antioxidant qualities– full of vitamins C and E, the oil is perfect for combating free-radicals.
Softens dry skin– essential fatty acids alleviate skin complications and dry patches, even on heels and elbows
Healing properties– Argan oil can heal acne blemishes and stretch marks, prevent breakouts, and may even reduce arthritic pain when used as a massage oil
Known as ‘liquid gold’ in North Africa, the oil is grown only in South Western Morocco and each nut from the Argan tree is hand-cracked from the shell, kneaded for hours, then cold pressed into an oil. This long, laborious process and the rarity of the nut mean that pure, high quality Argan oil is never cheap. Consequently, many mainstream brands tend to heavily dilute the oil’s with perfumes, cheaper oils, preservatives and other ingredients that diminish the full potential of the product.
Moroccan Natural is one brand that does no such thing.
The trial begins
Simply and sustainably packaged (boxing is rarely used, and most products come in recyclable blue glass bottles), a little of these products goes a long way. I started my trial of Moroccan Natural with a few drops of the pure organic Argan oil, which I dabbed onto my fingers and smoothed through my ponytail. As the chagrined owner of fine, flyaway hair, I was pleased to see the oil did in fact stop the static that winter had bestowed upon my strands, but as it left my hairdo a bit flat, I think the effects of the oil would be better for someone with slightly thicker hair than mine.
Still, the oil has many other uses: because it’s literally pure enough to eat, I mixed a few droplets with some sugar to make an exfoliator for my lips and face. Result: glowing and smooth afterwards, with none of the redness I usually get after a scrub. In fact, over time, I noticed the slight redness I sometimes get around my nose in winter had diminished.
I also used the oil in the bath, and added a few drops to a toner I bought that was a bit too drying for my flaky winter skin, which resulted in a much more usable product.
I also tried the Soothe and Smooth Eyes roll on oil. The added cucumber seed oil in this product is meant to diminish puffiness, while the Argan oil acts as an anti-oxidant moisturiser–just what anyone who sits staring at a computer all day needs. The roller ball, though, is what really addicted me: it feels like a gentle massage every time I smooth it around my tired eyes. The product also conditions lashes, which is great, but be warned–use this only after removing all traces of makeup, or you will muck up the oil inside.
Besides Argan oil, Moroccan Natural has harnessed the power of another pure ingredients, including the rose.
Arabs have long known the healing qualities of this flower, and have used rosewater in cooking and as a skin toner for centuries. The Argan Rose Serum has a lighter texture than the oil, and was readily absorbed by my thirsty skin. I dabbed this on after washing my face in the morning, and looked hydrated and radiant all day. As an added bonus, the scent of roses surrounded me for hours. Bliss.
The company also produce a sun dried, mineral-rich Rhassoul clay that is praised for its cleansing properties. Moroccan women use this as a natural soap and shampoo, but after suffering a bit of a sunburn on a recent holiday, I decided to use this as a skin treatment. I made a paste from the clay and sea water, then baked in the sun for awhile before heading out to sea to rinse off. The result was fantastic: my skin was soft and supple, and I felt as though I’d spent hours at a spa. I was so pleased, I mixed some rose oil in with what was left of the clay to create a facial mask, which was wonderfully effective.
I still may not have ropes of glossy hair, but thanks to Moroccan Natural, this European girl is looking a little dewier, from top to bottom.
For more information, please see: http://moroccannatural.com