You might have at least heard about argan oil. The popular oil has been around for a while, and it’s a game changer for your hair regimen, much like the finest hair oils, including castor oil, coconut oil, and olive oil. Yes, the same argan oil that you use on your skin works wonderfully on your hair, which is perhaps why it’s dubbed “liquid gold.”
But how do you apply it to your hair? And which argan oil products are the most effective? Bridgette Hill, trichologist and colourist at Paul Labrecque Salon and Skincare Spa, told me all you need to know.
If you’re wondering who should use it, how to use it, and what sort of argan oil to use, keep reading for all the answers below. Sorry for the spoiler, but argan oil merits a gold star as well as a permanent spot in your haircare routine.
What are the hair advantages of argan oil?
Argan oil is rich in unsaturated fatty acids (oleic and linoleic acid) and antioxidants (vitamin E and polyphenols), which aid in hydrating the hair, preventing water loss, and neutralizing free radicals to protect both the hair follicles and the scalp from harm. So, what does this mean for your hair? Consider the following: radiance, hydration, softness, protection, and elasticity.
Is argan oil a moisturizer or a sealant?
It’s a trick question! Argan oil is both a moisturizer and a sealer, which means it can both penetrate and seal the strand on the surface of the hair (just add that to the long list of reasons why this hair oil is so cool).
Hill cites a 2015 research published in the International Journal of Trichology that found hair absorbs saturated and monosaturated oils (such as argan oil) better than polyunsaturated oils (like sunflower oil). Argan oil enters the hair and lowers the quantity of water it absorbs, affecting how much the cuticle swells. What occurs when the cuticle swells? Frizz and shrinking of the hair
“Argan oil is both a lipid and a lubricant, which are two essential qualities that are beneficial to hair fibres and overall hair health,” Hill says, adding that the molecular structure of this oil is small enough to penetrate deeper into the cuticle and form a protective barrier around your hair cells. Isn’t it cool?
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What is the finest argan oil for hair?
Sorry, deal hunters—this isn’t one of those occasions when you should cut corners. The long and multistage process of extracting that “liquid gold” from the seeds of Moroccan argan trees into your hands (and your hair) is what makes this hair oil so expensive.
While there are several low-cost options, Hill emphasizes the importance of quality. “Most cosmetic-grade argan oils go through a harmful heating and deodorizing procedure,” Hill says. “This reduces the oil’s therapeutic powers and advantages.” So, how can you identify high-quality, real argan oil? It should have a subtle amber hue and a “nutty” aroma rather than a strong, fragrant perfume.
To reap all of the aforementioned amazing benefits, you must use a high-quality product that has been perfectly processed, properly packaged (in a dark bottle to prevent light from degrading it), and properly stored (in a cool, dark place to protect it from heat), and applied in the best way for your hair type and texture (more on that in a sec).
How to use argan oil for hair: Argan oil is so good for your skin and hair that you could be tempted to smother yourself in it (remember, it’s not cheap). When it comes to application, your hair type and texture are crucial. Below are a few alternatives for making the most of this pricey oil without wasting a drop of it.
1. As a pre-shampoo treatment overnight
Hill claims that applying argan oil as a pre-shampoo hair treatment can improve all hair types and textures (although those with severe scalp concerns, like plaque psoriasis or dermatitis, should consult a dermatologist before trying anything). Apply the argan oil to dry, unwashed hair, working in tiny sections at a time to ensure that every strand is fully and evenly covered.
Hill recommends resting with the oil on your hair overnight to allow it plenty of time to absorb (just make sure to protect your pillowcase with a hair bonnet or designate a specific pillowcase for pre-poo nights).
2. As a scalp relaxant
According to Hill, a weekly massage with argan oil not only feels nice, but it actually helps by reducing inflammation, promoting cellular turnover, and calming the scalp. Begin your massage from the nape of the neck and stroke your fingers up your head with both hands until you reach the crown. Then, on both sides, go from the base of your ears to the top of your head. Hill suggests massaging for up to five minutes to soften skin cells, exfoliate and eliminate debris, and stimulate circulation flow.
3. As a hairstyler
Remember that genuine argan oil will provide you with the best advantages. However, you may combine it with other hair oils found in style products such as shampoos, conditioners, hair serums, and heat protectants. This YouTuber utilizes a curl cream containing a blend of oils, including argan, for a simple (and moisturized) twist-out in the video above.
4. Use as a sealant
Hill recommends using argan oil as a sealer for medium-textured straight hair to thick, coarse straight hair (think of it like reapplying hand cream after washing your hands). After shampooing your hair, spread a dab of argan oil from the mid-shaft to the ends to guarantee that the moisture connections in the hair fibre are retained and reinforced.
5. To make a flyaway smoother
For people with curly to coily hair, Hill recommends using argan oil to damp or wet hair to lock in moisture molecules and prevent flyaways and shrinkage. The tighter the curl, the more generous the quantity of oil you may use.
Is argan oil harmful to your hair?
As previously said, oils coat the hair to hold in required moisture while blocking out unwanted moisture (think: humidity that causes frizz and shrinkage). However, Hill warns that if your hair fibres aren’t holding adequate moisture, lipid, and humectant levels before using argan oil, you may end up with dry hair and wondering where you went wrong.
“All oils have the potential to be drying if they are not used on the right hair type and texture, or if they are applied on very parched or dry hair strands,” Hill adds. “I prefer utilizing water- and cream-based moisturizers on wet or damp hair before adding oil to dry and parched hair fibres. We ensure that argan oil is sealing in existing moisture and lubricating the hair strands for maximum health, lustre, and elasticity by utilizing it in this technique.”
What is the general rule of thumb? Layer your hair oils similarly to how you would layer your skincare products: Apply your humectants and moisturizers first, followed by your occlusives (in this case, argan oil).
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The Bottom Line
Argan oil is a terrific addition to most haircare routines as long as you use it correctly—that is, paying attention to both your hair type and the sequence in which you apply it. Just remember to get genuine argan oil to receive the full advantages, okay? I’m not sure about you, but I’m going to keep my argan oil nearby this winter to avoid the inevitable dryness.