There’s lots of things to love about Morocco. The colourful riads, the hectic souks and the tasty tagines, for starters. But one of Morocco’s greatest gifts is argan oil – also known as “liquid gold”. I came across the nutty oil during my first trip to Morocco, back in 2012. Now, I actually had hair back then… so using argan oil for hair loss never crossed my mind.
Still, I bought some of the thick oil to apply to my dry, sun-damaged hair and it worked wonders. My partner even combed some into his beard and it detangled that, too!
There’s a reason why so many shampoos and conditioners list argan oil as their top ingredient. Not even just the hair loss ones – these brands know that argan oil holds the key to healthy hair for everyone! 🙂
What is Argan Oil?
How does Argan Oil help grow Hair?
Benefits of Argan Oil for Hair?
The Top 10 Argan Oils for Hair
Argan Oil Buyer’s Guide
LA Says: In this post, I’ll talk about the benefits of argan oil for hair growth, how it can help thinning hair, and how it’ll moisturize the hair you’ve got to keep it in tip-top condition! But before we get into the benefits and background of liquid gold, let’s take a look at the best-selling argan oils right now.
Native to southwest Morocco, the argan tree – Argania Spinosa – is known locally as the “tree blessed by Gods.” And it’s steadily gaining attention from the West too, as a beauty industry favourite. Maybe because its name is fun to say. 😉
More likely, is because the hard-shelled kernels of the tree’s fruit can be used to make argan oil. Traditionally, the pure oil was used in cooking, or for dipping bread into. But more recently, the argan tree has extended its liquid gold to cosmetic uses – helping hair grow long ‘n’ strong, smooth ‘n’ shiny.
Good question. Argan oil uses a traditional extraction method. Argan nuts (kernels) are laid out in the sun to dry, although sometimes ovens are used to dry the kernels faster*. Once dried, they’re cracked – whether that’s by hand or in a manually operated stone grinder, the process is slow and labor-intensive.
LA Says: This, along with transport costs from Morocco and the fact that the tree isn’t as widely available as say, the coconut tree, may explain argan oil’s slightly higher price tag compared to some other natural hair care remedies.
*FYI: The argan oil industry includes over 50 women’s cooperatives to protect the people who collect these kernels, to include them in the supply chain and to make sure they get a fair price for their produce. So when you buy argan oil, you’re helping to support these rural communities in a way that’s socio-economically sound. Yay!
Now you know where it comes from, you might want to know what it can do. Like, can argan oil help hair loss?
I’ve always known that argan oil acts as a great conditioner, adding softness and shine. But the more I’ve researched its chemical make-up and properties, the more I’ve realized how it also protects the hair, nourishes the follicle and prevents breakage. In short, it can indeed prevent the factors which lead to hair loss.
Well, studies show that natural oils can form a gentle, long-term treatment plan to strengthen hair shafts and actively repair damaged hair, all the while cleansing the scalp and hair follicles. In doing so, these oils foster a healthier scalp, which can lead to new growth. Yay!
In fact, in a 2010 study, researchers tested the effects of tocotrienol supplementation on hair growth in 38 volunteers with hair loss. 21 volunteers received 100mg of mixed tocotrienols every day while 17 were given a placebo capsule.
LA Says: Tocotrienols, FYI, are powerful antioxidants and a member of the Vitamin E family. Argan oil is incredibly rich in Vitamin E, with between 60–90mg of the stuff per 100g.
After 8 months, volunteers in the tocotrienol supplementation group had a growth rate of 34.5%. The other group actually went through a 0.1% decrease. Poor guys.
The researchers concluded that this probably because of the tocotrienols’ antioxidant activity, which reduced the oxidative stress in the scalp that’s commonly associated with alopecia.
I like the results of that study. But plenty of other oils contain tocotrienols and Vitamin E, you might say. What makes argan so special?
A fine point. Well, here’s what else argan oil can do to give you healthy hair – that stays on your head!
In fact, argan oil makes a great natural replacement for your conditioner! And regular conditioning strengthens weak, damaged and fragile hair.
Argan oil works so well as a conditioner because it contains oleic acid and linoleic fatty acid – something that’s proven to improve “combing force”, to reduce split ends and breakage.
In fact, a 2015 study in the International Journal of Trichology studied the effects of linoleic acid (which is also in coconut oil and olive oil) on the hair. They found that:
“Treatments using oils reduced the formation of split ends in the hair.”
LA Says: Ok, so argan wasn’t included in the tests. But it does have a higher linoleic acid content than either coconut or olive oil, at 31–35% (the others are 2% and 10%, respectively). So it stands to reason that argan oil is even better at moisturizing the hair and preventing split ends. Yay!
Fun fact: Vitamin E is a fat-soluble antioxidant that stops the chain reaction of free radicals from producing more free radicals. (OK, it mightn’t sound fun, but still!)
By protecting the scalp against free radical damage (say, from the sun), your hair is less likely to become dry or damaged from UV rays. Maybe that’s why Morrocan women have such fab hair, despite that scorching desert sun!
The anti-inflammatory, toxin-kicking powerhouse that is argan oil also helps to prevent scalp conditions like dandruff, psoriasis and seborrheic dermatitis that can occur from environmental damage.
Not to mention the fact (well ok, I’ll mention it now!) that Vitamin E also provides a lovely fatty layer to your hair and scalp. A weight that can reduce frizziness and promote a full, shiny mane instead.
LA Says: Of course, sometimes we want to get rid of fatty layers – bikini season, anyone?! Other times, they’re most welcome. Like when they’re on our head. Mmm, hair blubber…
FYI: That fatty layer also comes in handy if you colour your hair or use heat treatments to style it (which, in a very weird turn of phrase, can apparently cause “weathering of the hair shaft”).
Luckily, argan oil’s medium-chain fatty acids offer protection to prevent damage – and if it’s too late for that, contains nourishing keratin to restore your hair back to its optimal condition. Like in this 2013 study, which showed that when argan oil was applied to Caucasian hair, it “decreased the damage caused to hair by the coloring process.”
LA Says: Everyday pollution, chemical-laden hair products and hot styling devices can wreak havoc on your poor tresses. So argan oil can rescue and reverse all of that damage to your hair.
So you can turn back time, then. Good to know. 😉
These essential fatty acids and nutrients work to minimize cuticle damage and boost follicle health – while that fatty layer I mentioned earlier protects your hair from everyday damage. So with all of the moisturizing, anti-inflammatory and nourishing properties of argan oil, your scalp can stay in great condition.
The great thing about argan oil is that it’s able to penetrate the hair’s outermost layer with all of this vitamin goodness – meaning that it can hydrate it from within (while preventing breakage).
With less breakage and fewer split ends, argan oil can therefore help to prevent hair loss – giving you stronger, thicker and fuller hair instead. Nice one.
Moroccanoil is one of the most popular argan oils on the market. And this light version – formulated especially for fine or light-colored hair – gets an even higher rating on Amazon.
Those with white or grey hair, which you might notice if your alopecia patches are filling in, will probably prefer this light version over other argan oils. You can use the oil on wet or dry hair for added shine and reduced frizz or rub a little into the ends to keep your blowout style for longer. Just a pump or two is all you need for silky, tangle-free locks.
This cold-pressed certified organic argan oil does it all. It’s a cosmetic treatment that moisturizes dry skin, brittle nails and damaged hair, all in one pretty bottle. The brand believes in “cosmetics with a conscience” – so its pure argan oil is vegan and free from parabens, sulfates, phthalates, formaldehyde and synthetic fragrances.
Now, you’ll pay a hefty sum for such versatility and corporate responsibility. Which is why I recommend you start with the travel-sized option and see how you get on!
If you’ve got less cash to splash, this baby’s got you covered. You get great value for money, considering the size of the bottle, and customer reviews indicate that it’s just as good as other brands – like Morroccanoil – but cheaper!
The only negative point is that it isn’t 100% argan oil. It includes other ingredients, some of which are derived from silicon, which means it isn’t the purest option for your hair. But if you’re on a tight budget, this might be a good starting point!
Even though I’m not sold on the aggressive-sounding name, I do like this brand! Which is why I mention their shampoo and conditioner with argan oil later in this post. The paraben and sulfate-free hair oil works to seal in moisture and shine. It’s suitable for all hair types: from blonde to dark, thick to fine, curly or frizzy to color-treated.
However, like the One ‘n’ Only argan oil, this product contains a few other ingredients in addition to argania spinosa (which is what we’re looking for). Ingredients that mightn’t agree with everyone. So use at your discretion.
I know I mention this brand in several posts, but it’s because they make some of the best organic hair loss prevention products out there. I haven’t actually used their argan oil – yet – but if it’s as good as their castor oil, I’d be very tempted. From the 11,500 reviews on Amazon (and counting!) it seems that people love this product, too.
This cold-pressed oil, which comes in an eco-friendly glass bottle, is 100% USDA-certified organic argan oil. It’s safe to use on your face and body, too – so add it to your favourite day cream and slather on some liquid gold every morning!
One of my readers left a comment asking whether I’d tried this brand. I haven’t as of yet, and unfortunately can’t seem to get it in Vietnam, but he raved about their argan oil for hair growth! And customer reviews on Amazon seem to agree. They use it for their face, body, hair and even nails! Most of them comment how light it is in comparison to other oils, while still deeply nourishing and softening both skin and hair.
The 100% pure argan oil comes in a little blue glass bottle (so it should still retain the oil’s natural properties, even though amber glass is normally recommended). And even though the bottle is quite small, it is pretty good value – and a little will go a long way.
A bottle of this doesn’t come cheap… not anymore, anyway. Because inflation happened very suddenly – much to the disappointment of its loyal customers, who have bought and loved the stuff for years. Formerly around the same cost as Pura D’Or, Agadir argan oil is now firmly in the luxury bracket. It seems like you can put a price on success after all.
Still, the oil itself does seem to be pretty amazing for hair. It’s also said to reduce drying time with an alcohol-free formula that nourishes the scalp to prevent dryness or itchiness. Nice one. If you can get over the price jump (which is the only thing reviews complain about), go for it. Agadir also makes a great treatment spray, which can be much easier to apply and distribute if you have long hair.
Arvazallia’s option is much better value – which is perhaps why it’s in the top 20 best-selling hair growth treatments on Amazon. It also comes in a handy pump dispenser bottle – OK, less eco-friendly than glass, but it does make it easier to apply!
You’re meant to use it with Arvazallia’s other argan oil-based products for maximum results. Of course. There’s always a catch. 😉
Then again, customers LOVE this product and apparently, the service they receive, too! Worth a go? I think so.
If you want to impress others with your choice of argan oil – although I’m not sure why you would – you need to stock up on some Poppy. The great thing is, even though it’s marketed as a luxury product and sold in fancy boutiques, it’s actually better value than say, the Josie Maron version. (In fact, many customer reviews mention switching from one to the other.)
I like the glass bottle and the dropper for easy application. Poppy Austin is also a Fair Trade company, which I fully support and believe that it might be something worth spending a little extra on! Also comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Like so many natural remedies, quality can vary quite a bit between brands. That’s why I’ve taken time to scout out the ten best argan oils for hair, the most reputable ones and the ones I’d trust. Some of them will cost more than others but at least you’ll be getting the real deal.
If I had to choose between the ten argan oils on this list, here are the ones I’d choose, and why:
If you want to try out a different one on this list – or one I haven’t included – by all means, go ahead! Just note that it’s worth doing a bit of research first.
Argan oil, as I’ve mentioned, isn’t as cheap as other natural hair growth treatments. So prepare to spend a little more. However, make sure that the price tag on the oil you’ve chosen isn’t just down to it’s marketing and packaging – check that it’s of a decent quality by reading some reviews first.
If your argan oil is filtered once, it will smell slightly nutty. If it’s been filtered twice or more, it will be odorless. In my opinion, it’s best to go with the nutty version as oil that has no scent may be overly diluted, or else it’s not the real thing.
Conversely, if the oil smells really strong (it should be mild), I’d also question the product. It could be gone off. Gross.
As argan oil gets more popular in the West, there have been concerns about the legitimacy of some products. So your choice might be affected by the product’s list of ingredients – which should be the smaller, the better. The best oils I’ve reviewed here have only one ingredient: 100% pure argan oil (or argania spinosa).
Pure argan oil has a light, golden-yellow color. If it’s too light, the product might be mixed with cheaper oils or have been industrially processed rather than manually extracted.
I’d also recommend choosing an oil that comes in a dark amber glass bottle (which, ok, some of the ones I’ve reviewed don’t!) Apparently the light that penetrates a clear bottle will break down the oil’s properties. Oh, and glass ones are kinder to the environment, too!
“Cold-pressed” is a process used to extract many natural oils. It refers to the combination of low heat and a grinding movement to create an even, smooth paste. This paste is then stirred to separate the oil and kernel particles, forcing the oil out. Because of the low heat involved (and the lack of chemicals or exposure to toxins), this method retains the oil’s natural properties and nutritional value. Woohoo!
If you’ve answered “yes” to all of the above, then you’ve got a great argan oil on your hands – soon to be in your hair! 😉
Or hair loss, or just healthy hair in general. Argan oil can be used in loads of ways. Its natural phenols will still benefit your hair follicles, whatever way you apply it.
Plus, there’s no harmful side effects, so you don’t need to worry about using it in the wrong way. (Well, maybe an overly shiny look and oily feel – but if that happens, just use less oil next time!)
Simply massage a tablespoon of argan oil into your scalp every night. Rub it in for 2-3 minutes to stimulate the scalp and open your pores. Leave it in to absorb all the nutrients and rinse out in the morning.
Alternatively, check out the following ways of adding argan to your hair care routine.
Try these DIY treatments out for size. If they get a bit messy to make, you can always revert to the ready-made argan shampoos and conditioners I mention in the next section. 😉
This one is super-easy and a cheap way to make your argan oil last for ages!
Simply add 2 drops of “liquid gold” to a handful of your usual shampoo the next time you’re lathering up. Wash and rinse as usual and enjoy this addition to your regular shampoo every second day.
I don’t really use a conditioner in my hair. I don’t have much hair to begin with, so it seems like a waste! But even so, the hair I do have can get brittle quite easily. So I either use coconut oil on the ends to keep it moisturized… or I turn to argan oil!
After shampooing, rinsing and towel-drying your hair, rub 2-3 drops of argan oil into your hair (close to the ends). Dry and style your hair as usual; no need to rinse!
Enjoy this simple treatment to nourish your noggin! You can use the oil all by itself – as directed above – or mix it with another proven hair-friendly carrier oil, like castor oil or coconut oil.
How to make it:
*Psst… For an extra-special carrier oil, mix the following together:
You can also add a couple of drops of your favourite essential oil – like peppermint or rosemary – to further stimulate growth. Have fun experimenting!
That’s right – argan oil can clean, moisturize, treat and even style your hair! There ain’t much this baby can’t do.
To smooth frizzy hair and flyaways, squeeze 1-2 drops into the palm of your hands and rub together. Pat your hands lightly over the surface of clean, dry hair (not on the scalp) for an argan styling gel that’s sleek but non-greasy.
If you’re following up this step by straightening or curling your hair, good news – argan oil also acts as a heat protectant to reduce styling damage. I told you, it does it all!
If you want a very quick ‘n’ simple way of bringing argan oil into your life, check out these top products that include the pure stuff…
Psst… For a styling product with extra hold that won’t damage your hair, this extra-hold argan oil cream from Cream of Nature is a top choice on Amazon. This heat protectant cream with argan and coconut oil clocks up pretty great reviews, too.
Argan oil isn’t cheap – at least, not as cheap as coconut or castor oil. This is because it’s still gaining in popularity and is somewhat harder to obtain the good-quality stuff. Plus, because it’s sourced almost entirely from Morocco, production and transport costs mean a higher price for the consumer. FYI: It isn’t worth buying this oil at a knock-off rate. Be prepared to pay a bit more, so you get a pure product.
Yes, it can. And your nose will tell you when it does! 😉 Argan oil should have an expiration date printed on its glass bottle – but you can extend its shelf life a little by storing it in a cool, dark place.
You don’t have to, no. You can rub it directly onto your scalp nightly – but I recommend using it with a carrier for an argan hair mask (see above recipes) once or twice a week for maximum nourishment.
None whatsoever. Apart from a nutty smell (and a lighter wallet!) argan is side effect free!
Pure argan oil has plenty of benefits – whether you want to use it for cooking, or as a hair and beauty product. Some people use the oil to whip up their own products; others prefer to buy their favourite shampoos or conditioners with argan oil already added. That’s your call.
Now, I’m not saying that argan oil will miraculously regrow new hair. But if you want the hair you do have looking good, you’d struggle to find a product that will leave it as shiny, moisturized and healthy.
So whether you’ve got thick hair with bald patches or thinning hair overall, argan oil will massively improve its condition.
Give it a try on your locks and as always, comments/feedback are very welcome!
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Alopecian. Yoga Teacher. Copywriter. Here to share information, offer support and show people the adventures that can lie in hair loss. I’m proud to have alopecia and I want to help others embrace their baldness, too!