Argan oil shampoo is a hair-washing solvent made with argan oil, which is derived from argan trees native to the southwestern part of Morocco. The oil from these trees is prized for its deep moisturizing properties, which makes it a coveted hair treatment. Many of the most expensive argan oil shampoos typically contain significant proportions of the oil. Little about shampoo manufacturing and marketing is regulated, however, which means that any shampoo that contains even trace amounts of the oil can bear the “argan” name.
In most cases, argan oil shampoo is marketed as a moisturizing shampoo, and is particularly suitable for people with dry or brittle hair. Nearly all types of oil have moisturizing properties for skin and hair. What sets argan oil apart is its high concentrations of vitamin E, which is known to not only smooth skin and hair on the surface, but also penetrate down, revitalizing from the inside out. The benefits of argan oil are more than just temporary moisture, as the oil is capable of actually healing as well.
Of course, healing properties depend in large part on concentration levels. In most cases, only a few drops of the oil are needed to fix split ends or restore sheen to dull hair. If an entire shampoo bottle contains only a few drops, however, results are often harder to come by. Argan oil shampoo may promote moisture, but can never live up to the healing qualities of direct-application argan oil treatments.
Part of this is practical, in that shampoos are, by their nature, designed to be rinsed out. Any oil application on the hair through shampoo is but temporary, as the oil is rarely in contact with hair follicles long enough to really penetrate. More intensive hair treatments usually involve leaving the oil to rest for anywhere from several minutes to overnight.
Shampoos run a range of price points, often depending on how much oil they contain. A shampoo product is almost always less expensive than pure oil, however, which makes it a good way for budget shoppers to experience the oil’s hair repair properties, even if just temporarily. Argan oil shampoo is often combined with other softening agents and aromatherapy compounds to create a luxurious lather that relaxes the mind as it softens the hair. On its own, argan oil has very little natural scent. Manufacturers usually add smells to make argan oil shampoo appealing.
Cosmetic argan oil is pricey in part because it exists in very limited quantities, but also because the extraction process is quite burdensome. Argan oil is cultivated from the seeds and bark of the argan tree, which only grows in a specific region of Morocco. It is an ancient species that has not taken well to repopulation or replanting anywhere but the deserts in the southwestern part of the Moroccan coastline.
The United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has deemed the argan-growing region of Morocco a protected biosphere and funds many initiatives in that region to encourage tree reproduction and sustainability. Many women’s economic advancement organizations have sought sponsorship from UNESCO to harvest argan oil in sustainable ways, supporting both for the biosphere and the surrounding communities. The vast majority of argan oil that hits the market, whether for cosmetics or otherwise, begins in one of these women’s work groups. Proceeds usually go towards community development as well as tree regrowth initiatives.