What is argan oil?
Argan oil — or “liquid gold,” as many refer to it — is made from the fresh kernels of the fruit of the argan tree in Morocco. Pure argan oil has been used for centuries for cooking and as a home remedy for health and beauty, including hair loss. Today it can be found in a number of hair and skin care products.
Argan oil has been shown to provide several health benefits when applied to the skin and many of those benefits extend to the hair.
Possible argan oil for hair benefits
Argan oil is full of fatty acids and powerful antioxidants, such as vitamin E, that have been shown to have benefits for your scalp and hair. Here are some of the benefits of argan oil for hair that may help protect against hair loss.
Moisturizes and conditions
Argan oil is mostly used as a moisturizer for skin and hair because it is full of fatty acids, mainly oleic acid and linoleic acid. These oils have been shown to lubricate the hair shaft and help your hair maintain moisture. Argan oil is also rich in vitamin E, which provides a fatty layer to your hair and scalp that may help prevent dryness and can help reduce fizziness and boost shine.
Improves scalp health
Argan oil has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that are good for the skin. This can help prevent or improve skin conditions, including those that can affect the scalp that can cause hair loss, like:
- seborrheic dermatitis
Little scientific research has been done on argan oil’s antifungal properties, though it may help treat dandruff. Sometimes dandruff is caused by a yeast-like fungus on your scalp.
Prevents styling and coloring damage
The medium-chain fatty acids in argan oil have a protective effect that can help prevent damage from washing and styling. Research shows that other oils that are rich in linoleic acid, oleic acid, and palmitic acid add a protective layer to the hair that improves combing force and protects the hair from breakage during heat styling. Oil treatment was also shown to reduce the formation of split ends, which can result in thicker, healthier looking hair. A 2013 study also found that argan oil reduced damage caused by hair dye when applied to Caucasian hair after color processing.
Argan oil has been used by Moroccan women for centuries to protect skin from sun damage. A 2013 study found that the antioxidant activity in argan oil protected skin against free radical damage from the sun. This benefit may also extend to the hair, helping to prevent drying and other damage from ultraviolet rays.
Argan oil for hair loss
There is no research available on argan oil specifically for hair loss, but its proven benefits for hair and scalp health may prevent hair breakage and hair loss. Vitamin E — which argan oil has in abundance — was shown to improve hair growth in a small 2010 research study. The powerful antioxidants and nourishing fatty acids in argan oil help keep your hair moisturized and protects against styling damage and damage caused by free radicals. This can result in less breakage and shedding.
How to use argan oil for hair
If you’re ready to reap the benefits of argan oil for your hair, there are a few ways to do it.
Argan oil hair mask
Making your own argan oil mask is easy. Using pure argan oil will get you the most bang for your buck because you can use it on its own or combine it with other nourishing ingredients, like coconut oil or castor oil. Here’s how:
- Using your hands, massage 8 to 10 drops of argan oil into your hair and scalp. Adjust the amount as needed based on the length of your hair.
- Continue to massage your hair and scalp for 10 minutes, ensuring your hair is covered from roots to ends.
- Wrap your hair in a towel or hair wrap and leave it on overnight.
- Wash your hair in the morning and style as usual.
You can buy argan oil shampoo, but making your own is easy, too.
- Pour your usual amount of shampoo into the palm of your hand.
- Add one or two drops of argan oil to the shampoo and rub your hands together until it’s mixed.
- Apply to your hair and wash and rinse as usual.
- Repeat every two or three days.
You can skip your usual conditioner and use argan oil as a leave-in conditioner to reduce breakage from combing and styling.
- Wash your hair thoroughly per the directions on the shampoo bottle.
- Towel-dry your hair so that it’s not dripping.
- Rub two or three drops of the oil in your hands and apply to your hair.
- Dry and style your hair as usual.
- Do this once or twice a week.
Use argan oil as a styling product to smooth your hair and tone down frizz. It can also protect your hair from heat styling.
- Squeeze one or two drops of argan oil into your palm and rub your hands together.
- Lightly apply to your clean, dry hair without massaging it into the scalp — a light coating on your hair’s surface is what you want.
- Style as usual.
Best argan oil for hair
Good quality, pure argan oil is key when using it on your scalp and hair. It may cost more, but a little will go a lot further so you get more bang for your buck. When shopping for the best argan oil for hair, make sure that it’s:
- 100 percent pure organic argan oil without any other ingredients
- labeled for cosmetic use
- sold in a dark-colored glass bottle
Argan oil can moisturize your hair and scalp and protect your hair from everyday damage. By reducing breakage and split ends and keeping your scalp healthy, argan oil may help prevent hair loss for thicker, fuller hair.