With Argan Oil gaining in popularity, there are a lot of products popping up online and even in stores claiming to be “Pure Argan Oil”. Unfortunately, there are a lot of brands that you want to avoid. So, when I travelled to Morocco, I was sure to come back home in London with at least one item in my suitcase from Morocco- Argan oil and Argan oil hair serum, an authentic one.
If you have been to Morocco or know someone who has been there already, you would know that even getting your Argan Oil in Morocco doesn’t guarantee it’s authenticity. As it is so difficult and time-consuming to produce, a lot of Argan Oil is completely fake, diluted or over-processed.
To check authenticity, keep an eye out for specific details like the color of the bottle, and of course price when searching through the souks at Jemma El Fena or popularly known as Medina. Don’t not afraid to ask questions. Look for vendors who show you real Argan oil, and who know the history and how it is made. Make sure they are dealing in fair- original and good quality. Speak up, don’t be afraid to haggle. Everything is negotiable! Counter offer with half the original asking price and you’ll settle somewhere in between. Or, if you bundle in several items, you may be able to negotiate below half the original offer. Head off the beaten path- while much of the Medina in Marrakech is geared for tourists, there are hidden gems throughout the country and the hunt is part of the experience.
Consider purchasing handmade soaps- another jewel of Moroccan craft. Don’t be afraid to look outside the main bazaar, either. I also made stops at the Spice Bazaar as well, picking up olives, saffron, and Moroccan mint tea leaves.
My favourite spot to shop Argan oil and handmade soaps is the La Botica de la Abuela Aladdin (Aladdin’s Grandmother’s Boutique), located in the Medina at Chefchaouen in Morocco.
The beautograher and I were walking around the Blue city when we spotted this very colorful shop enticed by the smells . To us, this was the best smelling store in all of Morocco. The shop owner wasn’t pushy – he let you browse in peace which I prefer as I always knew what I want. They have about 20 different types of handmade soaps, all made from natural ingredients. They also have various oils and natural perfumes and deodorants. But the hero product is the Argan oil serum and cosmetic Argan oil which you can use both on face, hair and body. Since I was on the hunt for good hair serum, I thought – Perfect!! I bought extra bottles of hair serum and Argan oil to keep in stock. We spent about an hour sniffing different soaps – Argan, Rose, Amber, Sandalwood, Musk, Menthol, Vanilla and a lot more! Ended up with one small size ‘La Vanda & Damanoche’ & big size Sandalwood soap. They both smell heavenly!! liked it so I shared an image on our Facebook Page, I received requests from friends, so went back next day and bought more for friends and a couple of fashionistas who has consistently shown love and support to us.
Within the Medina in Marrakech, Herboristerie Firdaous is a popular spot for high-quality Argan oil. Another place to shop for authentic Argan oil is La Maison Arabe, we also had a royal Hammam bath with oil treatment there, first hand experience!
So, here are my top 5 ways to decide if a particular brand is worth investing in or not.
The ingredients list should be very short. It should just say 100% Argan Oil or 100% Argania Spinosa Kernel Oil. If it has anything else listed you don’t buy it.
I’m wary of Argan Oil sold in clear or plastic bottles. Both can make the oil deteriorate, and most producers of quality Argan Oil wouldn’t put this liquid gold in anything other than a dark coloured glass bottle (amber or cobalt blue, for example). Aluminum or stainless steel can work well, too. Light breaks down the oil’s best properties and keeping it inside something dark is the best way to store Argan Oil.
Argan Oil should be smooth and silky. Disappearing into your skin. It should not feel slimy, sticky or watery. It should not sting. Even on uncomfortable skin conditions, Argan Oil should bring a soothing effect, not a painful one.
The high end. GBP 20 for a 50ml bottle approximately.
Argan Oil often has a tiny bit of sediment at the bottom of the bottle and it appears a bit “cloudy”. The highly refined or fake oil will not have this sediment and will look very clear. The ones I bought from La Maison Arabe and La Botica de la Abuela Aladdin, have no sediment as far as I could see even after having them for over a year now. And the oil is crystal clear, not the least bit cloudy.
Hope this post will help some of you planning to shop for Argan oil both in your home country as well as when travelling to Morocco. Feel free to email me if you have any further queries and drop me a line at the comment section as I would like to hear if you too are an Argan oil fangirl like moi.