One of the fastest-growing trends in the beauty and cosmetics industry is the use of argan oil. But, did you know that women from Morocco have been using this plant oil on their hair and skin for centuries now?
Argan oil is derived from the kernels of the argan fruit and has been used for hundreds of applications by locals. Before, the oil was manually produced by the farmers situated in the Berber region, but as the product hit supermarket shelves and rose in popularity, the farmers have taken a back seat, and high-end extraction tools took on the job of creating argan oils.
To protect the trees that produce this liquid gold, Moroccan women running argan cooperatives have used safer means to help safeguard them. By doing so, they are also protecting women whose livelihood depends on this industry.
Buying Real Argan Oil
Argan products sold in the market today are laced with minimal traces of real argan oil. Argan oils are rich in vitamins E and A, as well as other essential fatty acids, which make it an ideal moisturizer for various skin types. It is often sold as an effective anti-aging product.
Unfortunately, some cosmetic merchandise with argan oils are mixed with synthetic elements that do very little to help support the cooperatives of Morocco manufacturing the oils.
Real argan oil is extracted using traditional manual grinding to create the purest form of the oil. At least 30 kilos of kernels of argan are used to create one liter of oil in a grueling 10-hour process. This needs long hours of patience and manual labor.
Economic Freedom and Empowerment
As per fair trade, the focal point of all-female argan cooperatives is to be able to allow economic empowerment of women who are from the marginalized sectors of society. The very first coop was established in 1998.
These cooperatives employ approximately 3 million Moroccan women from Berber villages. They do this so women can get an education and improve their economic status. Part of the profits from these coops were invested directly in rural communities. They were provided afternoon classes after work that included basic education, literacy and proper hygiene.
Moroccan women live in a patriarchal society, so a steady income for rural women has become a source of new-found self-sufficiency and empowerment. Dealing directly with the cooperatives and bypassing intermediaries help support the marginalized women of Morocco.
Nature’s Gift That Continues Giving
Argan oil is so highly prized that it’s often referred to as “liquid gold.” Argan oil is Mother Nature’s amazing gift to women not only in Morocco but in other parts of the world, as well. It is used in beauty products, anti-aging skin products, emollients, and hair care. Argan’s inherent properties make it a very efficient component of natural shampoos that treat dandruff.
Argan oil helps thousands of women in Morocco enjoy their newfound financial stability and economic freedom. It’s said that argan is able to support 90% of Morocco’s rural population. More importantly, supporting the women’s cooperatives assures product manufacturers that the oil is sourced sustainably. This means there will be more argan oil for years to come.