If you’re a fan of natural beauty products, chances are you’ve heard of argan oil.
This luxurious oil, often referred to as “liquid gold,” is extracted from the kernels of the argan tree, which is native to Morocco.
Not only is argan oil rich in fatty acids and vitamin E, making it incredibly beneficial for both hair and skin, but it’s also known for its ethical and sustainable production methods.
However, with so many beauty brands claiming to use argan oil in their products, it can be difficult to determine whether or not the oil is truly cruelty-free.
In this article, we’ll explore the question of whether argan oil from Morocco is cruelty-free and provide you with the information you need to make an informed decision when shopping for beauty products.
Is Argan Oil From Morocco Cruelty Free?
The short answer is that argan oil from Morocco can be cruelty-free, but it depends on the brand and their production methods.
While pure argan oil itself is cruelty-free, it can be used in the composition of products that aren’t. Therefore, it’s important to look for certifications such as Leaping Bunny or Beauty Without Bunnies to ensure that the argan oil product you’re purchasing is cruelty-free.
Some brands, such as Moroccanoil, have confirmed that they are truly cruelty-free. They do not test finished products or ingredients on animals, and neither do their suppliers or any third-parties. Additionally, they do not sell their products where animal testing is required by law.
However, not all brands are as transparent about their production methods. It’s important to do your research and check the label of each product to ensure that it is cruelty-free.
The Benefits Of Argan Oil For Hair And Skin
Argan oil is a versatile and natural product that can benefit both hair and skin. Its unique composition, high in oleic and linoleic acids, makes it extremely moisturizing and nourishing. These fatty acids are essential for maintaining a healthy skin barrier and preventing transepidermal water loss. Additionally, argan oil is rich in vitamin E, which helps maintain skin’s youthfulness and protects against free radical damage.
For hair, argan oil can help increase elasticity, prevent breakage, and protect against heat damage caused by styling tools. It can also help preserve melanin and prevent damage to the exterior cuticle of the hair shaft. The antioxidants and essential fatty acids in argan oil can also aid acne-prone skin by reducing inflammation and increasing moisture.
While there is not enough clinical evidence to suggest that argan oil has specific benefits for hair, anecdotal evidence suggests that it can reduce frizz and prevent hair breakage. Overall, argan oil is a multi-purpose product that may help hydrate and moisturize skin and hair, making it a popular ingredient in many beauty products.
The Production Process Of Argan Oil
The production process of argan oil is a lengthy and labor-intensive one, with most of the work being done by women in cooperatives. The process involves six steps: fruit collection, sun-drying, dehulling, nut breaking (or kernel collection), kernel roasting, and cold-pressing.
First, the argan fruit is collected from the argan trees, which are indigenous to Morocco and southwestern Algeria. The fruit is then sun-dried to remove any excess moisture. Once the fruit is dry, the outer layer is removed to reveal the nut inside. The nut is then broken open to reveal the kernel inside.
The kernel is then roasted over an open fire before being ground into a paste with water. This paste is then cold-pressed to extract the oil. Decantation and filtration are also added to remove large amounts of waxes and gums. Skipping the roasting step leads to the production of cosmetic oil.
It’s worth noting that traditional methods of producing argan oil involve a lot of manual labor and are not very efficient. It takes about 20 hours of hands-on labor to produce just one liter of oil. However, this method provides employment to many women and families in the region and helps preserve the argan forest.
In recent years, some producers have started using more modern methods to extract argan oil, which can be more efficient but may not be as sustainable or ethical. It’s important for consumers to do their research and choose brands that prioritize sustainability and ethical production methods.
Animal Testing In The Beauty Industry
Animal testing in the beauty industry has been a controversial topic for years. Many consumers are becoming more aware of the impact their purchases have on animals and are seeking out cruelty-free options.
Animal testing involves testing cosmetic products or ingredients on animals to determine their safety for human use. This can include skin irritation tests, eye irritation tests, and even lethal dose tests. Animals used in these tests are subjected to pain and suffering, and many are killed as a result of the testing.
Fortunately, there are alternatives to animal testing that are just as effective, such as in vitro testing and computer modeling. Many companies are now choosing to use these methods instead of animal testing to ensure the safety of their products.
To help consumers identify cruelty-free products, organizations like PETA’s Beauty Without Bunnies program and Leaping Bunny provide certifications for brands that do not test on animals. These certifications can be found on product labels or on the company’s website.
It’s important for consumers to do their research and choose products that align with their values. By supporting cruelty-free brands, we can help reduce the demand for animal testing in the beauty industry and promote a more ethical and sustainable future.
The Ethical And Sustainable Production Of Argan Oil
The production of argan oil is not only cruelty-free but can also be ethical and sustainable. The argan tree is grown almost exclusively in the barren lands of south-western Morocco, and it plays a crucial role in preventing soil erosion and maintaining water resources. However, the demand for argan oil has caused some cases of “aggressive harvesting,” where workers have been known to whack the trees with sticks to get the fruit to fall from the trees faster. This practice is harmful to the trees and can damage the ecosystem.
To combat this issue, many all-female argan co-ops have been established across Morocco. These co-operatives employ around 3 million people, and the majority of employees are women from Berber villages. The co-ops follow fair trade practices, and their main goal is the financial empowerment of women from marginalized backgrounds. The first women-led argan co-op was established in 1998 by Dr. Zoubida Charrouf, whose research on the argan tree has played a vital role in the sustainable and socioeconomic practice of argan oil production.
In 2011, Tighanimine Cooperative, a project led by Dr. Charrouf, became the first Fairtrade certified argan oil producer in the world. The co-operatives bypass intermediaries, and buying argan products directly from them helps support these women with their newfound stature. Additionally, a percentage of the profits made by these co-operatives is invested in the rural community to improve both the economic and educational status of Berber women. Women working in argan co-operatives are offered free afternoon classes in rudimentary education, including literacy skills and hygienic practices.
The production of argan oil itself is also low sustainability impact. The transport of the kernels is a short distance, storage is basic, and the selection of the kernels for production is by hand. After crushing, the kernels are cold-pressed and filtered with no additives used or heat needed.
How To Determine If Your Argan Oil Is Cruelty-Free
If you’re looking to purchase argan oil and want to ensure that it is cruelty-free, there are a few things to keep in mind.
Firstly, look for certifications such as Leaping Bunny or Beauty Without Bunnies on the product label or website. These certifications indicate that the product has not been tested on animals at any stage of production.
Secondly, do your research on the brand’s production methods. Check their website or contact them directly to inquire about their animal testing policies. Brands that are truly cruelty-free will be transparent about their methods and happy to answer any questions you have.
Finally, be wary of products that do not specify whether they are cruelty-free or not. If a brand is not clear about their animal testing policies, it’s best to err on the side of caution and choose a different product that is certified cruelty-free or has transparent production methods.
By following these steps, you can ensure that the argan oil you purchase is cruelty-free and aligns with your values as a consumer.
Brands That Offer Cruelty-Free Argan Oil Products
If you’re looking for argan oil products that are cruelty-free, there are several brands to choose from. Here are some options:
1. Andalou Naturals: This brand offers a variety of hair and skincare products infused with argan oil. They are certified by the Leaping Bunny program and do not test on animals.
2. Seren London: This ethical beauty brand based in London offers a range of competitively priced products that are cruelty-free and mostly vegan. They work closely with the Vegan Society and aim to trademark most of their products as vegan.
3. Herbal Essences: This popular haircare brand is recognized by PETA as a cruelty-free brand. They have a range of hair products that contain argan oil, including their Bio:Renew line.
4. Moroccanoil: This brand is known for its argan oil-infused haircare products and has confirmed that they are truly cruelty-free. They do not test on animals and neither do their suppliers or any third-parties.
5. Acure: This natural skincare brand offers a variety of products infused with argan oil, including facial oils, body lotions, and haircare products. They are certified by the Leaping Bunny program and do not test on animals.
Remember to always check the label and look for certifications to ensure that the argan oil product you’re purchasing is truly cruelty-free.