Moroccan Miracle Elixir?
Morocco is country rich with sensory decadence. The spiced tagines, the fabrics and colors, the bustling souks and sky-painted desert. It is no wonder, then, that the luxurious oil considered a wonder elixir for the skin, the body and the soul hails from Morocco's seaside Essaouira. Extracted from the essence of the argan nut, women are developing a thriving business producing the sought-after oils now turning up in skin-care products and spas in Europe and America.
I am a sucker for packaging. You could probably bottle canola oil in an exotic bottle and convince me it is liquid gold. So I approached the argan hype with caution. I looked for more information, expecting to find nothing but thinly veiled advertisements; instead, I found myself surprised.
Aside from the skin-healing properties that fans can't get enough of, supporters are recognizing that argan oil production is creating sustainable work for women who may otherwise not flourish, creatively or financially. Female-run co-ops, supported by the Moroccan government, are distributing their products worldwide, thriving in business and cultural stimulation alike.
None other than The Grey Lady herself urges consumers and travelers to support an industry that is enriching communities and complexions at the same time:
Because the extraction of argan oil is a labor-intensive task perfected by the Berber women native to the area (it takes a few days to produce one liter), the government has established a fund for the cooperatives. Outside groups, like the government of Monaco, have gotten involved as backers. Women from the villages nearby are invited to work half days (so they can still tend to their families) in exchange for fair wages and good working conditions. Eventually, the cooperatives should pay for themselves. Unesco has designated the 10,000 square-mile argan-growing region as a biosphere reserve.
The trend is alive and well and beauty product manufacturers are scurrying to climb on the proverbial bandwagon. You want to know what all the fuss is about. How do you to tell the real deal from cheap imitations? Let Tonic do the troubleshooting for you.
After digging and asking around, we uncovered one of the more esteemed lines of products rich with argan oil: Eden Allure. It has earned praises from organic living experts and offers a full skin, body and nail care line along with detailed information on the benefits of argan. While the photo on the homepage may read more Woman of the Night than Natural Beauty, they seem to offer straightforward products staying true to their main ingredient.
Further pulling at socially conscious consumer heartstrings, Eden's website has a feature allowing viewers to see the company's carbon offsets, empowered by Cultural Connections.
A four-ounce bottle of 100 percent Pure Moroccan Argan Oil is $50; each one is tweaked with different flower and plant essences, depending on if you are treating your hair, nails, body or face.
So bring on the argan oil. I will try to refrain from dousing my dinner, my laundry, my checkbook and garden with the miracle-inducing stuff. My skeptical ass can buy into the press, in hopes that my skin starts glowing and radiating Moroccan-scented light, knowing all the while that if it doesn't, I can still feel good about supporting an industry I believe in.
Eden 100 Percent Pure Organic Moroccan Argan Oil. $50, edenallure.com.