WILDWOOD GROVES Lavender Argan Oil
Argan oil is one of the biggest beauty stories of the last 5 years and its explosion means more jobs and independence for the Moroccan women who produce it (not an easy task – it’s horrendously labour-intensive). Its success in the beauty market and its appearance in so many facial oils/serums lately is good news for every business, big and small, involved the argan oil chain from tree nut to beauty shelf.
Like olive oil, not all argan oils are the same. And like olive oil, you can eat it (dipping chunks of warm breakfast bread into a small dish of argan oil on a sunny terrace in the Fez countryside last spring is one of my best memories of 2012).
So which argan oils are the best? We’ve been judging a lot of them during the Beauty Shortlist Awards shortlisting stage and, once again, Ruth Hajioff’s Wildwood Groves brand stood out as one of the favourites in the face of fierce competition from both indie and massive commercial brands. WWG do a whole range of Argan oils from Simply 100% Argan Oil to Rose and Frankincense* Argan Oil and there’s even a Baby Blend Argan Oil with Lavender and Blue Chamomile.
Anyway, to put it in a nut shell, Sophie Dahl loves the Lavender Argan Oil and so did we (it can even help smooth scars) although we’re already eyeing the Mimosa Argan Oil which “lightens and lifts the spirit” and is “reminiscent of sunny days in the South of France”.
Pass the bread and argan dipping oil and roll the sun lounger closer to the pool…we’re there.
* As precious as gold in ancient times, frankincense was historically used as an incense to aid meditation and to banish evil spirits. It is a good antioxidant and cell regenerator when applied to the skin. Combined with rose which is balancing, calming and also a good antioxidant, this is an ideal combination for mature skin.
Side note: Some Argan Oils are mixed/diluted with other stuff so it’s important to buy from an ethical, respected brand if you want the real thing. It takes about 15 hrs and 30 kilos of “fruit” – hard nuts to crack – to make one litre of Argan Oil so if you’ve found an “Argan bargain” that’s a big red flag.
Read the label – Argan Oil is “Argan Spinosa” because the branches of the Argan trees are very spiky (as in “spines”). And look for Argan Oil sold in dark bottles to protect it from the light. Another thing to beware of is greasy/heavy Argan Oil – it should sink into skin easily, feeling light, delicate and silky, easily absorbed. It feels much finer than olive oil on the skin.
Last but not least, raw Argan nuts are pressed to make cosmetic grade Argan Oil, while culinary Argan Oil is made from pressed roasted nuts.