Above is the quick answer which applies to our oil. If you’re interested to know more (and to get a bit more scientific) then read on!
Is it pure, seems to be the first question everyone asks and wants to know when they decide to buy argan oil. Due to the oil’s scarcity, its production, along with what really makes a good argan oil is quite often misunderstood. It is precisely because of this reason that we spent several months in Agadir educating ourselves and learnt everything there is to know about argan oil. From best methods to collecting the kernels, to production and storage, and we would like to pass this knowledge on to you.
There are many theories regarding how to tell if argan oil is pure or not. From its scent and texture to the appearance of sediments and its solidification temperature. Unfortunately, it’s not that easy to determine the good from the bad, unless you’ve had a point of reference of what real argan oil should smell and feel like. Especially since there are some misconceptions in the theories themselves.
For example, the appearance of sediments is often mentioned as a tell sign. Traditionally the argan nuts were crushed by hand and were left in their containers for the sediments to drop to the bottom of the container, afterwards, collecting the oil from the top of the container. These sediments are simply nut fragments. This unfiltered oil was cloudy in appearance with small amounts of sediment which escaped from the bottom of the container during decantation. This method of oil extraction has long been abandoned due to the need for water during the grinding of the nuts, which meant that the oil was being diluted and was not fit for purpose.
These days, even though the women of cooperatives do all the hard work of collecting the kernels and breaking them individually to get the nuts inside, a small machine is then used to mechanically press the oil out of the nuts without the use of any heat. Hence cold pressed. The oil is then filtered to make sure that as much of the sediments is removed as possible as the presence of these inside the oil will likely cause it to have a significantly lower shelf life due to its ability to act as a vehicle for such things as mold and yeast. Not to mention you wouldn’t want nut fragments in your hair after applying argan oil to it! A small number of manufacturers skip the filtration process to either save costs or to adhere to the ‘sediments’ theory to give the impression that their oil is purer (or worst is when their oil is not pure but they add these sediments to make it seem like it is)
Unfortunately, the word filtration has gained bad publicity in recent years due to methods often used by large scale mass producers of different oils, where they use methods such as bleaching or the use of diatomaceous earth to filter impurities and carbon to deodorize oils. However, when we mention filtering we are simply talking about pouring the oil into tanks fitted with a linen filter to extract any impurities from the oil. This does not in any way alter the argan oil and simply increases its shelf life.
The solidification of the oil in cold temperatures such as the fridge is another misconception which arose after this was recommended for testing the authenticity of olive oil. Thankfully this myth has now been debunked. The theory was based on the fact that due to the high concentration of Monounsaturated fats in good olive oils, which solidify quickly at low temperatures, a quality olive oil should solidify when stored inside a fridge. This was wrong on many levels. For example, factors such as olive types and how waxy they were along with harvest times were not considered. Fatty acid compositions are much more complicated in their solidification than those of water molecules where they have an exact freezing point. Furthermore, argan oil has a composition where its Monounsaturated fats are only slightly higher than its Polyunsaturated fats, which needs much colder temperatures than the fridge to solidify. So even though it will go cloudy and thick with white gel like substances appearing when the essential fatty acids coagulate, the balance between its Monounsaturated and Polyunsaturated fats would not allow it to fully solidify. We think this theory was referring to the unfiltered oil as with this method most of the wax from the nut is still present after extraction, which aids in its solidification at fridge temperature. Not to mention that when a cheap deodorized oil with high Monounsaturated fat content is added to argan oil, it will also give you a positive result in this test, so this would definitely not be a test we would recommend.
Hence in conclusion, if we were to give you some advice on what makes a good argan oil, it would be to firstly make sure it was stored correctly in a dark glass bottle. This is not to say that oils in clear bottles are necessarily fake. But, as with any oil, light can damage many of the oils’ good properties. To test the oil, drop a small amount between your palms, rub them hard and smell the oil, it should be a very subtle pleasant nutty smell which fades quickly. It should also absorb well into your skin and not leave a greasy feel on your hands. Please note that if you have tried the above test and ended up with a subtle smell similar to goat manure or that of a farm, this is due to the fact that the manufacturer had not picked their own kernels and instead purchased them cheaply from mass producers. These kernels are usually collected by big machines which pick and use all kernels from the ground, including those which local goats had ingested and processed. These kernels are never picked by quality manufacturers of argan oil.
You can always make your life easier and purchase our guaranteed quality controlled pure oils instead!