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Argan oil is the little oil that could. It wasn’t that long ago that it was totally under-the-radar in the U.S. beauty market (despite the fact that it’s been a go-to beauty secret for Mediterranean women for years). Now, it's found in a litany of different products across the hair and skincare categories—and with good reason.
Derived from the kernels of the argan tree, it’s packed—and we mean packed—with a slew of antioxidants, vitamins, and essential fatty acids that can work wonders for both hair and skin. For the former, it’s often used for its top-notch smoothing and shine-boosting prowess; for the latter, it offers deep hydration and antioxidant protection without clogging pores. In short, it’s one oil that's most definitely worth adding to your beauty routine.
Not sure where to start? Check out the best argan oil treatments below.
Best Overall: SheaMoisture 100% Pure Argan Oil
There’s one ingredient and one ingredient only in this bottle. That’s right, you get straight-up argan oil, without any other oils or fillers. This makes it a choice multi-tasker; Use a few drops on damp hair pre-blowdrying, layered under your face moisturizer, dabbed onto rough cuticles—it's totally up to you. Plus, at such an affordable price, you can afford to slather it on with reckless abandon.
Best Budget: The Ordinary 100% Organic Cold-Pressed Moroccan Argan Oil
The Ordinary is our go-to for concentrated formulas of singular ingredients—at insanely low prices—and argan oil is no different. This contains an organic version that’s cold-pressed to ensure all of its attributes —those fatty acids, vitamins, minerals, and more—stay in their purest and most effective form. The convenient dropper makes it easy to dispense, no matter whether you want to use it on hair or skin.
Best Drugstore: OGX Extra Penetrating Moroccan Argan Oil
If you’re not quite sure if argan oil will work for your hair (or if you're just a devoted drugstore shopper), pick up this hair treatment. It combines argan oil with other strand-smoothing ingredients to impart moisture, smoothness, and softness. FYI, this is a pretty rich formula, so it will work best on dry, coarse, or thick tresses.
Best for Hair: Moroccanoil Treatment Original
Arguably the product that kick-started the stateside Moroccan oil craze, this OG is a serious strand-saver (and a favorite of Byrdie Editorial Director Faith Xue). There’s no shortage of ways to use the lightweight styler. Try it on damp hair to make for a smoother, sleeker blow-dry, or apply a tiny bit on dry tips to tamp down flyaways and minimize the look of split ends.
Runner-Up, Best for Hair: Hask Argan Oil 5-in-1 Leave In
Just a few spritzes of this formula conditions the hair, tames frizz, and adds mirror-like shine. We like that it works equally well on dry or wet strands. Plus, unlike many other argan oil hair products, it comes in a spray, which is particularly great if you have fine hair since it’s almost impossible to overdo it and end up weighing down your strands by mistake.
Best for Curly Hair: Alaffia Curl Hydrating Oil
Argan oil is a great pick for all hair types. That being said, as any curly haired girl will tell you, curly textures do require a little bit of extra TLC and careful product selection. That’s where this oil, which is specifically formulated for all curl types, comes up huge. It pairs argan oil with castor and baobab oils to impart mega-moisture to your curls, leaving them soft and manageable yet still defined.
Best for Face: Avalon Organics Intense Defense with Vitamin C Antioxidant Oil
Argan oil’s high antioxidant content (coupled with the fact that it’s non-comedogenic and won’t clog pores) makes it a great oil to use on your complexion. You can definitely use a pure version, but if you want to get a little more bang for your buck, try this pick. It combines the star ingredient with another potent antioxidant: vitamin C. Together, the dynamic duo seals in moisture and safeguards skin from the damaging effects of sun and pollution.
Best Skincare Add-On: Paula’s Choice Moisture Renewal Oil Booster
If your standard moisturizer or serum just doesn’t seem to be cutting it these days, grab this guy. A good bet for all skin types, it pairs argan oil (along with several other plant-based oils) with ceramides to help increase moisture, soothe redness, and leave your complexion fresh and glowy. You can use it solo or add a few drops to a serum or moisturizer to amp up the effects.
Best for Stretch Marks: Poppy Austin Pure Argan Oil
Long story short, there are very few topical ingredients or treatments that have been scientifically proven to get rid of stretch marks. That being said, there is a ton of anecdotal evidence (read: word of mouth) that says vitamin E can help fade the tell-tale marks that show up as a result of pregnancy or weight changes. Since argan oil is loaded with vitamin E, it gets buzz as a stretch mark treatment worth trying (it also may help skin retain its elasticity). Our pick, here, is a completely pure version that’s also ethically sourced.
Best Lightweight: Josie Maran 100% Pure Argan Oil Light
If oils just aren’t your thing but we’ve now sold you on the fact that argan oil is worth trying, consider this formula. The brand is known for its array of awesome argan oil options, but this one uses a proprietary process to pull out the lightest elements of argan oil. The result is an uber-featherweight formula that soaks into the skin within seconds and will convert even oil-haters. In related news, it’s also a great option for oily or acne-prone skin; Byrdie senior editor Lindsey Metrus even credits it for helping clear her complexion.
Best Lotion: The Body Shop Wild Argan Oil Body Butter
Still can’t get on the oil train? No worries. Argan oil can easily be incorporated into hydrating creams, and this rich body butter is proof positive. It combines argan oil with the brand’s signature community fair-trade butter in a lusciously thick formula that’s ideal for knocking out even the driest of dry skin. We especially love it in the winter for combating parched patches on areas like elbows and knees.
What to Look For in an Argan Oil Treatment
Whether you’re using argan oil on your skin, scalp, or hair, board-certified dermatologist Dr. Geeta Yadav recommends opting for a cold-pressed formula. “This means the raw material has been gently, mechanically extracted to ensure its quality and efficacy,” she says.
Paired With Other Beneficial Ingredients
Dr. Yadav explains that on its own, argan oil has hydrating properties that help strengthen the skin barrier and also has a high concentration of antioxidants and polyphenols, which can help protect against UVB-induced damage and photoaging. While plenty of pure formulas exist, she also recommends finding a formula that pairs argan oil with other ingredients that may be beneficial for your skin or hair type.
For example, she recommends those who are prone to breakouts looking for a formula that also includes tea tree oil, which had sebum control properties and can further improve skin clarity. She also suggests castor oil, especially for use on the hair, as its also rich in fatty acids and has a nourishing effect.
Meet the Expert
Dr. Geeta Yadav is a board-certified dermatologist and the founder of Skin Science Dermatology in Toronto. She practices general, medical, and cosmetic dermatology.