Have you ever found yourself obsessed with a local product while traveling? Thanks to the team at Mental Floss magazine, I was able to dig into two of my favorite obsessions: Morocco & moisturizer, and gain a new respect for the centuries old craft of cracking the tough argan nut.
From Goat Dung to Face Cream: The History of Morocco’s Argan Oil
For Mental Floss
by Jess Simpson
Argan oil’s rise from local resource to world-wide sensation didn’t happen overnight. It took centuries for the “liquid gold” to become the “new olive oil” for gourmands and the cosmetic industry’s latest it-girl, thanks, in part, to women who perfected their techniques over centuries and a female scientist turned industry-builder determined to protect the environment. Keep reading…
Experts say while there were just two beauty products containing argan oil on the market a decade ago, today there are hundreds boasting the elixir as a prime ingredient. While “prime” is relative – many products use trace amounts of argan diluted with cheaper oils – any visit to your local drugstore shows how important the oil has become to the cosmetics industry.
While traveling through Morocco and researching for this story, the most fascinating aspect for me was how this obsession (primarily by women, myself included,) for younger-looking skin and shinier hair is impacting the lives of women in this traditionally male-dominated society.
Women across Morocco are going to work, many for the first time outside of the home, in cooperatives created to produce the oil. While anyone on the ground there is sure to tell you that the term “women’s coop” is used loosely – sometimes as a veil for male-run operations where women see little gain – it is still hard to deny change blowing in the desert air.
We will explore this topic more deeply as well as share more stories from Morocco in upcoming posts. In the meantime, it’s time for face mask therapy. Argan oil, of course.