Argan oil: The Moroccan ‘liquid gold’ for hair and skin

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Updated 25 January 2015
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Argan oil: The Moroccan ‘liquid gold’ for hair and skin

Argan oil is known as ‘liquid gold’ and is made especially in Morocco. It is used in beauty rituals and in cooking. Lately, this oil has captured the attention of many for its proven nutritional and cosmetic health benefits. The oil is sold around the world as a luxury item and can be difficult to find outside its production areas.
In 1998, Morocco’s argan forest was designated a UNESCO protected biosphere so that argan oil is sustainable. Argan trees grow in southwestern Morocco and go to up to 10 meters in height and live up to 200 years. The leaves of this tree are small and long and the flowers are also small with five pale yellow green petals that bloom around the month of April. The argan fruit has a thick bitter peel surrounding a sweet smelling flavored layer that surrounds a nut that is rich in oil. The fruit takes around a whole year to mature which makes it ready to fall the next summer after its blooming.
After the harvest of the falling argan nuts, Berber women of the southwest start with the oil extraction process. Traditionally, the women use a specific technique for oil extraction where they start roasting the seed to give the oil a nutty flavor, then grinding the roasted seeds into a paste with a small amount of water between a rotary stone quern. Then they start squeezing the paste by hand to assure the extraction of oil, which can be used for up to six months. The paste is rich in oil and is sometimes used to feed animals in the area. It takes one woman three days to make just one liter of oil. This is why argan oil is so valuable.
American and European cosmetic companies have grown fond of argan oil and it is now available in many countries in beautiful packaging to attract more people to the product. Many beauty experts consider argan oil to be the go-to beauty elixir. It is filled with essential fatty acids, anti-oxidants, vitamins and minerals that promote your overall health by moisturizing, softening as well as protecting your face and hair from sun damage without harmful toxins and Parabens.
Argan oil has many uses; it can fight aging and wrinkles. It is known as the elixir of eternal youth because it modernizes and protects the skin to keep it young. A small drop can go a long way; try using it instead of your night moisturizer after cleansing , massage your face and neck with the oil before going to bed. It is considered to be a dry oil so don’t worry about it being all greasy on you, this also makes it easier for you to use it in the day time because it will be absorbed quickly by your skin.
This oil can also be used as a hair treatment to give it vitality and smoothness; it revives hair loss and encourages hair to regrow, returning its shines and brilliance. Argan oil can be used as a styling product for your dry hair by taking a few drops of this golden oil on your palm and rubbing them together, then running them through you hair. It will leave the hair shiny and frizz free. It can be used as a leave-on conditioner after shower, add a few drops to the tips of your hair to help nourish it without having to blow dry your hair. Moroccan women especially like to use it as an overnight treatment where they gently massage their scalp with a few drops up to the end of their hair tips, wrapping it while they sleep. They would wash their hair with warm water the next day to have soft, shiny locks.
Many nails artists have discovered that argan oil can be used as a treatment for nails to prevent cracking and for keeping them strong and healthy. Nails can be kept well-groomed and cuticles healthy by applying argan oil to them. It will help moisturize your skin and nails as well as strengthen them. Your nails will never crack again if you use it regularly.
Argan oil is perfect for use in your homemade beauty rituals. Mix some argan oil with brown sugar and lemon to create a gentle body and face scrub. You can also add a few drops to your face pack mixed with yogurt or avocado.
Argan oil is also used for cooking; many Moroccan women use this ingredient in their hearty dishes. The nutty tasting oil is sometimes used in salad dressings or as dipping for bread. One of the most famous Moroccan dippings made with argan oil is the Amlou comprising unsalted raw almonds, honey and argan oil.
Start by roasting the almonds for around 20 minutes, then grind them into a powder. Mix the powder with honey and argan oil and enjoy with crispy bread and chips.

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Yousra Elsadig brings her modest style to LFW

An image from the show in London. (Frederico Velez)
Updated 21 February 2019
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Yousra Elsadig brings her modest style to LFW

DUBAI: An independent showcase of emerging designers held during London Fashion Week, Fashion Scout once again lived up to its name — scouting out and presenting talented designers from across the globe from Feb. 15-17.

Arab News went along to a showing by a UK-based designer Yousra Elsadig, whose Boutique De Nana collection paid tribute to her former home country, Sudan.

“I am trying to depict the beauty of my homeland. It’s so heart-breaking to see what’s happening in Sudan. I want to dedicate this collection to my country and to put the focus on freedom, justice and peace,” she said.

Elsadig, who was named “Woman of the Year” by Barclays in 2017 and “Designer of The Year 2016 by the Modest Association of London, designs for women who want to dress modestly, but with imagination and style.

“The modest element is very important to me — women can be beautiful, feminine and modest,” she said.

Her designs have a simplicity, charm and quirkiness that comes partly from the use of recycled fabrics, as sustainability is a key message she wants to get across. 

Elsadig is unusual in combining her designer role with a full-time degree in optometry. In fact, the day before her LFW show, she sat an exam and then drove from her home in Wales to London. 

She is also the mother of two young girls, but if that’s a lot to juggle it doesn’t show. She was a bundle of warmth and energy backstage — calmly briefing the models.

Her family left Sudan when she was very young and she grew up in Canada. Her family then left Canada to live in Wales in the UK.

It was in Cardiff that she met her mentor, designer Sarah Valentin, who was teaching community sewing and textile classes with a special focus on recycling and sustainability. Valentin said she is thrilled to see Elsadig achieving such success.

“I saw her potential and creative ideas. It’s incredible that she is showing here at London Fashion Week.  I’m so proud of her,” she said.

As the models moved gracefully through the room, the clothes gave off a sense of confident, graceful and highly individual style — perfect for the modern, modest woman of today.