Your Guide To Using Argan Oil For Shiny, Strong Hair

Often described as a "miracle ingredient," argan oil has been popular in the haircare scene for a few years now. Unlike other hair fads that have come and gone over the years (brushing your hair with 100 strokes a day, anyone?), argan oil actually has some merit as a haircare ingredient. You may want to incorporate it into your regular routine to reap benefits like shinier and stronger hair. And as we know, hair that's strong and healthy generally translates to growth, so argan oil might be the answer to finally getting your dream length.


The best part about using argan oil on your locks is there are several ways to introduce it to your haircare regimen, whether you opt for an argan oil mask or an infused shampoo. Though there are a few side effects, such as potential skin reactions, and a few hair types which might not pair well with this ingredient, many people find that argan oil is a great addition to their weekly rotation.

Why is argan oil so good for the hair?

Argan oil is a native Moroccan ingredient that originates from the argan tree. As Healthline notes, it's such an effective haircare ingredient because it's rich in vitamin E and fatty acids, and is a particularly good source of omega-6 and oleic acid. While scientific research is limited on the direct effects of argan oil on overall hair health, anecdotal evidence suggests that these properties can moisturize the hair. Not only does this lead to shinier tresses, but it may also prevent split ends, thus helping hair to grow longer and stronger.


Additionally, argan oil is loaded with antioxidants, which can strengthen the hair follicles and reduce free-radical damage caused by the sun (via Be Body Wise). This can prevent the hair from becoming frizzy and dry. Argan oil may also help to fend off scalp infections thanks to its anti-inflammatory qualities, protect your hair from color damage, and moisturize your scalp enough to reduce dandruff.

Side effects of using argan oil

The largest potential side effect to be wary of when using argan oil is the possibility of an allergic reaction. The ingredient originates from the kernels of the argan tree, which means it's not entirely safe for people with nut allergies (via MedicalNewsToday). Signs of an allergic reaction include an itchy rash or swelling, so it's important to stop using argan oil immediately and see your doctor if you develop these symptoms, per Purplle.


Argan oil might not be the best ingredient for you if you have sensitive skin, as it's also been known to cause contact dermatitis in some people. This may result in itchy red skin or small bumps.

It's also important to store argan oil correctly, away from sunlight. It should last for approximately two years before expiring, as long as you keep it in a cool and dry place with a tightly sealed bottlecap, per Gemma Etc.

How to add argan oil to your routine

Argan oil can be ingested or applied topically. While it has been shown to moisturize the hair and skin of those who take it orally, the most common way to incorporate argan oil into your routine is to apply it directly to your hair (via Healthline). You can do this either by mixing it in with your haircare products, purchasing products that already contain argan oil, or applying pure argan oil to your hair.


"An argan oil hair mask is amazing particularly if you have damaged hair," celebrity hairstylist Andrew Fitzsimons tells Byrdie. "Leave it on for 15 to 30 minutes to reap the oil's full benefits."

If you want to reap the anti-inflammatory benefits of argan oil, Fitzsimons recommends using it as a scalp treatment, letting it settle into the scalp for between 20 and 30 minutes. Alternatively, you can use shampoo, conditioner, serums, and heat protectant sprays that have been infused with argan oil.

Women's Health explains that you can use pure argan oil as a leave-in conditioner by applying a few drops to the ends of your hair — it doesn't matter if the hair is wet or dry. How often you should be using argan oil comes down to trial and error, your specific hair type, and how you're using it. For those with oilier hair, a mask once a week may be sufficient. However, those with dry hair may see better results using argan oil products every second day.


How to create your own argan oil mask

Though you can buy pre-made argan oil hair masks, such as the muk Spa Argan Oil Repair Mask, you might want to make your own. Natural beauty products business Isabella's Clearly advises beginning by mixing two tablespoons of coconut oil and one tablespoon of argan oil together. Heat them on low and then cool before adding four drops of either lavender or peppermint oil. Apply the mask to your hair and let it sit for up to two hours before washing it out.


Women's Health recommends massaging the mask onto your scalp and through your hair before wrapping your hair in a towel. You may also need to wash your hair twice to ensure your hair isn't oily afterwards. You can apply conditioner during your wash, as this can help to break down the remnants of the argan and coconut oil.

If you have naturally greasy hair, you may want to limit applying the mask to the mid-lengths of the hair and below, rather than massaging it directly into your roots. Though you can apply pure argan oil to wet or dry hair, masks tend to be most effective when you apply them to wet hair, per Let's Craft Instead. If you don't want to apply the mask to freshly washed hair, you can simply wet it first.


Argan oil and fine hair

Thanks to its moisturizing properties, argan oil can work wonders for thick, dry, coarse, or damaged hair. However, if you have fine hair which is prone to feeling and looking oily, you may find that argan oil weighs down your locks when used too frequently or in larger, pure quantities.


"Thick, coarse hair types will benefit most from higher concentrations of argan oil," Connecticut-based board-certified dermatologist Deanne Robinson, M.D., tells Ipsy. "If you have fine, slippery strands, then a lighter formula containing argan oil [vs. pure argan oil] will be a better fit. Almost anyone can tolerate and benefit from a dime-sized amount on their ends."

Speaking to the website, hairdresser Giovanni Vaccaro explains that if your fine hair feels greasy or weighed down by even small amounts of argan oil, it's okay to avoid it altogether. Though many people swear by this ingredient, he confirms that it's best for those with "medium to thick" or "frizzy" hair.