Beauty products aren’t normally surprising. Normally, they are, at most, interesting, sometimes they’re sticky let downs – but Douvall’s Argan Oil was different; The story goes as follows…
Douvall’s is a company set up by a woman called Alicia Douvall. She’s an ex-glamour model and best known in the UK for having a LOT of plastic surgery – over 100 operations at a cost of £1 million plus – and possibly best known to US readers as having a relationship with Dennis Rodman.
When I first heard she’d started a skincare range some time ago I thought ‘oh yes, like so many celebrities do – wonder if she’s even smelt it?’. But then a few weeks ago I was at a trade show. I came across the Douvall’s stand and there, standing on it, was a very tiny woman (and I’m only 5ft4). It was Ms Douvall.
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I was surprised. This wasn’t a glamorous show like Vitality where teenage girls might come up and coo at her. Nor was it the first ten minutes of the first day when there might be a photographer. This was 20 minutes before closing on the last day of a show for trade buyers. ‘Hmm,’ I thought. ‘Maybe this woman actually believes in what she’s doing.’
We had a chat and I found out a bit more including the fact that she had been out to Morocco and sourced the women’s co-operative who make the oil herself. I went from surprised to impressed.
The tricky bit about these encounters then arrived the ‘do you want to try something’ bit.
As daft as it might seem for someone who has been testing product for over 20 years, I find actually being asked if I’d like to try a sample really embarrassing.
Things called Bronzing Oil were being thrust at me (and that sounded a bit scary) so instead, I just said ‘if I was just going to try one product what would you like it to be?’ A tiny bottle was placed into my hand. ‘Organic Argan Oil Moisturiser’.
What is Argan Oil?
Yes, I know I’m behind the times jumping onto the Argan Oil bandwagon, but I’d never bothered trying it before. I generally prefer my skincare pumped full of ingredients created by men in white coats that might send my wrinkles back from whence they came.
This contains one single ingredient – an oil created by Mother Nature and pressed from the kernel of a desert growing nut. There’s not a test tube in sight – and that makes me nervous.
But, since I first wrote this review we’ve learned a lot more about Argan oil, what it can do and how to does it. So, here goes…
Argan oil (or argania spinosa to give it it’s Latin name) is an oil made from the kernels of the nuts of the Argan trees that grow, mostly, at the bottom of the Atlas Mountains in Morrocco. That’s one below.
Like most nuts, argan nuts are full of fats – and it’s the makeup of these that makes it so good for moisturising skin. It’s not so much that it adds oil back in, but instead, it creates a fine barrier over the skin which stops the water that is there coming out. One oil that’s particularly good at this is linoleic acid – and that’s one of the main constituents of argan oil.
Ingredients in argan oil, which is also high in vitamin E, are also known to have anti-inflammatory effects on the skin, are good for skin healing and have been shown to counteract some of the effects of free radicals.
Of course just because the raw ingredients of a product have been shown to help something, it doesn’t mean that translates to real results in humans – but, not only does argan oil have a history of traditional use for improving the look and health of skin, studies on argan oil have shown positive results.
For example, a trial in 2015 on 60 post-menopausal women saw a clear increase in skin elasticity when argan oil was applied to the skin – we lose elasticity fast after menopause so finding something that increases it is pretty positive.
That claim on boosted water hydration and better barrier function were also tested in an earlier part of the same trial and that too was proven.
And while those trials may have been done on older women, younger skin needs to retain elasticity and moisture too!
Does Argan Oil help hair?
Anecdotally yes, although there’s not the same level of clinical research backing this up.
The theory is that oils penetrate the hair which stops water from entering it. You don’t want that to happen as, when water enters the hair shaft it causes it to swell and that can lead to breakage.
Oils also coat the hair preventing harsher products like shampoo entering the hair shaft. It also makes it look shiny!
Applying oil to hair is a delicate task though – too much and you’ll need to wash again immediately, You literally need a tiny drop smoothed over the hair.
My Verdict on Douvalls Argan Oil.
The bottle sat in my ‘to be tested’ pile for a while – I admit, despite my newfound admiration for its CEO I was still looking at it sceptically, then one day I decided I’d try it.
That was 10 days ago, I’ve used it every day since. It’s good, very good.
It stops my skin feeling dry; it hasn’t brought me out in any spots (new skincare usually does); and even though it does absolutely nothing to remove my wrinkles the fact that it leaves my skin looking shiny and a bit glowy had one of my friends asking me suspiciously the other day ‘what have you had done to your face, you look amazing?’ – when I mentioned the over zealous botox, she said ‘no, I can see that, this is something else.’
The something else is Douvalls Argan Oil.
There is one downside. My iPhone hates me. Because I have no patience I invariably slap on moisturiser just before I put on make-up – all of about 60 seconds before I slap on make-up. Powder on top of oil look lovely, but it does make the powder slide off onto your phone at the first opportunity.
Sensible people may wish to use it at night, or at least wait a while before applying slap. I never learn and just keep a pile of tissues in my handbag to clean the phone!
So, if you want skin that glows – no chemicals required – try this oil. You’ll find it at amazon Douvall’s Organic Argan Oil Moisturiser 50ml.
If you want to check out the rest of the range – which has expanded quite a lot since I first met Ms Douvall way back when click here.
Can you Consume Argan Oil?
You might be wondering this, after oil with all the good fats it contains, it sounds like it would be a pretty positive addition to your diet as well as your skincare regime.
And, yes, Argan oil is edible, in fact, it is to Moroccan cooking what olive oil is to dishes in the Mediterranean.
However, if you are going to consume it, you need to buy what’s called culinary argan oil. This still comes from the same trees as the oil used in cosmetics, and it’s still made by hand, but it is processed slightly differently – the nuts it’s extracted from are roasted for starters.
Argan oil is best used cold so you don’t damage the fats within it. Add it to salad or put it on top of dishes like grilled fish or couscous to add a nutty flavour – and a bit of a health boost. That same Moroccan trial as I mentioned before also saw an increase in skin elasticity when people added argan oil to their diet.
There’s also been some evidence that it might also help knee arthritis reducing pain and increasing walking distance (if that sounds like something you want to know more about, also check out this post on other natural remedies doctors suggest to help arthritis).
There’s also a lot of research looking into whether the anti-inflammatory properties of argan oil might potentially play a role in reducing risk of cardiovascular disease.
The only downside is cost. The fact that it’s processed by hand with each nut ground into a paste from which the oil is removed, plus the news that each tree takes 14 years to grow and you can only harvest them for three months of the year – does make culinary argan oil on par, cost-wise, with very good quality olive oil.
If you do want to try it, you might want to try the Clearspring’s Range Toasted Organic Argan Oil (the price of which is not too terrifying).
Does Argan Oil Come From Goat Poo?
As we started off with a surprise – it seems only fair that I should finish with one too. You see, when I was looking up the studies into argan oil online, this intriguing question came up in google – and frankly, I had to know more.
Seems, there’s an idea going around that argan oil might be contaminated by goat poo – as in Morocco, goats like to climb argan trees to munch on the fruit. Because it takes so long for trees to grow, the nuts in that fruit were precious and so, it was said, that farmers would come comb the poop for the undigested nuts. Apparently, however, this is not true!!!
That’s pretty reassuring really considering you’ve spent all this time reading about it, isn’t it!
Who is The Wellness Nerd?
My name is Helen Foster and I’m a health journalist and wellness author. Publications I’ve written for include Women’s Health, Reader’s Digest, Body and Soul, Good Health at the Daily Mail and more. I have also written 16 books on health and nutrition.