Look around the world today, and it is common to see many long-recognised ingredients get a second wind. All it takes is one product that sells well to use these ingredients and reagents and they become hugely popular. One of the finest examples of this would be Argan. Argan is a common choice for so many products today, ranging from skincare goods to natural beauty products. Argan oil is commonly used, too, for many people in the wellness industry.

When you look into the actual rise of the argan industry, though, the numbers can be highly surprising.

What is argan?

Argan is a plant oil that comes from the kernels of the argan tree. These trees are found across Morocco, so many people see argan as a Moroccan product. It is commonly used for various reasons, not least commonly used within Moroccan culinary culture. Indeed, dipping one bread into some argan oil is as common in Morocco as it would be for someone from Italy to do the same thing with olive oil.

It is a commonly used ingredient in cooking, but it is also commonly used in skincare and wellness products. Argan oil itself is made up of a series of fatty acids, including oleic and linoleic fatty acids. For that reason, it is a very popular product within these cultures. Another big part of why argan oil is so popular today is that unlike other oils – like olive oil – argan oil is likely to be more resistant to issues such as oxidisation.  

Argan oils are a natural ingredient that is found in many products today. The global argan oil market is growing all of the time thanks to the rise in the number of people who find out about this product.

What is behind the rise of argan?

Argan has been very popular in Morocco for a long time, having been discovered long ago. However, since the start of the 21st century, there has been a clamour for people to use argan and argan oil products in their day-to-day lives.

And it is easy to see why, too; the product itself has gained a hugely positive reputation because it can be so commonly found today. While many might not be 100% sure what it does or why it is used, its presence in so many big-name beauty products today means that the argan industry is absolutely massive. It is used in some of the most common cosmetic products, ranging from face creams to lip glosses to shampoos and soaps.

For that reason, many simply see the word ‘argan’ on a cosmetic product and believe that they can trust it. Unlike other oil products, argan has formed a reputation where it almost has a ‘brand trust’ value, where people believe that they can and should be using more argan oil in their lives.

So, the rise of the industry tends to come from the virtuous cycle of being well-respected in Moroccan culture and becoming a ‘fad’ ingredient used in the cosmetics industry.

The argan economy is a huge part of Moroccan culture

Indeed, argan drives more than simply a large economic boon to Morocco due to its regular usage and popularity. It is estimated that the argan industry helps to support over two million people within the main argan oil-producing regions, such as the Arganeraie region.

It is also believed that over 300 companies of varying sizes exist that work within this industry. Many of the seeds which are harvested and extracted for the creation of argan oils will come from Berber ethnic backgrounds. This has long been a generational skill of the Berber peoples, and that plays a big role in keeping the secret to good and consistent extraction alive.

However, the economy for argan oil might make huge sums of money globally today, but the actual people who create the base argan oil tend to see very little of these profits. Indeed, they believe that some of the women involved in the extraction process can make as little as £170 per month – that means that while the industry itself is today estimated to be worth well in excess of $200m USD, the people who have long put in the most work have seen little reward.

Expansion is expected to continue, too, with many experts believing that the market is going to keep seeing growth – some estimate as much as 10% year on year – until 2027 at the earliest. So, if you have never used or seen an argan product before, that might be set to change as this highly popular product becomes even more popular.