7 Ways to Use Argan Oil for Hair: Fight Frizz, Repair, and Boost Shine

woman with long brown hair removes cap from argan oil in glass bottle

Treehugger / Sanja Kostic

If you’re looking for a versatile hair treatment that’s packed full of antioxidants, vitamin E, and omega fatty acids, argan oil might just be what you need.

This "miracle oil" is extracted from the seeds of the Argania spinosa tree and has been used for centuries by people in the north-African country of Morocco for cosmetic purposes.

To get the full suite of beauty benefits, make sure you’re purchasing cosmetic oil labeled 100% pure, cold-pressed, organic Argania spinosa (argan) oil. Then you’ll be ready to try it out with one of these seven applications using argan oil for hair.

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Leave-in Conditioner

profile of woman with long brown hair running argan oil through it with hands

Treehugger / Sanja Kostic

Oleic and linoleic acids are two of the powerful ingredients in argan oil that help it easily detangle hair and make it a perfect leave-in conditioner. These fatty acids can soak deep into the hair shaft while also sealing the hair’s cuticle—the protective outside layer of the hair—to make your strands smoother.

The slippery texture of the fatty acids in argan oil makes it ideal for getting out the most stubborn tangles while locking in needed moisture to help prevent dry, heat-damaged ends from splitting. This can result in less hair breakage and hair loss. 

To use argan oil as a leave-in conditioner, apply it to freshly washed, towel-dried hair by placing a few drops on your palms and rubbing them together. Then finger comb the oil through your hair to distribute it evenly, concentrating on the ends for extra protection. Let it soak in and then style your hair like you normally would. 

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Frizz-Fighting Serum

Treehugger / Sanja Kostic

When humidity hits, your hair can be the first thing to absorb all the extra moisture in the air. As the water gets under the hair’s cuticle, the hair swells and gives each strand that unruly, frizzy look. 

Most frizz-fighting products are made with silicones that can build up on hair and weigh it down or dry it out.

One of the many great things about argan oil is its hydrophobic, or water-repelling properties. By applying a small amount of argan oil to dried hair, it can act as a barrier to keep out unwanted water and banish frizz. Pay attention to dried-out ends and you’ll be left with a shiny, smooth style.

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Shine Booster

back of woman with long wavy brown hair running wooden comb and argan oil through it

Treehugger / Sanja Kostic

Repeatedly exposing your hair to sunlight, heat, or excessive brushing can damage the outer layer of the strand, known as the cuticle. A healthy cuticle lays flat and helps to reflect light, making hair look shiny and hair color look rich.

On the other hand, damaged cuticles can lift up and make hair appear dull and lifeless. One way to up the shine factor of your hair while protecting it from further damage is to make sure the cuticles are sealed and laying flat.

Distribute a conservative amount of argan on your dry hair, smoothing it over your strands from top to bottom in order to follow the natural direction of cuticle growth. Argan oil can help those damaged strands get back their luster, giving your hair a healthy gloss.

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Scalp Moisturizer

woman in blouse and long dark hair massages scalp with argan oil

Treehugger / Sanja Kostic

The natural antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of argan oil may help soothe a dry scalp.

Massaging argan oil loaded with Vitamin E and polyphenols directly into your scalp can help loosen the buildup of dead skin cells and increase circulation in the skin.  

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Hair Color Pre-Treatment

apply argan oil first in glass bottle next to home hair dying supplies

Treehugger / Sanja Kostic

Hair dyes and straightening treatments work by opening up the cuticle layers so the active ingredients or colors can be deposited in the cortex, or middle layer of the hair. But in order to do this, the chemical has to have a very high pH. These intense processes can do a lot of damage to your hair, leaving it dry, rough, dull, and brittle.

All of this happens because the hair is made up of mostly protein, which it loses when the cuticle is opened and chemicals are absorbed. Applying argan oil to hair before treating it with alkaline chemicals can actually reduce protein loss in certain hair types.

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Protective Spray

woman with long brain hair applies protective argan oil spray before heat treatment

Treehugger / Sanja Kostic

If you regularly blow-dry, straighten, or curl your hair with heat, you may want to consider adding argan oil to your hair care routine. That’s because applying direct heat to your hair is one of the most damaging things you can do to it.

Most oils do not make good heat protectants because they start to break down at much lower temperatures than styling tools can get to. But argan oil is able to withstand much higher temperatures before any damage occurs to its components.

Applying a spray that contains argan oil before heat treatments is a good way to help prevent permanent damage to your tresses.

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Scalp Stimulant

woman in robe applies argan oil for overnight conditioner with white towel turban

Treehugger / Sanja Kostic

If you’re looking to stimulate hair growth, try massaging vitamin E-rich argan oil directly onto your roots and scalp for at least five minutes. Let it soak in overnight before washing it out and styling. 

An Environmentally Friendly Oil

Argan trees naturally prevent soil erosion and desertification, and UNESCO declared the argan forest of southern Morocco a Biosphere Reserve. 

While harvesting argan seeds does not damage the protected trees, overharvesting may reduce future tree growth.

If you’ve never tried argan oil for your skin or hair before, look for a high-quality product, preferably with a fair trade certification, for the best results. Pure argan oil should have a nutty scent and be clear with a pale yellow hue.

View Article Sources
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  2. Faria, Pamella Mello, et al. "Hair Protective Effect of Argan Oil (Argania spinosa Kernel Oil) and Cupuassu Butter (Theobroma grandiflorum Seed Butter) Post Treatment With Hair Dye." Journal of Cosmetics, Dermatological Sciences and Applications, vol. 3, no. 3A, 2013, pp. 40-44., doi:10.4236/jcdsa.2013.33A1006 

  3. Dias, Maria Fernanda Reis Gavazzoni. "Hair Cosmetics: An Overview." International Journal of Trichology, vol. 7, no. 1, 2015, pp. 2-15., doi:10.4103/0974-7753.153450

  4. Yu, Yang, et al. "Structure and Mechanical Behavior of Human Hair." Materials Science and Engineering: C, vol. 73, 2017, pp. 152-163., doi:10.1016/j.msec.2016.12.008

  5. Lin, Tzu-Kai, et al. "Anti-Inflammatory and Skin Barrier Repair Effects of Topical Application of Some Plant Oils." International Journal of Molecular Sciences, vol. 19, no. 1, 2018, pp. 70., doi:10.3390/ijms19010070

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  7. Bejaoui, Meriem, et al. "Argan (Argania spinosa) Press Cake Extract Enhances Cell Proliferation and Prevents Oxidative Stress and Inflammation of Human Dermal Papilla Cells." Journal of Dermatological Science, vol. 103, no. 1, 2021, pp. 33-40., doi:10.1016/j.jdermsci.2021.06.003