Argan oil: the thrifty version!

Miss Thrifty16 September 11, 2013

argan oil for hair - lots of products at Boots

Back in the pre-Thrifty days, I used to get argan oil from Selfridges Food Hall. On salads and as a dipping oil, it was delicious, with a nutty aroma and taste. I was told that the distinctive taste came from the unorthodox production methods, out in Morocco: goats would climb the trees, eat the argan fruits and then the argan pits would be plucked from goat poop, to be processed and the oil bottled.   

At the time, argan oil seemed like a niche product. So I was caught by surprise a couple of years ago, when it suddenly took off as the must-have hair treatment. The oil, which is rich in fatty acids, softens, moisturises and adds shine to hair. I am not a beauty devotee, so the first I heard about this was at the bash for the Cosmopolitan Blog Awards 2011, when other bloggers there went slightly batty because the goody bag contained a full-size bottle of Moroccan Oil, which is rich in argan. Sadly I was in a daffy stupor after winning the Best Lifestyle Blog award, and completely forgot to pick up a goody bag when I left, so I didn’t get to try it.

More recently I was on a rare foray into the haircare section at Boots, and I realised that I was surrounded – properly surrounded – by bottles of argan oil-infused gunk from a neverending list of haircare companies. Argan oil shampoo, argan oil conditioners, argan oil hair masks, and so on. You name it: there was an argan oil-infused version to hand (above).

The crazy thing is, the argan oil-infused products were a good £2 to £5 more expensive than their non-arganified equivalents. That seems like a lot: it’s nut oil, not liquid gold! They don’t even scoop the nuts out of the goat poop, anymore, apparently; now that argan oil has taken off , the nuts are processed by machines. Conditioner: £11. Shine spray: £10. “Hair recovery mask”: £6. I left Boots with the impression that if you were a shampoo manufacturer, you could dribble in a bit of argan oil, slap a couple of quid on the price and make a killing…

…And went home to my own, thrifty version of an argan oil hair product. It’s a small, 60ml pump bottle from eNaissance, a company that sells essential oils online, at budget prices. I discovered it a year-and-a-half ago, while looking for some of the Moroccan Oil that I had missed out on at the Cosmo bash. Ha: last year I finally understood why the other bloggers there had been so happy about the Moroccan Oil’s inclusion in the goody bag, once I found out how expensive it was to buy!

I had looked for hair oil because after Thrifty Baby was born, my hair went to pot. It didn’t fall out or anything like that, but it turned nasty: dry and dead, from the roots to the tips. It felt like polyester doll’s hair – or those really cheapo hair extensions (same thing, I suppose). Between work and childcare, I couldn’t get to the hairdresser easily, so needed an interim solution. The answer came in the forms of a rediscovered passion for up-dos (hence the buns!) and a bottle of this:

Moroccan Argan Oil Hair Care

It’s called Moroccan Argan Hair Serum, and is available from eNaissance for £6.99 for 60ml. It contains the following ingredients:

  • Moroccan argan oil
  • Macadamia nut oil
  • Bay extract
  • Cedarwood extract
  • Cypress extract
  • Patchouli extract
  • Rosemary extract
  • Ylang ylang extract

As you might expect, it smells pretty yum. It also did a good job on my hairwreck, making it look super-soft and shiny. Compare to what goes into Moroccan Oil, according to the Black Girl Long Hair website:

  • Cyclopentasiloxane
  • Dimethicone
  • Cyclomethicone
  • Butylphenyl
  • MethylPropional 
  • Argan oil
  • Linseed extract
  • Fragrance Supplement
  • Yellow and red colouring
  • Coumarin
  • Benzyl Benzoate
  • Alpha-Isomethul Ionone

In other words, Moroccan Oil contains various silicones, which help to tame frizz. The eNaissance formulation is simpler, cheaper and 100% plant oils and extracts. It still achieves excellent results.

With the eNaissance serum, I apply a couple of teeny drops from the bottle after I wash my hair. Eighteen months in and there is still plenty left:

argan hair serum

(I added the Matchbox car not for artistic effect, but to illustrate the small size of the bottle.)

If you are a fan of argan oil products, I would recommend trying this one. It is the same price as many of the argan oil shampoos, conditioners and other products for sale out there – and lasts a lot longer.

The only thing I am tempted to do differently, when that bottle does finally run out, is to buy a bottle of pure argan oil and try that. A 100ml bottle from eNaissance costs £7.89. That works out even cheaper than the Moroccan argan hair serum. It’s seriously cheaper than the pure argan oil made by Argania and sold in Boots, which costs £14.99 for 100ml.

Do you use thrifty wonder products on your hair? If so, what do you recommend?

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16 Responses to “Argan oil: the thrifty version!

Sarah says:

I love reading your tips on cleaning and products! I’ve taken quite a few on board to make my busy life a little easier!

Just wanted to let you know aldi do a Argan oil in a bluey green box, in the beauty bit, think its £4/5. It’s very good, use it all the time, especially on my daughters long hair. I’ve also tried some of the more expensive ones, and the aldi one is just as good!!

September 12, 2013 at 7:30 am

Miss Thrifty says:

Sarah, that’s a brilliant tip – thank you! I’ve never seen it in the Aldi nearest to me, but I’ll have a careful look next time I’m there and snap it up if I can. The beauty aisles there tend to be a bit of a free-for-all!

September 12, 2013 at 8:28 am

What a great tip! I love argan oil as i have afro type hair that gets very dry and frizzy. Last week I discovered a tub of Argan Oil hair mask at Primark for a big tub. It’s meant to be left on for a while and then washed off, but I use just a bit and work it into my hair … it calms the frizz brilliantly, and all for £4!xxx

September 12, 2013 at 10:10 am

faith says:

a great post! i love the product ingredients and referring to the sites. Thank you!

September 12, 2013 at 12:43 pm

I bought a huge 250ml tube of Argan Oil shampoo @ B +M s- a cheap bargain store.It was 99p and Conditioner was also available. It’s really good . I’ve also see Argan Oil hair products @ Poundworld too. Isn’t it surprising what you can see in the pound shops??
Best wishes, Kate

September 12, 2013 at 1:15 pm

vivien says:

I actually bought a $49 bottle of pro naturals argan oil after not having much success with the cheap ones (argan oil is rare, it shouldn’t be that cheap, plus they’re full of silicones which my hair hates) so I’m glad they worked for you…just not for me I’m afraid!

September 12, 2013 at 8:28 pm

Miss Thrifty says:

What a great bunch of tippers you are! Thanks Kate and Claire for the argan bargain intelligence. I also had a good tip-off from a reader via email. I’ll add all of them to the post.

Vivien – wow, that is certainly at the steep end. Even the food grade stuff I used to buy was a fraction of that! But if it works, then great: from your comment it sounds you had embarked on a lengthy search. Silicones: yes, I was surprised by the ingredients list for the Moroccan Oil. I don’t have anything against silicones, but to mind it’s being marketed as more of a natural product.

September 12, 2013 at 10:02 pm

Graham says:

Nice post! Pure Argan oil is amazing because it can be used on hair, skin and nails. It will cut the cost of your beauty regime as it’s a real all in one product!

September 13, 2013 at 12:30 pm

Sandy says:

I will definitely be getting myself some of that. Thanks!

I make my own shampoo, using an organic SLS-free shampoo base. It works equally well as a shower gel. I get it in batches of 1 litre. I add tea tree oil to it, which is supposed to be anti-headlice (I have two little girls) and good for the scalp. I buy the tea tree oil from the pharmacy because it’s cheaper. I also sometimes add tangerine oil or similar when making shower gel.

September 14, 2013 at 10:43 am

Kate says:

I just received my order from enaissance (organic virgin argan oil) thanks so much for the website recommendation! I have a friend who is part moroccan and she told me about it a few years ago, and how its only 80p for a massive container of it, then comparing some of the stuff I’ve seen on the high street it seems like such a rip off! Nice to know you can pick up the real deal, just not in boots!

September 14, 2013 at 11:36 am

Miss Thrifty says:

Sandy – that is interesting! I was on the Summer Naturals site the other day, stocking up on white vinegar, and noticed that they are now doing shampoo bases. If Morrisons has discontinued my favourite 20p shampoo – which I think they have, darn it, if my recent trips there are anything to go by – I may well give it a go. Where do you get your shampoo base from?

Kate – ah, pleased to be of use! Do let me know how you get on with it…

September 14, 2013 at 11:57 am

Sandy says:

I buy the shampoo base from ebay. It is not as cheap as the Morrison’s one, but then it doesn’t have any nasty stuff in it either.

September 14, 2013 at 12:34 pm

Amandah says:

Homemade Ginger oil!
As a woman with curly Afro hair, finding the right oils to cater to your hair needs is not as cut & dry as some would think.
Thanks to one of my, many cousins, doing some online research last yr, we now have a whole array of homemade products.
Since I began using the Ginger oil, alongside REAL Castor oil, my hair has almost gone back to my childhood days when it was soft, soft, soft. 🙂

September 16, 2013 at 6:46 am

Sharon Peters says:

I will be ordering from eNaissance I think – I bought my daughter a small bottle of Moroccan Oil which cost over £30! Admittedly she has only used a fraction since I purchased it for her birthday in May but even so – the price is very steep! Thanks for the recommendation!

September 17, 2013 at 10:15 am

Naomi Alexander says:

Wilkinsons do their own hair serum (kind of like Frizz Ease) which is less than two quid and a bottle lasts me nearly a year (you don’t need much serum, squeeze a few drops into your palm and rub your hands together before scooching thru your locks) If you have curly/frizzy hair it works a treat.

September 29, 2013 at 5:11 pm

Ann says:

I have been using the Pro Naturlas argan oil and works really well for my hair. =)

December 2, 2016 at 6:26 pm

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