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:
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:
- Argan oil
- Linseed extract
- Fragrance Supplement
- Yellow and red colouring
- 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:
(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?