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Story of Our Argan Oil

Early 2016 we decided to create the Ekovista Argan Oil 2.0. Basically every aspect of our argan oil was revised – who produced it, the way it was produced, the way it was pressed, the way it was bottled, the way it was packed.

Following chapters will go a bit deeper in which are the main benefits of argan oil and how our argan oil is produced. We visited our argan oil supplier in Morocco and went through every detail in the process of creating the best possible argan oil.

Please read on to know why we decided to add the word Premium to our argan oil.



1. ARGAN OIL IN SKIN CARE

Argan oil – What is it?

Argan tree (Argania Spinosa), also called as the “tree of life”, grows in only a very few places in the world. Perhaps the best possible climate and soil for argan tree can be found from south-west Morocco.
Argan tree produces nuts and argan oil is pressed from the kernels of argan nuts.
Locals traditionaly call argan oil as “liquid gold” based on its many benefits for both external and internal use.

Argan oil in skin care

Argan oil has long tradition for use in skin care in Northern Africa and now during the last 10 years argan oil has became extremely popular in US and Europe as well.
Argan oil suits for all skin types and it can be applied for face, body and hair. Oil can be used directly to skin or it can be mixed together with conditioner or face water.

The high amount of antioxidants in argan oil help to reduce the negative effects of pollution and UV-rays to the skin. Vitamin E and essential fatty acids help to reduce the effects of free radicals in skin cells and at the same time they make skin stronger and more elastic.

This oil is especially effective for dry and mature skin types. Argan oil has also been used to help relieve sunburn, scars and acne.




2. PROCESS

Growing the argan trees

Perhaps the best possible climate and soil for argan tree exist in Tamanar region in Morocco. Argan nuts used in our argan oil are from the organic argan fields in Tamanar region. International organic certifier, Ecocert, controls these argan fields together with the organic authorities of Morocco.

Hand picking the argan nuts

Our argan nuts are manually hand picked from the tree during July-August when they are ripe (yellow-orange color) and their nutrient levels are high. Machine picking is not used as it is very important to pick only the highest quality nuts in order to produce the highest quality oil.

Hand picking is also very important in order to ensure the sustainable farming of argan trees. Also in order to provide the best quality argan oil, nuts that have fallen down from the tree by itself are not used.

IMPORTANT: We do not press our oil from the nuts that have first been eaten by the local goats. This does still happen quite often, because these type of nuts are cheaper (no picking from the tree needed). The goats are absolutely crazy about argan nuts and these type of nuts can be easily collected from the ground.

Because our nuts are hand picked from the tree, the aroma of our argan oil is mild and pleasent.

Drying and cracking the nut 

After picking, the nuts are sun dried during around two months. After drying, the nuts can finally be cracked and the precious kernels collected from inside of the nut.

The nut is cracked by hand using the traditional stone tools. Machine cracking is not used as machines cannot recognize bad quality nut from good quality nut AND machines also would crush the kernel to tiny pieces – which would lead to inferior quality due to the fast oxidation process of crushed kernel.

Cold pressing and filtering

In the next step the kernels are first cold pressed using high quality machines. The temperature does not exceed +36 degrees Celsius at any point of the pressing process. The facilities are controlled and supervised by the international organic certifier Ecocert.

Finally, the oil is gently filtered four times by using organic grade filters. Filtration removes the potential natural impurities from the cold pressed oil.
NOTE: We do not apply active carbon filtering to remove the aroma of argan oil because we consider that this process would slightly lower the quality of the skin care properties of our oil.

Bottling and packing

In the last step, the argan oil is delivered to Finland and bottled and packed in Ecocert (once again) certified premises. The oil is bottled in high quality brown amber glass bottles which optimally preserve the precious skin care properties of argan oil.

One more special aspect in our oil is that the cracking of the argan nuts, removal of the kernels and cold pressing happens only after we provide an order to our supplier. Oil is not stored in advance and thus we can ensure that our oil is the freshest oil possible.




3. QUALITY


Triple Extra Virgin grade

We have given the title Premium to our argan oil. Due to the production method, our oil has received the highest Triple Extra Virgin -grade (Grade 1).

This top-class argan oil has following properties:

Peroxide value has to be less than 5 % meg O2/kg
Peroxide value is considered to be the best indicator to tell the quality and the potential rancidity of the fatty acids. The lower the value, the better oil. In comparison, the normal Extra Virgin argan oil has peroxide value of 10-15% meg O2/kg.

Free fatty acids value (oleic acid, Omega9) has to be less than 0,50 %
This value states the amount of rapidly oxidized free fatty acids from all of the fatty acids. In comparison, the normal Extra Virgin argan oil has the free fatty acids value of 0,65-0,80%.

Both of these values are measured and analyzed for each production batch run by an accredited laboratory.

 Triple Extra Virgin

Peroxide value 0-5%

Free fatty acids 0,10-0,50%

Double Extra Virgin

Peroxide value 5-10%

Free fatty acids 0,50-0,65%

Extra Virgin

Peroxide value 10-15%

Free fatty acids 0,65-0,80%

Virgin

Peroxide value 15-20%

Free fatty acids 0,80-1,50%


About the aroma of argan oil

Our Premium Argan oil has mild and pleasant nutty aroma which quickly fades away from skin.

In order to provide the highest quality oil, we have not removed this aroma by using the active carbon filtration.
Due to the very low peroxide and free fatty acid value, our oil has more pleasant and fresh aroma than what can be found from many of the other argan oils.

Sometimes argan oil producers do not use the best quality argan nuts (and even resort to those first eaten by goats) and THUS their oils have high peroxide and free fatty acid values and THUS they have strong and even unpleasant smell.

Our take is that removing the aroma would be in direct conflict of the high quality growing and production method and would not honor the final product.
This could be compared to the case where somebody would carefully and passionately grow organic vegetables and then carefully and thoughtfully prepare a meal from these vegetables in order to get all the precious nutrients in their most natural form, BUT then add some MSG in order to get more taste.




4. SOCIAL ASPECT

In addition to not make any compromises in argan oil quality, we find it utmost important that the whole growing, picking and cracking process chain works as ethically and in socially responsible way as possible.

Argan kernels that are used in our argan oil are provided by the Berber women co-operatives from the Tamanar region in Morocco, Women hand pick, sort, dry and crack the argan nuts and remove the precious argan kernels. Their work is of particular importance when the highest quality argan oil is produced.

These co-operatives have extremely important role in improving the social status of local women and providing work in areas where traditionally it has been difficult for women to find work. The co-operative that provides us the argan kernels employs currently about 150 women and they are constantly employing more women.

We also had an honor to meet the women working at this co-operative and test the cracking of an argan nut – and it was not easy by any means!




5. PREMIUM ARGAN OIL

Pure by Ekovista’s Premium Organic Argan Oil is an outcome of many different themes: organic and sustainable farming, traditional working methods, social aspects, top-class quality & production process and package design.

 

PREMIUM ORGANIC ARGAN OIL

Size: 50ml ja 100ml

Bottled in amber glass bottle

INCI: Argania Spinosa Kernel Oil (argan oil), Tocopherol (vitamin E)

Certificate: Ecocert