When I booked my trip to Morocco, I immediately began doing research to book excursions. One of the places that was at the top of my list to visit was Essaouira. Why was it Essaouira? Because that’s where the magic grows. If you don’t know what magic I’m talking about, it’s the Argan tree where we get the infamous argan oil or as some may call it, Moroccan oil.
7 Benefits of Argan Oil or Moroccan Oil:
- Skin moisturizer- great for hydrating and softening skin
- Hair conditioner- softer and silkier hair
- Anti-aging properties- to slow down the process of visible aging lines
- Acne Treatment- helps treat and prevent acne
- Treatment for feet, hands, and nails- softens and conditions feet, hands, and cuticles.
- Prevent stretch marks during pregnancy
- Lip moisturizer- great to prevent chapped lips
You can find argan oil pretty much anywhere in Morocco, but I wanted to visit one of the women’s cooperative to learn about the different types of oils. On our way to the coast of Essaouira, and after we stopped to see the goats in the tree we made our way to Assaisse Ouzeka (Argane Tichka) women’s cooperative.
Before we get to Assaisse Ouzeka I have to tell you about the goats in the argan trees. I’ve heard about these particular goats and I’ve seen pictures online, but it was a site to see in person. People kept asking me why the goats were in the tree and it is to eat the argan fruit. When goats eat the argan fruit and passes through them, people would collect the feces of the poop to get the argan fruit seed to make argan oil.
Yes you read that correctly….people would take goat poop to get the seed to make argan oil. Although that is not as common of a practice today, at Assaisse Ouzeka, I learned more about argan oil, its uses and how it is made.
Upon entering we saw three women hard at work. It was like an assembly line for creating the different argan products. Here are the steps:
1. Remove the seed from the ripe fruit
2. Break seed to get the kernel. The kernel is then roasted and then cooled.
3. Grind the cooled kernel using a hand mill.
4. The product from the hand mill creates a paste and the oil is extracted from the paste.
This is the same process for the cosmetic oil, but skip the roasting step. The roasting helps bring out the nutty flavor in the argan cooking oil.
We all know that argan oil and products with argan oil is extremely expensive. I must say after seeing how hard those women work it is worth every penny. This oil is not manufactured in some large factory. You only see a group of women working with their bare hands to help produce a product that we love.
At the cooperative we got test all types of argan products. We had argan oil honey, argan nut butter, and pure argan oil with bread. We also tested cosmetic products like face creams, scented argan oil, and argan masks. They guides were extremely helpful (of course they wanted us to buy things) and knowledgeable about the production and benefits of the products.
There was a plethora of products and options. I purchased cosmetic argan oil, lavender scent cosmetic argan oil, night cream with argan oil for wrinkles (you have to prevent them before they show up), and an argan oil clay mask.
Visiting Assaisse Ouzeka was definitely one of the highlights from my trip. If you are ever in Morocco, visit Essaouira and Assaisse Ouzeka. You won’t be disappointed.