Medically reviewed by Mary Lucas, RN
Written by Our Editorial Team
Last updated 1/05/2021
Argan oil is an essential oil that’s produced from the kernels of the argan tree. As well as being a culinary staple in many parts of Morocco and Algeria, it’s a well-known natural health product that’s used for everything from anti-aging to moistuzing and treating skin injuries.
It’s also commonly promoted as a natural hair growth treatment and an alternative to hair loss medications like minoxidil and finasteride.
Similar to many other essential oils, argan oil’s purported benefits for hair are a mix of fact and fiction. While it does appear to have some benefits for hair health, there’s no scientific research on its purported abilities to promote hair growth or prevent hair loss.
Below, we’ve gone into more detail on argan oil and hair, covering everything from what argan oil is to its potential benefits for hair health. We’ve also looked at whether or not it’s effective as a hair loss treatment for men affected by male pattern baldness.
Finally, we’ve listed several other treatments that you may want to consider if you’re starting to lose your hair, from FDA-approved medications to over-the-counter products.
Argan oil is a popular essential oil. It’s produced from the kernels or the argan tree, or Argania spinosa L-- a tree that’s found in the semi-desert regions of Morocco and other parts of Northeast Africa.
Historically, argan oil has been used for cooking, as a natural treatment for skin infections and as an ingredient in skin and hair care products.
Like other essential oils, argan oil is widely promoted for its purported health benefits. It’s often promoted as a useful essential oil for reducing inflammation, reversing certain aspects of aging, treating certain skin conditions and moisturizing skin and hair.
Today, argan oil is widely available worldwide. You can find argan oil online and in most health food stores. It’s also commonly used as an ingredient in shampoos, conditioners and skincare products.
Although argan oil does appear to have some cosmetic and health-related benefits, there isn’t, at present, any reputable scientific research into its effects on hair growth.
Before we get into the possible connection between argan oil and hair growth, let’s briefly look at some of the more well studied benefits of argan oil.
First, argan oil is linked to certain improvement in skin health. For example, a small study from 2014 found that postmenopausal women who consumed argan oil by mouth and applied an argan oil solution to their skin for 60 days had a higher skin water content level after 60 days than women who consumed olive oil by mouth and also applied the same argan oil to their skin.
Other research has found that argan oil may also offer benefits for skin barrier repair, reducing inflammation and improving wound healing. Put simply, argan oil appears to have several real, well-studied benefits when it comes to improving and maintaining optimal skin health.
As for hair, however, there’s minimal, if any, research available on argan oil’s potential effects and benefits. For example, despite argan oil’s popularity in hair products, there are no scientific studies that look at its possible effects as a treatment for hair loss.
There’s also little to no reliable information available on its effects on hair growth, hair health or things like hair thickness, strength and hydration.
With this said, some research on nutrients related to hair growth may have implications for the effectiveness of argan oil as a natural hair growth treatment.
For example, although argan oil is primarily made up of triglycerides, it also contains measurable amounts of vitamin E.
Tocotrienols, antioxidants that are part of the vitamin E family, are closely linked to hair health. In fact, one study published in 2010 found that supplementation with tocotrienols caused an increase in hair numbers in men and women suffering from hair loss.
While this doesn’t prove that argan oil itself improves hair growth, it’s an interesting finding that may signal that it has potential.
Some of argan oil’s skin benefits may also extend to the hair. For example, argan oil’s benefits for inflammation may be helpful for people with inflammatory skin conditions such as dandruff (seborrheic dermatitis) or psoriasis.
While these conditions don’t directly cause hair loss, they may temporarily trigger hair loss due to scratching and damage to the scalp.
In short, although there’s no scientific evidence to show that argan oil improves hair growth or stops hair loss, some of its other benefits may be helpful for your hair.
Argan oil is widely used in shampoos, conditioners and other hair care products, making it easy to add to your hair care routine if you’d like to give it a try. You can find hair products containing argan oil online and in many supermarkets and drugstores.
If you’ve bought argan oil shampoo or conditioner over the counter, follow the instructions on the product’s packaging to use it as part of your hair care routine.
You can also add argan oil to your existing shampoo or conditioner. To do this, try adding one or two drops to your shampoo or conditioner when it’s in your hand, then mix the solutions together before applying them to your hair.
If you’d like to apply argan oil directly, try applying two to three drops of oil to your hair after you dry it with a towel. Argan oil can be used as a conditioner or as a natural styling oil to keep your hair moisturized and protected from damage.
While the science behind argan oil’s purported effects on hair growth largely isn’t there, several treatments for hair loss are available that are backed up by real scientific evidence. Some have even been approved by the FDA specifically for treating male pattern baldness.
Science-based treatments for hair loss include:
Minoxidil. A topical medication, minoxidil is applied directly to areas of your scalp with hair loss. It is thought to work by improving blood flow and stimulating your hair follicles to enter the growth stage of the hair cycle.
We offer minoxidil online. It’s also available as one of several hair loss products in our non-prescription hair loss kit.
Finasteride. An oral medication, finasteride stops you from converting testosterone into DHT, the hormone that causes male pattern baldness. It’s highly effective and can stop hair loss in its tracks. In some cases, you may even grow back the hair you’ve lost.
We offer finasteride online, following a consultation with a physician who will determine if a prescription is appropriate.
Saw palmetto. An herbal treatment, saw palmetto may lower levels of DHT in the scalp, preventing you from losing hair. Saw palmetto is an active ingredient in our DHT blocking shampoo.
Biotin. Biotin is a vitamin that’s linked to the growth of your hair, nails and skin. Although it doesn’t treat hair loss, supplementing with biotin may help you to maintain healthy hair growth. We offer a convenient form of biotin in our biotin gummy vitamins.
While argan oil certainly offers some health benefits, there’s no reputable scientific evidence to support the idea that it stops hair loss or encourages hair growth.
If you’re one of the tens of millions of men affected by male pattern baldness, relying on argan oil to keep your hair isn’t the most effective strategy. Instead, it’s best to look at science-based treatments for hair loss such as minoxidil, finasteride or both of these medications.
We’ve talked more about what causes hair loss and your options for stopping and reversing it in our full guide to male pattern baldness.
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