Nov 29, 2013

Guest Post - Comparison of Natural Oils for Beauty Products

There’s been a lot of buzz about oils in makeup and hair products over the past few years. Argan, Moroccan, coconut, jojoba, and tea tree- goodness gracious!

So what’s the deal? Are these natural oils worth the hype?

Moroccan/ Argan Oil

First, let’s clarify that the term “Moroccan oil” actually refers to Argan oil. The Argan tree, from which the oil is extracted, only grows in the arid, North African climates of Morocco. Many people don’t realize that both terms describe the same thing.

Argan oil is used primarily as a hair oil, though it has been reputed to help reduce acne (particularly in young people) when used in face wash. But its largest strength is in its ability to hydrate and to make hair and skin impossibly soft.

I’ve recently started using Organix Argan Oil of Morocco shampoo and conditioner- I immediately noticed more shine to my hair after only a couple of washes, which is also a perk of using oils in hair products. But the largest praise I have to offer any oil on the list goes to Josie Maran’s Argan Oil Hair Serum. For my super long hair, nothing prevents dry split ends like a bit of this syrupy concoction. Josie Maran also has an impressive array of cosmetics centered around the use of Argan oil, all of which tend to have very high reviews, proving that it can be used in for the face as well as hair.

Coconut Oil

Coconut oil has had an explosion of popularity recently. Its most widespread use has been in cooking, particularly with cooking regimens like the Paleo diet poo-pooing on the use of butter. But it’s also seen an increase in popularity as a beauty aid. Coconut oil has anti-bacterial properties that make it counterintuitively good as an acne treatment as well as a moisturizer.

Consider the first person account of Cheryl Wischhover when she used pure, unrefined coconut oil instead of beauty products for two days. Her findings included a general sense of being impressed by the softening qualities of the oil when it came to her skin and hair. However, she was less impressed by its use as a lip balm (too greasy) and as a styling oil (too greasy). Of course, when mixed with other ingredients, the greasiness of the oil can be severely reduced.

Many rave about the tropical coconut smell that lingers when any coconut oil product is applied (I’m not the biggest fan). My personal experience with coconut oil-infused hair treatment came from a friend’s homemade hair mask. My hair was shiny for sure, but I wasn’t impressed by how flat it fell during the day, even after trying to add volume with my favorite fusion hair styler. Perhaps I’d have had better luck if I’d tried an established brand’s coconut oil hair serum.

Jojoba Oil

Jojoba oil comes from the Jojoba shrub that grows in the Southwestern areas of the US and Western Mexico. Jojoba is most often utilized in skin products, though there are a plethora of hot oil treatments in its repertoire. Like coconut oil, jojoba has the surprising ability to break up other oils, making it a good weapon against oily build-up in hair and on skin.

Jojoba was also found to be superior in cosmetics to whale oil. This means that the sustainable growth of this plant and use of its oil has decreased demand for whale oil, contributing in a roundabout way to the conservation of sperm whales.

I fell in love with Crabtree & Evelyn’s body cream (I’m hoping I’ll get new one in my Christmas stocking!), so I’m hoping to try the brand’s entire Jojoba Oil line in the future. 

Tea Tree Oil

vaguely remember when tea tree oil became really popular in the 90s (the tooth paste tasted very strange). The oil has been touted for its anti-bacterial properties and tooth-whitening abilities, as well as its ability to reduce inflammation of the skin. Made from the Melaleuca alternifolia plant native to Australia, tea tree oil has a distinctly fresh and minty scent. It brings about cooling and tingly sensations when applied to skin, making it popular as an invigorating skin care ingredient.

There is still a large amount of tea tree oil-based products. The Body Shop has a long-lived product line featuring tea tree oil, as does Paul MitchellI don’t personally use any tea tree products on a regular basis, but there are many tea tree infused face washes that come highly recommended.

So, in short, there is anecdotal and scientific evidence to support why these oils are so popular in the beauty world. Whether raw or mixed into a product, each one has serious benefits to offer our skin and hair. Of course, they can be used in tandem as many products contain more than one of these oils at a time. Try out each one and see which works best for your skin and hair. Report back with your findings!

Carrie is a stylist and obsessed shopper. She loves trying new products and learning more about the science behind good hair care.


  1. oh i used up the organix argan oil poo and con and quite enjoyed them.
    they smell lovely as well reminding me of Dior J'ador perfume a bit.
    i've tried pure argan oil but i didn't see a dramatic difference. all the natural oils sound fantastic but i need something i can use with ease - the organix shampoo and conditioner would be a good example.

    1. I haven't tried their shampoo but have used their argan oil treatment which is a good alternative to the expensive Moroccan oil. When you mentioned the scent, I am now curious to try them out. I tried the Josie Maran oil on my hair and it makes my hair ever so soft and shiny.

    2. Hi gals! The Organix really does have a nice smell! My hair is pretty fine, but it makes me feel like it's more substantial, even when I braid it. Moisture does wondrous things! I haven't tried the pure oils yet, but they're on my list!

  2. I used organix for a while but I switched to sulfate free because my scalp was getting irritated. I'm using an argan oil shampoo by pro naturals and it moisturizes my hair beautifully.