These days, it’s difficult to go skincare shopping without coming across at least one product enriched with argan oil. It’s been touted as a “miracle ingredient”, and some have even gone as far as to call it “liquid gold”. But what is argan oil, and why is it so coveted?

Simply put, argan oil is a type of plant oil extracted from the kernels of the argan tree, which only grows in Morocco. In Morocco, argan oil is commonly used in cooking. To extract the oil, workers dry the argan fruit in open air, then remove the fleshy pulp. The fruit is then cracked open to extract the kernel.

For culinary use, the kernel is roasted, and then ground and pressed to extract the oil. In cosmetic use, the oil is extracted and cold-pressed without first roasting the kernels. The whole process is labour-intensive, which is why argan oil isn’t exactly the cheapest. Here’s more that you should know.