Traveling to Morocco is always a special treat. The coastal African country is rich in traditions of simple daily life with beautiful scents, inspiring riads, amazing tagines, the BEST mint tea and of course, exotic markets. But it’s also known for something else… something you can only find here deep in the dry forests of the Moroccan countryside: Argan Oil. It was this highly effective moisturizing oil that Kérastase sent us to discover for ourselves.
With my travel companions Samantha from California, Yoshiko from Japan, and Marie-Laure from France we landed together in Agadir and began our journey to the Argan forest along the rocky cliffside of the African coast. The farther we ventured from Agadir, the more mountainous and wild the landscape became until the goats were in the trees and acres and acres of Argan trees were all we could see.
We arrived to a co-op run by all women. It is here Kérastase has empowered these women to help them source and produce the highest quality Argan oil for the new Kérastase Aura Botanica haircare range. The process is anything but simple and is quite time consuming. First, women collect the fallen Argan nuts off the ground then leave them in piles to dry for months in the sun. The outer shell is then removed and hand sorted. The nuts move from each group of women to the next, generations mixed from young to old, and on joyous afternoons the women will chant traditional Moroccan songs while they work in harmony.
The next stage is the hardest, I would know because they made me try it! I ended up smashing my fingers more than cracking the hard shell of the Argan nut. With precision and centuries old technique, the women using a rock and a stone, smash the hard outer shell revealing a very delicate, white, almost almond-like nut in the core. Sorted again by hand, the best nuts make it to the pressing phase where the Argan oil that is so powerful for hair, skin and nails is extracted and filtered. This oil, from these photos below, are what make up the key natural ingredient of Kérastase’s Aura Botanica.
“The new Aura Botanica range is made for the woman who believes that responsibility is a must, performance a right and glowing, healthy hair is the essence of self-expression.” -Kérastase