Zoubida Charrouf and the Story Behind Morocco’s Argan Oil – CNN’s African Voices

CNN, African Voices, by Errol Barnett (March 10, 2014) — Zoubida Charrouf is a professor and research scientist in Morocco who wanted to save the argan tree forests, which are indigenous to Morocco and deeply rooted in the country’s culture and history, but were in danger of being squeezed out between the advances of rapid regional development and the encroachment of the vast Sahara desert.

With her research, Charrouf discovered that argan oil, with its unique cosmetic and culinary qualities, could be the key to both saving the argan tree and empowering rural Berber women who had little opportunity for employment or education. Until, that is, the passion of one professor unlocked the door to what is now a remarkable story of environmental success and women’s empowerment.

CNN’s Errol Barnett interviews Zoubida Charrouf, the mother of the argan oil revolution in Morocco, in a three-part series for African Voices:

 

Watch it here:

Part 1: Passion drives Moroccan professor

Part 2: Inside Morocco’s argan oil co-op

Part 3: The business of argan oil

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The journey

This is along overdue posts on our recent trip to Morocco in July/August.

It was time to go, to go and visit the women that make all of this possible. We booked our tickets, packed our bags and made the long journey to Morocco.

First, we met with Dr. Zoubida Charrouf in Rabat, we were nervous and asked her many questions. She was calm, gracious and generous. You see Madame Charrouf formed the first women’s co-operative in Morocco many moons ago and is the authority on the subject of Argan trees, Argan Oil and anything Argan related. Watch a recent CNN documentary here.

Dr. Charrouf and Jamila at her office in Rabat, Morocco.

We continued our journey to Marrakech where we caught up with old and new friends and had a little bit of downtime at a fabulous Hammam spa or two. We ventured down all the way to Agadir, via Essaouira, meeting old and making new friends and visiting more hammams*. Our friend Ayoub who runs arts café Picasso in the seaside town of Essaouira taught us to play the guembri (a three stringed skin-covered bass). We crushed Argan nuts at a women’s co-op near Agadir and ate freshly churned butter with warm steamy bread out of the stone oven in my fathers town. We soaked our bodies and minds in the sun, enjoyed the stories, the food and the music.

Cracking nuts and jokes with the lovely women at the co-operative.

The trip was fabulous and gave us energy and inspiration to continue with what we are doing. While we are in Morocco we received many Facebook messages and tweets urging us to organise a tour as we were sharing our experiences on our social media pages.

Which led us to:

Mira’s Hand Women Only Wellness tours to Morocco will take place in September 2013, where we will guide you on a tour to discover the real Morocco that I grew up with. In association with my personal contacts and friends, the tour incorporates visits to a variety of personally selected spas and hammams, shopping destinations, cooking and yoga classes and dancing.

The Spa at the La Mamounia

The upcoming September2013 tour concludes at a women’s Argan co-operative where the group (maximum of 12 women) will experience a private afternoon of celebration that includes, music, dancing and eating fresh Moroccan food, prepared by the women of the co-operative but with your involvement. The aim of the 2013 tour is to immerse you in the authentic and revitalising spirit of Morocco, which culminates in a presentation to the co-operative of a donation to assist in paying for the healthcare insurance of the women and their families, a small, but potentially life changing contribution.

To register your interest in the tour contact  Rosie Richardson at JetSet Travel via email rosie.centralmelbourne@jetset.com.au or phone 03 9642 5138.

*Our article on Hammams will appear in the November 2012 issue of Spa Australasia, a specialist spa services and operations publication.

Mira’s Hand reveals all!

We are buzzing with excitement, serotonin and caffeine as we’re putting in the finishing touches on our website, getting our expo booth ready with banners and flyers and trying to make that to do list smaller. There is still so much to do, but we are looking forward to meeting new people at the Mind Body Spirit Festival at the Melbourne Exhibition Centre on 18, 19 and 20 November at our stand B19.

As we are preparing our official launch we are happy to announce Mira’s Hand Authentic Moroccan Skin Care range today!!

All Mira’s Hand products are based on traditional ingredients and rituals. In Morocco rich and poor practice the same beauty routine and use the same natural ingredients. Touted by the New York Times as “the latest miracle ingredient” organic Argan Oil is at the heart of the majority of Mira’s Hand – Authentic Moroccan Skin Care range.

At Mira’s Hand we are about helping modern society rediscover the traditional values and benefits that natural skin care offers that has been lost over time. Our range is affordable, natural and honest and you won’t need a science degree to understand the ingredients that are used.

So without further ado we present to you:

Mira’s Hand 100 % Pure Moroccan Argan Oil

Our Argan Oil is organic and of the highest quality. This precious oil is extracted by the Berber Women in Morocco by hand using centuries old techniques. The labour intensive oil takes about 40 hours to produce one litre and is said to be the most precious and expensive oil in the world.

This multipurpose oil also known as Liquid Gold can be used on hair, skin and nails. Read more on the many uses here.

Argan oil is rich in:

  • Essential fatty acids – protect cellular integrity and affect cell fluidity, prevent loss of moisture from the skin, increase suppleness, elasticity, reduce swelling and inflammation.
  • Vitamin E (tocopherols) – a powerful anti-oxidant that helps the skin function as a waterproof barrier and keeps the skin hydrated.
  • Ferulic acid – helps prevent damage caused by ultraviolet light.
  • Sterols- improve skin metabolism, reduce inflammation, promote excellent moisture retention and penetrate quickly.

Mira’s Hand Moroccan Body Moisturiser with Argan Oil


This rose scented Moisturiser contains Argan Oil and Organic Moroccan Rose distillate and will leave your skin silky smooth and smelling divine. This quickly absorbing body Moisturiser can be used morning and night or anytime your body needs hydration. We keep a bottle on our desk and also use it as a hand moisturiser.

 

 

 

Mira’s Hand Savon Noir with Eucalyptus and Argan Oil


Savon Noir or black soap is a traditional soap used for centuries in Moroccan Hammams (traditional bathhouses). The soap making techniques for Savon noir date back more than 3000 years!  Savon Noir is rich in Vitamine E, minerals and is known for its abilities to purify and detoxify the skin by helping shed dead skin cells.

Mira’s Hand Savon Noir can also be used as a shaving soap. Savon Noir is suitable for the most sensitive skin and razors stay sharp for longer due to the close shave.

Mira’s Hand Moroccan Rosewater Toning Mist


This organic Moroccan Rosewater Tonic Mist moisturises and refreshes the skin. Our toner is gentle, calms the skin, minimises pores and smells divine.

We keep a bottle in the fridge and spritz ourselves morning and night or whenever we need an extra boost.

 

 

 

We are thrilled and we hope you are too! If you would like to know more or pre-order  then contact us on info@mirashand.com.au

Jamila
Founder/Owner at Mira’s Hand – Authentic Moroccan Skin Care

What do you believe, hype or tradition?

I come from a country where women, rich and poor share the same beauty regime. Passed down from mother to daughter and in my case grandmother to daughter, recipes for beauty treatments consists mostly off natural and pure ingredients.

One essential ingredient is the versatile Argan Oil also known as Moroccan Oil or liquid gold because it only grows in the South Western region of Morocco, is very labour intensive to extract and the rarest of oils.

And so when I moved to beautiful Australia, I was surprised to see that none of these authentic, pure and natural ingredients were available. I quickly arranged for my family and friends to send them to me or stock up during my yearly travels to Morocco.

I am not surprised to see that there are an increasing number of products that attempt to harness the benefits of Argan Oil, given it’s wonderful and well established health benefits.

For those who seek out natural and authentic products to use on your skin, hair and nails, without nasty, unnecessary ingredients, it is worth paying attention and taking the time to read the ingredients on the label and understand what you are using before you put it on your skin, hair or nails.

Some commonly found ingredients in many products include Dimethicone & Cyclomethicone (silicone oils) and when Argan oil is added, it typically only makes up a very small amount (in volume) of the actual product.

On further investigation other ingredients you might find in some Argan based products include:

  • Cyclopentasiloxane – a binding agent for silicone oils
  • Dimethicone – derived from silica (a naturally occurring component of sand and quartz); emollient, water repellent, adds shine to skin and hair.
  • Cyclomethicone – a silicone oil used in hair and skin care products to impart shine and silkiness
  • Butylphenyl Methylpropional – a synthetic fragrance compound.

Argan Oil (Argania Spinosa) is often listed somewhere amongst this complex list of ingredients and in such small quantities one would have to the question that its benefits might be negligible.

If you want to experience the full benefits of Argan Oil in it’s pure form without exposing yourself to this cocktail of other chemicals or ingredients, then only use 100% Pure Argan Oil that Mira’s Hand offers.