Argan Oil, Poop and Goats: Things I Learned on Tuesday

Not long after I posted about trying to let readers know about the animal testing practices of the companies whose products I test, I received an email from a reader we will call M.

"I was you know how argan oil is produced?! I went to a trip through Morocco last year...and it made me..well ummm...never want to use the oil and other items with it again."

Instantly, I thought, "Frack. It's like Palm oil. I'm recommending an ingredient that is steeped in turmoil and environmental/social controversy. " Since that is never my intention (I like to keep things positive), I turned to google. When I couldn't quite figure out argan oil's dark side, based on my quick research, I asked M for the details.

Turns out, there isn't really a dark side. More of a slightly gross and funny side. Here is the really elementary gist of how argan oil is produced.

The nuts grow on trees. These nuts are very hard to crack, especially for the Berber women, who are the primary sellers of said nuts.

Goats (who don't have the sense not to eat things they can't really chew) eat the nuts.

Goats then digest and um, expel, the nuts.

People then harvest the nuts from the goat poop, the shells now being easier to crack, after going through the goat's digestive system.

Women then mill the kernels and make that into a paste and then refine that into the oil. It's one of the primary sources of income for whole communities.

According to, a website that promotes environmentally sound argan oil farming, "By supporting Argan Oils, you are not only preserving the health of your skin and body, you are contributing to the protection of the argan tree and the empowerment of the women who produce this remarkable oil."

Whew! No turmoil, just a little poop. That's not so bad. People use way worse stuff all of the time. At least it's a natural process, right?

The best part about argan oil is that in order to get the nuts out of the tree, the goats climb into the tree to go get them.

I initially thought that M had photoshopped the goats into the trees, but then she kindly sent me a bunch of her vacation photos from May of last year.

Since that made me giggle incessantly, I had to look for more proof that this was true. I found this video on YouTube:

Perhaps you already knew about the tree climbing goats of Morocco. But did you know about the poop? Do you care or will you still use argan oil? I love it (especially to mix in with hair dye to keep the hair soft). I know this isn't really new news. But it is new to me. Thoughts?

Photos courtesy of M. YouTube video courtesy of Robert Beal.

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  1. Of course I will still use it! I've had 3 kids, so no poop will get the better of me. It's not like there is goat poop in the oil, for heaven's sake!

  2. Wow - that I did not know! Well, I'll still use it. I've put stranger things on my face (like snail slime - that's for another post)!

  3. I wondered when someone would post about Argan Oil production! I loved Morrocan Oil when I tried it last year, until I found out how it was produced. Your other reader is right, there's no poop in it, but still...I haven't used it since.

  4. I totally love this stuff and wouldn't think twice about using it. So many things go through a gross production stage to become a wonderful product. I'm just glad I don't have to make it myself. (Or hunt for the nuts.)

  5. Sometimes indeed we musten think about backgrounds/ways of production when we use a certain product,hey we don't wanna know loads of beetles/bugs and huge larvas go along the apricots in jelly :)

    But when I was next to that lovely lady who's milling the kinda smelled weird :)

  6. I just used a new Argan Oil product this week. I'll continue to use it because my hair looks great but I'll never think of it the same again!

  7. I knew about the poop issue, but still love Argan oil. There are many products out there that are contaminated with various things we'd probably prefer not to know about before being refined and purified for our safety, or just to decrease the grossness factor.

    The fact that it is helping women climb out of unimaginable poverty and become at least somewhat self-supporting is a huge plus for me.

    I'll still use it regardless. As many have said, I'm sure I've put far worse on my face. Sad, but true!


  8. Oh man. The goats in the tree is one of the best things I've seen in a while. I'm okay with a little poop in my argan oil, I suppose. Hilarious! Thanks for this.

  9. Hi, thank you for your great post. I really appreciate the efforts you have put in your blog .It is interesting and helpful. Good luck with it!!! Organic Moroccan Argan Oil | Buy Pure Argan Oil Products

  10. mamalaveeta03 your comment made me LOL!!

    I think this is just great and am grateful for the women that harvest this gorgeous stuff! However I am on the hunt for an argan oil hair product that is NOT full of silicone (Moroccan Oil is mostly silicone btw, and builds up in hair more than any other product I've used.)

    Have heard good things about Live Clean Exotic Nectar argan oil treatment, 100% silicone free....

  11. Thanks, JaneDaly! You develop a sense of humor raising 3 daughters! And I loved Kelly's comment about not having to hunt for the buts...oops! *nuts.

  12. I am glad to have read this article - not long ago, I read that it came from the poop, and vowed not to send away for any samples. Now that I know it's not really (that), I might be more inclined to try - Josie Moran has a nice line on QVC I will be looking at. Thanks!!

  13. I have their Prefur Loreal, it leaves my hair looking healthy, but i've discovered better ones so don't really use it no longer. Argan oil! Xx

  14. Just think -- by putting aside our prejudice against poop, we are not only providing employment and substantial income for entire villages that might otherwise be impoverished. But we are also providing a real incentive for those amazing goats to continue getting their exercise and nutrition. Into the argan forest, fellows -- Mama needs some more body butter. I love the stuff.

  15. Made me think of the wildly expensive Kopi Lewak coffee. The beans are eaten by monkeys, where something in their digestive tract does something to the berries. But once they poop it out, it is harvested and made into the most outrageously expensive coffee. Seems like animals have figured out how to make people rich just by doing what comes natural!! lol

  16. Harvested from the fruit of the Argan tree, the Argan nut contains a kernel, which is vigorously crushed by the Moroccan Berber women using solid stones in order to retrieve the oil, making it one of the most rare and elite oils in the world.

  17. According to Google, in Morocco, they dip their bread in Argan oil, at breakfast. Much happier, using it on my hair, lol.

  18. I recently started using Argan oil on my granddaughter's and my natural African-American hair. It has Ade her hair so much easier to comb as well as my own. Thing is...I have had several encounters with spiders. I am extremely afraid of them. I seem to be running into webs with them or something. I'm not understanding until my son made a comment. After having an almost nervous breakdown from the largest spider yet on me, he said it may be from the natural products I'm using in my hair. I told him maybe the spiders think I am a tree or something. I just googled where Argan Oil comes from. Wow!! The tree. The poop thing is the least of my worries. Has anyone else experienced the spiders? Or bugs?

  19. Oh, poop!
    I love the pictures of the goats in the trees! I love argan oil and I'm sure we ingest worse things without even realizing it on a daily basis so I will continue using my wonderful argan oil. It has truly done wonders for my skin.

    I am so happy this little liquid gold is providing a means of living and empowerment for lots of women for lots of women in another country and only makes me want to use it even more!


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