J500 Media and the Environment

The Beauty Cult by mackenzies09

Argan fruit & Moroccan landscape

Argan fruit & Moroccan landscape

It seems every couple of months the beauty industry reveals a new “it” component and an answer to our vainest prayers. The most popular of which hail straight from nature, of course.

Recent stars and some has-beens, in no particular order, include the acai berry, jojoba, lemongrass, baobab and goji berries. These quirky ingredients have been added to smoothies, energy drinks, hair treatments, lip balm and wrinkle remedies. All have made the beauty industry a lot of money (in 2006, sales of  skin care products topped $60 billion) and all have been ousted by the next, like an old dog competing with a new puppy.

Argan oil appears to be the latest hot commodity in the skin care world (as well as culinary). Argan oil is derived from the fruit seed of the Aragania Spinosa tree indigenous to Morocco. The oil contains high levels of antioxidants and essential fatty acids, and may lower cholesterol. Boasting claims of miraculous healing powers for skin, hair and finger nails, it is destined to change the lives of many women.

It is the women of Moroccan who gather, dry, hand-crack, and press the seeds to extract their oil. With a literacy rate of only 39 percent, Moroccan women don’t have a lot options. In 2006, there were nine cooperatives that employed roughly 2,000 women to produce the lucrative oil. They were paid four euros per day. There are no real numbers for how many women may be working outside of these cooperatives, which are said to pay as little as one euro per day. The average yearly income is roughly 1,015 euro.

Moroccan women hand-cracking argan seeds

Moroccan women hand-cracking argan seeds

Shiny hair and glowing skin may sound wonderful but at what cost are we achieving such aesthetic pleasures? Before I pick up another miracle serum I’m going to find out whose hands extracted the spoils of my fountain of youth.


photo cred 1

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1 Comment so far
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Thanks for this post promoting Moroccan women co operatives.

Comment by marrakechxanthepat

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