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What Does Argan Oil Smell Like?

image of pale green argan fruit on tree sunny

There are 4 grades of genuine cosmetic Argan Oil.

Each grade of cosmetic Argan Oil has a different scent. There is also an edible Culinary Argan Oil which has a nutty smell.

Here we reveal the different types of cosmetic Argan Oil you will find on sale and what their smell means.

The Different Grades of Cosmetic Argan Oil

1. Naturally Scented

Naturally scented Argan oil has been cold-pressed and passed through a single stage mechanical filtration process.

It has a smell a bit like Olive Oil but with a more organic, sour scent or light citrus fruit fragrance.
Some people even describe the natural Argan Oil smell as pungent or like “manure”!

However, although a natural smelling Argan can be quite strong we have never had an Argan Oil which I think you could say smells like manure!

A single-stage filtered grade of Argan is probably the closest in smell and texture to a traditional, hand-pressed oil extracted from an “argan nut dough”.

2. Active Carbon” Deodorised.

This oil is made by adding inert active carbon powder which settles through the oil.

As it settles it removes more sediment. This reduces the natural scent from volatile oil compounds.
The oil smell becomes “sweeter” and perfumed.

It is unlikely that you will find this grade of Argan Oil as few producers use this process.

3. Unscented Argan Oil

The demand for Argan Oil which has no smell started after Argan Oil became popular in Europe and the U.S.

To meet this demand we also make a near odourless Argan Oil.
This almost odourless Argan Oil is more suitable for use on the face and hair.

To reduce the natural odour of single filtered Argan oil it goes through a more advanced second filtration process.
This removes any remaining sediment to yield a near odourless oil.

The chemical analysis a single filtered and a deodorised Argan oil show that they have virtually identical compositions.

4. Completely Deodorised Argan Oil

This grade of Argan Oil has absolutely no smell and has a pale pink colour or may even be colourless.

Totally deodorised Argan Oil is made by passing the oil through a steam process in a vacuum. It is normally used as an ingredient to make a cosmetic product such as soaps or shampoos.

There is a lot of comment on the internet that this destroys the natural properties of the oil. However, oils are stable at very high temperatures. Furthermore, because the oil is processed in a vacuum there is little chance of oxidation.

We don’t sell this grade of cosmetic Argan Oil.


Factors that Affect the Smell of Argan Oil

Why do Different Pure Argan Oils Smell Different?

A number of factors can affect the smell of Argan Oil .
On this page we discussed what the scent of Argan Oil is like, how to tell genuine Argan Oil by its smell and how to detect if your Argan Oil is old and gone bad.

In summary, pure cosmetic Argan Oil can have a range of scents from a light citrus/Olive-like fragrance to no detectable smell. But remember – just because one Argan Oil smells different to another does not mean that it is not pure Argan Oil!


Long-term storage of Argan Oil will affect its nutrient content, smell and colour.

Argan Oil has very high vitamin E levels. Vitamin E is a powerful, natural anti-oxidant.
This means that pure Argan Oil should be in great condition up to 12 – 18 months.

Exposure to strong, direct sunlight or exposure to air will speed up this process. This will adversely affect the natural scent.

If Argan Oil is stored under 10 degrees a white, gel-like precipitate will form. The is a good sign as it is due to high levels of Fatty acids that thicken in the cold.
Simply warm the oil gently and the precipitate will dissolve.

This does not adversely affect the quality of the oil. However, it can result in a changed smell that is more fruity – like Olive oil.


Variations in soil, heat, humidity and water supply vary from year to year.
These variations in climate affect the final taste, smell and chemical make up of Argan Oil.

Toasted Argan Oil for Eating

The Culinary grade of Argan Oil smells completely different from the one used for skin and hair care.

To make an Argan Oil for eating and health supplement the Argan Nut kernels are toasted before pressing. This gives the oil a deep nutty aroma and golden colour.

Culinary Argan is for eating and is not really suitable for cosmetic use.

How to Spot Fake Argan Oil by its Smell

Smell is a good way to spot fake Argan Oil.

Natural oils that are way past their best-before date will start to become rancid and have a very sour smell.
By contrast, a totally odourless oil may also be a sign that it is fake.

However, you need to be aware that some single filtered Argan Oil can have quite a pungent smell.
Likewise, there are subtle differences between the smell of our double filtered Argan Oil and a totally odourless oil!

So it does need some experience to tell the difference.


What to Use: Deodorised or Natural Scented Argan Oil?

I believe that we are the only Argan Oil specialists to offer both types of cosmetic Argan Oil.
So, why do we sell both?

Natural Scented, single filtered Argan Oil, is the grade most commonly found for sale.
It is less complicated to produce and so is often cheaper.

Customers tell us that the naturally scented Argan Oil is better for inflamed skin and problems such as Eczema, blotchy skin or Acne.

Our pure double-filtered Argan Oil has a longer shelf life and virtually no detectable Argan nut scent.
This makes it the best choice for facial skin care and hair treatments.


Try Natural Scented & Genuine Smell-Free Argan Oil?

You can buy on this web page here or visit our full online store by clicking on the “Buy Authentic Argan Oil for Skin Care” button below.

Pure Argan Oil Bottle

Pure Argan Oil 60 ml

Pure double filtered Organic Argan Oil with almost no Argan nut smell.

  • 100% Pure Oil
  • Certified Organic
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