I recently had the opportunity to travel to Marrakech in Morocco, and set aside a day to see where argan oil is produced. As a longtime employee of Moroccanoil, I had heard all of the stories and seen the pictures, but I was not prepared for the effect that these hidden communities would have on us.
High in the Atlas Mountains, with the help of a guide, we traveled into these magical, tranquil villages where the Berber people live and time seems to stand still. Their absolute devotion to preserving their traditions, culture, language and craftsmanship—passed down from generation to generation—was incredible to witness.
During this trip, we visited a small cooperative where five elderly Berber women welcomed us with open arms. Due to adverse circumstances, these women found themselves without family, support or any sustainable source of revenue. These small co-ops are often the only way disadvantaged Berber women can support themselves.
Together, the Berber women work to extract precious argan oil from the argan fruit by hand, with the same traditional tools and techniques that have been used for centuries. Seeing this process firsthand and knowing that the oil would be transformed into products sold in their small shop made it even more special.
Of course, we couldn’t leave empty-handed, and after purchasing a few items, we said our goodbyes and left with an indescribable, inspired feeling that has remained with us.