28th Jan 2018 - Beauty, Places

Last week my lovely Garnier family whisked me away on an incredible trip to Agadir, Morocco to discover the origins of their magical argan oil. I’ve only ever been to Marrakech in Morocco so I was really looking forward to exploring a different area of the country. What makes Agadir so special is that it’s one of only two areas in the world where argan trees are found to grow naturally! This particular area of Morocco provides the argan trees with the specific climate and soil conditions that they require to grow and thrive. Garnier brought me along on the trip to celebrate the release of their brand new Argan Richness collection which is part of the (amazing) Ultimate Blends range. I was so excited to get a glimpse into the process that goes into producing the products and meet the people that make it all happen!

If like me you’re a fan of the Garnier Ultimate Blends range (seriously my favourite affordable haircare collection!) then you will know just how nourishing the formula of the shampoo and conditioner really is. The Honey Treasures shampoo and conditioner have been my go-to at bath time for a while now, but since trying the Argan Richness range I *think* I’ve just found my new favourites!

The Argan Richness range is specifically formulated for very dry, unruly hair and I’m really grateful to have this stuff sitting proudly in my bathroom. Ever since I started dying my hair blonde it’s felt SO dry and I find myself constantly hunting for the perfect shampoo and conditioner combo to bring my tresses back to life! Argan is an amazing remedy for dry or damaged hair because it’s super rich in antioxidants and FULL of vitamin E. Within the Argan Richness collection is a nutritious creamy shampoo, a detangling conditioner and my fave…a deep nourishing hair mask! Alongside this trio there’s also a no-rinse protective styling balm (watch my vlog if you wanna see how I used this!) which helps to give the hair a velvety soft touch and makes it easier to manage. I used this foursome throughout my time in Morocco and I really noticed a positive difference in the way my hair looked and felt.

Garnier’s argan oil is processed by six women’s cooperatives. This basically means that Garnier employ roughly 600 women and give them fair wages which enables them to support their families. This is great because there really aren’t many opportunities for women to get jobs in this particular area of Morocco. Among the six cooperatives is the Women Agricultural Coopérative Toudarte in Douar Aksmour, Agadir, who we went to visit on the second day of our trip. Women working in the argan oil cooperatives are guaranteed equitable wages, which improve their own lives as well as the lives of their families and communities. The cooperatives provide the women with better working conditions and greater independence. Not only that but it is mandatory for the women of the cooperative to take part in two hours literacy lessons per day and gives them greater access to healthcare; both of which enable them to take more control over their future.

It took us around two hours to reach the village of Aksmour from our hotel and the drive was incredible! We drove along the most beautiful stretch of coastline before winding our way up into the mountains and along to the cooperative in the argan forest. As soon as we arrived we were welcomed by the women of the Coopérative Toudarte who greeted us with a beautiful song and dance! I actually felt really emotional when the women started singing! They were so excited to see us and proud to show us what they do. Super special.

After our welcome we were treated to a glass of delicious Moroccan mint tea (seriously that stuff is INCREDIBLE) and some delicious sweet treats like coconut macaroons and buttery biscuits. We sat down and listened to a short speech by Fatima Ihihi who is the President of the Toudarte Coopérative and a native of the Akhsmou village. Fatima shared her story with us and it was so inspiring to hear her passion and enthusiasm for the cooperative. She told us about how she had always dreamed of setting up a women’s cooperative to produce argan oil but faced difficulties due to the resistance of the local population. After years of perseverance, Fatima succeeded in assembling a small group of women and together they worked to set up the Coopérative Toudarte. Now, the cooperative is one of the biggest and most successful suppliers of argan oil in the region. It was amazing to hear Fatima’s story first hand!

After Fatima’s speech we headed out to see the argan trees for ourselves. The trees grow argan fruits which are kinda squidgy like a date or a prune. When ripe (usually around July/August time) the fruit falls from the tree and is left to dry on the ground for around four months before being manually collected. Once the pulp has dried it is removed to reveal the argan nuts. To avoid any waste, leftover fruit is given to the animals in the village to eat.

The next step to create the argan oil is to crack the nut by hand. This is a time consuming and labor intensive process and I was absolutely in awe of how fast (yet meticulous) these women were at this part! There’s a real knack to cracking the nut and you have to hit it in *just* the right spot in order to get a nice, clean break on the shell. I actually got the chance to have a go at cracking the nut myself and it was SO hard (watch the vlog if you wanna see me fail lol)!! It can take up to a day for the women to extract a basket full of argan nuts which blows my mind because it took me about 10 minutes to crack just one! Each nut contains two kernels which are collected into baskets ready for the next step.

After collecting, the kernels are sorted by hand. The best kernels (which are determined by their colour and shape) are selected to produce the highest quality oil. The kernels are mechanically pressed into a liquid which is left to rest and filtered. The result of this whole process is argan oil ready to be blended into the Garnier products! It was SO cool to see this process and to know that it would eventually end up in a bottle of Ultimate Blends!

What’s also great about this whole process is that none of the argan fruit goes to waste. Garnier also use the cracked kernels in many of their other beauty products (not just the Ultimate Blends range!); the kernels are crushed and used in scrubs because they make the perfect natural exfoliators! Scrub a dub dub.

I had such an amazing day at the Coopérative Toudarte and I can’t even begin to explain how special it felt to not only see the work that goes into making the argan oil, but to meet the women who make it happen too! These women are so proud and happy to be a part of this cooperative and I’m really grateful that I got to spend a day in their shoes. This opportunity has changed a lot of women’s lives and it’s amazing to see.

Alongside our visit to the Coopérative Toudarte, we also had the chance to enjoy some moments of pure relaxation back at our beautiful Riad (a traditional moroccan house/hotel). I think everyone who lives in the UK will agree with me when I say that cold, wet January’s are THE WORST so it was amazing to get the chance to spend a couple of days soaking up some much needed sunshine.

  • Brown Leather Jacket

    A great staple piece!

  • Vince Mules

    Matchy matchy

  • Levis Grey Jeans

    My most worn pair!

  • Classic Brown Belt

    I couldn't live without mine

  • Comfy Grey Tee

    This is my go to right now

  • Basket Bag

    Essential for Summer!

  • Oversized Sunnies

    These are cute

  • Garnier Sensitive Advanced SPF

    Protect protect protect!

  • Clear Invisibobbles

    I swear by these for pony tail days!

  • Daisy London Chakra Bracelet

    I wear mine every single day!

I was also super happy to have my bae Alex by my side for this trip! She is the coolest chick EVER and I’m always super excited to travel with her. Thanks Garnier for reuniting us in Morocco, it was awesome!

On our last morning Garnier organised for us to visit the traditional Moroccan Hammam which was pure bliss. A Hammam is basically a treatment where someone bathes you and scrubs you and kinda massages you at the same time. Essentially it was just what I needed before the long flight home back to London! We were also treated to a blow dry in the hotel using the beautiful Argan Richness range which left me feeling super swish!

  • Weekday Textured Bikini Top

    Love this bikini!

  • Weekday Textured High Waist Bikini Bottom

    So comfortable!

  • Round Basket Bag

    I'm in love with this

  • Oversized Sunnies

    These are cute

  • *Ouai Wave Spray

    Beachy vibes

  • Ouai Texturising Spray

    I'm in love

  • Gorgeous Red Dress

    Affordable show stopper!

  • Comfy Strappy Sandals

    The perfect height for me!

  • Simple Black Jumpsuit

    Love how this ties in at the waist

  • Basket Bag

    Essential for Summer!

Big thank you to my wonderful Garnier family for bringing me along on this trip and giving me a once in a lifetime opportunity to visit the amazing women at the Coopérative Toudarte. It’s so great to see how these women sustainably source the natural ingredients that go into Garnier products. I vlogged the whole trip so make sure you watch the video below if you want to see what I got up to while we were out there! The Argan Richness range is available from Boots here.

  • Garnier Argan Richness Control Cream

    Makes hair super manageable

  • *Garnier Argan Richness Shampoo

    Scrub a dub dub

  • Cute Basket Bag

    Pop your hair goodies in here!

  • *Garnier Argan Richness Conditioner

    Silky soft hair here I come!

  • Garnier Argan Richness Hair Mask

    My FAVE!!

  • Okay I’m seriously excited to try this new range after seeing your post! I’ve been using the Honey Treasures range for the longest time because of your recommendation and it’s just the best shampoo/conditioner combo for dry hair – I’ve also had trouble because of colouring my hair blonde, it’s such a nightmare. Looks like a beautiful trip (and your poolside outfits are GOALS!!!) xxx

  • I really like the Ultimate Blends range and I have also been looking for a great nourishing shampoo, so this line sounds amazing. Plus seeing how amazing the people that get involved into making it are, makes me want to try it even more!

    Olga from Myme

  • Cool ! I love those products…