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Zinn Moroccan Argan oil- reader reviewed

Is a Solution for:
Dry Skin
January 17, 2012 Reviewed by TIA Community Member 10 Comments
Reviewed by Jess

A few years ago, argan oil became the beauty industry’s new “it” ingredient, the trendy panacea that holds promise for nearly any skin or hair type. As with any skincare fad, my curiosity about argan oil was tempered with a healthy amount of skepticism, so I was excited to try Zinn’s version ($30 in the TIA shop) and find out if it lived up to the hype. The 2-oz bottle features a fanciful tasseled gold top that isn’t terribly practical, so if you try it you might want to transfer the oil into a dark glass dropper bottle to make it easier to use and to protect it from light.

The first thing that distinguishes Zinn’s argan oil from other oils I’ve tried is its viscosity and lack of strong scent. Pale gold in color, it spreads easily, has good slip, and is slightly thinner in texture than jojoba oil. Argan oil has a characteristic toasted, nutty aroma that some brands (e.g., Josie Maran) eliminate from their products via heat processing. When I first opened the bottle, the oil had almost no odor; after a couple of months, it developed a somewhat nuttier aroma, but was not unpleasant. According to the expiration date printed on the bottom of the box, this 2-oz bottle should last for two years.

Not long after I received my bottle, I decided in a moment of rare brilliance to remove a piece of bread from the oven with my bare hands. By the time it occurred to me to try the oil on the resulting first-degree burn, it had become an angry, puffy mess with new scar tissue forming beneath a white blister. (If you take nothing else from this review: Oven mitts exist for a reason! Use them!) I kept a bottle of the oil on my desk and another on my bathroom sink, so I rubbed a drop or two onto my wrist whenever I washed my hands or needed a brief distraction from work. Having only one scar means I have no way to know how the scar might’ve healed without the oil (or with a different one). But I can tell you that after one day, the crusty scab had sort of melted away, and the entire wound had deflated. So much so that if you ran a finger over it without looking, you wouldn’t know it was there. This piqued my curiosity immediately, so I donned my lab coat and goggles and sat down at my computer.

For me, research is an intrinsic part of being a skincare junkie. Whenever I’m curious about an active ingredient, a quick PubMed search will yield anywhere from a few to a few hundred peer-reviewed research studies. So I was surprised to find that for all the hype about argan oil’s miraculous effects on skin and hair, there exists almost no independent research on its effectiveness as a topical. A couple of studies have demonstrated argan oil’s ability to kill human tumor cells in vitro, but most of the research has focused on argan oil’s potential as a dietary supplement. (If you’re curious, evidence suggests that regular consumption of food-grade argan oil can boost the body’s antioxidant levels and improve cholesterol profile.) Since I couldn’t find any research on argan oil’s effect on skin, I decided to look for research on the oil’s individual components.

Zinn’s website lists argan oil’s impressive array of beneficial compounds (vitamin E, squalene, fatty acids, sterols, and phenolic antioxidants). I found plenty of studies that confirmed Zinn’s list, and even more studies on the topical effects of these components. Argan is similar in composition to other nut and seed oils frequently used in skincare, with a few notable exceptions:

Argan oil boasts an unusually high 5:1 ratio of gamma- to alpha-tocopherols (γ- and α- tocopherol are the two most prevalent forms of vitamin E in humans). This is a plus, because whereas high levels of α-tocopherol tend to deplete levels of γ-tocopherol, high levels of γ-tocopherol promote the accumulation of additional tocopherols. Gamma-tocopherol is also thought to have greater antioxidant and anti-cancer activity than the α- variety; this may account for some of argan’s potent antioxidant capacity. Tocopherols are thought to act synergistically with sterols, and argan oil contains a unique profile of two uncommon plant sterols that have demonstrated collagen-stimulating and potential anti-tumor effects.  Argan oil contains high concentrations of oleic and especially linoleic acids, which are both known to accelerate the inflammatory phase of wound healing.

These impressive constituents might explain the dramatic effect I observed after applying it to my brand-new burn. However, I don’t know that this benefit would be obtained if you used argan oil on scars that are already past the inflammatory stage. I used it on my face directly after cleansing for several weeks, but other than a bit of extra suppleness, I saw no difference in my acne scars or overall texture. I also tried using it on my hair as a leave-in and a shine booster (Lisa found it to be a good treatment for split ends), but my fine, dry waves were weighed down by even the tiniest amount. My favorite use for it was as a post-shower body moisturizer; applying the oil to damp, warm skin definitely increases its mileage and helps it absorb into the acid mantle of your skin. Likewise, using a few drops after washing my hands was much more effective than using it on dry skin. Marta loved Zinn’s Argan Smooth Body Milk ($25 in the TIA shop), which combines argan oil with emulsifiers like glyceryl stearate that make it more readily absorbed. Now that I'm down to about half the bottle, I'm planning to mix a few droppers full of the oil into a small jar of body lotion to extend it and make it more of an all-purpose, anytime moisturizer.

Ultimately, I enjoyed using Zinn’s argan oil and found it superior to other brands I’ve tried, but if I were to purchase anything from Zinn’s product line it would probably be their Smooth Body Milk. Not only did it get a glowing review from Marta, but I think it would provide the same healing, emollient qualities of argan oil in a more convenient form than the pure oil. As a company, Zinn gets a gold star for not making any outlandish product claims, for accurately listing argan oil’s active constituents, and for offering a high-quality, certified organic product. A great find, and a worthy addition to the TIA arsenal!
  • December 16, 2013

    by Connie

    My experience is similar to those of others who have commented. I ordered what I thought was a free sample of Rejuvenex, but the "bottle" arrived; there were three regular-size products. I was billed $89+. In a separate box was Zinn, which I'd never heard of. Same charge, $89+. Then ANOTHER bottle of Zinn came---$99.88 charge. I've spoken to these people on the phone, but they'll do nothing about it ---just high-pressure sales pitch with discount offers. This is definitely a scam. The perps are located in Boca Raton, Fla. There's nothing wrong with the products. It's the con group in Boca who should be sought out.

  • October 8, 2013

    by Julia

    These free samples are a rip off. Instead of sending the free samples, they charge you $89 for Rejuvenex and $89 for Zinn Moisturizer. Then when you call to return the items you didn't order, the phone rings forever and even after waiting 15 minutes for an operator, they are very rude. They promised to reimburse the price of the unsolicited products. So far they have not; however, I am going to report them to the BBB as well as seek legal advice. It is the principle of the situation,
    and it makes me angry that these people are cons.

  • June 25, 2013

    by Lori

    Beware Irmi B. I also received my free sample with no bill, no return instructions after the trial period, or whom to contact to cancel shipment. After some digging, I finally found it, but was 1 day past the 14 days to cancel shipment, and when I inquired about cancellation, the girl got very short with me, said I was cancelled and all but hung up on me, They billed me $89.99 before the 14 days was up, They did however offer me a 25% discount on my next order when I cancelled, but I had already found this same product for $29.99. WOW!!! what a price difference. They could not match that, but did offer to continue at $49.95. The price went down again, but at this point, I was just wanted out. I sent an email asking that they at least reimburse me the difference in the price they charged me, and the price they offered me, but to date I have not received a reply. I would like to return it for a refund, but when I asked about that, I was told my membership was cancelled. I am writing this off as a learning experience to do more research before accepting any more "free" trial offers. BTW, I do like the Zinn oil, I can't use much on my face, but my nails love me for it, LOL. I will list the site where I found the best price for you, but not sure this negative review of service, not the product will remain here.

  • April 29, 2013

    by Marta

    Hi Irmi, you can go to Zinn's website and call one of the numbers on their contact page:

  • April 29, 2013

    by Irmi Burford

    received sample of Zinn Beautiy oil
    am a bit worried since there is no bill present with the order. It is supposed to be a free sample and I'm not planning to get a monthly shipment, or do I contact the company to make sure there will not be an automatic debit from my charge card.....hope to enjoy the product and order more when I'm ready

  • January 20, 2012

    by Jess

    I'm glad you guys found this useful! It was a fun product to review and research -- I'm always fascinated by the abundance of beneficial compounds plants have to offer.

    Emily, my first introduction to argan oil was Moroccan Oil's hair serum. Zinn argan oil's lack of additives makes it a better value because you can use it anywhere on your body. Sadly, my thin hair tolerates silicones better than it does undiluted oil... but I suspect anyone with normal/thick hair, dryness, or damage would be able to use argan oil as a hair treatment.

    Mrs Fitz, let me know how you like the argan oil you found at the health food store. I once purchased a bottle of 100% argan oil from Whole Foods, and it was so thick and sticky I had to dilute it (1:3) with jojoba oil to make it spreadable. Hopefully yours is better!

    It's interesting how widely the quality, scent and viscosity of pure argan oils vary. Variables in cultivation and extraction influence the quality of any oil, but it's possible that argan fruit is particularly fickle in this respect. Of the 4-5 pure argan oils I've tried, the best ones have come from companies that seem to have a good awareness of these variables, and Zinn is one of those companies. Again, great find, Marta!

  • January 19, 2012

    by Mrs Fitz

    I had a sample of Argan oil from Sephora which I suspect had additives in it so I went to the health food store for some pure product. I will be trying it on my hair tomorrow which has become super dry in the past couple of weeks. I'm glad to hear of your success!

  • January 19, 2012

    by Amy

    Thanks for the great review!!!

  • January 17, 2012

    by Emily

    What an outstanding review, Jess! So informative and so well-written. I had been curious about Zinn (I do like the Moroccan Oil line, which is what introduced me to argan oil originally) but had held off since it seems pretty pricey. Great to know you think it's worth it. Thanks!

  • January 17, 2012

    by kim

    Awesome review!

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