What Does Argan Oil Smell Like? Should It Smell Good?

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Are you using No products found. to make your hair or skin look better? It has a lot of benefits for the skin! Moroccan Argan Oil is in high demand. When that happens, there may be some who take advantage of the situation by using impure, diluted, over-processed, or even fake ones. Who would want to put a substandard product on their face? 

One way for you to determine if your argan oil product is pure as they claimed it to be, is to smell it. Now you might be asking, “What does argan oil smell like? Well, the short answer is a light nutty scent. However, all argan oils don’t smell the same, and the scent is quite varied.

There are many factors that could affect the scent of the argan oil. We’ll discuss all of those factors below. 

But, one thing is for sure: argan oil is not supposed to smell stinky. If it does, then you shouldn’t use it. Why? Well, because it may already be rancid or impure. 


What Does Argan Oil Smell Like?

USDA Certified Argan Oil

If you were to place all of the pure argan oils on the market in a line and smell them, one after the other, you’ll find that they smell differently from each other. Although there are similarities, each one smells unique. 

One of the main factors that can affect the scent of the argan oil is the way it is prepared or extracted. Argan oil has many uses in the beauty market, but it can also be used in the culinary industry.

When argan oil is meant to be used for the culinary industry, it would be gently roasted before it is pressed. This produces an oil that has a nutty aroma. Although this material is still argan oil, it is not beneficial for cosmetic use. That is because the roasting process could remove the vitamins that are beneficial for the skin. 

So does this mean that you should find a scentless argan oil? Not really, if you want the full benefits from the argan oil.

Cliganic Argan Oil

Argan oil that doesn’t have any scent may be overly processed through heat or mechanical extraction. Although there are still benefits from using such oils, a properly-prepared extract will be more useful.

Scentless argan oil could also mean that it is diluted or impure. 

Does Argan Oil Smell Good?

Just as olive oil smells reasonably good but typically doesn’t smell super strong, argan oil has a generally-good smell but also isn’t super strong.

The scent of a properly prepared, cold-pressed pure argan oil that’s been properly prepared or extracted for cosmetic use is slightly nutty.

The nutty scent is not as obvious as it would when you’re dealing with the culinary argan oil. Some describe it as a similar scent to olive oil. Others say the scent is comparable with popcorn. Then there are others that say it has a raw scent to it.

Regardless, it should not be scentless, overly nutty, or pungent. 

Why Does My Argan Oil Smell Bad?

You may have just bought a bottle of argan oil, and upon smelling it, you notice that it has an unpleasant scent. If you don’t know what argan oil is supposed to smell like, you might think that it naturally smells that way.

However, argan oil shouldn’t smell bad, pungent, rancid, like manure, or just plain awful. When that happens is a sign that argan oil has expired or somehow was contaminated.

You should stop using it and if possible, exchange it for a different bottle.

If the oil used to smell good, but it has now gone off, take that as a sign that the oil is already bad.

Don’t risk using expired products on your face. The components of argan oil that make your skin look good may already be gone. Additionally, expired Argan oil could cause more harm to the skin because of a different reaction. 

Other Factors That Affect Argan Oil Scent


Apart from how the argan oil is extracted, there are also other factors that can impact its scent. Knowing these could help you determine whether the product is still good to use or not. Here are some other factors that can impact smell:

Storage Time

If you got Argan oil because of the recent sale, that may not be ideal. You can’t keep argan oil forever. With long-term storage, the nutrient content, the scent, and even the color can change. Argan oil contains vitamin E in high levels. This is a powerful antioxidant but there is also a shelf life for it.

Usually, pure argan oil is good for 12 to 18 months. 

Effect Of Light

Exposure to direct sunlight can speed up the degradation process and produce an unwanted scent. Although sunlight speeds it up the most, other sources of light could also affect the argan oil in the same way.

That is why it is usually stored in dark-colored bottles.

As the oil degrades, the smell will get worse.


The temperature of storage also affects argan oil. In colder temperatures, a gel-like substance can form. These are the fatty acids in the oil. Gently warming it up can remove the gel-like substance, but that can cause a change in the scent, turning it into a more fruity one. 


When we talk about the climate here, we talk about the climate in which the argan nuts are in. Humidity, heat, soil factors, and water supply for the argan tree could affect the nuts it produces.

This could also lead to a change in the chemical makeup, taste, and scent of the argan oil produced. 

Final Thoughts

Argan oil is a great product for skin and hair. It works great for flat irons and curling irons. However, people also use it as a source of flavor for food. The scent of argan oil for food purposes and for cosmetic purposes are different due to prep methods. For cosmetic purposes, the oil is extracted through a cold-pressed procedure, which produces a slightly nutty, but not overly empowering scent. 

If your argan oil doesn’t have a scent, it is probably diluted or impure. If it has a genuinely bad scent, it is expired or contaminated and shouldn’t be used. There are a few factors that could affect the scent of argan oil, includingthe process of extraction, storage time, light, temperature, and climate. 

If you’re thinking you should pick up some new Argan Oil, the Pura D'or  is an excellent choice. If you’re in a pinch, you could choose coconut oil, but keep your temperature low.

PURA D'OR Organic Moroccan Argan Oil (4oz / 118mL) USDA Certified 100% Pure Cold Pressed Virgin Premium Grade Moisturizer Treatment for Dry, Damaged Skin, Hair, Face, Body, Scalp (Packaging may vary)
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Note: Argan Oil Making Image source: Wikipedia

Written by Kayla Young

Kayla is the founder of LuxeLuminous. She has worked professionally in the tanning industry for years. She has been interested in esthetics since childhood, and has tried every hair, skin, and makeup product ever produced (more or less).