Anytime cosmetics makers use natural plant oil instead of petroleum distillates is a reason to rejoice. One intriguing ingredient that’s been cropping up lately is extract of Argania spinosa, or argan oil, from the leaves and bark of eponymous Moroccan trees. A traditional Berber skin-soother high in vitamin E, it’s harvested without damaging the trees in a desert biosphere preserve. 

Even without tickets to Morocco, there are many ways to experience this ancient remedy. Argan smoothes wrinkles in an eye cream from Aveda’s new Green Science line, packaged in post-consumer recycled (PCW) and Forest Stewardship Council–approved materials ($45, aveda.com). It nourishes pouts in Dr. Hauschka’s BDIH-certified Stone Colours lip tints ($21, drhauschka.com). Pangea Organics features organic argan oil in its Egyptian calendula and blood orange facial cleanser ($24, beautorium.com); the PCW box, when planted, sprouts medicinal herbs. “Very few oils in the world compare to the restorative, anti-inflammatory properties that argan offers,” says Pangea founder Joshua Onysko. If you prefer your oil straight up, Cultural Connection sells a version endorsed by Eco-Cert ($40, edenallure.com); dab liberally and dream of the Casbah.

Story by Alexandra Zissu. This article originally appeared in Plenty in October 2008 and is republished with permission here.