If you’re a foodie or just a fan of cooking, you’re most likely aware of the amazing benefits that olive oil has for your diet and general health. Several studies show that appropriate doses of olive oil in your diet can be great for your heart, but can the same thing be said for your hair?!
Believe it or not, pre the invention of many a beauty potion and elixir, many people across various cultures throughout history turned to olive oil as a beauty treatment. Since the time that olive oil was discovered over 5,000 years ago, everyone from the ancient Egyptians to the Greeks have been using this oil as a moisturizer, cuticle softener, facial cleanser and more. Olive oil contains vitamin E, antioxidants, and compounds such as oleocanthal and squalene, all of which can help prevent aging, repair skin damage, and keep the skin hydrated.
If you’re going to use olive oil as a hair treatment, it’s best to go with Extra-Virgin olive oil as it’s the least processed and retains the high nutrient value over other versions. Here’s a quick run-down of why olive oil can be great to add into your hair care routine, what hair types it’s best suited for, and how you can use it to give your hair an extra boost.
MOISTURE, MOISTURE, MOISTURE
The biggest reason why you should incorporate olive oil into your hair care routine is for the “moistcha”. Olive oil is rich in fatty acids like oleic, linoleic, and palmitic acid, as well as lipids and antioxidants. These provide moisturizing properties to coat strands of hair, which in turn helps keep the hair from drying out and developing further breakage. For this very reason, olive oil is great to incorporate into your hair routine if you have dry, thick, and, especially, curly hair. For those whose hair is a bit on the thinner side, it would probably feel too heavy to use on a regular basis, but can be incorporated in weekly or bi-monthly hair care treatments.
DIY HAIR CARE TREATMENTS
When it comes down to actually adding in olive oil to your hair care routine, the effort is so minimal, you’ll wonder why you haven’t tried it before.
One way to go about adding this wonderful oil into your routine is by grabbing a few other ingredients easily found in your kitchen, such as eggs and honey. Whisk one egg, two tablespoons of olive oil, and two teaspoons of honey together until well mixed. Massage the mask evenly throughout your hair and let it sit for fifteen to twenty minutes. Then just wash and condition your hair as per usual.
For those of you with particularly dried out or chemically damaged hair, you can try using this overnight hair mask made of olive oil, honey, and B-A-N-A-N-A-S, not just a Gwen Stefani lyric. Peel a ripe banana and mask it in a bowl with a fork until it is a smooth consistency. Then add in honey and olive oil and mix until it has an even texture. Apply the mask to your hair with your fingers, then run a comb through your hair to make sure it’s evenly distributed, and wrap your hair under a shower cap. We’d recommend laying a towel over your pillow if you’re worried about spillage. Then in the morning, rinse the mask out of your hair with semi-warm water.
WHO NEEDS TO AVOID OLIVE OIL IN THEIR BEAUTY ROUTINE?
As many benefits olive oil can have for your hair routine, there are some equally strong reasons for why certain people should leave olive oil in their kitchen and not in their beauty cabinet. Here are some people for whom adding in olive oil into your hair care routine may not be the best idea:
- Dandruff Debbies: Unfortunately, if you suffer from dandruff, olive oil is most likely going to exacerbate the problem. According to board-certified dermatologist Whitney Bowe, M.D., “Dandruff is caused by a yeast on our scalp, and if you use olive oil, you are feeding that yeast, which might make dandruff worse.”
- Acne Ambassadors: While olive oil is non-toxic, anti-microbial, and hypoallergenic, it is, sadly, not non-comedogenic. If you are acne-prone on your back or chest and your hair constantly touches these areas, there’s the risk of clogging the pores further and leading to worse breakouts.
- Blow Dryer Betties: If a blow dryer or a similar hot tool is in your regular beauty arsenal, I would highly recommend leaving olive oil away from your routine. Olive oil has a burn temperature beginning as low as 320 degrees Fahrenheit and most hot tools on the market easily go way above that. You want to cook veggies on the pan, not your beautiful locks.
MEET THE EXPERT
Dr. Whitney Bowe is a board-certified dermatologist and scientist based in New York and has spent over a decade championing the focus on the skin-gut-mind connection. Her 3-D approach to skincare has marked her place as an authority in the competitive world of skincare, especially with the launch of her own skincare brand DWB Beauty.