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Olive oil is a versatile oil produced by pressing whole olives found mostly in the Mediterranean region where it is a huge part of their diet due to its health benefits. The most common uses for olive oil is in cooking and hair care.
5 Benefits of Olive Oil for Hair, Skin & Body
- Olive oil is rich in monounsaturated fatty acids especially oleic acid, a heart healthy dietary fat, which also prevents free radical damage in the body.
- Olive oil contains polyphenols and oleocanthal, powerful antioxidants that help fight inflammation in the body and also supports the cardiovascular system.
- Olive oil contains traces of squalene, a compound deemed to be an anti-cancer agent.
- If your diet is rich with olive oil, it can help promote a more effective weight loss strategy. According to the USDA, 1 tablespoon of olive oil contains 14 grams of fat and no sugar, carbs or protein and comes to approximately 120 calories. This makes it an ideal oil to use in a balanced weight loss regimen. Nevertheless, olive oil should be consumed in moderation.
- Olive oil contains a high amount of vitamin E, which can help hydrate the skin and hair and promote softness & shine.
How to Use Olive Oil for Hair
The essential fatty acids in olive oil coat the hair shaft and promotes a smoother and healthier appearance. Olive oil also tames flyaways and frizz while the vitamin e content assists with softness and shine. Read How to Achieve Softer & Shinier Hair with Olive Oil.
How to Use Olive Oil for Skin
- You can use olive oil for massaging your nails after a manicure. Mix with vitamin e oil for an even more effective nail massage.
- Use olive oil as a replacement for shaving creams; facial and other regions. Read Oils for the Pubic Area.
- Can be used as a make up remover. Dab on skin, leave on for a few minutes then wipe off with a moist warm wash cloth. This can also help with reducing acne. Another oil that can assist with acne is coconut oil for acne.
- Apply to your baby’s bottom to cure nappy rash.
- Olive oil can be used in the oil pulling method.
- You can make a face mask for dry skin with olive oil and an egg yolk. Add in some lemon juice for skin brightening.
How to Use Olive Oil for the Body
Your body can get the benefits of olive oil via consumption in various ways, which could include sautéing, grilling, dipping, salad dressings and including it in other recipes.
Remember that the higher olive oil is heated, the more the benefits are degraded so stick to using it in recipes that require little to no heat.
Other Uses of Olive Oil
- Olive oil can be applied to shoes to help restore their shine.
- If your cutting board is made out of wood, you can prevent splitting, marking and cracking by rubbing in a few drops of olive oil.
- Applying a thin layer of olive oil to garden tools can help prevent rust.
- If you have a stuck zipper, apply olive oil with a q-tip to ease down the zipper.
- If you accidentally get paint in your hair, you can remove it by applying olive oil with a cotton ball.
The 5 Different Grades of Olive Oil
There are a few different grades of olive oil with several differences between all of them:
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO): This is the best type of olive oil. It comes from the first cold pressing and usually has exceptional quality. It’s the one I use for my hair and in cooking.
- Virgin Olive Oil: Virgin olive oil is obtained through mechanical expeller pressure, washing, centrifugation and filtration. It’s comes from the second pressing of the olives and is a step down from the process used for EVOO. However, it is still suitable for personal use. Read The Difference Between Virgin & Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
- Pure Olive Oil: This is a blend of refined olive oil and virgin olive oil.
- Extra Light Olive Oil: This isn’t light on calories as the name might suggest. Rather, it’s an indication that it has been mixed with other oils and very processed. You may find it suitable if the aroma/taste of olive oil is too much for you but in this case, you might as well buy extra virgin olive oil and blend it with other high quality oils yourself.
- Pomace Olive Oil: This oil is used mostly for industrial purposes in things like soap making and other cosmetics. It’s a heavily refined by-product of olive oil and not recommended for human consumption. Before I began studying oils, I accidentally purchased this oil because it was cheap and used it on my hair (I was transitioning then). I spent the next few days regretting it. My hair was a dry tangled mess for days afterwards.
Best Olive Oil Recommendations
If you want to use olive oil for skin, hair and/or body, below are the best 5 recommendations for extra virgin olive oil:
If you would like to know more about how to use natural oils for specific purposes to get more effective use out of them, you may want to check out How to Grow Hair Healthy & Long with Natural Oils, a guide which goes in-depth into which specific oil (s) works for each hair issues for optimal length and health.