It’s the perfect drizzle on your favourite salad and can even be used to achieve silky smooth legs whilst shaving, but did you know that olive oil could also give you glossy, silky hair to rival Kate Middleton’s?
In fact, olive oil has been used for its beauty-boosting abilities for centuries (Cleopatra used to bathe in it) and can be used to cure both a multitude of skin issues and hair woes.
Indeed, people have been using olive oil for haircare for thousands of years, claiming it adds shine, body, softness, and strength to their ends.
Olive oil is extracted from the crop of the olive tree, native to the Mediterranean valley, and has a rich history of being used as a home remedy for skin and hair. It is naturally packed with anti-ageing antioxidants and hydrating squalene, making it great for restoring strength and sheen to your hair. Olive oil is also rich in vitamins A and E, which protect the keratin in hair and help to lock in moisture. Because of all of its nutrients, olive oil is not likely to cause an allergic reaction, making it perfect to use on sensitive hair.
If that wasn’t enough, its rich, moisturising properties make it ideal for use on the scalp and can help keep your hair looking healthy, shiny and strong. Olive oil moisturises the scalp and reduces further irritation and makes hair smooth and can smoothen out the frizz in your hair when massaged onto the scalp before a shampoo. It also adds softness and makes your hair stronger by penetrating the hair shaft and preserving moisture. If your scalp is prone to itchiness, olive oil is just what you need to reduce it. Whether you use it as a regular conditioner, a hot oil treatment or as a styling product, your hair can undoubtedly benefit from this great product.
It also has super cleansing abilities so banishes dirt and grime and removes dead skin cells on the scalp to help unclog follicles. So, aside from helping your hair grow stronger, shinier, healthier and dandruff-free, it also promotes hair growth. Win win.
Preaching the benefits of olive oil, Paul Windle, founder of Windle London, said: “Both olive (and coconut) oils are very popular in their countries of origin. There are two reasons for this: the oils are quite heavy and suit the thicker hair types that exist in these countries and the sun as it really helps breakdown the oil and opens up the hair to absorb. The dilemma we face with both of these oils is that in the UK we have a lot of medium to fine hair and not much sun, so these oils are often too heavy duty alone for the hair and can weigh it down.
“However, the key is to find a carefully selected blend of oils to reap the maximum benefits that the world’s natural oils have to offer. Living in London’s climate and often polluted city, it’s important to also opt for finer, lighter oils such as monoi, baobab and oat oils. Find a blend that works for you and your hair type, depending on shape, texture, condition and lifestyle. By blending your favourite oils, your hair (and scalp) will reap the maximum benefits that the world’s natural oils have to offer.”
Using oil in general may not be right for every hair type because some hair types retain oil for longer than others. Your body naturally produces oil through glands attached to hair follicles, and this oil tends to travel faster down thin, straight hair than it does down coarse or curly hair. Olive oil is best for dry, thick hair, split ends or heavily processed hair as it tends to weigh down thinner hair. Oily hair and scalps simply don’t need the conditioning.
We’ve also rounded up all the beauty benefits of olive oil.