Did you know that olive oil can benefit your hair as well as your skin? In this guide, we explain how olive oil is good for your hair and discuss options for incorporating olive oil into your hair care routine.
Benefits of Olive Oil for Hair
Oils of any kind, including olive oil, help seal in moisture and keep your hair hydrated. This is why many people apply hair oil as the last step in their routine, after applying other hydrating, water-based products. The oil locks in that moisture and keeps it from escaping into the air. This is especially beneficial during the dry winter months when your hair tends to be drier.
Olive oil also reduces friction on your hair. Friction disturbs the cuticle, which can cause the hair to stretch and splinter, especially if it is already brittle. Applying oil before shampooing or styling helps reduce friction and protects the cuticle from breakage.
Extra virgin olive oil also contains compounds that are beneficial for hair itself. Olive oil contains large amounts of antioxidants from vitamins E and K, which help protect both the hair and skin from free radical damage and oxidative stress that can cause aging to hasten.
For all these reasons, high-quality olive oil can be a beneficial ingredient to use on your hair. However, there are a couple of cautions to keep in mind:
- Some people recommend applying olive oil directly to a dry scalp to help moisturize it and reduce dandruff. However, dandruff itself is caused by yeast, and the olive oil will feed that yeast, which can actually worsen symptoms. If you have bad dandruff, stick to tried-and-true products recommended by your dermatologist just to be on the safe side.
- If you have acne-prone skin, using olive oil can cause pores to become clogged and result in breakouts. Keep your hair off your chest and back, and try to avoid touching your hair and then touching your skin.
- Do not use olive oil directly before heat styling your hair. Most of these devices have very high temperatures that far exceed the burn temperature of olive oil. Instead, coat your hair with products specifically designed to protect it from heat. You can still use olive oil in other parts of your hair routine — for instance, if you style your hair in the morning, then you can put olive oil on it at night.
Ways to Use Olive Oil in Your Hair
People with dry hair tend to benefit from olive oil due to its moisturizing properties. People with kinky or curly hair, which is more porous and loses moisture faster, also tend to benefit from olive oil. However, the oil can sometimes be a bit heavy for fine, straight hair that is easily weighed down. Experiment around to see if olive oil works for your hair or not!
Here are some ideas for at-home hair treatment using olive oil:
- Honey and Olive Oil Mask: Mix three tablespoons of olive oil with one tablespoon of honey. Apply to sections of damp hair after shampooing. Put on a shower cap and leave on for 30-60 minutes and then rinse off. The honey and olive oil work together to seal in moisture and hydrate your hair.
- Avocado and Olive Oil Mask: Take half of a ripe avocado and mash it using a fork, a blender or a food processor. Mix in two tablespoons of olive oil. Coat your damp hair in the mixture and put it up in a shower cap. Leave on for at least 15 minutes.
- Essential Oil Blend: Olive oil is very beneficial for your hair on its own, but it also makes a great carrier oil for an essential oil such as tea tree oil or jojoba oil. Add two to four drops of the essential oil to about two tablespoons of olive oil for a hair mask, or about a teaspoon of olive oil as a leave-on treatment.
To reap the most benefits for your hair, choose extra virgin olive oil. Extra virgin olive oil has not been treated with heat or any other process that could alter the character of the olive oil or reduce its antioxidant levels. The fresher the olive oil is, the greater the benefits will be, so look for domestic products such as California extra virgin olive oil that can ship to your home quickly instead of having to be transported from overseas. Look for olive oil with clearly marked harvest dates to ensure the peak of freshness has not passed.
If you are new to high-quality olive oils, try Brightland’s olive oil set for a great introduction to two of our most popular extra virgin olive oils. You can use them for both your hair and skin as well as cooking and baking to reap the many benefits of olive oil.