We all want shiny, healthy hair – and in Australia, in 2020, we spent around AU$12b on hair care products 1.
We know Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO) is excellent for our health, but did you know that EVOO may also be good for your hair?
Olives have been cultivated for over 6,000 years, and there are reports of them being used on the skin and hair to make it healthier 2. So the solution to dry and damaged hair and scalp might the Extra Virgin Olive Oil found in our kitchen.
Dry and damaged hair lacks shine and body. To bring back the condition of our hair, we need to counteract what might be damaging or drying it out. Oils can penetrate into our hair, protecting it from water absorption that can cause damage 3.
Why is Extra Virgin Olive Oil good for our hair?
It’s best to choose Extra Virgin Olive Oil for our health and possibly for our hair. EVOO is highest in quality, natural antioxidants, vitamin E and phytosterols that give the oil its health benefits 4.
- Oleic acid is the primary monounsaturated fat found in olive oil and is a natural cleansing agent (surfactant). Artificial surfactants are found in many shampoos and conditioners.
- Monounsaturated oils can also penetrate the hair better than other oils, protecting the hair from damage and helping soften hair 3,5-7.
- Oxidative stress may contribute to scalp health, hair greying and hair loss. Extra Virgin Olive Oil is a good source of the antioxidants vitamin E and oleuropein, which can help to reduce the impact of oxidative stress on hair 8-9.
How to use olive oil on your hair
Use olive oil as a pre-conditioner to make the most of it helping your hair becoming shiny and healthy.
- Cover your top with a towel, so you don’t get oily drips on it (if you do, just rub in some soap before you wash your top)
- Go to the kitchen cupboard and grab your Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
- Pour between 2 tablespoons and ¼ cup (depending on your hair length and thickness. More if your hair is long or thick) into a small bowl.
- Starting at the ends, massage the Extra Virgin Olive Oil through your hair. Make sure you massage some oil onto your scalp.
- Wrap your hair in an old towel and relax with a cup of olive leaf tea for 10-15 minutes.
- Comb your hair with a wide-tooth comb and then head to the shower.
- In the shower, wet your hair and then shampoo well (you may need two rounds of shampoo) to get out all the oil.
- Repeat this once a week for healthy, shiny hair
Frequently asked questions about using olive oil on hair
What kind of hair works best with olive oil treatments?
Hair which is dry or damaged responds best to Extra Virgin Olive Oil treatments.
- Thick and curly hair tends to become drier and more damaged than straight, fine hair
- Dyed or sun-damaged hair may benefit from an Extra Virgin Olive Oil treatment
Will Extra Virgin Olive Oil help my hair grow?
Healthy hair and scalp are more likely to help your hair grow well. Although there have been no studies on humans that have specifically looked at the effect of olive oil on hair growth, the antioxidants found naturally in Extra Virgin Olive Oil may help scalp health, promoting hair growth 8,9. Find out more about the different types of olive oil.
Is olive oil for hair and cooking different?
The great thing about using olive oil for healthy-looking hair is you can just reach into the kitchen cupboard and grab the same oil you use for cooking. But make sure you’re choosing Extra Virgin Olive Oil as it’s higher in nutritious compounds and antioxidants that benefit our health and our hair 4.
- Consumer Market Outlook. Hair Care. Accessed November 2020 https://www.statista.com/outlook/70040000/107/hair-care/australia
- Vossen P. Olive oil: history, production, and characteristics of the world’s classic oils. HortScience. 2007 Aug 1;42(5):1093-100.
- Dias MF. Hair cosmetics: an overview. International journal of trichology. 2015 Jan;7(1):2.
- Schwingshackl L, Morze J, Hoffmann G. Mediterranean diet and health status: Active ingredients and pharmacological mechanisms. British Journal of Pharmacology. 2020 Mar;177(6):1241-57.
- Bermudez B, Lopez S, Ortega A, M. Varela L, M. Pacheco Y, Abia R, JG Muriana F. Oleic acid in olive oil: from a metabolic framework toward a clinical perspective. Current pharmaceutical design. 2011 Mar 1;17(8):831.
- Cosmetics Info. Oleic Acid https://cosmeticsinfo.org/ingredient/oleic-acid Accessed November 2020
- Inci Decoder Olive Avid. https://incidecoder.com/ingredients/oleic-acid Accessed November 2020
- Trüeb RM. Oxidative stress in ageing of hair. International journal of trichology. 2009 Jan;1(1):6.
- Schwartz JR, Henry JP, Kerr KM, Mizoguchi H, Li L. The role of oxidative damage in poor scalp health: ramifications to causality and associated hair growth. International Journal of Cosmetic Science. 2015 Dec;37:9-15.