The use of olive oil for healthy hair, scalp, and skin is widely known. When used correctly olive oil can help you achieve and maintain healthy natural hair.
What is olive oil, how is it made, and what is it composed of?
Olive oil is a pure fat that is made from processing olives to get to obtain the oil inside. It consists of monounsaturated, saturated, and polyunsaturated fats as well as vitamin E and K. It does not contain protein.
Olive oil has a shelf life of 2 years from manufacture date. After this time, it is still safe to ingest, however color and taste may be altered. Store in a dark, room-temerature cupboard as light can affect its nutrients adversely.
What are the benefits of olive oil?
- It promotes a healthy scalp. Olive oil contains antioxidants that have anti bacterial, anti fungal, and anti inflammatory properties. Antioxidants help prevent the oxidation of free radicals that cause cell aging and anti-bacterial agents in olive oil help fight conditions such as dandruff and head lice.
- It is a great conditioner. Olive oil contains vitamin E which, when applied to the scalp, can stimulate hair follicles leading to growth. Vitamin E also fortifies hair, increases hair volume, and prevents premature graying. Olive oil is one of the few carrier oils that can penetrate the hair shaft to promote hair that is soft and shiny. It’s ability to do these things is the reason so many conditioners contain the popular oil.
How Should You Use it?
Hot Oil Treatment: Heat up the olive oil until it’s lukewarm, then apply it to your scalp and hair. Apply the oil to your hair and massage the oil into your scalp for about 5-10 minutes. This stimulates the scalp and encourages growth. You can use a steamer to ensure that hair absorbs the oil, but A hot towel will also get the job done. I recommend the use of additional heat for those with low porosity hair as the cuticles of lo-po hair are almost if not closed and don’t allow much penetration. Wash your hair thoroughly when done. You can add additional oils if you want.
Oil Rinsing: Oil rinsing is adding oil to hair after you shampooing, but before you condition. Some of the benefits include more moisture retention and easier detangling. [READ: Oil Rinsing 101 to learn about the different ways you can do it.] It’s not the same as a pre-poo, which involves adding oil (or another product) to hair before shampooing, and it’s different from simply applying oil to hair because the oil is washed out.
Mix it with an Egg, Honey, Mayonnaise, or Plain Non-Fat Yogurt: Eggs and mayonnaise contain protein that can strengthen hair. (Mayonnaise contains eggs.) Honey is a humectant that draws moisture from the air into hair, but only if there is a less moisture in hair than the air. Yogurt is known to soften hair and fight frizz and tt contains protein. If you are protein sensitive or have low porosity hair, these types of proteins (amino acids) may not be beneficial to you as they are too big to penetrate your hair shaft.
Take it Orally. When taken orally, olive oil benefits not just your hair, but your entire body. The main fat in olive oil is monounsaturated fats (MUFAs) which are healthier than saturated and trans fats. MUFAs can lower cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels. Additionally, MUFAs can normalize blood clotting and some research shows that they may also benefit insulin levels and blood sugar control, very beneficial to those with type 2 diabetes.
Healthy hair is a side effect of a healthy body. Be sure to eat healthy as well as practice good hair measures to ensure the health of your hair.