These days, there are so many hairstyles and hair coloring options available that it’s becoming increasingly difficult to protect one’s hair from the negative effects of putting all those products into it.
In fact, using different hair products causes hair loss down the line, especially when they’re used in conjunction with heat-generating devices, which are ironically meant to promote hair growth and create volume. Instead, these devices have the opposite effect in that they actually weaken and thin the hair out, leaving you with frail looking hair instead of the lustrous locks that you want.
As you may already know, olive oil is tasty and rich oil that’s commonly used in cooking. Olive oil use originates from the Mediterranean region where it’s a staple in almost every dish. Not only does olive oil add flavor to meals but it’s also known for its cardiac health benefits and is considered to be a very healthy source of monounsaturated fat, while it’s also rich in Vitamins K and E.
It’s interesting to note that Mediterranean women topically apply olive oil to promote emollient skin and a lustrous hair glow. In fact, research studies are catching on to what these women have known for centuries – that olive oil deeply moisturizes the skin and hair and reduces UVB radiation effects. As it turns out, olive oil is the secret weapon that Mediterranean women and men have used to ward off skin cancer while keeping the skin moisturized and maintaining that all-famous Mediterranean tan.
However, olive oil has so much more to offer apart from its skin protecting properties and has been shown to even help with hair growth.
Read on to find out more about how this amazing oil does all of this and more.
Strengthen Your Hair With Olive Oil
Using certain hair dyes, prescription meds, cheap conditioners and shampoos as well as hormonal changes can affect hair strain and volume. Those who suffer from insomnia also report weak and brittle hair strands as a result of this condition. Other factors that affect hair growth (or the lack thereof) include genetics, stress, alcohol, as well as smoking and engaging in unhealthy eating habits.
Treating your hair with olive oil is one of the easiest things you’ll ever do to heal your hair naturally and when used regularly, these treatments can significantly boost hair growth. Plus, olive oil treatments are extremely affordable and can last for a long time because you only have to apply a small amount in order to get the desired results.
Olive oil is an ideal hair softener and a great alternative to chemically-laden hair conditioners and products, most of which do more harm than good to your hair. The best part about olive oil is that in addition to softening your hair, it also thickens and lengthens it while making it easier to manage.
All of these benefits are largely made possible by the presence of the monounsaturated fatty acids and essential nutrients contained in olive oil. These ingredients are the key to strengthening your hair from root to tip.
When applied to hair, the omega-6 fatty acid in olive oil prevents it from losing water in a dry environment. Since the body cannot produce omega-6 naturally, getting it from olive oil and other sources is the only way to get the hair boosting benefits of this type of fatty acid.
How Olive Oil Affects DHT Production
For people who are suffering from male pattern baldness, olive oil can also be beneficial. Typically, male pattern baldness is caused by an excess amount of dihydrotestosterone (DHT), a hormone that makes hair follicle shafts shrink. Over time, this causes hair to grow in thinner and thinner strands which eventually start breaking off before they can even grow to a reasonable length.
Here are two studies that suggest that olive oil might reduces the production of DHT (but please be aware that these studies date back more than 10 years):
- This study concludes that beta-sitosterol, found in olive oil, is effective at inhibiting 5-alpha reductase.
- This study concludes that beta sitosterol is effective at inhibiting the 5-alpha reductase enzymes as well.
Olive oil can actually slow down the body’s natural production of DHT when it is applied to the scalp, so it might provide a minor decrease in the hair loss caused by male pattern baldness.
Does Olive Oil Benefit Your Scalp?
A healthy scalp is just as important for hair growth as healthy hair.
Olive oil is an excellent source of antioxidants that promote scalp and skin health. Whether it is eaten or used on the skin, olive oil helps to prevent damage and soothe a dry, itchy scalp. Applying olive oil to your scalp will help to prevent dandruff, fungus, and other scalp issues that lead to dry, flaky skin. These conditions can clog up hair follicles, so preventing them with olive oil is extremely important.
Massaging the oil into your scalp will also improve blood flow throughout the area, so hair follicles are stimulated to grow thicker strands of hair.
What Are the Best Ways to Use Olive Oil for Hair Growth?
As mentioned, a little bit goes a long way when it comes to applying olive oil to your hair, and tonics are a great way to incorporate olive oil into your hair care routine without getting your hair all greasy and unmanageable. The best part about olive oil tonics is that you can make them yourself and they’re 100% natural.
Once you have the tonic, all you need to do is apply a small amount onto your palm, rub your hands together and massage it gently into your scalp. Using this application method will ensure that the olive oil penetrates deep into your hair follicles to encourage hair growth and blood circulation.
There are countless recipes for conditioning your hair with olive oil, but they all follow a simple process. Olive oil should be warmed before usage, and then gently massaged into the scalp and hair. After leaving it on for an hour, it should gently be washed out with a sulfate-free shampoo, and a leave in conditioner should be applied to seal in the moisture even further.
This procedure can be repeated weekly as a deep conditioning treatment.
Below are two awesome olive oil recipes that you can use on your hair to get thicker, longer and prettier locks.
1. Basic Olive Oil Treatment for Hair Growth
This first recipe is really straightforward and simple to make, and it features olive oil as the main ingredient.
- One teaspoon of olive oil
- Shower cap or damp towel
- One heat-proof ceramic or glass dish
- Basic, natural Shampoo
Here’s how you put it all together:
- Pour the required amount of olive oil and warm it up on the stove or in a microwave for a couple of seconds.
- Do a heat-test by pouring a small drop of the oil onto your wrist to make sure that it’s not scalding hot but rather warm.
- Drizzle the warm olive oil onto your palms and work it into your scalp gently.
- Continue to massage the oil in with your fingers for a few minutes so that it gets evenly distributed.
- Cover your hair in a shower cap or a damp towel.
- Leave the hair untouched and the towel on for two hours, and use a timer to get the exact time.
- Remove the shower cap or towel after two hours.
- Give your hair a good wash using shampoo and then rinse it off.
- While you might be tempted to apply conditioner onto your hair- don’t do it, as the olive oil is already taking care of that for you.
- Use this olive oil treatment every day for the first week. You only need to apply it every 3 to 4 days.
2. Advanced Avocado & Olive Oil Treatment
This rich olive oil treatment smells amazingly refreshing and contains added nutrients from the avocado as well. Here’s what you need:
- 1 teaspoon of olive oil
- ½ of an Avocado
- A spoon
- A small bowl
- Shower cap or damp towel
Here’s what you should do:
- Combine 1 teaspoon of olive oil and ½ of an avocado into a small bowl.
- Mix well to eliminate any lumps that might cause the avocado to drop out of your hair.
- Once the mixture becomes nice and smooth, gently rub it into your scalp using your fingers.
- Cover your hair with a shower cap or a damp towel for about 30 minutes.
- Once the 30 minutes is up, take the cap or towel off.
- Rinse off the mixture with water.
- Use a tiny bit of shampoo to wash your hair as you would on a normal day.
- Whatever you do, don’t apply conditioner as the treatment is already conditioning your hair.
- Dry your hair and style it as you wish.
- This treatment should be done at least 3 times per week.
How Long Does It Take to See Results?
If you’re wondering how long it’ll take for the olive oil to start working its magic on your hair, you need to keep in mind that hair growth takes time and requires patience. Also, hair grows at different rates for different people, so while some people experience 2 cm of growth during the space of one or two months, others see 5m of hair growth over the same time period.
The good news is that olive oil treatments start working immediately to heal your hair from the root but even so, you’ll still have to remain patient while the thin hair grows out because that needs to happen in order for the thicker hair growth to happen.
How To Chose the Best Olive Oil For Hair Growth
If you’ve ever tried shopping for olive oil hair treatments, then you know that there are literally numerous options on offer in the market today. Most of them go by different names, such as:
- Olive oil
- Virgin olive oil
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Refined olive oil
- Virgin olive oil that is labeled as “not fit for human consumption”
The latter option says “not fit for human consumption” because it’s meant to be used only as lamp oil. Whereas, the other four options are made from varying grades of olive oil, with each grade offering varying levels of quality and efficacy.
The different grades are determined by the manufacturing process used by the producer, and the most reliable oils often come with a certification for their grading.
Like most products, olive oil is packaged in different containers, including:
Each container is important. For example, glass or metal bottles usually contain olive oil of a higher grade, as the thickness and tinting of these containers protect the oil from damaging heat and light.
Refined vs. Unrefined Olive Oil
As the name implies, refined olive oil is produced using a unique refinery process, whereas unrefined olive oil typically comes with the word “virgin” pasted on it. Refined olive oil doesn’t have this labeling and simply says “olive oil.” Also, unrefined olive oil has a characteristically dark and yet brighter yellowish tint.
That said, all types and grades of olive oil come from the same olive fruit which grows out of the olive tree. The only difference between them is the extraction methods used during the processing stage. Some might add additives that break down the fat further into fatty acids, whereas larger volumes of olive oil generally require more refining than a small amount.
In its unrefined state, olive oil is much purer because it’s still raw, whereas refined oil has gone through a rigorous treating process to remove all the “imperfections” from it.
Refined oil is usually cheaper than pure olive oil, and since it has gone through a treating process, you’ll find that it doesn’t even smell like olive oil anymore. It also doesn’t have that bitterness and flavor of olive oil either.
In a nutshell, refined olive oil has been stripped of all the beneficial anti-inflammatory properties and antioxidants that are contained in the natural olive oil. So, if you want to benefit from the healing properties of olive oil, then the refined version is obviously not the best way to go about it.
Virgin Oil vs. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
There’s very little difference between them in terms of processing, which is why they’re both referred to as unrefined oils. What this means is that no chemicals are used during the extraction process and the oil is not heated like the refined oil.
While virgin olive oil doesn’t go through the same strict manufacturing process as extra virgin olive oil, it’s still very pure and contains a lot of flavor.
On the other hand, extra virgin olive oil is even more flavorful than the former but its oleic acid levels are much lower in comparison. However, extra virgin olive oil is pretty much the highest and best grade olive oil there is because it’s manufactured according to very strict guidelines, hence the strong flavor and potency from the vitamins and minerals which come from the original olive fruit.
The best way to decide on whether to choose extra virgin olive oil or virgin olive oil is to just figure out what you need it for. If you want to use it for healing purposes, then obviously extra virgin olive oil is the better choice, whereas virgin olive oil is great for cooking.
Interestingly enough, regular olive oil and extra virgin olive oil are both more popular and widely available than virgin olive oil.
Review of The Best Olive Oils for Hair Growth
1. Zoe Extra Virgin Olive Oil
This is the ideal olive oil if you want to get the hair growth benefits of olive oil by eating it. It is produced in Spain, certified organic, cold pressed, and contains no adulterants or other oils.
Things We Liked
- The mildly nutty, fruity taste is absolutely delicious
- Quality is assured by the North American Olive Oil Association
Things We Didn’t Like
- It can be a bit pricey, so using large amounts as a topical ointment really adds up
2. Kirkland Signature Extra Virgin Olive Oil
A lot of bargain brands of olive oil are actually mixed with cheap, greasy canola oil, but this oil is actually the real deal. Its quality is decent enough to be used in meals, but it is particularly useful for being applied to the hair and scalp.
Things We Liked
- This is 100% pure, extra virgin olive oil made from Italian-grown olives
- The dark color of the bottle keeps it from turning rancid quickly
Things We Didn’t Like
- The taste is slightly bitter, so it is not ideal for cooking with
Building A Hair Maintenance Routine
If you want to use up all your olive oil before it expires then it might be a good idea to use it for other purposes apart from applying it on your hair, such as moisturizing your skin or using it as a salad dressing. Your skin will definitely thank you for the moisturizing antioxidant properties offered by the oil.
Here are just a few of the ways in which you can incorporate olive oil into your hair maintenance routine:
- Apply the olive oil on hair ends to mend dry and split ends.
- Apply it onto your skin to relieve itching, redness, and inflammation. The highly moisturizing properties of the olive oil can also benefit those who suffer from skin conditions like psoriasis and eczema.
- Thanks to its antifungal and antibacterial properties, olive oil works great for healing skin rashes, because of its ability to restore the skin’s organic bacteria colonies.
- The antifungal properties in olive oil make it an effective treatment for dandruff, as it heals the problem from the skin on your scalp, providing vital moisture while getting rid of the flakiness and dryness caused by dandruff.
- Apply some olive oil onto dry and chapped lips.
- Olive oil can also be applied to dry and cracked feet right before bedtime for softer heels.
- For best results, wear socks on your feet after you’ve applied the olive oil and sleep with them on.
Though wild claims on the internet that make olive oil appear to be a hair growth miracle cure are not technically true, there is no denying that olive oil does help to prevent hair loss and stimulate the growth of new hairs. It can help to prevent the production of hormones that cause hair loss, but olive oil’s main benefit is that it is a powerful conditioner.
You can get these moisturizing benefits by adding some olive oil to your meal or massaging some into your hair, so preventing hair breakage is fast and easy.
If you have any questions about how you can add olive oil to your hair care routine, please feel free to mention them in the comments below.
Frequently Asked Questions
How often can I use olive oil in my hair?
Many people apply olive oil to the hair every single day. Often people use light olive oil to soften the ends of their hair, and helped minimize split ends and frizz.
The only point to note here is that it’s very easy to overdo it with applying olive oil to your hair. You only need a very small amount and it’s better to keep adding a little bit, than to saturate your hands and start applying it. This will mean you simply have to wash the olive oil out because your hair will look heavy and greasy.
You can also use olive oil as a daily hair conditioner, either on its own or as part of a hair mask recipe. However, the heavier amount of olive oil will mean that you have to wash it out.
What’s the difference between eating olive oil or putting it direct on my hair?
Just like anything else you ingest, olive oil will be broken down by your digestive system. So eating olive oil does not directly affect your hair.
Although you might get positive benefits from it as part of a healthy diet, which can have an impact on the strength a thickness of your hair and health of your scalp, it cannot directly impact on the health of your hair in the same way as applying it directly to the hair and scalp.
So if you are looking to get the best possible benefit from using olive oil to aid hair strength and scalp health then you should look at applying it directly to your hair rather than eating it.
How should I store olive oil?
There’s a certain way in which olive oil needs to be stored in order to maintain its quality, and that goes for all the different grades that we mentioned, regardless of whether it’s extra virgin olive oil, virgin olive oil or normal refined olive oil.
So, take a look at the following olive oil storage tips to help keep your olive oil from going rancid:
- Avoid placing your olive oil container in direct sunlight and don’t put it on a window.
- The best spot for olive oil is inside a cabinet, and definitely away from dishwashers, stoves, ovens or the sink.
- Wipe off excess oil from the bottleneck after each use to avoid build up.
- Screw the cap on tight after each use.
- Place your olive oil on the side of your cupboard to avoid accidentally knocking it over while looking for other items in your cupboard.