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Is olive oil good for your hair?

What does olive oil do for your hair? Can I put it in my hair?

Olive oil is famous for containing unsaturated fats, vitamins A, E, and D, unsaponifiables, phosphatides, and phospholipids which have many beneficial effects on our health. But this extensive list of substances doesn’t explain whether we should start applying olive oil for hair or not. Let’s set the record straight based on scientific evidence and hair experts’ recommendations.

Olive Oil Benefits for Hair

– Growth-Boosting

Rumor has it that it’s smart to use olive oil for hair growth. Indeed, oleuropein, a compound contained in olives, is proven to stimulate hair growth at least in mice. Tocotrienols, E-group vitamins, have shown a certain efficiency in increasing the number of hairs grown out. That aside, no other study confirms the oil’s suitability for hair regrowth, so we can not refer to convincing scientific findings here. Nevertheless, all the above-mentioned vitamins along with fatty acids are included in the list of hair essentials – their deficiency is associated with different types of alopecia. So, at the very least, we can recommend olive oil for hair loss prevention, while a bit of nourishment is likely to boost your mane’s growing pace.

– Conditioning

The oil turns out to be even more worthwhile when it comes to making your tresses look healthier. Squalene, a hydrocarbon found in the oil, is widely used as a natural moisturizing agent and emollient. This is a good reason for using olive oil for dry hair to make it softer and stronger. And since the oil is 83% oleic acid, which makes it a monounsaturated oil, we can safely say that it is capable of penetrating the hair shaft to enhance its lubrication. This gives us grounds for recommending olive oil for naturally curly hair prone to dryness and frizz.

– Protecting

Thanks to vitamin E and oleic acid, the oil reduces oxidative stress, thus preventing hair loss. The pre-cited oleuropein boasts the antibacterial effect and contributes to healthy slap, which will be particularly appreciated by those who suffer from itchy scalp. Further, by covering gaps between the cuticle cells, the oil keeps some aggressive agents away from the follicles. When coupled with the moisture-retaining power of olive oil, these properties ensure quite potent protection of your tresses from damage inflicted by various factors.

– Polishing

As the oil smoothes the lifted scales of the hair cuticle, it can work as a nice remedy for shiny hair. Moreover, by enveloping the cuticle, it helps in both taming and detangling frizzy locks, which is really crucial for black hair. BTW, split ends are another issue to address with the help of olive oil treatments, since this vegetable fat kind of glues the hair scales together.

However, you need to weigh the advantages and disadvantages of olive oil for hair care based on the texture of your hair and the issue you want to tackle. So, what hair types will benefit from this remedy? It’s great for those dry locks that are also thick, coarse, or coily. It works fine for permed hair, relaxed tresses, and bleached blondes. It can even be used to manage dandruff by removing the flakes and soothing the itching.

On the other hand, olive oil treatments are not recommended for oily hair and scalp as well as for thin locks. The overloading will result in a greasy look and can even affect the natural sebum production.

Which Olive Oil to Use?

Actually, you can safely adapt your usual cooking olive oil for hair treatment unless it is labeled as refined or pomace. Extra virgin olive oil features the highest healthiness, as it retains the most of natural substances with no chemicals and heat-processing involved. Virgin olive oil is a bit short on phenolic antioxidants but more budget-friendly. Some products may be stamped as organic olive oil, meaning that the olives were cultivated with no chemicals employed throughout the process.

However, pure olive oil may be anything from a mix of virgin and refined oils to a heat-extracted product, as such a grade is not officially accepted.

How to Use Olive Oil for Hair

How much olive oil to use depends on your hair issue. When treating the ends only, measure no more than a tablespoon of the remedy, while you may need about 50 ml of the oil for covering all the head, especially a good head of hair. As for applying it after a shower or before, most recipes imply a pre-shampoo treatment to avoid a greasy feel.

While there are many olive oil uses for hair found across the Web, we’ve collected the most popular recipes:

– Conditioning massage –massage a bit of the oil into the hair and/or scalp, put on a shower cap, let it sit for a quarter of an hour, and wash it off with your regular shampoo and water.

– Egg and olive oil moisturizing mask –mix 2 yolks (for dry hair) or 2 whites (for oily tresses) with 2 tablespoons of the oil and apply the mix to damp hair for 20 minutes. You can include aloe vera gel into both masks to enhance the effect.

– Honey and olive oil conditioner – blend 100 ml of honey and 50 ml of olive oil, warm the blend in a microwave for 15 seconds, spread it over the hair and leave for half an hour.

– Mayonnaise and olive oil nourishing mask – add 1 teaspoon of the oil to 50 ml of mayonnaise and let it sit on the damp hair for 30 minutes.

– Olive oil and lemon anti-dandruff cure – mix a few tablespoons of the oil, lemon juice, and water to massage the remedy into the damp scalp for 20 minutes.

– Olive oil and onion juice against hair loss –make a mixture of 3 tablespoons of the juice and 1½ tablespoon of the oil to apply for 2 hours.

– Garlic and olive oil infusion for hair growth – put garlic into olive oil for hair overnight treatment.

Olive Oil or Coconut Oil?

Coconut oil has the edge over its olive counterpart thanks to the capability to reduce protein loss and damage caused by hair swelling/shrinking cycles. However, it lacks Omega-3 and 6 fatty acids, also being less packed with vitamin E. So, when comparing olive oil vs coconut oil for hair, the first one may be a better (and more affordable) alternative.

Olive Oil Downsides

In fact, if you are not the one-off who has an allergy to olives, the only thing you can suffer from using olive oil for your hair is getting it greasy-looking. The cure is obvious – do not apply too much oil and rinse it off thoroughly.

It is really beneficial to embrace olive oil for hair if you want to keep it moisturized, soft, smooth, and shiny. But remember that less is more here and use it wisely taking into account your hair texture.

Featured Image: stevepb –

by Donna Sullivan
Donna is a hairstylist with 8 years of experience. Ask her about any hair-related problem (haircuts, hairstyles, colorings, hair care) and get a pro advice!