oil and its production have been with humankind since ancient times and
the olive tree has played an integral part in the life of the people of
the Mediterranean basin since about the time of the third millennium B.
C. Olive oil is the fat obtained from the fruit of the olive tree or Olea europaea.
The tree has a life span of around 300 to 400 years. The method of
producing olive oil has not changed in thousands of years. The olives
are ground into a paste and then the oil is extracted through
centrifugal motion with stainless steel. The first extraction creates
extra virgin olive oil, where the oil retains the flavor, color, and
nutritional value of the original fruit with the exclusion of chemicals
What’s the difference in olive oils?
There is a real science to how olive oils are graded by their
extraction process and the acidity of the pressed oil, according to Dr.
Timothy Harlan, an assistant professor of clinical medicine at Tulane
University states in an article by Gina Shaw on WebMD. Extra-virgin (EVOO),
virgin, pure, and light are different olive oil grades that do not
legally affect residents of the United States, as the U.S. Department of
Agriculture (USDA) is not a member of the International Olive Council.
However, in October 2010 the U.S. Standard for Grades of Olive Oil and Olivek-Pomace Oil went into effect and the USDA grading of olive oil is now based on flavor, odor, absence of defects, and acidity.
Grades of Olive Oil
These are the U.S. Standards for Grades of Olive Oil, according to Medical News Today:
- U.S. extra virgin olive oil has an excellent flavor, odor, and a free fatty acid content of ≤ 0.8g per 100g (0.8%).
- U.S. virgin olive oil has a reasonably good flavor, odor, and a free fatty acid content of ≤ 2g per 100g (2%).
- U.S. virgin olive oil not fit for human consumption without further processing is a virgin oil of poor flavor and odor.
- U.S. olive oil is an oil mix of both virgin and refined oils.
- U.S. refined olive oil is an oil made from refined oils with some restrictions on the processing.
Which types of olive oils are best for hair?
EVOO and refined olive oil retain their nutritional value. Lighter
formulas typically have chemical additives that can dry the hair out
where as the pure olive oil is thick, provides intense moisture and
shine. If you have dry or damaged hair, steering clear of the chemically
altered olive oils is a must.
What are the benefits of olive oil on hair?
There are three main reasons to use EVOO on your strands: it will
nourish the scalp, condition the hair, and improve the elasticity of the
hair. Olive oil is the dream oil for dry and or damaged strands. It is
ideal for coarse hair and for damaged, porous strands due to chemical
processing. EVOO can actually penetrate the hair shaft and retain hair’s
moisture because the richness of the oil is able to reach the cortex
and moisturize the hair from within. This heavy oil is optimal for
controlling frizz and should be used sparingly as too much can weigh the
hair down and even makes it greasy.
It is perfect for the winter months where, as the hair is more prone
to dryness. Olive oil will not repair split ends, but it helps smooth
them and can decrease their rate at which they occur after a trim. Its
primary chemical elements are oleic acid, palmitic acid, and squalene.
All are emollients and have softening qualities.
How to use olive oil on hair
Here are a couple of DIY recipes to try for optimal moisture and a few products in case you prefer OTC for your olive oil boost.
EVOO + Honey Hair Massage
- 4 Tbsp. EVOO
- ½ tsp. raw honey
- 2 bowls (one smaller than the other)
Fill the larger bowl with boiling water. Place the mixture in the
smaller bowl and place in the larger bowl to warm the mixture; this
method does not destroy the benefits of the oil from direct heat. Allow
to warm before applying to scalp in circular motions. Allow to sit on
the scalp for 20 min. before washing and styling as usual.
EVOO Pre-Poo Dandruff Fighter
- 2 Tbsp. EVOO
- 2 Tbsp. pure lemon juice
- 2 Tbsp. water
Mix ingredients together before massaging into scalp. Leave on for 20
min. before rinsing and shampooing. Style as usual. This mixture can be
used weekly to free up the flakes and moisturize the new, exfoliated
layer of skin underneath.
Products with olive oil
- Curl Junkie Beauticurls Argan & Olive Oil Daily Hair Conditioner
- Organic Root Stimulator Creamy Aloe Shampoo
- Organic Root Stimulator Olive Oil Cream
- Carol’s Daughter Olive Oil Infusion At-Home Hair Treatment
- SheaMoisture Jamaican Black Castor Oil Strengthen Grow & Restore Treatment Masque
- Giovanni 2chic Ultra-Moist Deep Deep Moisture Hair Mask Avocado & Olive Oil
- Nubian Heritage Evoo & Moringa Repair & Extend Hair Butter