In most homes, of course, olive oil is a kitchen staple – delicious in cooking or drizzled over salads, an exceptionally nutritious, cholesterol-beating food with all of its heart-healthy properties. What fewer consumers realise, though, is that olive oil can also be a great, natural addition to their daily beauty routine.
Greeks have for more than 4,000 years used what they knew in ancient times as “the golden elixir” to enhance beauty. Cleopatra, the beguiling queen of Egypt, used it in her bathing routine. Leap ahead to modern times and you find celebrities like Julia Roberts, Emma Stone and Gwyneth Paltrow attesting to the assured effects of olive oil skin treatments.
Research demonstrates that this is no coincidence. Olive oil is a terrific source of antioxidants, including vitamin E, which, according to American dermatologist Dr Patricia Farris and many other scientists, effectively prevent free radicals from breaking down the skin’s collagen, which results in wrinkles, dark spots and sagging. And incorporating the magic elixir into your beauty regimen couldn’t be simpler.
The six top beauty uses for olive oil
Revitalise that hair!
One of the best ways to naturally reverse the effects of hair damage is a pre-shampoo treatment using olive oil. Its vitamin E hydrates the hair, and its antioxidants will protect against free radicals that can cause hair loss . Massage just a few tablespoons of plain olive oil directly onto the ends and let it work its wonders for 30 minutes, then shampoo as usual. Do this weekly and you’ll notice your hair becoming healthier, shinier and stronger.
A makeup remover – for all skin types
Makeup is fun – but the removal process can be a pain, especially if it’s water-resistant. Not so, though, if you use olive oil to remove it, and the oil is good for all skin types and for sensitive skin too. Not only can it easily remove makeup that’s meant to be long-lasting, but it also has the extra benefit of acting as a mini-facial , infusing your skin with moisture and antioxidants. Simply apply a teaspoon of olive oil to your face, massage it in for 10-20 seconds, and then gently wipe it away with a soft, wet face cloth.
The superhero moisturiser
The phenolic compound found in olive oil is scientifically proven to have antibacterial properties , making it an ideal moisturiser for all skin types – even oily and acne-prone complexions. Olive oil is also a favourite of beauty gurus because it naturally hydrates and is absorbed quickly. A good tip is to apply a small amount after a shower, then let it be absorbed into your skin before applying another layer of skincare. By using olive oil as the first layer of your skincare routine for both face and body, it will lock in moisture without clogging the pores or causing breakouts. It’s also budget-friendly!
Your scrub and exfoliator of choice
Exfoliation helps remove dead skin cells, allowing all skincare products to be better absorbed. And, to make your exfoliation routine extra effective, simply add a few drops of olive oil to your usual scrub for a soothing and moisturising boost. Or, to make an all-natural scrub, simply mix a half cup of brown sugar, a half cup of olive oil and a few drops of your favourite essential oil together in a bowl.
Better digestion and goodbye to bloating
If you ever wake up feeling bloated, instead of using drugstore laxatives that for some can cause cramping, depend on olive oil, a chemical-free alternative that can prevent constipation and avoid bloating. A spoonful of extra virgin olive oil in an empty stomach each morning will alleviate constipation by helping to lubricate the bowels.
A gift for the feet
From cracked heels caused by dry weather to tired feet in need of TLC, olive oil is a marvellous boon. Just before bed, rub a generous amount of olive oil onto each foot, focusing on the heel areas. Put on comfy socks to seal in the natural goodness. Olive oil will soften and soothe dry and calloused feet, making them sandal-ready in no time.
So, olive oil needn’t only be a cooking hero in the kitchen, but also a multi-purpose beauty aid. Try incorporating it into your daily routine for the best results, both internally and externally. All of the health benefits derived from eating food cooked with olive oil apply equally to your outer beauty and comfort. You can look just as good as you feel.