Updated: September 25, 2022
If you’ve come across this article, you’ve probably been trying to figure out whether olive oil is good for your hair and why.
You may have seen some tips saying that this cooking staple, has real benefits for your hair and you’re trying to get the facts on why.
If this sounds like you, then you’re in the right place.
In this article, we’re going to be talking about why this ancient Mediterranean oil is so beneficial for long, healthy, and luscious hair! We’re also going to be talking about all the many ways you can use olive oil in your natural hair routine to reap maximum benefits.
8 Major Reasons Olive Oil is so Good for Your Hair
1. It is a natural conditioner
Olive oil has a naturally high fatty acid content. These fatty acids include oleic acid, palmitic acid, and squalene which are all emollients. This also means that they have naturally softening properties. In other words, olive oil naturally softens and conditions the hair, making it more manageable.
2. It improves scalp health
Olive oil is rich in vitamins E, K, and minerals like iron. Vitamin E is wonderful for improving the condition of the scalp because it is anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and helps promote healing. These are all important if you experience scalp inflammation, dandruff, or irritation that causes unhealthy hair growth.
3. It can penetrate the hair shaft
Unlike many other oils that coat or sit on top of the hair shaft, olive oil can actually deeply penetrate the hair shaft. This means that it can seep under the surface of the hair shaft to nourish it from the inside out.
4. It increases elasticity
Because this oil is rich in nutrients, and actually penetrates the hair shaft it helps to increase the elasticity of the hair. This means that it can provide the necessary flexibility to your hair that your hair needs to pop or bounce without breaking!
5. It helps prevent breakage
The fact that olive oil increases hair elasticity makes it so good for the hair because of how much breakage it can prevent. Hair breaks when you comb it or manipulate it when it does not have enough moisture or elasticity to withstand this tension. Olive oil can prevent that.
6. It encourages length retention
This point is why people anecdotally say that olive oil “makes your hair grow.” Olive oil is so nourishing and prevents hair loss from breakage, so you will definitely retain more hair length over time. Not necessarily because olive oil made your hair grow, but because it prevented the breakage that makes your hair remain at the same length.
7. It seals moisture in your hair
As we always say at Hibiscus Roots, oil doesn’t moisturize hair, water does. Olive oil is such a great sealant because when your hair is properly hydrated with a liquid like water or aloe vera juice, once you apply olive oil to the hair, it penetrates the strand and keeps that moisture locked in.
At the same time, any excess oil that doesn’t penetrate the strand sits on top of the hair strand protecting it.
8. It can repair damaged hair
Olive oil is rich in good cholesterol which is rich in lipids that are designed to repair damaged hair strands. Cholesterol can repair damaged hair by temporarily coating the hair with lipids and transferring tiny protein molecules to repair internal damage.
Different Kinds of Olive Oil for Hair
If you’re curious about the different kinds of olive oil, and which one you should use we’ve got you covered.
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO): This olive oil is extracted directly from the olive by grinding it, a method known as cold-pressing. This method preserves a lot of the natural vitamins, antioxidants, and minerals in the oil. Because of this, EVOO is the highest quality olive oil and has a dark green color and a fruity smell. This kind of olive oil is unrefined and has the most benefits for your natural hair.
- Virgin Olive Oil: This also comes from simply cold pressing the olive and extracting the oil. It’s extracted just like an EVOO, but it just didn’t meet the International Olive Oil Organisation’s “extra-virgin certification standard.” Yes, it’s a whole thing!
- Pure Olive Oil: Unfortunately, this name is misleading. This is because pure olive oil is typically a blend of virgin oil and refined olive oil.
- Refined Olive Oil: These oils are made by further processing virgin oils either by heat, chemicals, or filtration.
What is important to note is that the more refined the olive oil is, the fewer vitamins and nutrients it has. So this is often why it is recommended to use extra virgin olive oil or virgin olive oil for the most benefit for your hair.
How to Use Olive Oil in Your Natural Hair
Olive oil is one of those silver bullet ingredients that I use for everything. Here’s a list of different ways I use it in my natural hair routine!
1. As a base for Ayurvedic Oils
I love to infuse all my favorite herbs and essential oils in olive oil. This is because olive oil has tons of natural benefits for natural hair on its own. With additional herbs and essential oils, you can make it even more powerful!
2. As a pre-poo for natural hair
To reduce the drying effect of shampoos on your natural hair, you can coat your strands in olive oil for a few minutes before washing it. This can also ensure that your hair stays moisturized and that too much of the protective oils on your hair are not stripped away.
3. Mix it in your deep conditioner
You can add olive oil to any deep conditioner to make it richer and more moisturizing. It can help to increase the slip of the hair product and increase the conditioning properties.
4. Use it as a sealant for your hair
After washing your hair, and deep conditioning it, you can use olive oil to seal in moisture in your hair. You can do this by doing an oil rinse or sealing your liquid product into your hair as part of the LCO method.
5. Massage your scalp with it
To massage your scalp with olive oil, apply some oil to the pads of your fingers and massage your scalp with it. This is the preferred method of oil application we suggest here at Hibiscus Roots. This is because the common method of using an applicator bottle and flooding the scalp with oils directly has been found to sometimes produce build-up and scalp irritation.
6. Use it as a hot oil treatment
Heat up some olive oil and apply it to either dry or wet natural hair. Cover your hair with a plastic cap and let it sit for about 20 minutes. You can read more about how to do a hot oil treatment and its benefits for natural hair here.
Now you have a better view of olive oil and why it is so good for your hair, I’m sure you might be interested in incorporating it more into your natural hair routine! We say go for it!
And don’t forget to write down how your own hair responds to it in your HR Hair Journal!