Olive oil is one of those miraculous ingredients that promise to take care of your hair, your skin, and everything in a way that no other product (natural or otherwise) has ever done. In its extra virgin form, it is especially popular in the beauty world thanks to its sought-after revitalizing properties - moisturizing the hair, nourishing the scalp, and preventing dandruff and breakages.
Let’s find out what chemical components make olive oil so great, what are the benefits of olive oil and how to best use olive oil for hair nourishing purposes:
- The Science Behind Olive Oil
- Oleic Acid
- Linoleic Acid
- Palmitoleic Acid
- Regular Olive Oil vs. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Incorporating Olive Oil into Your Routine
The Science Behind Olive Oil
Olive oil contains a multitude of helpful fatty acids that aid the healthy functioning of our bodies. Here’s all the science behind each of them:
Also known as Omega-9, oleic acid is a monounsaturated fat found in plants and animals. It has been proven that the consumption of monounsaturated fats can decrease low-density lipoprotein cholesterol and increase high-density lipoprotein cholesterol. These two need to be in balance for our long-term health.
It is thanks to oleic acid that olive oil has such a great reputation for lowering the risk of heart diseases, as it might reduce blood pressure.
As for hair benefits, this acid can make your hair softer because it prevents the hair strands from losing more water than would be necessary (or optimal) while also having anti-inflammatory properties.
Linoleic acid is a polyunsaturated fatty acid, also known as Omega-6. Unlike oleic acid, which our bodies can produce when needed, linoleic acid cannot be produced by the human body, even though it is highly needed. It also plays a significant role in reducing the risk of heart disease, and it may improve blood pressure and insulin sensitivity.
As for its hair-related properties, linoleic acid has the ability to stimulate hair growth, reduce hair loss and contribute to the scalp’s long-term health. Also, just like oleic acid, linoleic acid can control water loss too.
Palmitoleic acid is an omega-7 monounsaturated fatty acid that has anti-inflammatory properties, lipid-lowering effects and can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. Behaving similarly to linoleic acid, it provides tremendous help with insulin sensitivity and obesity. Its main purpose is to help replenish the moisture that we gradually lose as we age to our hair and skin. Hence the anti-aging properties that are usually advertised for anything containing olive oil.
Regular Olive Oil vs Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Firstly, there is a major difference between olive oil and extra virgin olive oil, and to answer your question - yes, extra virgin olive oil is the winner here because it's the least processed form of olive oil. Although they are both made from olives, the way the oil is extracted is the one that gives the two types differing colors, tastes, and even properties, and this is where the ‘virgin’ or ‘extra virgin’ distinction is made.
During the process of extracting, regular olive oil is cleaned through chemicals and heat, which can get rid of the nice, organic flavor, and some of the other beneficiary ingredients. To put it simply, extra virgin olive oil is the one that has been processed the least. Owing to that, it has a richer flavor, more vitamins, and a greater number of antioxidants which contribute a lot to the scalp’s health by preventing the growth of bacteria and other infections.
So, how exactly are they extracted? Extra virgin olive oil is obtained by cold pressing the olives to get out the actual oil. It’s called cold-pressing because there is no heat involved, and the result is fruity in taste, greenish oil. And because obtaining it implies a rigorous and time-consuming method, EVOO is, naturally, more expensive.
Regular or ‘light’ olive oil, is the one achieved by heat-refining the paste left after the first pressing of the olives, giving it its lighter color. It also has a longer shelf life, but unfortunately, you won’t benefit from all of the healthy ingredients that pure, cold-pressed olive oil has.
Incorporating Olive Oil into Your Routine
Now, after hearing about all these incredible benefits and properties surrounding olive oil, the next piece of information might be a hard one to accept. Unfortunately, not everyone can use olive oil, because there are many different hair types, with various preferences and characteristics.
Therefore, depending on your hair type, it can potentially do more damage than good if you apply it without first doing some research. In general, using olive oil is recommended for:
Thick and dry hair - if you have oily hair, using olive oil may worsen the situation. But if you suffer from oily roots and dry, damaged hair, you may want to only apply olive oil from the mid-section to the ends of the hair. It’s a great moisturizer and it seals the hair strand, giving it a nice shine. Using olive oil for hair is also not a good option for those with thinner hair because of its natural consistency and ‘heaviness’.
- Processed hair - chemically processed hair will thank you for the extra moisture that olive oil can provide for it. Olive oil can also help reduce hair loss due to hair breakage. In most cases, though, it is wise to wait for at least three days after any hair procedure before applying an olive oil mask. Moreover, if your hair is dyed, you should test it on a small section beforehand, just to make sure it won’t leave a green stain after application.
There are many ways to use olive oil for hair and to introduce it in your routine, including all kinds of DIY hair masks and treatments, but if you can’t be bothered to do all these hair experiments, try to look for products that advertise using cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil. The WOW 10-in-1 hair oil formula is the perfect option for all of your hair-care needs, especially since it is completely free of any drying sulfates and parabens.
Now that you know everything about the many benefits of extra virgin olive oil, you have all the tools you need to adopt it into your extensive hair-care routine. The added nourishment provided by the fatty acids will help your hair follicles receive the revitalization they deserve.
Naturally, make sure that you do the proper research about your hair type beforehand, consult with your trusted dermatologist, and get the green light for your green dose of extra virgin olive oil!