You’re likely familiar with using olive oil within a variety of food recipes. For example, extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) is often used as a flavorful, fruitful salad dressing.
Although, can you use olive oil for hair growth? Is olive oil safe for your hair? Will it cause damage to your hair? Can it be used on curly hair?
Within this article, we’ll answer these questions in detail, provide additional information on how to use olive oil on your hair and share our recommended products.
Let’s not waste any time and dive right in!
Is Olive Oil Good for Your Hair?
Yes, although most evidence about the benefits of using olive oil are anecdotes. Even though the scientific evidence is somewhat limited, it does exist and olive oil has proven to be a versatile product that has many hair-related benefits.
While olive oil is often used for cooking, it can also be used for deep conditioning treatments.
In a recent study that reviewed the significant of olive phytochemicals, it was determined that olive oil may have moisturizing benefits.
It is also thought to make your hair feel softer and strengthen your hair strands. In fact, the oil contains several emollients (e.g., squalene, palmitic acid, and oleic acid), which are known for their softening qualities.
While there are many hair-related benefits, olive oil is not considered to be a cleansing agent or shampoo, so it should not replace your shampoo when you wash your hair.
With that said, olive oil can be used during scalp massages or deep conditioning treatments.
What Do the Studies Say?
While there is limited research on olive oil and the benefits it has on curly hair, there is research that is intriguing.
In 2015, studies from the International Journal of Trichology showed that oils are important in helping to protect the hair from damage that may occur.
In fact, certain oils can penetrate the hair strand and reduce how much water is absorbed, which works to protect the hair shaft and in return reduce stress and damage caused to the hair.
The same study also showed that monounsaturated oils are absorbed better into the skin and olive oil is a monounsaturated oil.
So, in short, olive oil should be safe to use on your hair, smooth the hair’s cuticles, reduce frizziness, and moisturize the follicles.
How to Use Olive Oil as a Hair Treatment: 5 Quick Steps (DIY)
If you have never used olive oil in your hair, you may be wondering what the right steps are or how you can get started. Below we’ve included a quick conditioning treatment.
Prior to using olive oil as a conditioning treatment in your hair, you want to make sure that you choose a good quality olive oil to use.
There are several quality oils available, although we prefer this oil available on Amazon. It’s USDA certified, organic, unrefined 100% pure oil and doesn’t include any added chemicals or preservatives.
It’s important to use a high-quality product. If you use a poor quality product, you will likely find that it only causes your hair to feel greasy (or oily).
Below, we will discuss how you can use olive oil as a hair conditioning treatment:
Step 1: Measure out a small amount of olive oil to be used in your hair.
If this is your first time using olive oil in your hair, you don’t want to use a lot. It is recommended that you only use one or two tablespoons the first time.
It’s always recommended to start with a small amount and increase usage over time. Eventually, you can expect to use approximately a 1/4 cup of the oil to treat your entire head.
Note: The amount of oil you use is directly related to the amount of hair on your head. If you currently have a TWA, you’ll likely use less oil than someone with middle back length hair. The measurements provided are only rough estimates, we recommend following the directions on the product packaging.
Step 2: Apply the oil to your hair.
You should start by applying the oil to areas of your hair and scalp that feel dry. In general, you will usually find that the ends of your hair and the roots of your hair require the most focus and attention.
Step 3: Massage the oil into your hair and scalp.
This is one of the most important steps and should not be skipped. You should take a few minutes to massage the oil into your scalp and roots.
Note: If you want to use olive oil to promote hair growth, read this article.
Step 4: Let the oil sit for 15-30 minutes.
Once you have massaged the oil into your hair and scalp, you should cover your hair with a shower cap and allow the oil to sit for 15-30 minutes. This allows the oil to be properly absorbed by your hair.
Step 5: Rinse out your hair.
After 15-30 minutes, you can remove the shower cap and rinse your hair in the shower with warm water. Take a couple of minutes to finger detangle if necessary, to remove any knots or kinks.
Once you have rinsed and detangled your hair, you can either let your air dry or use a hair dryer to dry your hair more quickly.
In the video below, My Natural Sistas shows a slightly modified version of the process outlined above. As you practice with various techniques, you’ll be prepared to customize the approach to work best for your hair care needs.
Easy Olive Oil Hair Treatment that You Can Do at Home
One of the nice things about olive oil is that it works to condition your hair without the cost of salon prices. You can treat your hair with olive oil both affordably and easily.
To help you get started, here is another quick DIY home recipe for an olive oil conditioning treatment.
- 1/4 cup of extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 cup conditioner (click here for our recommendation, but you can use your favorite)
- Place both the conditioner and olive oil in a bowl and mix until well blended. The goal is to create a yogurt-like consistency.
- Apply the mixture throughout your hair, including the ends of your hair, and massage the mixture into your scalp.
- Place a shower cap on your head and allow the mixture to sit for 15-30 minutes.
- Rinse your hair thoroughly to remove any excess mixture and allow your hair to air dry.
Is Olive Oil Good for All Hair Types? Do All Hair Types Benefit from Its Use?
Yes, although everyone’s hair is different. Depending on your hair type, the results that you receive from using olive oil on your hair may vary from exactly what’s described in this article.
If your hair fits into one of the following categories, we recommend trying olive oil to determine if you like how it makes your hair look and feel:
- Curly, wavy and kinky hair
- Dry or damaged hair
- Hair with split-ends or excessive breakage
- Hair that’s been heavily processed or relaxed hair
Should I Apply the Oil to Wet or Dry Curly Hair?
The answer is simple: it’s up to you. There are pros and cons to each method. It just depends on your personal preference. You may need to try it both ways to see which you prefer better.
To benefit the most from the olive oil treatment, it is best to apply the treatment to hair that has already been washed and moisturized, as the oil will help to seal in the moisture.
The biggest downside to applying olive oil to wet hair is that it can be difficult to properly apply it since the hair is wet and slippery. It can honestly create a significant mess if you’re not careful.
If you’re using this method in the shower, please be careful not to get any oil on the floor or you will potentially risk falling and hurting yourself.
Applying olive oil to dry hair can be easier because you can see where you have and haven’t applied the oil.
Unfortunately, some women say that their hair does not absorb moisture very well when the oil is applied to dry hair. So, the process of trial and error is important to learn how the oil works best on your hair.
Just as olive oil is beneficial for your hair, many individuals experience great results when using the oil within their beauty routines.
Olive oil is rich in antioxidants and vitamins and is known to help fight bacteria and moisturize the skin.
Olive oil, as part of your beauty routine, can:
- Help remove dry skin from your lips when mixed with sugar
- Moisturize damaged skin
- Prevent premature aging
- Soften dry heels and callouses
- Soothe and calm rashes
Some Final Considerations
While there is a significant amount of anecdotal evidence supporting the hair and skin benefits of olive oil, there isn’t as much supporting scientific evidence.
Although, we were able to find a few scientific studies and journals that we referenced in the article.
Whenever you try a new hair product or treatment, we always recommend starting out with a very small amount.
If you have sensitive skin, you will want to avoid olive oil in large quantities until you know how your body will react to it.
Some studies have discovered that olive oil can exacerbate skin conditions and individuals may experience heightened irritation (source). So, be careful and patch test the oil if you’re using it for the first time.
Finally, we know that taking care of your hair can be difficult, there is no doubt about that. That’s one of the primary reasons that we started Curl Centric.
Knowing what products to use on your hair is a great start to healthy, beautiful hair. We know how important your curls are to you and our goal is to help you keep them healthy.