The Best Multi-Purpose Oil: Extra Virgin Olive Oil for Hair, Body & Food

Olive oil is actually a fat derived from the fruit of the olea europaea tree, otherwise known as the olive.  Olive oil has been used for millenia all over the world, but especially in the Mediterranean, where it has been considered a traditional, medicinal, religious and even magical entity.  It has a rich history and its extraction was first recorded in the book of Exodus in the bible! #Serious. Olive oil is used for everything from cooking, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, and fuel, to name a few.  Olive trees live for centuries, require minimal cultivation, and are so healthy. Let's explore this wonderful treasure!

I first read about "EVOO" when I was browsing natural hair sites in early 2009 after I just went natural.  First of all, I didn't know what "EVOO" stood for.  Eventually I realized it was the acronym for extra virgin olive oil of course.  Naturals raved about its uses in hair as a moisturizer, sealant, and deep conditioner.  Naturally, I was super curious. There seemed to be a consensus that EVOO quality was superior to all other olive oils including "pure", "refined", "virgin", etc.  Since I really didn't know better as a new natural, I took the natural hair experts' advice and bought some at Trader Joe's (pictured below).  I have been using this amazing oil ever since! I not only use it in my hair, but also in food and on my skin.  The reason I love this oil so much is that it is totally multi-purpose, which I think is very important. This makes EVOO budget-friendly AND eco-friendly.  I believe there is nothing cooler than literally being able to eat something as is, cook with it, and apply it to your skin and hair.  There have actually been many times where I've poured too much olive oil into a bowl to cook with, then immediately applied it to my skin as a moisturizer, and still had some to spare to put on my hair strands for a quick deep treatment while I ate the meal prepared with EVOO. Pretty awesome, huh?!

Let's explore why EVOO is the best type of olive oil to use!
Extra Virgin Olive Oil from Trader Joe's

Extra-virgin olive oil is the purest, tastiest, and most effective form of olive oil.  Here are 4 reasons why EVOO is superior:
  1. It is the least processed form of olive oil
  2. It has the most monounsaturated fatty acids (really good fat, which can lower cholesterol, if consumed in moderation) and polyphenols
  3. It lowers inflammation far more than the other olive oils
  4. It is created without the use of any heat of chemical treatments
  5. It tastes the BEST because extra precautions are taken to make sure the olives are at the perfect stage of ripeness before the process starts

Some Benefits:

  • Reduces risk of cardiovascular diseases; the vegetable mucilage, as well as high levels of Vitamin E, phenol, and monounsaturated fats in olive oil helps protect your body's digestive tract *ever wonder why it's so popular in Mediterranean diets?
  • Rich in vitamins A, B1, B2, C, D, E and iron
  • high amount of omega-6-fatty acids
  • anti-inflammatory, anti-hypertensive, anti-oxidant, anti-carcinogenic
  • regenerates cells and softens skin tissue
  • natural moisturizer, especially effective in the winter

Some uses:
  • Used for cooking, especially with vegetables and very lean meats: I only cook with olive oil.
  • Ear wax softener: gross I know, but this oil is a great emollient and helps get ear wax out very easily.
  • Natural shave oil: stay away from the chemical-laden shaving creams! Use some EVOO. It helps you shave smoother and moisturizers your legs at the same time.
  • Natural Moisturizer: I know I've said before that oils and butters don't moisturize because they don't contain water. This is true, but olive oil (as well as coconut oil) is an exception! It really does penetrate your hair and skin shaft to provide amazing moisture.  Skin: Oil can be a little intense for my face so I don't use EVOO has an alternative to facial lotion, as I would jojoba oil, but I know plenty of people who have had great luck doing this! I use EVOO as a body moisturizer, and it's really good for the legs especially! #whowearshortshorts. Hair: Sometimes I just put a few drops of EVOO in the palm of my hands and rub it into my hair.  But, I use EVOO as more of a sealant after I've moisturized with water, out of habit.
  • Natural makeup remover: Put a few drops into a cotton swab and wipe your makeup off. Rinse with water right after. 
  • Facials: Once in a while, I slather EVOO on my face, then apply a hot towel to my face for a few minutes, then rinse off with cool water. I'm left with silky, smooth, and hydrated skin.
  • Oil Cleansing Method (OCM): OCM is a method of cleansing and moisturizing the face with a mixture of extra virgin olive oil, castor oil (or another suitable carrier oil) and a select blend of essential oils.  I used to do the OCM method almost every day and it worked really well. Not too sure why I stopped actually...
  • Deep Conditioner: I do a hot oil treatment with olive oil at least twice a month. It can be mixed with other oils such as coconut (I use vatika coconut oil), castor, jojoba, etc.  But, it is perfectly good on its own too! I separate my hair into sections, spritz with water, and slather the oil on.  Then, I put on a plastic cap, followed by a heating cap, leave for at least 30 min, then wash it out.  My hair couldn't be softer or shinier afterwords!
Conclusion: This is by far the best multi-purpose oil out there!

Have you ever used EVOO? Please dish on how you use it and why you love it!

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Medical Disclaimer: Naika, the writer of this blog, is Naturopathic Doctor and Acupuncturist. Please do not take this as medical advice, without consulting your health care practitioner. Also remember, knowledge is power and your health is your wealth!