The Beauty of Olive Oil
Olive oil is a natural remedy for many of your skincare needs; it contains vitamin E which is excellent for maintaining healthy skin. Less costly than what you may be accustomed to, it’s quite effective, easy to find and even easier to use.
You probably have a bottle in your kitchen or decorating a table or shelf. This 5,000-year-old Mediterranean staple is all natural and has many uses. Olive oil is one of the safest fruit oils to use internally and externally. Italy, Spain, Greece, Portugal, and Tunisia are the largest olive oil exporting and producing countries in the world. Olive oil can be used as a natural moisturizer for your skin and hair. It can be used to remove makeup. Rough elbows and heels? Soften them with olive oil. The same goes for those chapped lips. You don’t need to spend lots of money on expensive department store moisturizers and creams if you have access to olive oil.
Why is olive oil so beneficial? Olive oil contains natural vitamin E which is excellent for maintaining healthy skin. This is especially prevalent in the extra virgin grade of olive oil. It helps protect vitamin A and essential fatty acids from oxidation in the body cells and prevents breakdown of body tissues.
Shelf Life: Buy small quantities of olive oil for purposes of skincare. The bottle needs to be tightly sealed, and make sure it is stored in a cool, dark location. Do not store next to your stove or oven as that can cause your olive oil to oxidize. Refrigerate if necessary. A sell by date should be on the bottle, along with the year it was harvested. Unlike wine, olive oil does NOT improve with age!
Cold Pressed is Best? Cold pressed refers to the temperature during the extraction process and that no nutrient-draining heat has ruined the olive oil. A bottle of high quality olive oil will cost a little more than your grocery store brand. With olive oil you get what you pay for. If a bottle of olive oil from California bears a seal from the California Olive Oil Council [COOC] you can be sure it’s of top quality. If seeking olive oil from the European Union, look for a guarantee of quality. For each country it goes by a different name, and for Italy is known as Denominazione d’Origine Protetta [DOP].
Simple Recipes: Hair Conditioner: Pour a small amount of olive oil into your hands so you’ll soften your hands and your hair at the same time. Massage oil gently into your scalp and work down to the ends. Put on a shower cap to trap in the heat and moisture. This can be done for about 30 minutes. Shampoo well to remove.
Lips: Olive oil makes an instant and 100% natural lip balm.
Nails: Dip your fingers in a bowl of warm olive oil for several minutes.
Skin: Apply olive oil like you would any other lotion or cream. Always start with a small amount, increasing as needed. It’s a quick and easy makeup remover. Olive oil is particularly soothing for your heels, elbows, and knees. For an instant sugar scrub, mix equal parts olive oil and brown sugar in a bowl, rub on your hands, and rinse clean.
Bathing: Mixing a teaspoon or two of olive oil with a few drops of your favorite essential or fragrance oil is a great way to smell good, relax, and have soft skin. Recommended scents: orange, rose, patchouli, lavender, and rosemary.
Olive oil is a natural remedy for many of your skincare needs. Less costly than what you may be accustomed to, it’s quite effective, easy to find, and even easier to use.
Use olive oil in this melt and pour Seaweed Soap Recipe.
To read about another beneficial oil, here's Monoi de Tahiti: Spa in a Bottle.
Article was originally published in the September 2009 issue of Long Island Woman on page 24 .