I’ve tried a lot of things in order to have shiny hair. From spritzing on hair milks to taking collagen and biotin supplements, my strand health has definitely improved—but I’ve yet to go the more natural route. One such hair hero that you can find in your kitchen, however, could save the day: an olive oil hair mask.
Sure, olive oil is a nutritious essential for the Mediterranean diet, but beauty pros also say it’s key for hair health—mainly because of its good-for-hair fatty acids and vitamins. “Olive oil has been recognized for centuries as a beauty staple, used historically by the Egyptians, Romans, and Greeks,” says Lanaia Edwards, senior director of marketing for Nubian Heritage. “It’s an ultra-nourishing ingredient that is rich in vitamins A and E, antioxidants, and omega-3 fatty acids, which infuse hair with hydration.”
Besides delivering all sorts of healthy nutrients to your lengths, olive oil can also help prevent hair damage. “A study conducted on the importance of oils in maintaining healthy hair concluded that they protect the hair from damage by penetrating the hair shaft, reducing the amount of water the hair can absorb, which prevents swelling at the hair shaft,” explains says Debbi Burnes, founder of Sumbody. This means that the hair won’t swell up when you wash it, which can create damage over a period of time.
The catch? The same researchers also found that the hair can absorb saturated and mono-saturated oils better than polyunsaturated ones, meaning that the oil you reach for does matter, and it just so happens olive oil is a good pick. “An olive oil mask in your hair leaves it shiny, soft, protected, and smooth while de-frizzing and nourishing,” says Burnes, who adds you can slather the remaining drops onto your face, nail beds, and body (it’s a hydrating multitasker, much like coconut oil).
And yes: All hair types can use an olive oil hair mask. “Olive oil is beneficial for use on all hair types because of its reparative fatty acids,” says Edwards. If you have finer hair, though, she recommends starting with a few drops to avoid weighting your hair down, while those with thicker, coarser hair can apply more to see results. “For those with coarse or dry hair, you’ll notice immediate benefits after usage,” she says. Those who have oily-prone hair types should just be sure to remove all of the oil residue in their hair before applying it in a mask. “Hair should not feel oily after the treatment,” says Burnes.
Both Burnes and Edwards say it can be a once or twice a month to reap the full benefits: “If you have oily hair, do it once a month, but if you have course, dry, or curly hair, you could do it as often as once a week,” says Burnes. If you’re not the DIY beauty type, you can still use a little bit of olive oil in your routine for the shine boost without having to stir up your own mask. “You can enhance your favorite conditioning treatment Nubian Heritage Olive Oil Vegan Deep Conditioning Hair Mask ($15) with just a teaspoon of virgin olive oil for an added boost of hydration and shine,” says Edwards.
Olive, hemp, and coconut oil hair mask
1/4 cup hair tea (3 cups distilled water; 1 tsp dried horsetail; 1 tsp cut oat straw; 1 tsp dried lavender; 1 tsp dried nettle; 1 tsp dried rosemary; 1 tsp green tea leaves; 1 tsp white tea leaves)
2 Tbsp aloe vera juice
1 tsp coconut oil
1 tsp olive oil
1 tsp hemp oil
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1. In a mini food processor or blender, combine all the ingredients, and blend in 10- to 20-second intervals until the mixture is smooth.
To use: Apply to hair with a wide-tooth comb before getting in the shower. Cover hair with a shower cap or plastic bag; leave on for five to 30 minutes, then rinse and shampoo. You may need to shampoo twice. “It’s best to use this recipe—which is good for all hair types—very soon after you make it, but it will keep in the refrigerator for up to one week,” says Burnes.
Olive oil + avocado mask
1 ripe avocado
2 Tbsp of virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1. Scoop out the avocado and mash it, then add half a banana and blend together. Add the olive oil and turmeric powder and mix thoroughly.
2. Apply to freshly shampooed, damp hair. Start by gently massaging into scalp with the pads of your fingers, then apply evenly to hair, concentrating on ends. Leave on for 30 minutes, then rinse thoroughly.
3. Apply the mask evenly throughout hair, cover your hair with a plastic cap and a warm towel and leave on for 20 minutes. “This allows for your body heat to naturally help the mask work its magic,” says Edwards. “When it’s time to rinse out, finish with cool water to close your hair’s cuticles. Olive oil masks should always be applied to damp hair to help the natural oils seal in hydration.” And now you’re well on your way to silky smooth hair.
BTW, if frizz is your foe, here’s how to deal with frizzy hair once and for all, according to hair experts. Also—hair loss in women is an incredibly common thing. Here’s what to know about all of the advancements in treating hair loss, as well as what typically causes it.
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