His branches shall spread, and his beauty shall be As the olive tree. – The Bible
Today, spa resorts and day spas offer a variety of pampering treats. But you can get the same benefits right at home. A bathtub (or shower), quality time, and the right olive oil-based cosmetics and soaps are all you need.
Olive oil itself and ready-made products come in the form of bath oil, body gel, hand lotion, lip balm, shampoo, crème rinse, and soap. Thanks to my research, I’ve tried most of them. And because I’m a natural woman, I am hooked on the magic of olive oil for beauty.
For centuries, Mediterranean women have turned to olive oil to condition their hair, making it shine. Olive oil has been used for skin treatments since biblical times – and in the 21st century, it’s finding its way back as a beauty product around the world.
Beauty tips from head-to-toe
Ready-made products are a treat because they’re convenient and smell nice. But, using olive oil by itself or with other ingredients from your kitchen cupboards can work wonders, too. In fact, using both olive oil out of a bottle and ready-made olive oil-based soaps and skin care products is like having the best of both worlds. Go ahead—try using olive oil solo, from your crowning glory to your tender feet.
Soft and shiny hair: Fatty-acid olive oil can penetrate the hair cuticle and smooth dry hair. Celebrity hairstylists and beauty experts recommend putting a few drops of olive oil in the palm of your hand and rubbing until the skin glistens. Then, work the oil into your locks, starting at the ends.
Hair conditioner: Looking for a deep conditioning treatment for dry hair? Combine one-fourth cup extra virgin olive oil with one-fourth cup spring water. Massage into your dry hair, and cover with a plastic bag. Wait for 20 minutes, shampoo, and use your regular hair conditioner.
Skin moisturizer: Many women use extra virgin olive oil on their face at night as a moisturizer. In the morning, I use an all-purpose moisturizing crème with SPF 15. At night, I use the olive oil nighttime remedy. I apply the oil to my face, around my eyes, and on my laugh lines (and the extra I rub into my hands and cuticles). In the morning, my skin feels softer than usual. A bonus: Anti-aging crèmes cost $15 and up. This remedy costs less—and may do a lot more.
Eye makeup remover: If you wear eyeliner, mascara and eye shadow, like women do to enhance their eyes, you also know that it is a task to remove these beauty enhancers. An easy-does it eye makeup remover may be as close to you as your kitchen cabinet. Try mixing one tablespoon of canola oil with one tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil. Apply a small amount to a cotton ball and wipe your eyelashes and eyelids.
Smooth shaving cream: Olive oil fans insist the oil can be used to shave. Not only does it moisturize, but it will soften the hair and make the procedure more comfy for a man’s beard or woman’s legs. Try mixing one tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil, half a cup of warm water, and one tablespoon of a gentle liquid soap. For best results, use a clean, sharp razor. Soften Elbows: In spring and summer, it’s common to notice rough elbows. But why not take care of this alligatortype skin year-round? Then, whether it’s shower time or bedtime, you’ll have one less beauty woe. An Italian grandmother’s easy-to-do remedy is to dip your elbows in a bowl of lukewarm olive oil. (Warm it up in the microwave.) Repeat as needed.
Stretch marks: Both women and men can get those small, depressed streaks in the skin that appear on the tummy, buttocks, thighs, hips and breasts. While they are most common on the stomach in the later stages of pregnancy when the belly is quickly expanding, they also can be seen on people who gain weight (or build up muscle) and lose body fat or muscle mass rapidly. Plus, if your mom or dad had stretch marks, you may, too, thanks to the genetic factor. To minimize those marks on your body, rub olive oil on the area at least twice daily.
Bathing with olive oil is nothing new. Centuries ago, the Romans and Egyptians used olive oil for moisturizing during and after tub time. By the 19th century, bathing for pleasure was a popular pastime in Europe and the word “spa” was created.
Some people claim that using a few drops of olive oil in a bath is a great natural moisturizer. But note, if you are prone to bladder infections or vaginal infections, contact your doctor before you take a dip and ask for a thumbs-up on using soothing olive oil combined with natural essential oils. (If it isn’t recommended or if you don’t have a bathtub, try plan B: Take a shower and use ready-made soaps with olive oil and essential oil.)
For best results, follow these suggestions straight from aromatherapy experts: Put specific essential oils on the skin before getting into the bath, light a scented candle or two for a sensual effect, and indulge in a cup of calming chamomile tea while you soak and beautify yourself.
Try mixing one
tablespoon of canola oil
with one tablespoon of
extra virgin olive oil. Apply
a small amount to a cotton
ball and wipe your
eyelashes and eyelids.
Olive oil from the bottle
can condition your hair
and skin—in or out of
the tub—and be used to
soften your body from
your elbows to feet.
Using olive at home to pamper yourself is one thing, but traveling to a luxury spa and being pampered with olive oil is indulgence.
At the Napa Valley Lodge, California, the spa offers one beauty treatment, “Olive You.” This is a massage/scalp and hair/foot treatment. The online description reads: “Your whole body, skin, hair and feet are cared for in this popular treatment. Your feet are scrubbed with olive oil, apricot kernels and peppermint oil and snugly wrapped to open the pores. Then we hydrate your feet with soothing balm…Finish with grape seed/olive oil massage.”
Or, at Carneros Inn in Napa, you can indulge in an “orchard olive stone and honeydew exfoliation. A unique exfoliation of warm crushed olive stones mixed with our native Carneros olive oil, followed by a luxurious massage with a rich honeydew body cream.”
Olive Oil and
Relieves tired feet
and Athlete’s foot
Witch hazel, tea tree
Relieves muscle soreness
The golden secrets to remember
Olive oil-based ready-made products include bath oils, body gels, hand lotions, and shampoos.
Olive oil from the bottle can condition your hair and skin—in or out of the tub—and be used to soften your body from your elbows to feet.
Remember, team olive oil with fragrant essential oils to double the effect and get health benefits too.
Olive oil treatments at luxury spas can be a treat to your senses.
Callie’s reviving olive oil massage
This activating olive oil plus is effective for sore and aching muscles—ideal after work or play. Combine the following essential oils:
20 drops eucalyptus
20 drops lavender
20 drops rosewood
5 drops chamomile
5 drops peppermint
Add 36 drops of this blend to 3 ounces olive oil. Shake briefly, and massage a small amount into tired, achy muscles and joints. Enjoy!
Adapted from The Healing Powers of Olive Oil: A Complete Guide to Nature’s Liquid Gold
Cal Orey, M.A. is an accomplished author and journalist specializing in topics such as health, science, pets, and relationships. Her hugely successful Healing Powers book series include: The Healing Powers of Honey, The Healing Powers of Chocolate, The Healing Powers of Coffee, and The Healing Powers of Vinegar. She lives in Northern California. www.calorey.com