You know olive oil is a godsend to professional chefs and home cooks, but how does the golden-hued stuff stack up when it comes to skincare? The answer is pretty dang well. Like coconut oil, you can use olive oil in lots of different ways – including some you may not have realized – when it comes to benefitting your skin. With expert insight from a few dermatologists, we’re sharing the top beauty and skin uses for olive oil.
Is Olive Oil Good For Your Skin?
Picks up megaphone: YES! Olive oil is an awesome skincare ingredient!
“Applying olive oil to your skin is a healthy thing to do! It’s a natural skin moisturizer that repairs the barrier function of our skin, meaning that it acts like an organic ‘plastic wrap’ to keep moisture sealed into skin,” says Dr. Loretta Ciraldo, a board-certified dermatologist based in Miami who’s been in the game for — count ‘em — four decades. She adds, “[In my practice over the years], I can tell you that many women I see who look wonderful into their 70s and 80s share with me that they have applied olive oil to their skin at bedtime for decades. That’s a huge endorsement.”
But wait, we’re not done singing the skincare benefits of olive oil. Dr. Ciraldo says that olive oil is also a good source of antioxidants to brighten skin, which means it defends the skin against free radical damage.
Dr. Hadley King, a board-certified dermatologist based on NYC’s upper east side, agrees. She adds, “Olive oil contains vitamins A, D, E and K, and squalene (pressed olive oil). Like vitamin E, squalene has both emollient and antioxidant properties. Olive oil also has antibacterial properties and anti-inflammatory properties.”
9 Amazing Uses for Olive Oil
Now that you’ve been schooled on the ways in which olive oil is so good for your skin, let’s dive into some of the ways you can use this superhero of an ingredient. (Sidebar: You may notice that our experts don’t recommend using olive oil on your face. This is because, as described above, it’s a heavier oil. This translates into it being potentially acne-causing, so it’s best to stick to using olive oil on your body, especially if you have acne-prone skin.)
Olive Oil Use #1: Amp Up Your Bath
“An easy way to apply olive oil for skin moisturizing is to add a few drops to a warm bath so that a thin layer of oil remains on your skin after you are done. Just be careful because the oil can make the tub slippery,” says Dr. King.
Olive Oil Use #2: A Warm, Moisturizing Massage
Dr. Dendy Engelman, a board-certified dermatologist based in NYC, is all about that self-care action when it comes to olive oil uses. She says, “In the evening, I usually recommend that patients cleanse their skin, apply two to three drops of olive oil into the palm of their hand, rub together to warm the oil, and then massage their skin. This technique helps slightly warm the skin, allowing the olive oil to penetrate more quickly. You can also apply night cream on top to help hydrate skin overnight.”
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Olive Oil Use #3: Soften Cuticles and Nails
If you’ve ever noticed ridges in your fingernails – what derms call “longitudinal riding,” know that you’re not alone. These come from nails getting drier as we get older (same story for our skin and hair). Olive oil is a great way to nourish your nails and keep these ridges at bay.
“Apply olive oil to your cuticles and nails at bedtime and buff your nails at least once a week and you will get back the nails you had in childhood. You can do the same to your toenails,” says Dr. Ciraldo. This will help soften your cuticles, too.
Olive Oil Use #4: Soothing Lip Treatment
“Because olive oil is safe to ingest, it works nicely as a lip moisturizer,” says Dr. King. “It can be used alone or combined with beeswax and honey. You can also combine it with sugar to make a mild lip scrub.”
Olive Oil Use #5: DIY Body Scrub
Speaking of scrubs… you can go ahead and concoct your own DIY body scrub. Dr. King says, “Combining olive oil with sugar or sea salt makes a great exfoliator for the body. Rubbing with gentle pressure will help to slough off dead skin cells, leaving the skin polished and moisturized from the oil.”
Olive Oil Use #6: Kick Frizz to the Curb
A little goes a long way but use olive oil on your hair to tame flyaways, hydrate, and lock in moisture.
“If you bleach your hair, or if you are getting a few grays on your scalp, your hair will start to look drier and less smooth. Olive oil can trap in hair moisture by helping to seal the hair cuticle and prevent moisture loss,” explains Dr. Ciraldo. “Once a day, take a drop of olive oil onto each side of your part, massage it in, then comb through for a very inexpensive hair shine. If you don’t like the smell, mix it with a tiny amount of your favorite essential oil.”
You can also apply a couple of drops to the palm of your hand and rub your hands together, then smooth over the ends of your hair.
Olive Oil Use #7: Remove Your Mascara
Olive oil can also be used as a makeup remover, and is particularly helpful for waterproof mascara, notes Dr. King. She recommends putting olive oil on a cotton ball and holding it over your eyelid for 30 seconds, which causes the mascara to dissolve. Make sure to follow up with a foam or gel cleanser to rinse away makeup and oil residue.
Olive Oil Use #8: Soothe Eczema
“If you or your children have a problem with childhood eczema — which is where you get rashes in the creases of your skin or on your hands, apply the olive oil at bedtime and after you shower to dampened skin. This traps moisture that is lacking in people with this condition,” says Dr. Ciraldo.
Olive Oil Use #9: Hydrating Foot Wrap
Dry feet are the worst, but you don’t have to live with them. Once or twice a week, clean your feet, apply a moisturizer and let it soak in for a few minutes, and then follow up with olive oil. Wrap your feet in saran wrap and then put on socks for about 30 minutes. You can also wear the mask to bed for extra hydration. Wash your feet really well afterward and follow up with more moisturizer.
Do you guys use olive oil in your beauty routine? Let us know in the comments below