This warm hair oil treatment is easy and effective at treating damaged and dry hair. How easy? The recipe below can be modified down to ONE simple ingredient—olive oil. Read on to learn how to use this excellent moisturizer to deep condition your hair.
Blow drying, coloring, flat ironing, and ponytails all take a toll, leaving hair in need of extra TLC. It's time to grab the olive oil from the kitchen and bring back your hair's shine, luster, and strength!
My favorite thing to do is put this mask in my hair, then take a hot bath. The steam from the bath helps to keep the hair mask warm, making sure that I get the most out of those precious moisturizing minutes!
Why Use Olive Oil for Hair Treatments?
Like coconut oil, olive oil has been used as a hair conditioner for a very long time. It’s unique as it is one of the only oils made from the whole fruit, instead of just the seed. Many of the reasons olive oil is healthy to consume in your diet are also why it does such a great job of nourishing your hair and scalp externally.
It restores strength & shine
Olive oil hydrates hair and delivers a dose of antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids [source] to restore strength and shine. If your hair is color- or heat-damaged, resulting in a dry, straw-like appearance—olive oil is a total godsend.
Its omega-3 fatty acids can penetrate the hair shaft, providing moisture from within to prevent breakage and ensure that hair stays strong and silky. Some say this can also assist with hair growth, among other hair benefits.
It contains conditioning squalane
It also contains squalane—a hot topic skincare ingredient that’s making the rounds at the moment. In addition to being amazing for skin, squalane also helps nurture healthy, silky hair.
Found in the cells of animals and plants, squalene—with an e—is the natural form [source]. It is transformed into a more stable molecule, squalane, for use in cosmetics and moisturizers. And of the available plant oils, olive oil contains the highest concentration of squalene [source].
Squalane is an incredibly unique molecule because it is lightweight but so conditioning to hair and skin. This means that it does a great job of hydrating hair and making it shiny without weighing it down.
All of these super-conditioning abilities of olive oil make up a surefire recipe for nourishing the hair and scalp for gorgeous, healthy hair.
5 Benefits of an Olive Oil Hot Oil Treatment
Hot oil treatments bring lots of benefits compared to just putting room temperature oil on hair. A big part is that it straight-up feels nice. I always find the warmth itself really comforting.
But it does more than just feel good. Here are my five reasons why I make time to do a hot oil deep conditioning treatment every two weeks!
1. Silky, Strong Hair
For one, warming the oil to a lukewarm temperature helps it to penetrate the hair shaft. Making it easier for the oil to condition each hair from the inside out means that your mane will be stronger, silkier, and more manageable.
Hotter oil isn’t better though—you don’t want to burn your head! Check the temperature on the inside of your wrist before massaging the heated oil on your head and through your hair.
2. Boost Scalp Circulation
Another benefit of a hot oil treatment is the boosted circulation in the scalp, thanks to a combination of warm oil and massage. Increasing local circulation is key to healthy hair growth—it ensures that every single hair is healthy and strong, starting at the root. A scalp massage may also stimulate new hair growth, resulting in thicker, fuller hair over time.
3. Minimize Color & Heat Damage
A lot of us rely on heat styling tools to do our hair, and on top of that, we might color and bleach our hair, too. Doing these enough times means that the hair shaft breaks and loses moisture, luster, and shine [source].
When you do a hot oil mask, that moisture is replenished, and the hair cuticle becomes smoother—and fast! Over time, as your hair becomes healthy and strong, you'll see fewer negative effects from bleaching and heat styling, thanks to regular masking.
4. Get Rid of Dry Scalp
A hot oil mask using olive oil can help calm down an irritated scalp, especially if the cause is dry, itchy skin. Olive oil moisturizes the scalp while adding an essential oil like rosemary, peppermint, or tea tree oil targets all the causes of dandruff.
5. Prevent Split Ends
Over time, using a hot olive oil treatment frequently enough nurtures and protects your hair from damage such as split ends and breakage [source]. These two hair issues are frequently caused by a lack of moisture.
A consistent schedule of treating the hair with a hot olive oil hair mask helps to reduce how frequently you get them. This also means that you don't necessarily have to shell out for salon-priced treatments or get trims as frequently!
Customize an Olive Oil Hair Treatment for All Hair Types
Start with these 1 or 2 ingredients and then modify the olive oil deep conditioner recipe to your exact needs:
Extra virgin olive oil — use extra virgin olive oil for these treatments, as it is less processed and retains more of its beneficial properties.
Customize for your hair type
Coarse or curly hair — Olive oil will help to define and nourish your curls. You can add 1 tablespoon argan oil for added shine and frizz control.
Fine hair or straight hair — Olive oil adds shine and prevents breakage, but I would recommend diluting the olive oil with grapeseed oil. It's more lightweight on its own than olive oil so it won't weigh down your hair, but it still provides amazing benefits for hair and scalp.
Dry or damaged hair — For damaged hair, thoroughly apply the oil from the scalp to the ends and consider leaving the treatment on for an extended period or overnight for deeper penetration.
Thinning hair — While there is no scientific evidence to support the use of olive oil for hair growth, many people have reported positive results from using it. Add castor oil, which is also thought to promote hair thickness, and focus on massaging the oil into the scalp to stimulate blood circulation.
Oily hair — Split the olive oil with jojoba oil, which resembles the natural sebum of the scalp, and add a few drops of tea tree essential oil. Pay extra attention to the ends rather than the scalp to avoid exacerbating oiliness.
Color-treated hair — If you have color-treated hair or broken or burned ends, it's suggested to avoid using olive oil as it may strip color or cause further damage.
Step 1 | Warm oil
To incorporate this deep conditioning treatment into your hair care routine, gently heat 3-5 tablespoon olive oil until it's lukewarm.
Step 2 | Apply to scalp
Divide hair into sections, and apply the oil to your roots first. Massage the warm oil into your scalp.
Step 3 | Comb through hair
Apply any remaining oil to your hair and comb it through to saturate the strands completely. Wrap hair with a towel or shower cap.
Step 4 | Shampoo out
Leave it in for a total of about 30 minutes, then shampoo the oil out for commercial-worthy smooth, lustrous hair. Repeat twice a month.
Hint: To maximize the benefits of a hot oil mask, wrap your hair with a warm towel to ensure that the oil stays warm, or spend 15 minutes in the sauna.
Carrier oils — You can use a variety of different types of carrier oils if you don’t have olive oil on hand. I also recommend jojoba and almond oils. Both of these oils work well and mimic our body’s own natural oils [source].
More Ways To Use Olive Oil for Hair
Olive oil is a versatile and natural ingredient that can be beneficial for hair health. Here are some ways you can use olive oil for your hair:
Shampoo Booster: Add olive oil to your shampoo or conditioner to provide extra moisture.
Deep Conditioning Mask: Mix olive oil with honey or yogurt to create a deep conditioning mask. Apply the mixture to damp hair, focusing on the ends. Leave it on for 20-30 minutes before rinsing thoroughly.
Scalp Massage: You can use warm olive oil to do a weekly scalp massage to improve blood circulation, nourish the hair follicles, and promote healthy hair growth. It also helps moisturize and prevent dryness that can lead to dandruff.
Overnight Treatment: For an intensive treatment, apply olive oil to your hair before bedtime. Cover your hair with a shower cap or towel and wash it out in the morning.
Leave-In Conditioner: Apply a small amount of olive oil to the ends of your hair as a leave-in conditioner for added moisture. Use a tiny amount of olive oil to improve the appearance of damaged ends and tame frizz or flyaways.
Yes, you can use any type of olive oil on your hair, whether it's extra virgin, virgin, or regular olive oil. Just make sure it's 100% pure olive oil without any additives.
Start by warming up about ¼ cup of olive oil in a microwave-safe bowl or on the stove. Make sure it's warm but not too hot. Then, apply the olive oil to your hair from the roots to the tips. You can use your fingers or a wide-tooth comb to evenly distribute the oil. Leave it on for at least 30 minutes, or overnight for a deep conditioning treatment, before washing it out.
Olive oil is a natural moisturizer that can help to nourish and hydrate your hair, leaving it looking shiny and healthy. It can also help to reduce frizz and prevent breakage, as well as soothe a dry, itchy scalp.
You can use olive oil as a hair treatment twice a month for regular maintenance, or more frequently if your hair is particularly dry or damaged. Just make sure to wash it out thoroughly to avoid any buildup on your scalp.
Yes, olive oil can be used as a leave-in conditioner for hair. Simply apply a small amount of olive oil to the ends of your hair, making sure to avoid the roots. The oil will help to hydrate and soften your hair, leaving it looking shiny and healthy.
Three to five tablespoons are more than enough.
Olive Oil Hair Treatment
- Towel or shower cap
- Warm the oil in a heat-safe container or in a glass mostly submersed in water on the stove top. Be sure not to heat it too long, since you’ll want it lukewarm for application.
- Apply oil to the root end first, and work it through the rest of the hair with your fingertips. The longer your hair, the more oil you will need.
- Wrap hair with a warm, wet towel and leave the oil in for 20–30 minutes.
- Shampoo and rinse well when finished.
- This treatment can be done twice a month for optimal results.
This post was medically reviewed by Dr. Jennifer Haley, a board-certified dermatologist with extensive experience in medical, cosmetic, and surgical dermatology. Learn more about Hello Glow’s medical reviewers here. As always, this is not personal medical advice, and we recommend that you talk with your doctor.
Photos by Ana Stanciu302