Shine, luster, strength… a few adjectives that you hear from the ladies who swing their glowing manes in commercials. But for a lot of us, that might not be what comes to mind when describing our own hair.
Blow drying, coloring, flat ironing, and ponytails all take a toll, leaving hair in need of extra TLC. Through the seasons and with age, hair tends to lose its healthy shine.
Thankfully, the following 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. Extra virgin olive oil is an excellent moisturizer.
All About Olive Oil
Olive oil is a natural ingredient that can be used to promote hair health and growth. Extra virgin olive oil is the suggested type to use as it is the purest and has the most nutrients. One of the benefits of using olive oil on your hair is that it can help moisturize dry hair, making it feel smoother and softer.
Extra virgin olive oil can also be helpful for those with coarse, kinky or curly hair as it helps to define and nourish curls, although it's great for straight hair too. Fine or straight hair benefit from olive oil as it can add shine and prevent breakage. Olive oil is also rich in fatty acids and oleic acid, which can help to stimulate hair growth and promote a healthy scalp.
To incorporate olive oil into your hair care routine, simply apply a small amount of pure olive oil to your hair and massage it into your scalp and hair strands. You can also add olive oil to your hair cosmetics such as shampoos or conditioners to provide extra moisture. It's suggested to use a shower cap to help the oil penetrate your hair shaft and let it sit for at least 30 minutes before washing it out.
While there is no scientific evidence to support the use of olive oil for hair growth, but many people have reported positive results from using it. However, 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.
Why is olive oil good for hair?
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.
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 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 at 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.
Why do a hot oil treatment?
Hot oil treatments bring lots of benefits compared to just putting room temperature oil on hair. Here are my five reasons why I make time to do a hot oil deep conditioning treatment every two weeks!
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.
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.
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 the bleaching and heat styling, thanks to regular masking.
Get Rid of Dry Scalp
And, of course, a big part of the hot oil treatment is that it straight up feels nice. I always find the warmth itself really comforting. But it does more than just feel good.
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.
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.
Ensuring a consistent schedule of treating the hair with a hot oil 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!
Warm Olive Oil Hair Treatment
You can use a variety of different types of carrier oils, but organic olive oil is the easiest and cheapest to find. Plus, it is said that it works well on thick hair [source]. 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].
Here are some tips for modifying this recipe to really tailor your deep conditioning treatment to your exact needs!
If you have fine hair, Beautylish recommends diluting the olive oil with pomegranate seed oil. It's more lightweight on its own than olive oil but still provides amazing benefits for hair and scalp. If your hair is thinning, add a few drops of rosemary essential oil to stimulate the hair follicles.
After massaging the warmed oil into the scalp, apply it to your hair and comb through to saturate the strands completely. Then leave it in for 30 minutes.
To really 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. Leave it in for a total of about 30 minutes, then shampoo the oil out for commercial-worthy smooth, lustrous hair.
Have a bit more time? Then pamper yourself even further! Combine the hair mask with an at-home facial or a nice long bubble bath.
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!
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.
Frequently Asked Questions About Olive Oil
Can I use any type of olive oil on my hair?
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.
How do I apply olive oil to my hair?
Start by warming up about ¼ to ½ 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.
What are the benefits of using olive oil on my hair?
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.
How often should I use olive oil as a hair treatment?
You can use olive oil as a hair treatment once a week 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.
Can olive oil be used as a leave-in conditioner for hair?
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.
How much olive oil should I use?
Three to five tablespoons are more than enough.
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 Stanciu275
susan weckbaugh says
But no conditioner after the shampooing,right?
Abigail Jane says
You have to love olive oils diversity of uses! I can't go a week without it whether that be in the kitchen or in my skincare routine.
Keira Urli says
thank you very much
marissa val says
I started using oil treatments in my hair about a year ago when my stylist used one on my hair. I love the Somaluxe Argan Oil! It makes my hair super shiny and brings out my highlights and lowlights big time.
The smell seems to last the whole day through too! Secondly, it contains my frizz in a big way which is nice because I heat style my hair and dye it and it was already frizzy to begin with before I started doing all that stuff.
I'll love to try this hair oil treatment. Hope it works for my breaking hair
Do you do the hot oil treatment on wet or dry hair?
Stephanie Gerber says
You can apply to either wet or dry hair.