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.
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.
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 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 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.
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.
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 Stanciu56