Is olive oil good, or bad for your hair? Let’s break it down.
As a child, I remember my mom gathering myself, and my siblings together every once in a while to rub olive oil in our hair. I never really thought about it as much more than a bonding experience until I grew up, but as an adult I have wondered every now and again whether it was old wives’ tale or if olive oil actually has any health benefits for hair.
The first thing you should know is that your hair needs nutrients and moisture to stay healthy. Any kind of heat styling, chemical processing, and even some shampoos can strip your hair of moisture and make it more porous, which in turn makes it lose water.
OIive oil can help keep hair hydrated because it is a monounsaturated fat, which can be absorbed by the hair. Many other oils with larger molecules cannot be absorbed, but olive oil can actually help retain moisture by trapping the moisture in the individual strands, especially when used in conjunction with a water-based hydrating product.
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Olive oil can also help prevent damage because it contains lots of antioxidants and vitamins, and it can reduce breakage by lubricating the individual strands. If you apply it before a shower or treatment, it can counteract the breakage caused by friction.
If you are prone to acne, especially on your back, you should be wary that olive oil can clog your pores if your hair is long enough. You should also never use olive oil before heat styling your hair or using a blow dryer, as it could literally cook your hair.
Olive oil works best on dry or curly hair, as it can be too heavy for thin, straight hair.
If you are going the olive oil route, you should also use only extra-virgin, organic olive oil since it isn’t as processed as other types, and contains more helpful nutrients.