“Homer called it “liquid gold.” In ancient Greece, athletes ritually rubbed it all over their bodies. Olive oil has been more than mere food to the people of the Mediterranean: it has been medicinal, magical, an endless source of fascination and wonder and the fountain of great wealth and power.” (History of olive oil)
Finally, in my blog there is space for one of my first organic inner and outer beauty products: olive oil! Being grown in the Mediterranean country, olive oil was since ever the king in our kitchen. But just in last years I realized that I can use it also for other purposes, like moisturizing my skin.
Before I start counting all the goodness you can receive from it, let me explain you some facts about several types of olive oil. Bear in mind that not every olive oil is good enough for our skin and diet. Regarding every oil (not just olive oil), the price is most often the measure of quality. But be aware not to buy olive oil in famous turist points, because it’s often mixed with lower quality olive oil, even though the prices can be quite high. The best you can do, is to go to a local producer and try there his olive oil. Ask him also to show you how they produce the oil and where/how they grow the olive trees.
I am a big fan of olive oil. I adore tasting it on bread, or adding it to salads and some dishes. Wherever I go, I try to find and taste the local olive oil, if there is a possibility. I have tried many excellent olive oils from our local Slovenian producers and also some Tuscan, Croatian, and even Greek olive oils fascinate me.
There are two types of extraction from the olive fruit to oil:
– traditional method of pressure from which derives the best cold-pressed olive oil; The highest class must be extra virgin olive oil with full flavor and maximum acidity of 1%. Extra virgin oil after a year become mostly just virgin oil, because of oxidation (when the percentage of acids increases). When the acid exceed the allowed limit of acid percentage, they refine the oil and reuse it in food industry for cheaper and lower quality products.
– modern method of centrifugation (when the oil is chemically treated to neutralize the strong taste and acid content); you get from it the refined oil, which is a lower quality oil.
Another important fact concerning the widely spread olive oil trend these days is that not every olive oil is good. Several countries with huge, hundred kilometers of plantations don’t grow olive trees in organic way, without pesticides and they don’t pick the fruits by hands. They even don’t extract the oil by cold-pressing, but chemically. The same is when we talk about olive oil in cosmetic industry. Mostly, that kind of products haven’t seen the real olive oil. Only a lot of nice words about olive oil benefits are reaching to us.
Types of olive oil
Cold Pressed Olive Oil is considered to be premium quality olive oil, due to a special process of production that preserves its delicate taste. Cold pressed oil is the result of the first press.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil It’s a very high quality olive oil since it comes from the first press only. This allows it to acquire perfect flavour, aroma, and balanced acidity. This olive oil is less processed than Virgin olive oil and is very delicate in flavour. It’s perfect for dipping bread, salad dressings, marinades, and for dressing rough food.
Virgin Olive Oil virgin means the olive oil was produced without any chemical additives, so it contains no refined oil. It has an acidity that’s less than 2%, so it tastes better. Basically, virgin olive oil is the result of olive press with no (or very little) further manipulation or processing, hence the term “virgin”.
Regular or Pure Olive Oil This olive oil is of lower quality and usually the least expensive. Regular or pure olive oil has undergone a chemical process whereby it has been refined and filtered to neutralize both undesirable strong tastes and acid content.
(source: All about olive oil)
Olive oil benefits
– Because of precious oleic acid, olive oil is extremely rich in monounsaturated fats; a type of fat that has excellent health benefits. The monounsaturated fats in cold pressed extra virgin olive oil help lower your bad cholesterol levels, reduces the risk of cardiovascular diseases and prevent many other diseases.
– It has beneficial effect in maintaining the digestive tract in good health (recommended for people with stomach and colon problems)
– Rich in antioxidants: vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol), carotenoids and phenolic compounds are all antioxidants whose activity has been demonstrated in many studies, revealing further advantages in the prevention of certain diseases and also of aging. Extra Virgin Olive Oil is particularly rich in these substances and it has a strong antioxidant effect, protecting against damage from free radicals and against the formation of cancer.
– Cold-pressed olive oil is an excellent emollient (soothes and softens the skin). It helps people with skin problems such as eczema, extra dry skin and hair.
NOTE Beneficial properties of olive oil are the best when ingesting it raw (on salads, bread, or added at the end), because high temperatures (heating, cooking) will reduce its benefits. Store it in a dry place at room temperature and in a dark bottle.
Olive oil in cosmetics
Olive oil is rich in vitamins A, B1, B2, C, D, and Iron. It helps the body to maintain strong levels of vitamin E, which is a great helper in delaying the aging process. You can use olive oil as face moisturizer since the healthy fatty acid existing in olive oil make the skin softer.
Some ideas how to use olive oil in your beauty routine
Manicure soak your nails for 5-10 min in the mixture of warm olive oil where you add a tablespoon of lemon juice. It will soften the cuticles and strengthen the nails.
Peeling mix olive oil and sugar for your hand, feet, body or even face peeling.
Face cleanser apply a small amount of olive oil on your face and remove it gently with a cotton pad. Then remove the excess with a dampen cotton cloth soaked in warm water. This will remove the dirt, leaving the skin radiant.
Bath add to your bath water 4 tbsp of olive oil and a few drops of your favorite essential oil. Olive oil will make your skin soft, while essential oil will give additional benefits (lavender for relaxing,…)
Hair Many women find this a great remedy for dry hair: Rub into scalp and hair some warm olive oil. Cover your head with a towel and leave it for 30min to 1h. Then rinse off with a gentle shampoo. This will add shine and softness to your hair.
Feet if you have dry skin on your feet, one of the best remedies is to apply a rich quantity of olive oil and rub it into your feet. Then cover your feet with white cotton socks during the night (I recommend to have a pair of socks just for this treatment) and your feet will gain the softness during a few repetitions.
International Nomenclature of Cosmetic Ingredients (abbreviated INCI on cosmetic products): OLEA EUROPAEA (OLIVE) OIL