5 Surprising Benefits of Olive Oil For Hair

by John Staughton (BASc, BFA) last updated -

Using olive oil for hair has been a tradition for thousands of years, and given how effective it is, you would be wise to add it to your beauty regimen.

Olive Oil

Olive oil is perhaps the most famous type of oil in the world, wildly popular for both cosmetic and culinary applications, as it has been for millennia. Made directly from olives, there are different categories of olive oil, based on how they are processed. Extra virgin olive oil, for example, is only processed through mechanical means, without any use of chemical extraction or distillation processes. Refined olive oil, on the other hand, may have a higher smoke point, and be less expensive, but it also has fewer beneficial nutrients and antioxidants. [1]

Using olive oil on your hair can provide a variety of benefits, thanks to the vitamin content, as well as the diverse antioxidants and active components.

How to Use Olive Oil for Hair?

The most popular uses of olive oil are as a hair mask, a conditioner, or as an anti-inflammatory scrub.

Hair Mask

  • Separate an egg white and beat it thoroughly.
  • Mix in half a cup of olive oil and 1 teaspoon of honey.
  • Stir thoroughly and then rub it into the hair, from follicles to ends.
  • Leave in for 20-30 minutes, then wash out with warm water. Air dry your hair, if possible.

    Bottle of oil with a sprig of olive against a white background

    Use olive oil for conditioning, scrubbing, or making a rejuvenating mask for your hair. Photo Credit: Shutterstock


  • Add 1/4 cup of mayonnaise to a small bowl
  • Mix in 1 teaspoon of olive oil and mix well.
  • Wash your hair thoroughly, then apply the mixture.
  • Using a toothed comb, comb the conditioner through.
  • Cover your hair with a shower cap.
  • Heat a towel in the dryer for 2 minutes, then wrap it around your hair.
  • Leave this on for 30 minutes, then gently wash out the conditioner with warm water.

Anti-Inflammatory Scrub

  • Blend 1 avocado, 2 tablespoons of olive oil, and 1 teaspoon of honey in a mixing bowl.
  • Apply this paste to your scalp, rubbing it thoroughly into your roots.
  • Leave this mixture on for 10-15 minutes.
  • Wash out gently with warm water and allow your hair to air dry.

Nutrition Facts

Oil, olive, salad or cooking
Serving Size :
Energy 884
Energy [kJ]3699
Total lipid (fat) [g]100
Calcium, Ca [mg]1
Iron, Fe [mg]0.56
Potassium, K [mg]1
Sodium, Na [mg]2
Choline, total [mg]0.3
Betaine [mg]0.1
Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol) [mg]14.35
Tocopherol, beta [mg]0.11
Tocopherol, gamma [mg]0.83
Vitamin K (phylloquinone) [µg]60.2
Fatty acids, total saturated [g]13.81
16:0 [g]11.29
17:0 [g]0.02
18:0 [g]1.95
20:0 [g]0.41
22:0 [g]0.13
Fatty acids, total monounsaturated [g]72.96
16:1 [g]1.26
17:1 [g]0.13
18:1 [g]71.27
20:1 [g]0.31
Fatty acids, total polyunsaturated [g]10.52
18:2 [g]9.76
18:3 [g]0.76
Phytosterols [mg]221
Sources include : USDA [2]

Benefits of Olive Oil for Hair

The top benefits of olive oil for hair include its ability to prevent dandruff, eliminate split ends, improve shine, and stimulate hair growth, among others.

Hair Growth

The stimulating nature of olive oil’s antioxidants can help to eliminate chronic inflammation in the follicles and improve hair growth. [3]


The anti-inflammatory nature of olive oil makes for an excellent dandruff solution, particularly when accompanied by a carrier substance or oil. This can prevent those flakes and soothe your irritated scalp. [4]

Split Ends

Olive oil can rapidly smooth the ends of your hair that may be split from damage or weak hair. Olive oil regularly added to your locks can improve the overall appearance and smoothness of your hair. [5]


If you regularly find that your hair falls out in your comb, or if you wake up in the morning to hair fall on your pillow, start using an olive oil hair mask. It can strengthen your hair strands and improve the health of your follicles to cut down on hair loss. [6]

Texture and Luster

Having oily hair isn’t a good thing, but using olive oil on your hair can boost the vitamin E content your hair is receiving, which can improve appearance and shine, while also adding volume and making it smoother than ever before. [7]

How to Pick the Best Olive Oil for Hair Growth?

Since some varieties of olive oil are chemically altered, they may not be ideal for your hair, particularly if it is damaged or delicate. The best option, therefore, is extra virgin olive oil, as it is completely pure, and has not undergone any chemical processing of any kind. This is as close to the untainted nutrients of olives as you possibly can get, and it will deliver the highest concentration of nutrients to your follicles and locks. [8]

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About the Author

John Staughton is a traveling writer, editor, publisher and photographer with English and Integrative Biology degrees from the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana (USA). He co-founded the literary journal, Sheriff Nottingham, and now serves as the Content Director for Stain’d Arts, a non-profit based in Denver, Colorado. On a perpetual journey towards the idea of home, he uses words to educate, inspire, uplift and evolve.

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