In our last ‘Natural Hair Essentials’ segment, I discussed Castor Oil. This week, I will be highlighting the wonders of Olive oil for the hair.
Prior to deciding to go natural, the only experience I’d had with Olive oil and hair was the Organic Root Stimulator Olive Oil Sheen Spray. When I was relaxed, I used to spray it onto my scalp, as opposed to greasing my scalp, as well as sprayed to add sheen to my hair. At 15 months into my transition, I incorporate Olive Oil into most every product I use. Olive oil is a versatile product that can be used in cooking as well as skin and hair care maintenance.
The olive tree originated in Asia, and has been cultivated for over 3,000 years in Mediterranean countries, where much of the olive crop is used to make olive oil. Olives are pitted and ground to a thick pulp, then pressed to remove the juices, which are placed in a centrifuge (an object that rotates around a fixed axis) to separate the water from the oil. In countries where olive oil is consumed extensively, such as Greece, Italy and Spain, there is a low incidence of cardiovascular diseases. Olive oil is rich with natural fats, making it perfect for nourishing dry and chapped skin organically.
The oil can be used to:
- Help for the digestive tract
- Relieve constipation
- Lower blood cholesterol
- Moisturize skin and hair
- Promote a healthy heart
- Prevent hair loss
There are three type of olive oil: virgin, extra virgin, and pure. These relate to the olive’s first, second, and third press to excrete oil. For hair treatments, pure olive oil will do the trick.
A few months go, I decided that I wanted to make an oil infusion. For me, this including infusing Rosemary, an herb known for it’s hair growth properties, with Olive Oil. For those unfamiliar with infusing in general, we can think of this as the science of flavoring the oil. There are two simple methods for doing an infusion—hot and cold. Be sure to begin with a light, tasteless oil, like safflower or canola, (we can also refer to these as carrier oils).
Hot Oil Infusions: This method infuses the oil quickly, so you can use it soon after you’ve made it. By only heating half the oil initially, you won’t waste the whole lot if you accidentally burn it. This process requires heating the oil and any herbs on the stove. Use a thermometer to heat the oil to 140° F, stirring constantly, over medium heat, until the spices start to sizzle and the oil bubbles. Turn off the heat and allow the mixture to cool. Add the remaining plain oil to the flavored oil, straining through a cheesecloth. Bottle the oil and store them in the refrigerator. It will keep up to 2 months (if made with olive oil, 1 month).
Cold Infusions: This method is simpler than the hot infusion, but takes longer. After bruising the herbs, place them in a jar (with a tight cap). Pour the oil (warm or room temperature over herbs and cover and close the container tightly. Place in a dark cabinet or corner for 2-6 weeks, shaking at least once a week. The longer the mix is left, the stronger the infusion. When ready to use, strain the oil using cheesecloth.
I decided to make a Coconut Rosemary Olive Oil cold infusion. Using one cup of Rosemary sprigs, 2 cups of coconut oil, and 2 cups of Olive oil, I made my infusion by allowing the mixture to sit in a dark cabinet for the full six weeks, shaking weekly. I have used this Oil for numerious purposes such as Pre-Pooing, adding to conditioners, shampoos, and deep conditioners, scalp massages, shea butter creams…I’ve even added a bit of to my leave-in conditioner.
My name is Lillian Mae, and I’m an Olive Oil junkie.
How do you use Olive Oil?
Add the remaining plain oil to the flavored oil, strain through a cheesecloth if necessary, put the oil in bottles and store them in the refrigerator. It will keep up to 2 months (if made with olive oil, 1 month).