Olive Oil is a green to yellowish green oil with a typical olive aroma that is made from pressing the fruits of the olive tree. The oil can solidify at low temperatures or if it is kept in the fridge. This does not harm it at all, it is just the fatty esters firming up. Bring it back to room temperature and it will be pourable again.
The use of Olive Oil goes back thousands of years and it was not only one of the most common foods eaten during the Roman Empire. Olive for cooking was just part of it though. The Romans rubbed it over the skin and then scraped off with a blunt knife called a strigil. That is not even the earliest recorded use of Olive Oil for skincare.
Scientific Name of Olive Oil
The INCI is Olea Europaea Fruit Oil. INCI stands for International Nomenclature of Cosmetic Ingredients whereby ingredients used in cosmetics are identified and categorised. The CosIng database is the skincare ingredients checker that helps you to identify what you are using and it confirms that the cosmetic functions of Olive Oil include Skin Conditioning.
The Olive Oil health benefits are well known and this is from eating the oil in foods as well as cooking with it. This is why there are so many types of Olive Oil that range from mild to peppery and fruity tasting. Olive Oil nutrition is a mainstay of the Mediterranean diet.
However, for use on the skin, I look at the nutritional profile for it’s cosmetic benefits and I actually don’t want a strongly fruity and aromatic oil. I don’t want to walk around smelling like a dressed salad! That’s why I have selected the ones I have at the bottom of the page, because they are going to add numerous benefits to your skincare products without smelling too strong. So let’s look at what a good olive oil contains.
Typical Fatty Acid Profile
C16:0 Palmitic Acid 7% to 20%
C16:1 Palmitoleic Acid max 4%
C18:0 Stearic Acid 0.5% to 5%
C18:1 Oleic Acid (Omega 9) 55% to 85%
C18:2 Linoleic Acid (Omega 6) 3.5% to 21%
C18:3 Alpha Linolenic Acid (Omega 3) max 1%
Saponification Value mgKOH / g 189-190
The SAP value is relevant if you are using the oil to make soap. Castile soap is made from Olive Oil and has been highly prized for centuries.
A good level of Palmitic Acid means that this oil is going to be a great emollient. This keeps the skin moisturised and protected from external aggressors like pollution and general life. When used in hair products, Palmitic Acid is known to soften your hair and it does not leave a sticky residue.
The main essential fatty acid to look at here is Oleic Acid, also known as Omega 9. This is one of the main reasons why this oil is so stable and does not oxidise easily.
Omega 9 keeps your hair soft and supple and stimulates the roots to work harder encouraging your hair to grow thicker and much stronger. On the scalp, it reduces dandruff really well, which is always a good thing.
Continuing onto your skin, it’s a good antioxidant which means it tackles free radical damage – essential for more youthful looking skin. It diminishes wrinkles, fine lines on your skin and keeps your skin supple and looking radiant.
For me, one of the little known secrets of this essential fatty acid is its ability to help reduce joint inflammation, joint stiffness and muscular aches and pains. It is great in a massage oil blended with other ingredients, but think how useful this oil would be in a moisturising lotion that can be used daily.
It gets even better!
Olive oil is heat tolerant so it is safe to use for infusing cannabis herb in. As normal, decarboxylate your herb first and then make the infusion.
If you are going to use this as a salad dressing or in other foods, you might choose the stronger flavored Olive Oil varieties. For use in cosmetics, I prefer the less aromatic, but more potent varieties selected below.
I include cannabis infused Olive Oil in the Floaty Foot Cream formulation in my book. As you would expect, the original formulation was an exceptional foot cream that reduces hard skin, keeps athlete’s foot at bay and makes your feet, in general, a darned sight more attractive! With the cannabis added to the formulation, achy feet are a thing of the past. Depending on the potency you infuse, it can just feel generally less stiff to a feeling like you are walking on a springy mattress and the world is alright!
Olive Oil benefits for skin
It’s a great oil to use for protective creams like a winter hand cream, or anywhere that you might have chapped skin. Blended with Calendula Oil and Comfrey Oil, it is very effective at improving the condition of chapped skin. For a regular hand cream, simply blend with Jojoba Oil to make a very protective cream that sinks in easily without feeling greasy.
Squalane is discussed in another blog and it is an incredible emollient. Olive Oil contains naturally Occurring Squalane. In fact, the best Squalane actually comes from olives. This is why Olive Oil is just a great emollient for the skin and, when blended with other oils, the blend spreads smoother and more elegantly on the skin. There’s a great free formulation here. It conditions your skin and keeps it well moisturised. This, in turn, goes a long way to reducing premature ageing helping to keep fine lines and wrinkles at bay.
It is a wonderful lubricant for the skin which means it is ideal for using in massage blends. Don’t feel you have to be a masseur to do massage. Even having your partner or friend applying a little of the oil to your skin and gently rubbing it in with slow strokes – that a massage as well!
Olive Oil is a good anti inflammatory that can help to reduce skin irritations and itchiness. This is useful for problems like mild eczema and contact dermatitis.
Olive Oil hair benefits for skin
Olive Oil can be useful for itchy scalp here as well as reducing dandruff. It’s very nourishing for brittle hair and the rich Omega 9 content works to stimulate hair growth that is stronger and more flexible. To get the best benefit of this, blend it with other oils that are incredible for the hair like Poppy Seed and Tomato Oils. This can make it less greasy.
Spain and Italy have traditionally been the centre of olive oil production, but they are also among the world’s largest consumers as well which has caused supply problems. This old article here from 2010 shows how other countries are making inroads into the industry. It is still a growing market and one of the reasons is that the traditional source of cosmetic emulsifiers has been palm oil. There are now an increasing range of olive based emulsifiers such as Olivem 1000 which is great news for diversification of planetary resources.
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