The Secret to Gorgeous Skin and Hair is in Your Pantry

By on February 10, 2016

The best natural beauty secret may be in your pantry. You’ve probably heard that olive oil is a major part of the healthy Mediterranean diet, but did you know the fruit also contains powerful anti-aging properties that can help prevent wrinkles, reverse skin damage, and rejuvenate dry skin and hair?

Stars like Sophia Loren and Gwyneth Paltrow tout the benefits of using olive oil on the body, but the natural “liquid gold” has been used as a beauty aid since ancient Egyptian times. Thanks to its high antioxidant content and natural emollient squalene, olive oil makes a great addition to your beauty routine.

Here’s how to use olive oil on your hair, skin, and nails:

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Sophia Loren at the AFI FEST 2014 Special Tribute to Sophia Loren held at the Dolby Theatre held at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles on November 12, 2014 in Los Angeles, California.

Body Oil

Sophia Loren credits her smooth, soft skin to regularly adding olive oil to her bath and rubbing it on her skin. Research on effective anti-aging remedies used in traditional Persian medicine shows that regular olive oil massage helps rejuvenate skin by replacing lost moisture, making skin appear more supple and youthful. Try adding a few capfuls of extra virgin olive oil to your next bath or spritzing olive oil on your body immediately following a shower. Extra virgin olive oil offers all of the antioxidants and other health benefits without any additives.

Hair Mask

Squalene has long been prized in the beauty industry as a natural emollient that coats dry hair, making it supple, strong, and shiny. Squalene is hard to find, occurring naturally in shark live oil and some plant sources, including olives. Gwyneth Paltrow reportedly uses olive oil to keep her strands healthy and recommends half a cup of olive oil combed through dry hair, avoiding the roots.

Post-Sun Treatment

Loaded with powerful antioxidants, this study shows that olive oil protects against skin damage caused by ultraviolet rays. Vitamin E works to block free radicals, while polyphenols help boost texture and elasticity. Olive oil also contains phytosterols, which help regulate skin cell turnover and improve dry skin. Hydroxytyrosol is a super antioxidant found only in olive oil that may slow the aging process by protecting skin cells from oxidative stress. Try an intensive face mask following a day in the sun by adding a dime-sized dollop of olive oil to your favorite skin cream and applying a thick layer on your face and neck. Worried about clogged pores? Don’t be: Olive oil contains natural anti-bacterial properties and was used in ancient times as a skin cleanser.

Nail Care

Brittle, dry nails happen as a result of lost moisture and keratin production due to fluctuating hormones and low estrogen in menopause. Skip the over-the-counter nail treatments loaded with chemicals and try olive oil instead. Thanks again to natural emollient squalene, olive oil quickly penetrates nails, making them stronger and healthier. Make your own nail treatment using a bottle of olive oil: Warm the bottle by placing it directly into a saucepan of hot water, then pour the oil into a bowl deep enough to soak one hand at a time. Continue soaking nails for five to 10 minutes.

Vanessa Sheets is a freelance journalist whose articles on health and fitness, nutrition, technology, and other mind-body topics can be found at



About Vanessa Sheets

Vanessa Sheets is a freelance journalist who specializes in fitness, health, and nutrition. She has written for True North, Natural Child, Newport Health, and Greenmaple Wellness and worked in public health as a community educator for a non-profit. She lives in Bend, Oregon.

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The Secret to Gorgeous Skin and Hair is in Your Pantry