The How-To's Of An At Home Olive Oil Treatment

A Beauty Xpose reader wrote in asking how to master this at home treatment. I'm totally trying it myself and thought you might want to as well.

by Anne Houseman, editor extraordinaire, Beauty Xpose

Dear BX:

I’ve been hearing about olive oil treatments for your hair. I get that you just rub it in, but how long do I let it sit? If it is five minutes, then I can just hang out with a towel on my shoulders, but if it is longer then I may need to figure out how to wrap my head in shrink wrap or figure out an alternative to a shower cap (I hate vinyl!). Any thoughts on how long to leave the olive oil in would be most appreciated!


Ah, olive oil: one of my favorite food additives in the world. In fact, my dad always says we bleed and sweat olive oil because of our Italian heritage, which is a disgusting thought…but I digress.

As you’ve heard, this viscous elixir nourishes your hair just as well as it nourishes your stomach! And as with many hair conditioning treatments, the longer you leave it in, the more benefits you’ll reap. Five minutes will give your ‘do a nice moisture boost, but if you really want silky strands, try leaving it in for a full 30 minutes. But as you’ve mentioned, oiling up your hair can be a messy situation — especially if you’re not up for putting on a shower cap, which is the best mess-free method I’ve found yet.

olive oil del papa

So how do you go about oiling up? Apply a generous serving (a tablespoon or two) to towel-dried hair, so that it’s not too wet. If you’d like, you can heat up the oil in the microwave for a few seconds so that it’s warm — but not too hot — which will feel really great on your scalp. Of course, make sure you have an old towel around your shoulders that you don’t mind ruining (it’s better than ruining your clothes!). Then, gently massage the oil into you hair from the roots to your ends. (Hint: For a luxurious salon-worthy scalp massage, enlist the help of a friend, and sit back and relax!)

After the oil is all the way through your hair, you can slap on a shower cap (the easy way), or you can get your friend to help you wrap your head with copious amounts of saran wrap. However, if neither method floats your boat, as an alternative, you can always just pile your hair on the top of your head and leave it in the open while you’re waiting for it to do it’s work.

saran wrap

The shower cap and saran wrap would amplify the effects because it would be trapping in the heat of your head, creating a natural “hot oil” treatment. However, you can also warm your head up by using your hair dryer for no more than a minute minute on the low, warm (not hot) setting.

Once you’ve decided you are ready to wash out the oil, be prepared — it’s going to feel like a greasy mess, and you’re probably going to want to make sure the shampoo you use is NOT sulfate-free, since you really want to remove all of the oil. A good volumizing or clarifying shampoo should do the trick. Then, condition as normal, and you’re good to go.

Good luck, and let us know how it turns out!

Photos: Pouring oil - Pawel Kryj; Oil bottles – Del Papa; Plastic wrap – Saran

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  1. I have a lot of hair so I use 1/4 cup of warm olive oil and tie a grocery bag around my head. It does really moisturize!

  2. I wonder how many wash/rinse sessions before it all washed out? do you do this regularly now?

  3. I don't do this, as I like to use other oils and leave them in my hair. (this post was written by a beauty xpose writer.) A clarifying shampoo will take care of it. After one wash.


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