Cleopatra's Olive Oil

By Minji

  • In experimenting with DIY, one of the first ingredients I thought of was olive oil
  • If I can eat it daily, I can trust it’s safe, although like most skincare ingredients, there could be issues depending on your exact skin type
  • I’m starting slow and made a hair oil with just olive oil & lavender - I love using it!

I’ve historically never been a DIY kinda girl.  First, I always felt too busy and didn’t want to deal with the hassle of making stuff.  Second, for the longest time, I blindly trusted that commercial products would be safe and only use the “good stuff.”  Lastly, I used to naively believe “the more expensive the better quality” products. 

Now, with all of the information out there, I’ve come to see how ignorant I was in making these assumptions.  The more I dig in and research ingredients, I’m of the opinion that more expensive certainly doesn’t equal higher quality (it’s a sad reality that marketing is king).  I’m also 100% certain that not all skincare ingredients are good for us, and can even be dangerous.  Lastly, I’ve also been focusing on giving myself more time and space to really indulge in skincare.  With these changes, I’ve been experimenting more actively with DIY and finding enjoyment in the process.

In experimenting with DIY, one of the first ingredients I thought of was olive oil.  If I can eat it daily, I can trust it’s safe.  I thought back to how my mom used to lather olive oil all over her skin.  She would come out looking and smelling like a roasted chicken sometimes.  This actually made me not want to use olive oil back then, but I can’t ignore that she still has amazing skin at 72. 

Before I could bring myself to incorporate olive oil into my skincare routine, I had to do some research to verify.  Interesting to find that olive oil was Cleopatra's number one skincare ingredient of choice!  

In addition, I also found:

1.  there are tons of people who love using it on their entire body – including their face, hands, body and hair;

2. you have to use the right kind – extra virgin (not overly processed), organic and cold-pressed (no chemicals); 

3. some people use it as a makeup remover; and

4. it doesn’t work for everyone – it’s known to clog pores for some people.

I also asked Dr. Yoon who confirmed that olive oil, like avocado oil, sunflower seed oil, coconut oil, etc., can be used as a moisturizing sealant (a product that forms a film on the skin to prevent evaporation of moisture retained on the skin) and can potentially help with dry skin issues.  However, it can be slow to absorb into skin, clog pores, and even exacerbate allergic reactions or acne depending on one’s skin type.  Another issue is that it easily oxidizes.  These risks scared me enough that I didn’t want to start with using it on my face.  But hair - I was open to trying that. 

For the first time ever, I started researching the ingredients in the anti-frizz hair creams I had previously used and found that they all include a ton of silicone products.  Silicone just sounds sketchy in and of itself, but my research also revealed that there was a risk that these ingredients could remain on your hair and cause long term damage. 

How horrible – my go-to favorite product up to that point was hiding this knowledge in tiny print in the back and touting “infused with olive oil” in the front.  More incentive for me to try out olive oil myself.  That day, I made a hair oil with just olive oil and a few drops of lavender (lavender should be around 1-2% of the entire product but not more, ratio wise). 

I’ve been using this for three months now and generally like it.  There are a few things I would like to improve – I think it makes my hair feel a bit dryer and crunchier than I would like.  I’m going to experiment further and try to come up with a DIY 2.0 version that I’ll share with you (if successful).  One thing I know already is that I’ll never buy commercial hair cream again.  This simple DIY formula is saving me tons of money, making me feel healthier and safer and bringing my overall consumption more in line with my values.  Won’t you give it a try?