When I was a child, my grandmother — a tiny, intense Sicilian woman with jet-black hair — would sing, “mangia, mangia,” urging me to eat because I was “too-ah skeenny.” I remember how olive oil played into our food — we drizzled it on everything and all of our food was cooked in it.
Then I visited Italy for the first time, and three things really stood out to me: its great lakes and coastal towns, its fresh and natural foods, and its deep red wines. It’s as if the country itself, although modernized and fashion-forward, was rooted to the earth in a way I hadn’t seen before. I felt alive. To capture that Italian magic — its earthiness and focus on simple, good things — I brought the olive’s magic back with me (extra virgin olive oil or EVOO only, that is) and decided it would be my go-to for literally everything.
Just a reminder, dear friends: If you are in need of a doctor, see a doctor! And definitely do not consume too much olive oil in an effort to radiate Italian charm. You are already charming! Everything good in moderation, mi amore.
1. Olive oil skin miracle.
The debate over whether or not oils can be used as a moisturizer is one as old as time itself. The answer: Yes, yes you can use it as a moisturizer. As does Sophia Loren, and other Mediterranean beauts who pluck white flowers along the seaside or powder their noses on the back of a vespa. But seriously, here’s why you should apply a light amount of olive oil to your facial skin: According to one study, it’s loaded with antioxidants that fight nasty free radicals (those things that make you age) and the polyphenols increase blood flow.
Pick up a travel bottle, pour some EVOO into it, mix it up with a bit of essential oil (if you simply cannot bear the scent of the earth), and massage a few drops into your skin at night. I prefer this to chemical-laden moisturizers, and I like to pretend I’m still in Italy as I do it. In the morning, I apply EVOO under my sunscreen. I keep a little travel bottle by my bedside, too, for dry hands. Don’t dump a bunch of it out — you only need a bit!
2. Olive oil cut cleanser
Studies have shown that olive oil as a wound dressing is beneficial. The Greeks knew this in ancient times, but we’ve got modern medicine, so we’ve forgotten about Earth’s little secrets.
Beyond moisturizing your skin, it has been shown to aid in the healing of dermatitis and wounds. Why? Olive oil is made of mostly triglycerides, which has anti-inflammatory properties. Also, it contains a magic ingredient called polyphenols, which are antioxidants that increase blood flow and promote healing. Yes, please. I’ve used a bit of olive oil on scabs, minor burns, paper-cuts, and skin rashes — and for me, it’s worked like a charm.
3. Olive Oil lip scrub
I like to mix a little olive oil and brown sugar together in a small container about once per week — just to keep it fresh (I’ve added cinnamon before, too, for plumping power). Then, with my finger, I scrub the goodness against my lips to buff away dry skin, plump my lips, and to give them a natural luster. I swear by this — once in the morning and at night, or before a big night out. Aside from it actually working and not costing any money at all, the olive oil moisturizes the skin around my lips, which is a big plus. I’m not getting any younger!
4. Olive oil hair conditioner
I can’t begin to tell you how luxurious this is, especially for anyone with dry hair. Now, listen up: You don’t need to soak your hair in tons of olive oil (or you’ll be dealing with stringy hair). You should, however, create a hair mask for yourself that contains some olive oil delicately applied.
Don’t believe it? Miranda Kerr can attest:
Want glamorous hair? Try your own DIY olive oil hair mask:
5. Olive oil cuticle cream
Forget the cuticle creams at the drugstore. Let nature moisturize your cuticles and cover your pretty little fingers in natural vitamins and omegas. I do this at least once a month by dabbing my fingertips in a small bowl of olive oil and mint essential oil (for a fresh, cooling effect) and push back my cuticles once they’re good and soaked. While you’re at it, take the rest of the oil, slather it all over your hands, put on a pair of plastic gloves, and give your hands a spa day.
6. Olive oil for itchy, dry skin
I use olive oil all over my body (especially on the dry patches on my elbows and feet) to transform my skin from gross to glorious. After playing in the sun (dear god do not use olive oil as SPF), I also use it to prevent itching and excess dryness. It really works and it does not leave you feeling greasy if you go easy on the oil. You will smell like ravioli, and that is 100 percent fine (by me).
7. Olive oil for shaving
Because Mother Nature hears your cries, she has freed you from the oppressive nightmare of crappy shaving creams which smell like strawberries but leave you itchy and dry. Those creams are liars!
I like to get into the bathtub and then get my legs’ pores nice and open with warm water before I carefully pour a little olive oil onto them (be careful not douse your tub in the stuff, lest you fall and blame me). Then, I shave. If I need a little soap, I generally use a conditioner because it works just as well and it keeps your skin soft. Then, because I’m me, I use a little olive oil afterward. I will never (never!) go back.
8. Olive oil eye makeup remover
I do not know why anyone on earth would use anything but a natural oil to remove makeup. For one, it’s all-natural (hi, I’m not a hippie but I’m also not trying to spend money on stingy makeup wipes.) Second, it immediately wipes off all sorts of makeup — even those waterproof mascaras you are kicking yourself for trying again (despite knowing the eternity it takes to remove it).
Now say it with me: All hail the olive!