How to Make an Olive Oil Hair Mask

scattered ingredients for olive oil hair mask include oils, combs, spoon, hairbrush

Treehugger / Sanja Kostic

Overview
  • Working Time: 5 - 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes - 1 hour
  • Yield: 1 mask
  • Skill Level: Beginner
  • Estimated Cost: $10-15

You may have firsthand familiarity with olive oil's role in the kitchen. But did you know this popular oil can be effectively used as a moisturizing hair mask? What makes it work so well is olive oil's squalene—a naturally occurring terpenoid, or organic chemical, in olives—which contributes to its ability to add moisture to beauty products.

For years now, olive oil has been included in common skin and hair care products—but even using the oil on its own, with optional additions like essential oil drops, can provide numerous benefits. With the easy-to-follow, DIY olive oil hair mask recipe below, you'll have healthier, well-conditioned hair in less than an hour.

Before Getting Started

person in pattern button-up inspects dark bottle of olive oil

Treehugger / Sanja Kostic

If quality is one of your goals with this hair mask, you have to start with the best raw ingredients. The olive oil industry is unfortunately renowned for putting out lesser-quality diluted oils. If you want to get the most bang for your buck, consider these three things:

  • Purchase olive oil in a dark bottle. Like anything, olive oil can go bad and thus should be preserved properly. Keeping your oil protected from the light will prevent it from oxidizing too quickly.
  • Avoid the cheapest olive oil. Making good-quality olive oil takes a lot of work, which is why the price is typically on the higher end of the scale. Buying really inexpensive olive oil is almost a guarantee that it won't be a high-caliber product.
  • Check the label. Make sure there are no additional oils added to it. The label may also reveal the harvest date, which gives you an idea of how fresh the oil is. (Note: If you are starting to question the freshness of your olive oil in the kitchen, using it as a hair mask is a great way to get extra use from the bottle.)

Treehugger Tip

Olive oil hair masks work best for those with dry or damaged hair. Olive oil is fairly heavy and deeply moisturizing. If you already have oily hair, this mask may leave your hair feeling greasy.

What You'll Need

Tools

  • 1 microwave oven
  • 1 microwavable container
  • 1 towel
  • 1 applicator bottle
  • 1 shower cap

Materials

  • 1 tsp to 1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil
  • 5 to 10 drops of essential oil (optional)

Instructions

  1. Warm the Olive Oil

    hand heats olive oil in glass container on electric stove

    Treehugger / Sanja Kostic

    Heat the olive oil in the microwave for about 10 seconds. If you don't have a microwave, place the oil in a small container and let it sit in warm to boiling water for about a minute. You want the oil to be warm but not hot to prevent any burns. Stir the oil to make sure it's evenly heated.

  2. Add Essential Oils

    hand adds drop of essential oil to glass container of heated olive oil

    Treehugger / Sanja Kostic

    If you are adding essential oils to your mask, do so at this time. Make sure to shake or stir after adding so the oils mix together.

  3. Apply the Mask to Your Hair

    woman with towel wrapped around shoulders applies olive oil mask to ends of long hair

    Treehugger / Sanja Kostic

    Prepare the mask for application with your applicator bottle. Place a towel around your shoulders to avoid damaging your clothing. You can also opt to put on an old T-shirt that you wouldn't mind getting stained.

    It's best to section the hair and apply the oil in smaller parts. Those with curly hair will want to start at the ends of the hair and work their way up. Those with straight hair can start at the roots and work down. If your hair is usually oily, focus on the ends.

  4. Cover Your Hair and Relax

    woman puts shower cap over hair to let olive oil mask soak in

    Treehugger / Sanja Kostic

    Once the olive oil has been fully applied, cover hair with a shower cap and let the mask sit for at least 15 minutes. A plastic shopping bag can also be used. Leave the mask on for 15-45 minutes; the timing will depend on the degree of dryness and damage you are treating.

  5. Detangle Your Hair

    woman uses brown comb to detangle long brown hair

    Treehugger / Sanja Kostic

    Using a wide-tooth comb, gently detangle hair. This helps to further distribute the oil throughout the hair and prep it for shampooing. Those with curly hair can complete this step prior to covering for a more thorough distribution of the oil.

  6. Shampoo and Rinse

    back of woman's head shampooing her hair in shower

    Treehugger / Sanja Kostic

    After detangling, wash your hair with your usual shampoo and rinse thoroughly.

Variations

melted olive oil hair mask with fresh herbs being added to glass flip lid container

Treehugger / Sanja Kostic

The essential oils you choose to add can promote different effects. According to one study, oils such as chamomile and rosemary have the potential to condition hair and improve hair growth, while bergamot and tea tree can help control dandruff. Various ayurvedic herbs could also be mixed in with the mask. For any additions, make sure to do thorough research first.

View Article Sources
  1. Gouvinhas, Irene, et al. "Critical Review on the Significance of Olive Phytochemicals in Plant Physiology and Human Health." Molecules, vol. 22, no. 11, 2017, pp. 1986., doi:10.3390/molecules22111986

  2. Carvalho, I.T., et al. "Application of Microencapsulated Essential Oils in Cosmetic and Personal Healthcare Products - a Review." International Journal of Cosmetic Science, vol. 38, no. 2, 2016, pp. 109-119., doi:10.1111/ics.12232