I enjoy cooking with olive oil, and I have heard the rumors that it is the secret to the ageless beauty of Italian women, but come on! Could you imaging rubbing oil from the bottle on your skin and hair?
It was Siobhan O'Connor and Alexandra Spunt of No More Dirty Looks fame that really gave me the guts, with their No Make-up Challenge. So after ditching conditioner and lotion for a full month in favor of the nectar of the humble olive, I have learned a few things. First, don't pull the old, nasty oil that you no longer consider fit for cooking off the shelf for your skin and hair. The rancid scent is not worth using up the aged oil. A fresh olive oil has a sweet smell, which is a big incentive to sticking with the program.
Second, I was surprised at the feel of the oil on my skin. It was not really "oily". If you use moisturizing as an opportunity to share a good rub with your partner, the result is a pleasant, silky feel to the skin.
Hair is a bit trickier. Just put some oil in a cup or bowl. Dip your fingers in until you have a rich layer of oil on them and run them through your hair from root to end. I use a boar's hair brush for about ten minutes to further stroke the oil into my hair. There is a down side to oil as conditioner. You definitely do not get that full-volume lightness that commercial products create, so you might want to bask in the luxury of your hair treatments on days when you don't plan to go out if you cannot be seen in public with slightly heavy locks. But the silky softness and control the treatment gave the wispy strays is worth it.
Using olive oil on my skin and hair did not increase any sensation of greasiness. I experienced no itchiness (I am very sensitive to allergens), and saw no increase in blemishes. My skin feels more supple and looks healthy. Maybe pure olive oil is not for everyone, but don't diss it 'til you give it a try!
More on Alternative Beauty Products:
The "No Make-Up Challenge" Shows Gorgeous Faces Without Toxic Goop
No More Dirty Looks: The Truth About Beauty Products
Know Your Cosmetics Ingredients: Top Five Ingredients to Avoid
Safer Cosmetics on the Regulatory Horizon