It's the main ingredient for a no-frills salad dressing; adding it to nuts, salt, and a handful of basil leaves in the food processor yields amazing pesto; and dipping fresh-baked bread in it makes for a nice starter to a hearty meal. Olive oil has won the hearts of many a food lover because of its deep flavor, versatility, and heart-healthy benefits.
But olive oil's abilities extend beyond the kitchen-it's a great ingredient to add to your grooming repertoire. According to the California Olive Oil Council, it's long been used to maintain the suppleness of skin and muscle, to heal abrasions, to give body and sheen to hair, and to even relieve aching muscles.
"This oil is a favorite for dry skin," write Kathi Keville and Mindy Green in the book Aromatherapy. And it is so for good reason: "[Olive oil] has a superior moisturizing effect," explains Kayla Fioravanti, a certified aromatherapist and owner of Essential Wholesale.
It's not just dry skin that benefits from olive oil. If you have sensitive or combination skin, you may benefit from its smoothening and softening effect, as well as its anti-oxidant content, says Fioravanti. Olive oil even helps repair and tone skin damage caused by pollution, UV radiation, and post-acne scarring.
Ready for a head-to-toe dose? Our 11 picks bring with them the amazing qualities of this healing ingredient, as all are made with organic olive- or extra-virgin olive oil.
For the Hair
1) Chi Organics Olive Nutrient Therapy Conditioner: To get maximum benefit when you condition your hair, massage it on your scalp instead of just the strands. $22 farouk.com
2) John Masters Organics Dry Hair Nourishment & Defrizzer: Summer may be over, but frizzy tresses persist all the way to fall. Massage a few drops on wet hair for an intense moisturizing experience. $16 johnmasters.com
3) Organix Mandarin Olive Oil Shampoo: This antioxidant-filled shampoo reinvigorates tired spirits-lather up at the end of a long day at work. $6.99 ogxbeauty.com
For the Face
4) Juice Beauty Organic Facial Wash: Remove dirt, grime, and make-up without stripping your face of moisture with this refreshing grape- and apple juice-blended cleanser. $22 juicebeauty.com
5) Organic Expressions Night Creme: Your skin heals and renews in the evening, so what better time to give it a helping hand? This cream is easily absorbed and is packed with anti-inflammatories to counteract signs of aging. $29.50
6) NaturOli New Radiance Facial Creme: Mix this cream with your favorite foundation for a dewy, effortless finish. $33 naturoli.com
For the Body
7) Kiss My Face Olive My Body: Brittle nails in need of moisture? Massaging this butter on them-and on other parts of your body that need hydration-would do the trick. $8.95 kissmyface.com
8) Badger Sore Joint Rub: Stow this handy tin in your gym bag to bring warm comforts to hard-working joints. $10 badgerbalm.com
For the Bath
9) Olive Diva Oatmeal Soap: This soap is gentle enough to soothe and polish even the most sensitive of skin. $12 olivediva.com
10) Sapothecary Peppermint with Mint Leaves Soap: Use the cooling properties of peppermint essential oil whether you need a pick-me-up in the morning or to ready you for bed. $18 for four sapothecary.com
11) Olivia Care French Mandarin Soap: Along with lavender, mandarin helps aid in relieving insomnia. $7.50 oliviacare.com