Ask 81-year-old beauty icon and actress Sophia Loren what her anti-aging secret is, and she might tell you it’s “the odd bath in virgin olive oil.”
Loren is hardly the first to sing the praises of olive oil. In fact, its use as a beauty aid can be traced all the way back to ancient Egypt, when pharaohs nourished and cleansed their skin with the “liquid gold.”
Want to follow Loren’s (and Cleopatra’s) lead? Here are six creative ways to use extra virgin olive oil to improve your skin, hair, and nails.
Just be careful to steer clear of the fakes out there—turns out a lot of the versions on supermarket shelves are diluted with less expensive oils and colorants. Instead, opt for the real-deal, like Thrive Market’s, which boasts 100 percent cold-pressed, unrefined, and certified organic extra virgin olive oil in every bottle.
Because olive oil is full of healthy fats and two skin-soothing vitamins—A and E—it’s an effective natural emollient. Use it to soften rough spots (like cracked feet) and hydrate sensitive areas (like under the eyes).
Those vitamins A and E also help bring dry, chapped lips back to life with instant shine. Apply a tiny bit with your index finger, or, for extra healing power, combine it with coconut oil and honey and dab it on before bed.
Like coconut oil, olive oil makes a surprisingly effective eye makeup remover. Pour a tiny bit onto a cotton ball and lightly swab over lashes and lids. Rinse with warm water to remove any residue left behind and gently pat dry with a washcloth.
A popular ingredient in many store-bought hair products, olive oil gently smooths and nourishes strands. Warm a tiny bit between your palms and smooth down flyaways and frizz without stiffness.
Massaged into your hands, nail beds, and cuticles, olive oil hydrate, heal cracks, and can even help a mani last longer. For a more intensive treatment, soak hands in a bowl of warm olive oil for 10 minutes. It’s a great way to keep nails healthy with all-natural vitamins, rather than chemical- and paraben-laden products found at a lot of salons.
Olive oil is a natural lubricant, and provides a nice barrier and smooth results like store-bought shaving cream, sans chemicals and drying foaming agents. Drizzle a small amount of oil into your palms, and, working in small sections, apply to legs, then shave.
Photo credit: Alicia Cho
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