Men have been using olive oil for millennia, and you can be certain that they weren’t using it only as a salad dressing. In fact, olive oil was used primarily for various non-culinary purposes, including as fuel in oil lamps, as medicines, as an ingredient in soap-making, and even as a component of religious rituals. Today, olive oil is still being used for these purposes, although to a much lesser extent.
But thanks to its nutritious quality, the superfood has plenty of other alternative uses you probably didn’t know about.
As a personal care product
The human body needs antioxidants to protect the skin -- the body’s largest organ. Extra virgin olive oil’s high antioxidant levels greatly reduce the body’s free radicals, which are produced from ordinary functions like breathing and digestion; unhealthy lifestyle choices like smoking cigarettes, drinking alcohol, and eating unhealthy food; excessive intake of antibiotics and certain medications; and exposure to environmental pollutants and radiation.
For this reason, EVOO is a practical substitute for skin and hair care products. It’s comprised of natural ingredients and has high levels of vitamin E, which is known to protect the skin from UV rays; and vitamin K, which is essential to helping the body heal wounds and bruises.
In ancient and modern times, olive oil has been good for the following personal care uses:
- Conditioner and dandruff remover - As a haircare product, olive doesn’t just make your hair healthy and shiny; it also helps prevent dandruff.
- Facial moisturizer - Extra virgin olive oil is gentle and natural, making it a perfectly suitable skin care treatment. As a daily facial moisturizer or night cream, it offers longer-lasting moisture because it penetrates the skin deeply.
- Exfoliant and body moisturizer - EVOO can also be used as an exfoliating scrub when mixed with sea salt or ground coffee. And according to California Olive Oil Council board member Carol Firenze, olive oil can also be mixed with essential bath oils to be used as a body moisturizer. It’s a natural way to clean out pores and smoothen skin.
- Diaper rash treatment - Diaper rash treatments aren’t easy to find in grocery stores or pharmacies. Fortunately, olive oil can make for an effective remedy.
- Other cosmetic and hygiene uses - Olive oil can also be used as shaving cream, a cuticle remover, massage oil, makeup remover, and lip balm.
EVOO is an ideal substitute for most commercial skincare and haircare products because it’s free of chemicals, so make sure you’re buying an authentic, unadulterated product. That said, it’s best to check with your dermatologist before using any olive oil, especially if you have serious skin conditions, allergies, or sensitive skin. Moreover, use olive oil for personal care only if it hasn’t gone rancid or expired.
As an alternative to home improvement tools
Other than enhancing your skin, olive oil can be used as a multi-purpose DIY substance, specifically as:
- A polishing agent - Use olive oil to shine metallic materials like copper, brass, or stainless steel. It’s also great for polishing and conditioning wood furniture, as well as polishing and protecting leather shoes and other leather-made items.
- A tool lubricant - Use olive oil for lubricating hinges and gardening tools and as a lubricant when sharpening knives.
- An all-around household substance - Olive oil can also be used to unjam zippers, remove paint, and help remove sticky substances like chewing gum, adhesives, and other sticky residues from any solid surfaces.
Olive oil is more than just a healthy food ingredient; it’s also an economical and environment-friendly alternative to personal care and household products. There are many more creative and useful ways to use olive oil, and you can benefit from stocking up on a couple bottles which you can use for spicing up a meal or for polishing cutlery right away!
Order from our online store or meet Saltonstall Estate’s olive oil experts in our orchard in sunny California.