They say you can't have your cake and eat it, too, but I disagree — and not just because I love dessert. I think everyone wants to have gorgeous color and healthy hair without having to sacrifice one for the other. Sure, you can spend oodles of money on products that say they'll cure all your hair care woes, but in my experience, the health and beauty industry is all too quick to make empty promises in order to get consumers to buy, buy, buy. Since I'm not exactly in a rush to empty my bank account, I wanted to try olive oil hair treatments to see if I could mend my hair in the comfort of my own home.
I'm no stranger to DIY conditioning hacks for colored hair, but I have yet to find a magical solution to keep my locks luscious long-term. Dying my hair often and regularly has been hard on my hair, and in an effort to moisturize and preserve my mane, I wanted to try olive oil treatments. According to ELLE, using olive oil on your hair is genius for a few reasons: Olive oil is rich in antioxidants (and vitamins A and E), and these help protect the keratin in hair by locking in moisture. Using olive oil on your hair may also promote hair growth by removing sebum buildup so new hair follicles can form.
If you've ever had your hair bleached first in order to achieve a vibrant hue then you know the toll it can take on your strands. Logically I know that I should probably give my hair a break sometime soon, but I just can't say goodbye to rocking the many shades of the rainbow quite yet. So is it really possible to have the best of both worlds?
For seven consecutive days, I would try out some of the best olive oil hair treatments recommended by either friends or stylists. I didn't want to get my hopes too high, but since there are so many quick and easy DIY options out there these days, I figured I'd give it a go. Best-case scenario? I'd stumble upon the holy grail of hair care and find a treatment that let me keep my crazy color without damaging my hair. Worst-case scenario? Maybe greasy hair and a bit of disappointment. Only time would tell.
Day 1: Old-Fashioned Olive Oil
A tried and true trick many generations have sworn by, I went with just basic olive oil for day one. Starting out with dry hair, I massaged the oil in, beginning at the ends and working my way up. Once my strands felt sufficiently saturated, I clipped it up and donned a shower cap. At the suggestion of a couple friends, I kept my hair up for 20 minutes total and applied heat via my blowdryer for about five minutes at the beginning.
I washed my hair out with my son's natural baby shampoo since I thought it would be the most gentle. I actually opted for a second wash since it still felt pretty greasy. I towel dried my hair and let the air do the rest. Once it was completely dry, my hair felt really heavy and unpleasantly flat. This experiment was looking like it was off to a one star start.
Day 2: Shampoo Mix
Since day one left my hair feeling pretty slimy even after multiple attempts to wash it out, I wondered if I was approaching things from the wrong end. Instead of applying the olive oil to dry hair and letting it sit, maybe if I mixed it into my shampoo, my hair would look and feel less greasy.
I used my regular amount of shampoo, about the size of a half dollar, and drizzled in about a teaspoon of olive oil. Though the shampoo still produced some suds, it didn't feel quite as foamy as it normally did. Once I rinsed and dried my hair, it was not as clean as I was hoping, but an improvement from day one.
Day 3: Smoothing Spray
Using Infusium 23's Moisture Replenisher Leave-In Treatment, which contains a blend of argan and olive oil, I was pretty confident that my hair wouldn't be as greasy as it was on the two previous days. Since this is just a spray, you can use on either damp or dry hair and the instructions say you can use it multiple times throughout the day, too. After using, my hair didn't feel heavy at all.
The only downside to this olive oil treatment was that I felt like the effects didn't last for very long. Also, if you didn't really work the product through, you could get a sort of sticky, hair spray kind of feel going on. While this might have some nice immediate results, I wasn't a huge fan of how often I needed to re-spray to maintain the smooth look.
Day 4: Back To The Basics
Since day one was such a disaster in my opinion, I really wanted to give the ol' hot oil treatment a second try before calling it an utter failure. Practically everyone's mom, aunt, or grandmother has used the Alberto V05 Hot Oil treatment at some point in their life. Not one to knock it till I've tried it, I put my own twist on things by adding in a teensy bit of olive oil.
I have to admit that I was somewhat surprised by how this one turned out. I was mostly expecting identical results to day one since it's a leave-in oil treatment, but this one was decidedly less greasy and flat. Although I'm still not a huge fan of the hot oil type approach, at least I can say I gave it my best effort (twice!).
Day 5: An Hour? Really?
As I've previously stated, I'm not a huge fan of things that take a lot of time. So I guess that's on me for not properly reading the directions on the Ors Olive Oil Replenishing Pak before purchasing it. Since it said on the front that it was a penetrating hair conditioner aimed to repair damaged hair, I figured it would be used like any other conditioner except that it just had magical olive oil in it. I was dreadfully wrong.
As I'm assuming is true for most people, I don't own a salon-style dryer which I can sit under for a solid 15 minutes. So my only other option, per the detailed instructions I so blissfully ignored, was to apply this conditioner and leave it on my hair for an hour without the aid of heat. I don't know about you, but I honestly do not have time to leave goopy, oily, product in my hair for an hour. Though this one did allow some of my natural wavy texture to come through without being weighed down, I don't think I'd ever want to spend that much time on a treatment again.
Day 6: Did I Find The Super-Group Of Oils?
I'm definitely a, "Well if one is good, then two must be great!" type of person. So obviously when I read online that Moroccan argan oil was touted as a miracle cure for damaged, dry hair, I immediately wondered if the effects would be even better if I combined it with the olive oil. I picked up a single-use Hask Argan Oil Deep Conditioning Hair Treatment from the drug store and made sure to fully read the instructions this time. Thankfully this one was to be used just like a regular conditioner.
Prior to showering, I squeezed out the contents of the argan oil packet into a dish and mixed in just enough olive oil until it seemed thoroughly blended. I'm actually kind of glad I did that because straight out of the package, the argan oil treatment was rather thick and almost rubbery in consistency. But once all was said and done, my hair was super bouncy! I didn't exactly love the springy feel, but it was better than being flat.
Day 7: The Motherload
If you thought that argan oil was the holy grail of hair treatments, perhaps you haven't heard of keratin. According to my friend, and expert hair stylist, Tiffany Sposato, keratin is actually a protein that makes up the major structure of our hair and nails and is a top ingredient in many professional salon treatments.
I picked up another of Hask's Hair Treatment packages, but this one was all about the keratin, baby. Doing the same thing I had done on day six, I blended it with just a tad of olive oil to kind of even out the consistency. Perhaps it's coincidence, dumb luck, or that my multitude of sacrifices to the hair gods finally paid off, but the last day of this experiment also turned out to be my favorite! I loved that my natural texture was still there, it wasn't too flat or too bouncy, and stayed smooth without a need for touch-ups.
Is Olive Oil A Permanent Part Of My Routine?
Short version? Yes! Though you won't see me saturating my strands solely with olive oil, I'm definitely a convert. The keratin and olive oil concoction from day seven yielded the best results by far. I don't think I'd do it every day, but I'm totally going to indulge in a hair treatment once a week or so. Everyone, whether you're a mom or not, deserves a little me time to do something that makes you feel better about yourself.
Oh, and one final note: I intentionally did this whole experiment at a time when my roots were beyond the excusable stage. Why? Because I think it's important to acknowledge that, realistically, a lot of us don't look as flawless as our Instagram accounts may make us seem. I'm a working mom with a toddler, so sometimes my color is super faded or my regrowth is out of control or my ends are mega damaged and fried. But that's life. So my sort of secret side goal of this experiment wasn't just to find out if olive oil could mend my treated hair, but to see if I could truly go through with sharing my decidedly un-glamorous roots with the worldwide web. And I'm glad to say that both challenges turned out to be successes.