Does Olive Oil Help Hair Grow? Discover the Benefits

Olive oil, usually light yellow or green, is naturally extracted by pressing olives. It is often imported from the Mediterranean region, particularly from Spain, Greece, and Italy. Rich in fatty acids and antioxidants, olive oil’s unique composition has been appreciated by various cultures for centuries for its benefits to hair texture and appearance.

Does olive oil help hair grow? Evidence suggests that olive oil can soothe the scalp, strengthen hair follicles, and potentially stimulate hair growth. In this review, we explore the research supporting the use of olive oil for achieving stronger, longer hair.

Does Olive Oil Help Hair Grow?

Currently, no human clinical trials have confirmed the effectiveness of olive oil in promoting hair growth or preventing hair loss. The only indication comes from a small study conducted on mice, which experienced increased hair growth after being treated with topical oleuropein, a compound found in olives and olive leaves. However, several factors limit the applicability of this study to human hair:

  1. Olive oil contains lower amounts of oleuropein compared to olives or olive leaves.
  2. Mouse skin and hair differ significantly from the human scalp and hair.
  3. The time required to naturally absorb enough oleuropein through the scalp from topically applied olive oil might be impractically long.

Therefore, until further research is conducted, the only proven benefit of olive oil for thinning hair is its ability to moisturize and prevent hair breakage, thanks to its high fatty acid content.

Does Olive Oil Help Hair Grow
Currently, no human clinical trials have confirmed the effectiveness of olive oil in promoting hair growth or preventing hair loss

Other Benefits of Olive Oil for Hair 

While olive oil may not have proven benefits for hair growth at this time, it does offer properties that can benefit your hair and scalp. However, most of these benefits still require further research to confirm their effectiveness under various conditions:

Antioxidant Properties

Excessive exposure to sunlight can damage your hair and scalp due to UV radiation. Olive oil contains natural antioxidants that may reduce oxidative stress, prevent some UV damage to your hair, and even help protect your scalp from skin cancer.

Although there are no human clinical studies to confirm this, one study on mice found that using olive oil topically after UV exposure reduced the number of skin tumors developed. However, using olive oil preventively, before UV exposure, did not have the same effect.

Anti-inflammatory Properties

Olive oil contains phenols that possess anti-inflammatory qualities similar to ibuprofen. When ingested, olive oil is known to have anti-inflammatory properties. However, there is no conclusive evidence that it has the same effect when applied topically. Further research is needed to determine if olive oil can soothe inflammation, irritation, or tenderness on the scalp.

Antimicrobial Properties

Olive oil has demonstrated antimicrobial qualities in vitro, including antifungal properties. One in vitro study found it effective against candida, reducing it by 50%. This suggests that olive oil could help prevent or treat yeast infections on the scalp, such as dandruff or seborrheic dermatitis. However, more research is needed to determine if it is effective when applied to the human scalp against the fungus causing these conditions.

Some medical professionals believe that olive oil may exacerbate dandruff and seborrheic dermatitis by feeding the yeast that causes them.

Moisturizing and Softening Properties

The abundant fatty acids in olive oil are excellent emollients, softening and moisturizing your hair and scalp. They coat your strands in a protective layer that prevents friction-induced breakage or split ends. Additionally, olive oil can seal the hair cuticle, keeping moisture inside for longer.

Does Olive Oil Help Hair Grow
Other Benefits of Olive Oil for Hair

Potential Side Effects of Olive Oil 

Olive oil is generally safe for human consumption and can be used both ingested and topically on your scalp and hair. It is not known to cause significant irritation or other types of skin damage. While allergic reactions can occur, they are usually rare and mild.

However, due to its high fatty acid content, excessive use of olive oil on your scalp and hair can lead to greasiness and clogged pores, potentially causing scalp acne or folliculitis. Therefore, it’s best to avoid using this oil if you already have greasy hair. Always ensure you wash your scalp thoroughly with shampoo after using olive oil for your hair.

How to Use Olive Oil for Hair 

Incorporating olive oil into your hair care routine can provide several benefits, especially if you have dry, brittle hair. While its effectiveness in promoting hair growth hasn’t been conclusively proven, olive oil can soften, moisturize, and condition your hair. Here are some methods to use olive oil effectively:

Scalp Massage

  1. Pour a few drops of olive oil into your hands.
  2. Gently massage your scalp with the oil.
  3. Use a fine-toothed comb to spread the oil evenly along the length of your hair.
  4. Be cautious, as the oil can stain clothes or furniture. To prevent stains, wrap your hair in a towel or wear a shower cap.

Hair Mask

  1. Mix olive oil with other essential oils, such as rosemary or peppermint oil.
  2. Apply the mixture to your hair as a mask.
  3. Leave it on for 30 minutes before washing it out thoroughly.

Split Ends Treatment

  1. Apply olive oil only to your split ends, avoiding the scalp and the rest of your hair.
  2. Use a comb to distribute the oil.
  3. Leave it on for as long as necessary before washing it out. This method helps prevent your scalp from becoming greasy while conditioning your ends.


  • Deep Conditioning: For a deep conditioning treatment, apply warm olive oil to your hair, cover it with a shower cap, and leave it on for at least 30 minutes before rinsing.
  • Enhanced Hair Mask: For added benefits, mix olive oil with honey or yogurt to create a nourishing hair mask.
  • Thorough Rinse: Always rinse your hair thoroughly after using olive oil to avoid buildup and greasiness.
Does Olive Oil Help Hair Grow
How to Use Olive Oil for Hair

Can You Put Olive Oil Directly in Your Hair?

Yes, you can apply pure olive oil directly to your hair without diluting it first, as it is gentle and unlikely to cause irritation or burns on your scalp. Olive oil can also serve as a carrier oil, allowing you to dilute other essential oils for added benefits.


  • Start Small: When applying olive oil directly, begin with a small amount to avoid excessive greasiness.
  • Warm It Up: For a more intensive treatment, warm the olive oil slightly before applying it to your hair. This helps it penetrate more deeply and enhances its conditioning effects.
  • Mix with Essential Oils: Combining olive oil with essential oils like lavender or tea tree can provide additional benefits. Lavender oil can soothe the scalp, while tea tree oil has antimicrobial properties that promote overall hair health.

Who Should Use Olive Oil?

Olive oil offers particular benefits for individuals with curly, thick, and coarse hair, which tend to be more susceptible to frizz and dryness. It effectively moisturizes and softens these hair types, enhancing manageability and reducing frizz. However, for those with fine or straight hair, olive oil may have the opposite effect, potentially weighing it down and leaving it feeling greasy.

Furthermore, individuals experiencing dandruff should refrain from using olive oil in their hair, as it could worsen the condition.


Is olive oil beneficial for hair growth? While there’s some indication that olive oil may support healthy hair growth, scientific evidence remains inconclusive. It’s rich in proteins, antioxidants, and antimicrobial properties, which could contribute to overall hair health.

Regular use of olive oil may potentially strengthen hair follicles and prolong the lifespan of individual strands, creating the illusion of faster hair growth.

Ultimately, olive oil serves as a budget-friendly hair treatment option, and experimenting with it is generally safe and worth considering.

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