A scientific study shows that olive oil can be an effective natural hair loss remedy by inducing hair follicles to stay longer in the anagen phase and stimulating various hair growth factors
Can something as simple as olive oil stimulate serious hair growth and put a stop to hair loss?
We found an amazing scientific study on how oleuropein, a compound found in olive oil, can actually promote hair regrowth.
The best part? It only took 28 days to see visible before and after results using olive oil – that’s less than a month!
In this review article, you will learn every detail about how olive oil can help with hair growth.
We will first go over olive oil benefits for general health as well as hair and skin, scientific research on using olive oil for hair loss, the 3 best olive oils to buy for hair, and the 6 best olive oil recipes for stimulating hair growth and stopping hair falling out.
Table of contents
- What is olive oil?
- Olive oil benefits in general
- Olive oil benefits for hair and skin
- Research studies on olive oil for hair growth
- 5 Important research findings on how olive oil for hair loss works
- How to find the best olive oil for hair
- Which olive oil is best for hair growth? Top 3 recommendations
- 6 DIY olive oil treatment recipes for stimulating hair growth
What is olive oil?
Olive oil is nothing new when it comes to everyday cooking, in addition to its various uses as natural remedies for curing certain illnesses and health symptoms including hair loss.
Olive trees have been around for thousands of years and are mainly found in the Mediterranean.
Olive oil is obtained from pressed olives. Spain is known to be the biggest producer of olive oil, but thanks to its increased consumption in United States over the years, California is also making a name for itself by producing one of the best olive oils such as this brand.
So what contributes to the popularity of olive oil?
Known as the healthiest fat available on earth, olive oil is very rich in antioxidants and Vitamin E. These essential properties protect your body from free radical molecules and prevent damage of cells and tissues.
Olive oil is also rich in Vitamin K, another essential fat-soluble nutrient for keeping your heart and bone healthy and regulating blood clotting in the body.
There are literally hundreds of uses of olive oil, with culinary applications being one of the most well known.
For instance, numerous studies suggest the power of olive oil as a natural remedy for improving various health conditions (such as heart disease prevention, cholesterol regulation – the full health benefits are listed below).
Olive oil is also one of the most popular ingredients to add when making homemade beauty recipes, especially for improving hair and skin health. In this article, we will give you 6 amazing olive oil DIY recipes for promoting hair growth. (Click here to go straight to the olive oil hair growth recipes)
Olive oil benefits for health (when consumed)
Here are a few general health benefits of olive oil in our lives:
• Reduces cardiovascular disease
• Regulates blood pressure
• Lowers LDL cholesterol level
• Helps with weight loss
• Regulates blood sugar and diabetes
• Prevents osteoporosis
• Lowers the risk of stroke
• Reduces depression
• Protects against skin and breast cancers
Olive oil benefits for hair and skin (when topically applied)
There are a great number additional benefits of using olive oil for hair and skin
Olive oil for hair and scalp benefits:
- Stimulates hair growth
- Increases the anagen active growth phase
- Prevents hair loss
- Works as deep hair conditioner
- Adds shine to your hair
- Helps with frizzy hair
- Reduces split ends
- Reduces dandruff and scalp inflammation
- Calms down itchy scalp
Olive oil for skin benefits:
- Deeply moisturizes skin
- Reduces wrinkles
- Increases skin elasticity
- Alleviates chapped lips
- Hydrates cracked heels
- Works as a natural makeup remover
- Enhances exfoliation
- Reduces eczema
Now, let’s get to the most important part – Research studies on how olive oil for hair loss works.
Research study on olive oil for hair growth
Can olive oil prevent hair loss and possibly put a full stop to gradual hair thinning?
A 2015 study by Korean researchers gives a solid green light.
In order to test out the efficacy of olive oil for hair growth stimulating agent, the researchers performed scientific experiments using different methods (mice and follicle cell culture analysis).
How the research for olive oil for hair growth was designed:
For the animal experiment, the scientists used 24 mice in total. These mice were divided into 3 groups (so there was 8 mice in each group) and the following treatments were topically applied daily for 28 days straight:
- Group #1: 200 μL of reagent
- Group #2: 200 μL of reagent + 0.4 mg of oleuropein (Compound found in olive oil)
- Group #3: 200 μL of reagent + 3 mg of minoxidil (The only FDA-approved hair growth topical treatment)
Reagent was made of 50% ethanol, 30% water and 20% propylene glycol, and group #1 was served as a control group in this experiment.
How long did the study last?
The study lasted 28 days, which is a little less than a month. Even though the duration was rather short, the before and after results showed significant differences among these 3 groups.
Also, in order to ensure the accuracy of the study, the samples were measured every week and photos were taken of each mouse during the time.
What was the result? Olive oil for hair growth results
Let’s go over the olive oil for hair loss before and after pictures first:
No improvement in group #1: As you see above, all of the mice in group #1 (the control group that was topically applied with 200 ul of reagent), you can clearly see bare skin at the end of 28 days. This means that this group had NO improvement when it comes to regrowing hair.
Now that we know the control group didn’t have any visible results, let’s take a closer look at before and after photo comparisons between group #2 and group #3 (oleuropein-treated group and minoxidil-treated group):
The above pictures show that both groups showed regrowth of hair follicles. If you look at it closely, group #2 (Oleuropein-treated group) has more number of mice with fully grown hair on their backs.
The researchers also noted that this mice group had longer hair, higher number of strands and bigger sizes of hair follicles, compared to the Minoxidil group:
Summary: The mice group #2, which was treated with oleuropein, had the BEST hair regrowth results (Yes – better than the minoxidil group).
Were there any side effects during the research?
The scientists didn’t find any adverse side effects in any of the groups (which includes the control group, olive oil group, and minoxidil group).
5 Important research findings using olive oil for hair loss
So, the mice experience proved the oleuropein found in olive oil can stimulate new hair growth, but what triggered the hair regrowth in mice?
Here are 5 crucial points the researchers found out:
Finding #1 – Olive oil (oleuropein) can positively impact the hair growth cycle
The scientists conclude that oleuropein increases the likelihood of hair follicles to transition from the telogen phase to the anagen phase, thus elongating the active hair growth duration.
If the terms such as telogen and anagen are unfamiliar, no worries! These are frequently used words to describe the three phases of hair growth cycle. Let’s quickly go over them here:
Hair growth cycle is made of 3 stages – Anagen, Catagen, and Telogen.
- Anagen: Anagen is known as the growth phase, meaning hair follicles are actively growing during this stage. This phase continues for 2 to 7 years depending on each individual. If you are having a difficult time growing your hair beyond a certain length, it’s likely that you have a shorter Anagen phase. In reverse, women who can grow their hair very long without thinning on top have a longer anagen phase.
- Catagen: Also known as the transitional phase, hair follicles in this stage detach themselves from the derma papilla, where nutrition for follicles comes from. There are about 3% of hairs in this stage at any given moment and it only lasts about 2 weeks.
- Telogen: Telogen phase is also known as the resting period. When follicles are in the telogen phase, they are simply sitting there without getting any nutrients. This, in turn, will result in these follicles falling out from the scalp. About 10-15% of hair follicles are in this stage and it usually lasts about 3 months.
Each follicle goes through this 3-step hair growth cycle, which repeats itself continually.
Hair growth cycle of people with alopecia: The same research adds that people with the most common type of hair loss (androgenetic alopecia – also known as male and female pattern hair loss) are likely to have an abnormal hair growth cycle (click here to see reasons for hair loss)
This usually means that thinning hair is often caused by a shorter duration in the anagen phase and a longer duration of the telogen phase.
In other words, follicles don’t get to spend enough time in the active hair growth stage. Instead, these follicles spend more time in the telogen phase where no nutrition is available, thus hair fall out occurs.
While there hasn’t been any clear evidence on why this abnormal hair growth cycle occurs, one of the possible reasons is linked to Dihydrotestosterone (DHT) – the biggest hair loss enemy.
Olive oil helps hair follicles to stay in the anagen phase: The researchers found that oleuropein converts telogen follicles to the anagen phase, so that they can get the proper nutrition from dermal papilla and continuously grow.
That’s where olive oil comes in.
Finding #2 – Olive oil (oleuropein) may work better than minoxidil for stimulating hair regrowth
While this study was limited in mice, the before and after photos clearly proved that oleuropein can work just as effective as minoxidil as a topical treatment (or even better).
When the researchers performed a test about the effect of oleuropein on derma papilla cells, the results showed oleuropein’s natural ability of cell proliferation, which was significantly higher than minoxidil.
Finding #3 – Olive oil (oleuropein) stimulates the Wnt10b/β-catenin pathway – key to hair regeneration
Beta-catenin is a protein involved in cell development. When it comes to hair, the activation of Wnt10b/β-catenin signaling pathway plays an important role for developing and regenerating hair follicles.
The researchers found that oleuropein (found in olive oil) significantly increases the level of B-catenin in dermal papilla cells as much as 212%!
Another study we found proves the importance of B-catenin when it comes to promoting new hair growth (source). In this study, the researchers observed B-catenin actively being present in the dermal papilla of the anagen stage. But when B-catenin was removed, it led hair follicles to go into the catagen phase prematurely in mice (meaning no more hair growth).
Here is another research finding about Wnt10b/B-catenin in relation to age-related hair symptoms (source). The result of this study also points to the same conclusion When Wnt10b is up-regulated, it also increases B-catenin in hair follicles. These two then work together synergistically and stimulate follicles to RE-enter from the telogen to the anagen (hair growth) phase and regrow hair.
Finding #4 – Olive oil (oleuropein) regulates various hair growth factors
The study also found that the oleuropein-treated mice group showed a significant increase of mRNA levels of the following hair growth and development factors in their skin tissues (a lot higher than minoxidil group):
- Insuline-like growth factor (IGF-1) – It helps regulating cell proliferation in the hair follicle development process
- Hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) – It promotes the proper growth of epithelial cells inside follicles
- Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) – It promotes development of new blood vessels in the anagen hair growth phase
- Keratocyte growth factor (KGF) – It stimulates hair cell proliferation
The researchers point out oleuropein’s ability in regulating the above gene expressions, which are directly related to different aspects of growing healthy hair.
Finding #5 – Olive oil (oleuropein) consumption can reduce heart disease, which is linked to pattern hair loss
This is an interesting one. The above 4 findings are based on applying oleuropein topically, while this one is about dietary consumption.
Then, there are a number of studies suggesting a close link between heart disease and premature baldness. These studies gathered data from about 40,000 men with male pattern baldness. About up to 70% of these men who experienced hair loss on the crown area of their heads had increased risk of heart disease.
This is where olive oil can come as a natural remedy to alleviate this symptom. One of the main benefits of consuming olive oil is known for reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease and providing anti-inflammatory benefits.
Findings summary – Olive oil (oleuropein) for stimulating active hair growth? Check ✓
The above scientific findings lead to one conclusion: Olive oil can be an effective natural hair loss remedy by inducing hair follicles to stay longer in the anagen phase and stimulating various hair growth factors.
How to find the best olive oil for hair
When it comes to finding the best (real) olive oil, you need to start your research from knowing the different grades. And within each grade, it can further be divided into types.
For this article, we will keep it simple and give you the essence.
There are basically 3 types of olive oil:
- Extra virgin olive oil (the best quality)
- Virgin oil
- Olive oil
What makes extra virgin olive oil the TOP quality is the pressing and production methods.
In order to be qualified as extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), it starts from non-defective fresh olives. These olives are then pressed without any high-heat or chemical additive processes to ensure its purity and full aroma.
What olive oil brands to AVOID
Not all olive oils are considered to have the same quality. Here are the olive oil brands that failed to meet IOC extra virgin standards according to the UC Davis olive oil report in 2011:
- Filippo Berio
Which olive oil is best for hair growth? Top 3 real olive oil brands
Here are olive oil brands to trust according to the National Consumers League.
These high-quality extra virgin olive oils are great for both topical use of stimulating hair growth as well as consumption. They are also called the “healthiest” because of the pure cold-pressed extraction method which keeps the active enzymes intact for maximum benefit.
The name says it all – This extra virgin olive oil is 100% locally-grown on California ranches.
Featured in numerous magazines and sites including Food & Wine, Forbes, and bon appetite, this superior quality oil is certified by the California Olive Oil Counter (COOC).
The committee goes through a rigorous process to ensure its freshness and purity. This oil is also non-GMO verified – another big plus for being 100% natural oil.
Lucini Premium Select Extra Virgin Olive Oil is made from 100% Italian olives.
In order to ensure the quality, farmers first hand-pick olives in the central estates of Italy, where100+ year old trees are grown in an optimal climate to produce the best olives.
These hand-picked olives then get cold-pressed WITHIN 24 hours of harvest for maximum freshness. This oil is also free of both gluten and GMO’s.
Colavita Extra Virgin Olive Oil happens to be the #1 best seller on Amazon right now.
Also imported from Italy, the company uses the same rigorous procedures to produce the best quality extract (no chemical additives, cold-pressed, minimal acidity).
Colavita EVOO also has the quality seal from the North American Olive Oil Association (NAOOA), which follows the strict IOC standards, requiring an array of chemical and sensory analysis to test its quality and authenticity.
6 DIY olive oil hair growth recipes and treatments
Looking for the best olive oil recipe for hair? Use any of these olive oil treatments.
After compiling a handful of olive oil for hair growth reviews, we selected and formulated a number of recipes for the purposes of 1. preventing hair loss; 2. stimulating new hair growth; 3. providing deep moisturization to hair strands.
You will get the full amazing hair growth benefits from each olive oil treatment recipe here:
Olive oil hair recipe #1:
The ONLY Olive Oil Hair Growth Recipe for Stimulating Crazy Growth
This olive oil hair treatment takes FULL advantage of a number of different essential oils that are proven to give amazing results for stopping hair loss and promoting hair regrowth:
- Peppermint essential oil
- Rosemary essential oil
- Lavender essential oil
- Olive oil (works as a powerful carrier oil)
We will make an essential/carrier oil mixture with a 2% dilution ratio (3 essential oil drops per 1 tsp carrier oil):
- Get a pointy-tip applicator bottle like this
- Add the following amounts of each oil into the bottle:
- 6 drops of peppermint oil
- 6 drops of rosemary oil
- 6 drops of lavender oil
- 6 teaspoons of olive oil
- Mix them well
- Apply the mixture onto your scalp at night
- Rub it with your fingers where hair thinning is visible (You can also do the entire scalp)
- Use a massager tool such as this to increase blood circulation on scalp
- Leave it for one hour. (Use a shower cap if you wish to leave it overnight)
Do it 5-6 times a day for at least one month
How long to see results?
Apply 6 days a week for several weeks to see results. According to a study on Peppermint essential oil, the researchers saw fast hair growth results in as little as 2 weeks in mice.
NOTE: Increase or decrease the amount of oil using the suggested 2% ratio. For instance, if you want to make twice more than what’s suggested here, you can use 12 drops of each essential oil (peppermint, rosemary, and lavender) and 12 teaspoons of olive oil.
Olive oil hair recipe #2:
Olive Oil Home Remedy Treatment for Dandruff Hair Loss
Did you know you can also use olive oil for hair loss and dandruff prevention?
Use this olive oil hair mask recipe to stop dandruff related hair loss and regrow hair. The benefits of this dandruff hair mask include: Getting rid of dandruff and flaky skin, soothing an itchy scalp, and stopping premature hair loss
- Mix the ingredients into the bottle
- Apply onto your scalp using your finger tips
- Use a shower cap (or cordless deep conditioning heat cap) for faster absorption
- Leave it up to 1 hour
- Rinse your hair thoroughly
Apply the mixture onto the scalp 2-3 times a week for maximum benefit
Olive oil hair recipe #3:
Olive Oil Hair Mask for Nourishing Damaged and Brittle Hair
- Deeply moisturize your hair
- Restore shine and smoothness
- Prevent premature hair loss
- Tame frizzy hair
- Mix the ingredients well
- Dab it on your fingers and gently apply onto the scalp
- Apply onto the entire hair strands
- Massage your head manually or use a scalp massager for 5-10 minutes to stimulate blood circulation on scalp
- Cover it with a shower cap and leave it for 1 hour
- Rinse it well
Apply the mixture onto your entire scalp and hair and use it for once or twice a week
Olive oil hair recipe #4:
Overnight Magic? Vloggers Swear by This DIY Egg and Olive Oil Hair Mask for Ultra-Fast Hair Growth
Olive oil for hair growth overnight – Truth or myth? Some vloggers say this egg and olive hair mask give the extremely fast hair growth results. How fast? Overnight. Whether you believe it or not, it’s worth trying this natural hair mask recipe and see it for yourself:
- Microwave coconut oil to become liquid
- Mix the above ingredients into a bowl
- Apply onto your entire head including scalp and hair strands
- Leave it from a couple of hours (the most popular) up to overnight (use a shower cap to sleep in for overnight treatment).
- When rinsing your hair, make sure the running water is NOT hot (You certainly don’t want to cook egg onto your head)
If you want to continue promoting faster hair growth, try the mask 2-3 times a week
Olive oil hair recipe #5:
This is THE Ultimate Recipe on How to Make Natural Shampoo for Hair Growth
Want to make your own ALL natural hair loss shampoo from scratch at home? As you are about to see, making natural shampoo is actually really easy. The bad news? There’s none!
- 2/3 cup of coconut milk for nourishing and foaming properties
- 2/3 cup of castile liquid soap for a natural cleaning agent
- 1 tbsp of vitamin E oil for antioxidant and preservative properties
- 1 tbsp of olive oil for promoting hair growth
- 10 drops of rosemary oil for preventing hair loss and stimulating regrowth
- 10 drops of lavender oil for preventing hair loss and adding pleasant smell
- 10 drops of tea tree oil for getting rid of dandruff and soothing flaky scalp
- Combine all ingredients in a plastic bottle
- Shake it thoroughly to mix well
- Use it daily for shampooing your hair
- Gently massage your scalp with the liquid
- Leave it for 5 minutes, so essential oils can get fully absorbed onto the scalp
- Rinse it well
Olive oil hair recipe #6:
Quick & Easy – Lazy Girl’s Approach to Make Hair Growth Shampoo in Just 3 Minutes!
If you want to make your own hair loss shampoo, yet not a big fan of the “everything from scratch” approach, you are not alone. Follow this simple guide to make your shampoo within 3 minutes!
- Your current shampoo (make sure it’s SLS and paraben free like this one, which is 16 oz)
- 1 tbsp of olive oil
- 10 drops of rosemary oil
- 10 drops of lavender oil
- 10 drops of cedarwood oil
- 10 drops of peppermint oil
- Combine all ingredients into the shampoo
- Mix them well
- Shampoo your hair daily
- Leave it at least for 5 minutes, so the essential oils in the shampoo can stimulate your scalp
- Rinse it well
Frequently asked questions about using olive oil for hair
Can you sleep with olive oil in your hair overnight?
Yes, olive oil is a gentle carrier oil that provides both moisturizing and hair growth stimulating benefits. Cover your head with a shower cap or a plastic wrap to protect your bed.
How to apply olive oil for hair growth?
Refer to the directions from any of the DIY olive oil hair growth recipes above. In general, you can dab on your fingers and apply directly onto the scalp section by section. Once applied all over the scalp, use a scalp massager tool such as this in order to increase absorption and hair growth stimulating effects.
How long should olive oil be left in hair?
In general, it’s recommended to leave olive oil (or olive oil based hair mask or treatments) for about an hour. There are people who leave olive oil on their hair overnight. If you plan to leave it overnight, we recommend starting with once a week and slowly increase the frequency.
Is olive oil good for black hair growth?
Yes, not only does olive oil have a natural hair growth stimulating property that works for all types of hair, this carrier is also widely used as a deep conditioner for treating frizzy and curly hair strands and adding a smooth finish.
Is there any side effect of olive oil for hair growth?
Unless you have an allergic reaction to olive oil, there haven’t been any major side effects reported in using olive oil for hair.
A couple of minor side effects includes acne or skin breakouts when used on sensitive skin. When it comes to consumption, over-consuming olive oil can cause diarrhea due to its natural laxative property.
Olive oil may not be the ultimate cure for treating all types of hair loss, but studies show promising results of olive oil as powerful hair growth stimulant by inducing the anagen phase for hair follicles.
When choosing the best quality (aka “real”) olive oil, make sure you are choosing extra virgin olive oil such as this that is tested from reliable associations that test the purity and ensure they are free of chemicals.
Finally, when you are using olive oil for hair growth, don’t forget to add essential oils (see our recipe #1 above) to make it extra powerful to stop hair loss and stimulate regrowing your hair.
Have you used olive oil for stimulating hair growth? Share your experience in the comment!