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Olive Oil, the Italian Beauty Secret

30 January 2024
by Regan Hofmann
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There are countless ways to incorporate the elixir into your beauty routine.

Olive oil is a true culinary multitasker; it adds flavor and texture to dishes at every stage of the cooking process, preserves marinated vegetables, and even make a deliciously moist cake. But its uses don’t end in the kitchen! 

Italian women have used olive oil to boost their famously natural beauty for hundreds of years. It’s a rich moisturizer that is high in antioxidants, which may improve the skin’s natural renewal process and reduce inflammation. Even in times of scarcity, Italian families usually had olive oil on hand when other skincare products were unattainable, making it an easy choice for cleansing and moisturizing the skin.

In Giada’s family, DIY olive oil beauty treatments have been a staple for generations, passed down from her grandmother, actress Silvana Mangano, to her mother and then to Giada herself. Here are a few of the ways Giada uses olive oil today:

Avocado and Olive Oil Hair Mask

Hair Treatment: For everyday maintenance, Giada rubs a little olive oil on the ends of her hair, which tend to show the most damage from regular heat styling. When she’s in the mood for a deeper moisturizing treatment, she makes an olive oil-and-avocado hair mask and lets it sink in for a few minutes when she’s in the shower. Both techniques leave hair shiny and buttery-smooth to the touch.

Cuticle Oil: Dry skin on the fingertips can lead to hangnails, roughness, and even weak, brittle nails. Dab a little olive oil directly on each nail and massage it gently into the cuticle area to keep your hands and nails smooth and strong.

Face Scrub

Face Scrub: By adding fine-ground carnaroli rice flour to olive oil, Giada makes an easy face scrub that gently exfoliates to improve her skin’s texture and glow. The minute texture of the rice flour gives just enough traction to remove dead skin cells without any scratching or pulling, and the olive oil helps it glide smoothly. 

Lip Scrub: While we often remember to exfoliate our faces, the lips tend to get neglected. A gentle scrub reduces flakiness, helps lipstick sit better, and even reduces the appearance of fine lines. Mix a little fine-grained sugar into some olive oil—Giada uses coconut sugar, because that’s what she has on hand for her morning coffee—and rub (don’t scrub!) gently around the lips, then wipe off with a damp cloth. Watch Giada make it below!

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