It’s that time of the year again: it’s olive oil time. Like every year, autumn brings with it a sense of joy and rebirth. At least for people like me who love fresh and crisp air, mushrooms, brown falling leaves and the smell of rain. But, more than that, autumn to me is synonymous with extra virgin olive oil, my all time favourite vegetable oil. Actually, my all time favourite product. Now, it’s time for olive harvest and it’s time to wait for the new liquid gold to come alive. In the meanwhile, I’m still using olive oils from last season (2017/2018). Some of them still taste great, some other started to lose their flavours and aromas. Some just didn’t make it to the new year.
So, if – like me – you have some “old” extra virgin olive oil that you’re not very happy with for your cooking, please don’t throw it away! You can always reuse it for some other purposes such as skine or furniture care. Here are a few tips that I want to share with you about alternative ways to use extra virgin olive oil, from homemade cosmetics to leather polisher. Of course, you can make these recipes any time of the year.
1. Face or body scrub
Scrubs help removing the extra layers of dead sking and uncloging your pores from dirt and blackheads. There are many simple ways to make them at home: one is to mix olive oil (about 2 tablespoons) and sugar (about 1 tablespoon). Then, you can add a few drops of your favourite essential oil (I like to use the lavander one). You can also use coarse salt if you want a deeper scrubbing effect, but I recommend it only for your body, as the facial skin is much more delicate.
2. Makeup remover
I still can’t believe I’ve spent so much money on good makeup removers over the past 10 years. Making your own makeup remover at home is so easy and it takes only a few minutes. Again, there are different recipes to choose from, but we shall talk about this another time. Olive oil is one of the products that work best for me: in a glass container (or an old plastic one you want to reuse, so that it won’t be thrown away) mix one part of olive oil, two parts of camomile tea and a few drops of your favourite natural soap (I grated some Marseille solid soap). Just remember to shake it well before each use, as olive oil and water do not mix together. You can also choose to just put some olive oil directly on your reusable cotton pad (we will talk about this later, too), but I find the recipe with camomile tea to be more soothing and delicate on my skin.
3. Nails strengthener
If your nails get easily cracked, try to soak them into a bowl with luke warm olive oil for about 15 minutes: it helps you to strengthen your nails, it makes them brighter and softens the cuticucles. Also, if you do it regularly, they will grow faster and stronger each time.
4. Hair care
Olive oil is also great for your hair, especially if it’s dry and frizzy. Just put some olive oil on your hair and leave it for 30 minutes, then wash it off and wash your hair with shampoo as usual. You can even massage your scalp with olive oil, leave it for half an hour and then wash it: it’s a good way to prevent or get rid of dandruff. It also makes your hair growing faster and stronger.
Yes, you can use it for massage and bodywork and yes, you could use a flavoured one (with added lemon, orange peel or lavander). But I do recommed you to try just pure extra virgin olive oil with its natural aromas: of course, you need to buy a high quality one, with a nice and elegant aromatic profile. Trust me, you won’t be disappointed!
6. Homemade soap
A lot of natural soap bars contain olive oil. I haven’t experimented with a homemade soap, yet, but I will make it soon and let you know how it went. However, I do use lots of olive oil natural solid soaps and I have many friends who make their own bars at home. The best way is to use sodium hydroxide (a bit scary, I know), but I’ve read there are some easier (and safer) methods to make it. Sorry I can’t give you a recipe, yet, but I promise I will come back to this after Christmas.
7. Leather Polisher
Olive oil can also be used to clean, polish and reinforce the colour of your leather items. You can use it on sofa, chairs, shoes, jackets… I must admit that I do not own any real leather clothes, therefore I don’t know for sure if it works well on real leather, too (I did try with artificial leather and it works perfectly).
8. Silverware polisher
Again, it can clean silverware, too. Just rub some son your cutlery, candlesticks, jewelry and anything you want to make bright and shiny again: olive oil will give your silverware a new life. For a better and deeper cleaning, mix 1 tablespoon of olive oil and 3/4 cup of lemon juice (the citrus acid removes the oxidation from silver).
9. Makeup brushes cleaner
I know it may sound impossible, but there are so many ways to use olive oil for cleaning. For example, you can use it to clean you makeup brushes, which sould be washed at least once every two weeks, especially if you use them regularly. Mix 2 tablespoons of natural liquid soap (or some grated solid soap dissolved in water) and 1 tablespoon on olive oil. Wet your brush with lukewarm water keeping it bristle-side down and dip it into the mixture. Massage and clean the bristles with your hands and wash until you can’t see any more makeup dropping off. Rinse the brush and let it dry on a cloth towel. If you want to have some natural antibacterial properties to your mixture, just add a few drops of tea tree oil.
10. Wooden furniture care
Last but not least, olive oil helps you refinishing wooden furniture. You can use it polish your wooden counters, tables, surfaces or chairs by combining 2 tablespoons of olive oil and 1 tablespoon of lemon juice. Apply the mixture with a cloth towel in a circular motion and the everything will be bright again. Also, it’s very useful to clean the scratched areas of your wooden floor.