egg-sucking tip of the day: olive oil

sucking eggs
Over on MUA, you’ll find that this marvellous stuff is one of those things that has about a bazillion reviews, including some super-stellar ones outlining the million and one uses. Fair enough, considering it’s been around for thousands of years and has been through the hands of many grannies (egg-sucking and otherwise).

Well, I might have exaggerated slightly on the number of reviews:

brand name
Unlisted Brand
product name
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
no. of reviews
would rebuy?
DHC Olive Virgin Oil Moisturizers 3.7 199 54%
Unlisted Brand Olive Oil as Serum for Hair Treatments 4.4 82 87%
Unlisted Brand Extra Virgin Olive Oil Eye Makeup Remover 4.5 10 90%
Unlisted Brand oil mixture: virgin coconut oil and extra virgin olive oil Treatments 5.0 5 100%

But still, you get the picture. People love this stuff.

Here’s what I do with it:


EVOO lives in the kitchen anyway; my, errm, social micro-cosm living-group use it for cooking and, uncooked, on salads and for dunking bread. We do a lot of bread-dunking: even when I’ve been very poor, my luxury has always been nice bread. As excellent expensive bread is one of the most affordable of luxuries; compare to, say, the most expensive caviar and champagne. Also, the other principal constituent of our living-unit bakes: even better–fresh–and cheaper. Way to go. I don’t bake, yet; living with someone who does it well is somewhat intimidating. But I’m very good at going on hunter/gatherer expeditions to sniff out and track down nice good bread. So it all works out.

Tip for tasty bread-dunking dip: pour some oil into a small wide bowl or saucer, add in some flavours, mix, dunk bread, eat. Salt, pepper, chili flakes or chopped fresh chili, grated ginger, fine-chopped spring onion/chives, za’atar (look in Near or Middle Eastern shops, also available from the charity shop Ten Thousand Village–North America–and some branches of Oxfam–UK & Ireland), thyme, oregano, fresh chopped parsley and/or coriander/cilantro, garlic, cumin, Hungarian mild paprika, fresh sage, rosemary, and indeed whatever’s in that jar that’s been lurking at the back of the cupboard for so long the label’s fallen off and you have no idea what it contains. Heck, even old tea-bags taste pretty good, cut open, contents tipped in. Sweet versions another option. The sky’s the limit… or rather, the contents of your kitchen combined with the contents of your imagination.

So: this oil lives in the kitchen. It’s in a giant container, several litres, a battered can living at the back of a cupboard with the other large things that live in the dark as their natural habitat would be deep caves where they can growl away in peace. That gets decanted into an old bottle, which lives in the open, in public view. (It’s not a fancy bottle, just one that’s a handy shape for lifting and pouring while one’s hands are covered in various sorts of cooking-gunk.)

When doing the washing-up after cooking and eating, I’ll pour a small quantity–about a teaspoonful–into the palm of one hand, rub hands together, and make sure to coat the backs and work it into the cuticles. I have grotty cuticles and spectacular hang-nails. Combined with a lifelong nail-biting habit, dry skin, and occasional eczema, it’s not a pretty sight. Hands aren’t too bad right now: I blame myself for doing more washing-up.

Leave the oil to soak in on the backs of hands; rinse the palms and finger-tips under the tap, in tepid to warm water. This enables you to use your hands afterwards. If you want an excuse not to use your hands–say, to relax on a sofa and be waited on hand and foot for a while–don’t rinse the oil off, just wave your hands around and mention how lovely and soft they’ve going to be, and how other(s) might benefit from that later…


Something similar, but with a basin of water and the addition of some comfy old socks afterwards. Again, a good reason to take to the sofa, as one can’t do too much when squelching around on oily feet. If there’s any remaining oiliness some time later–when next removing the socks, or the next time there’s a need to leave the comfort of home–just rinse it off. The same goes for hands.


As above, but mix olive oil with some fine-grain salt and rub into hands, feet, elbows, any dry patches on thicker, tougher, more resilient skin. Rinse off, follow with some more oil as a moisturising mask (as above).


Like any oil, olive can be used for shaving. The Romans were keen on this, plus that whole strigilating business.


Olive is one of the only things that actually does diddly squat on the internal structure of hair (see post from a while back, under “hair”–see tag-cloud at lower left–about stuff that works on hair, c/o The Beauty Brains). Like many other oils, depending on your hair type–density, thickness of strand, porosity–it’ll also do good useful things on the outside anyway, sleeking down the hair’s outer cuticle. The same goes for lots of silicones. Doing a search in MUA’s product reviews for “olive oil,” the very top result is this:

foto Frederic Fekkai Glossing Cream with Olive Oil Styling Products 4.2 936 78%

–which contains both olive oil and silicones:
INGREDIENTS: Water (Aqua), Dimethicone, Cyclopentasiloxane, Dimethiconol, Propylene Glycol, Polyacrylamide, Olea Europea (Olive Oil) Fruit Oil, Phenyl Trimethicone, C13-14 Isoparaffin, PEG-8 Methicone, Ricinus Communis (Castor) Seed Oil, Bismuth Oxychloride (CI 77163), Laureth-7, Sodium PCA, Panthenol, Cinnamidopropyltrimethyl Ammonium Chloride, Dimethicone PEG-8, Meadowfoamate, Fragrance (parfum), Methylisochloroisothiazolinone, Yellow 5 (CI 19140).

I should add the following link–found c/o a simple search for “olive oil” on the MUA Hair board–to a great hair post that includes, towards the end, a fantastic list of good things for hair and some DIY recipes:

For current natural curlies, lovelies with locs, transitioners, hopefuls, and folks who are just plain curious! This post is enormous.
 ontd-political (ontd=ohnotheydidnt) @ livejournal

My hair’s somewhere around about a 2a-c, depending. Fine, thick, dry, can get greasy at the roots with the wrong stuff, scalp can be like other skin and thus sensitive, irritable, etc. This hair likes being moisturised, but not too heavily or it droops, poor stuff. As it’s long, I’m doing some sort of conditioning on the lengths–below the ears, approximately–before shampooing; and of course conditioning afterwards. I’ve been using argan oil mixed in with that conditioner.

I’ve also been doing more of a pre-wash olive oil treatment, quite frequently. Usually at least once a week, recently ever other wash or so. This just means brushing out hair and applying olive oil through it (that is: dry hair, olive oil just warmed up a teeny bit through body heat via palm of hand); twisting it up in a bun; and leaving it like that for a while (anything from 30 minutes to some hours) until I wash it, then just shampooing and conditioning as per usual (but no pre-wash conditioning). It needs a bit of practice so that you can gauge automatically how much oil you need, and not have to think about it; too little, add more; too much, and you’ll remember for the next time what “too much” felt like in the palm of your hand. Like cooking, and other granny-like egg-sucking activities that work by eye, by ear, and by other approximation that looks intuitive but is just a matter of habit. Good old-fashioned attentive observation-based experimental methods.

I’ve also done this with some argan oil mixed in. Why the heck not.

The result is less frizz, and the lengths of hair remaining moisturised and in good condition until the next wash. Hair feels soft and smooth.

I admit I’ve been doing this more often as it’s about as easy–olive oil alone–and takes as long as the pre-wash conditioning does. While hair is soaking up the oil, I’ll do the very early morning bumbling and stumbling around: cleaning teeth, making tea, all the pre-shower stuff. One can also do this with heated oil–not too hot, as burned hair and scalp are unhappy things–and/or overnight. I’ve not done the overnight version in years; it’s usually too much on my hair, but it’s pretty straight-forward: wrap head in a towel or old t-shirt or something. Maybe in another pillow-case, for comedy value.

All this oily business also give you a genuine reason for claiming to be staying in to wash your hair. Or, being more honest: “I can’t go out, I’m oiling myself this evening.”

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