5 interesting ways to use olive oil outside the kitchen

Eunice Choi/Staff

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How much do you end up paying for makeup remover? Shaving cream? Hair conditioner? Over time, the cost of these products begin to consistently leave a dent in your wallet. So what if we told you that there is one thing out there that serves all three aforementioned purposes … and more? Meet your new best friend: extra virgin olive oil, or EVOO. EVOO has been mechanically rather than chemically extracted — in other words, it’s a healthy and flavorful option you can feel good about. For between $5 and $15, you can lug home a large, good-quality liter of this baby from your local market and use it to replace a variety of products:

1. Makeup remover. We swear by this. Although there is this idea that people with oily skin should avoid oil-based products, this is a huge misconception. Excess oil production is due to dry skin — the skin is only trying to compensate for lack of moisture. So put some olive oil on a cotton ball and gently wipe your face. Afterward, wash with a gentle soap or face cleanser, moisturize and voila! No more days of scrubbing that gunk off and chafing your poor skin raw.

2. Shaving cream or gel. Ladies and gentlemen, be prepared to see your hairs melt off under your razors as you use EVOO as a shaving cream replacement. Olive oil is a fabulous product that moisturizes, so your shave zones will be smooth, soft and hopefully razor-burn free (with the help of a quality razor of course) — without the extra cost of buying those creams and gels.

3. Hair conditioner. Oil in moderate amounts is practically good for everything, including your hair. While it isn’t a bright idea to pour EVOO on your head every time you shower, it’s a great idea to regularly use it as a natural deep hair conditioner to get smooth, silky hair. This is also healthy for damaged or treated hair that has been exposed to perms and dyes. Simply place EVOO on your head (with extra attention at the ends of your hair), wrap your hair up in a plastic cap or towel to trap the heat and then keep it on for anywhere from half an hour to several hours by sleeping with it on. Then shampoo and rinse. Your hair will practically glow.

4. Oiling up measuring spoons and cups. It’s never fun to have a large pile of dishes to do after cooking or baking. To simplify the cleaning process of sticky substances, such as honey, lightly spray olive oil over your measuring cups and spoons. The oil coating will prevent the sticky products from hardening over time and causing trouble later on. No one enjoys viciously scraping rather than scrubbing used baking utensils so save yourself the time and effort.

5. Treating sunburns. While we’re not in danger of getting sunburns anytime soon in late winter/early spring, it’s better to prepare! Olive oil does wonders for soothing your angry, red skin. Place a coat of EVOO on the sunburned area and let it sit until it’s no longer oily. Your skin will have happily absorbed the treatment by then. Just a warning: Do not put oil on your skin if you will be going back into the sun anytime soon.

If you haven’t realized by now, extra virgin olive oil is versatile, inexpensive and one of the wonderful alternatives to chemical-laden products we use every day. We heart EVOO and you should, too.

Contact Eunice Choi at [email protected].