Monday, December 22, 2008

Ingredient Article #2 - Olive Oil






Olive oil is a popular ingredient in soap and body care products.





For thousands of years, olives have been squeezed or pressed to obtain the oil. This is a photo of a Greek olive press. Many people across the world (especially in European and Mediterranean countries) are still obtaining their olive oil using this laborious method.


It is said that the Egyptians knew the moisturizing benefits of olive oil. They generously applied the oil to their skins, then scraped the oil off, which removed the dirt and left the skin softened.


It is estimated that olive oil was first used in soap around the year 1567. Today we continue to make castile soap, with olive oil being the base oil in the recipe. Castile soap is mild, moisturizing, long lasting, with a creamy low-bubble lather.


There are several types of olive oil. The main types are:

  • Virgin - the oil is derived using physical methods (olives are crushed or squeezed)

  • Refined - the oil is derived using physical methods, but is treated to reduce strong tastes and acids

  • Pomace - the oil is extracted from crushed olives (the pomace) using chemical solvents, then it is refined to make it edible (generally used in commercial kitchens)

Olive oil has many external and internal beneficial properties. Olive oil is an antioxidant, is very cleansing internally to the body. Olive oil can help lower bad cholesterol and raise good cholesterol levels, especially when olive oil replaces unhealthy fats in the diet. Olive oil is very well known for skin moisturizing, especially adding benefits to mature skin. Olive oil is not known to clog the skin pores.


In soap, olive oil is used as a base oil (alone) or with other base oils to help harden the finished product, and to provide extra moisturizing properties to the soap. In lotion and cream products, olive oil leads to a thicker, richer base, and is very beneficial for dry skin.