Can I use Olive Oil on my face?

Can I use Olive Oil on my face? Yes, you can use olive oil on your face! I’ve used nothing else for so many years!

To clean my face at night and morning, I use only olive oil. I slather olive oil on rather like soap and water and then wipe it off with a dry wipe. I use olive oil for cleansing as I would use soap and water (but now don’t) I haven’t actually washed my face for several years.

First, I used any olive oil and paper kitchen towels. It was fine – my skin felt part of my face again rather than a tight overlay. I made a video about ‘my olive oil facial’. I said you could use any olive oil, and that kitchen towels to wipe it off were fine. My skin definitely already felt better and looked better. More about the paper kitchen towels later (also not the best idea).

Shula beauty regime

Can olive oil clean my face?

For me the reply is yes – it’s brilliant. Feel clean. My skin feels supple and glowing with health!

At a business event I met a woman who commented on how great my skin was. I told her about how I used olive oil to cleanse rather than soap and water. About olive oil I said “they’re all the same – even Happy Shopper works”

“Oh no they’re not – believe me – I used to work as the oil buyer for Waitrose I can tell you most certainly they aren’t.”

There began my research into olive oil – history, properties, sources, production and qualities. So much I didn’t realise was there.

My first question was – Can I put olive oil on my face?

Almost all the science research looks at olive oil in relation to skin irritation rather than its beauty benefits. As I’d been using it for a year or more without any irritation I wasn’t worried – but in answer to the question – Can I put olive oil on my face the answer has to be a patch test to see first if it’s OK – Verywell Health has a great description of how to do this:

If you’re new to using olive oil on your skin, it’s best to go slow. An easy way to determine if your skin will tolerate an olive oil treatment is to apply a few drops to a small patch of skin and observe it. If you do not notice any skin reactions for one to two days, it should be safe to try on a larger patch of skin. If your skin becomes red or inflamed, then you know that olive oil is not the best choice for you. A patch test is especially helpful if you tend to have sensitive skin or a history of allergic reactions.” (1)

Should I wash my face without water?

When you’ve been washing your face with soap and water all your life the question is what will happen if I stop washing? For myself it was a ‘no brainer’ because my skin felt tight after washing and the more I washed the heavier the moisturiser I bought. I stopped washing my face – the tightness went and I glowed with health.

Fine lines disappeared. One reason washing wasn’t agreeing with me was the hard water in my area – I read. 13 million homes are in hard water areas in the UK. You can test for it if you don’t know. A recommended test is to take an empty bottle with a cap which screws on fairly tight. Fill the bottle one-third full, and add some pure soap liquid. If the water is soft there will be plenty of fluffy bubbles, if hard there will be fewer.

Although these are the general instructions it’s not that easy if you don’t have pure soap – so here’s a map of hard water areas in the UK. (2)

What’s the effect of hard water on my skin?

It turns out that the hard water was actually destroying my skin barriers and making it more prone to irritation. Science research!

“Researchers from the University of Sheffield and King’s College London have discovered that exposing the skin to hard water damages the skin barrier – which is our defence against outside threats such as bacteria or sun burn – and increases the sensitivity of the skin to potential irritants found in everyday wash products such as soap.”(3)


Is soap bad for your face?

So now for the soap I was using…

Everybody has different experience of cleansing and many people of course are happy with everything they’re doing and not looking for any changes. However if you’re entirely happy you might not be reading this. I wasn’t happy with the effect of soap and water on my face and wondered ‘what’s in this stuff?’ and if it’s fine for my body is it also good for my face?

How does soap work? 

Soaps and facial cleansers are made to remove dirt, oils, sweat etc from the skin. They use things called surfactants which are chemicals. Surfactants envelope the dirt and oils etc. making them easier for the water to lift off the skin. That’s basically how soap works. However, and here’s the problem…

“While the surfactants found in soap are meant to leave the skin feeling fresh and clean, it’s not always the case”

Soaps can leave the skin dry, can affect the PH balance, and actually make the skin more prone to irritation. (4)

So for me and probably many others, soap and water far from being the best thing to wash with, were actually harming my skin and looking at the research it’s not surprising. A surfactant can actually affect the outer layer of the skin for the worse. It can cause dryness, redness and irritation. This undermines the skins natural barrier and allows irritants to penetrate.

More posts to come on what’s in olive oil – how it works and how I developed my Three Step Skincare System when launching Natural Beauty Brains Science Range. Selling my 3 step skincare system I’ve used forever, partnering my Cleansing Olive Oil with Toning Rose Water & Nourishing Argan Oil. Try it out for yourself!

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