What is olive oil?
Olive oil (olea europaea, from the family Oceacae)is liquid fat extracted through the pressing of whole olives. The majority of olive oil comes from olives grown in the mediterranean basin, with Spain as the largest producer. The composition of olive oil varies depending on where the olives were grown, as well as the time of year they were harvested and the method of extraction. Olive oil is primarily made of oleic acid, with smaller amounts of other acids, such as linoleic and palmitic.
How is olive oil used?
Olive oil is utilized primarily for culinary use, religious use, and skin-care purposes. In regard to skin-care, there is evidence dating back as far as early pharaonic times that olive oil was used in abundance to clean and moisturize. It was even used as an antibacterial agent! Olive oil can make a great addition to a skin care routine for adults without sensitive or excessively oily skin, thanks to its richness in vitamins A, D, K, and E, antioxidant properties, and natural antibacterial properties.
How did olive oil come to be used in soap?
At its most fundamental level, the process for soap creation hasn’t changed in an age. At its simplest, a neutral oil or fat is boiled with an alkali, which then produces soap and glycerin. Olive oil was first used in soap in Spain, when alkali ash from the salsola plant was combined with locally available olive oil. According to the Pharmaceutical Journal, this combination “offered a good quality soap which, by salting-out or ‘graining’ the boiled liquor with brine, allowed the soap to float to the surface, leaving the lye, vegetable colouring, and impurities to settle out. This produced what was probably the first white hard soap: Jabon de Castilla, or castile soap . . . originally an important product for the Castile region of central Spain, castile eventually became the generic name for hard, white, olive oil soaps.” Check out our own castile soap here!
What are the different types of olive oil?
Olive oil has a few varieties, with the main difference being the extraction process and/or the farming method. There is standard olive oil, virgin, extra virgin, and even extra extra virgin. These varieties may also be organic or non-organic in terms of production and extraction. Here at Beauvivo we use organic extra virgin olive oil in almost all of our soaps. Organic extra virgin olive oil comes from the first press of the olives, and uses only certified organic olives in the process. Extra virgin olive oil is cold pressed, meaning that extra heat is not applied in order to get more oil. The process of adding extra heat will break down some of the original flavors and aromas so important to a good, extra virgin olive oil. In addition, olive oil that is not cold pressed frequently has a solvent added in order to extract olive pomace oil, which further affects the quality of the oil.
Why is olive oil great for use in skin care, and should I use it?
As mentioned previously, olive oil contains a multitude of vitamins, antioxidants, and anti-bacterial properties which renders it an excellent addition to a regular skin care routine for most people. If your skin isn’t overly oily or sensitive, olive oil can moisturize, nourish, and even help with blemishes. However, studies have shown that if you do have particularly oily skin or a skin condition such as dermatitis, olive oil can exacerbate those conditions. If you’re unsure, check with your dermatologist.
What products should I try?
So happy you asked! Our Men’s Mini Soap Sampler is an excellent place to start!
Don’t forget that most of our soaps contain nourishing organic extra virgin olive oil!
As always, we are Leaping Bunny Certified!
Grossman, A. J. (September 27, 2007). "Behind a Mysterious Balm, a Self-Made Pharaoh". The New York Times