It is hard to believe that the ever-youthful, stunning screen legend Sophia Loren, born Sofia Villani Scicolone, turned 80 last September 20. A few years ago she released an interview during which she revealed that the secret of her health and dazzling looks is olive oil, which she often adds to a hot bath for a nourishing skin soak. Her words are indeed a powerful promotional tool, and her spontaneous endorsement of olive oil greatly helps its noble cause.
Olive oil not only excels from a nutritional viewpoint, but the extra virgin type in particular also finds important applications in the field of skin care. Cosmetics containing this ingredient pass every test with flying colours, from those relative to skin sensitivity to more specific ones, carried out by top dermatological clinics and universities.
In a chapter of L'ulivo e l'olio, an Italian book published by Coltura & Cultura, oil specialist Luigi Caricato and beautician Gianni D'Agostinis describe the applications of oil in the field of cosmetics.
If you browse through the web pages of the Coltura & Cultura portal, you will find a bit of everything, because the focus is not only on food, but other topics that are more or less directly linked to what we eat, such as, for instance, cosmetics containing olive oil. In a certain sense, these beauty products are nutrients too, because they nourish and replenish our skin, and this is why olive oil is such an important ingredient in many creams and lotions.
We now introduce some interesting facts taken from the pages written by D'Agostinis and Caricato.
Creams: up to 10-15% olive oil can be added to creams without modifying their texture or making them excessively greasy. According to the emulsifier employed, a variety of products can be made, including sun-screen lotions, anti-age cosmetics, moisturizers and nourishing creams. It is an ideal ingredient for both face and body creams thanks to its soothing properties which make it particularly suited for dry skins.
Oils: body oils can contain up to 30% olive oil, the remaining amount consisting of other, lighter, vegetable oils, triglycerides and esters. The resulting cosmetics are extremely versatile and find many applications: massage oils, baby oils, sun tan oils and so forth.
Lip balms: up to 5% olive oil can be added to lip balms, and this ingredient, as well as protecting the lips, makes them more luscious-looking.
Surfactant-based detergents: when olive oil is added to shampoos and bubble baths, they no longer cause the feeling of skin tightness caused by the surfactant present in these detergents, which deprive the skin of its natural moisture.
Hair conditioners and reconstructing masques: designed for colour-treated, highlighted, bleached, sun-exposed hair, they can contain high percentages of olive oil, because this ingredient has great nourishing, moisturizing and protecting properties. It is also ideal for dry and brittle hair.