Monday, January 31, 2011

The Benefits of Olive Oil for Your Skin and Hair

Funny thing about being over 50: Things change...surprisingly fast.

For example, everything’s just a tad bit...drier. My hair, skin, eyes, and umm, other places, too

When researching the book, I had the opportunity to pick the brains of some of the best skin care experts in the country, including Dr. Patricia Wexler and Dr. Doris Day. Both said — quite simply– that the keys to great skin are: exfoliate, moisturize, and protect.

There are gazillions of products on the market that could handle these tasks, in different price ranges. Not one who likes to spend money unnecessarily, I managed to ply a few very inexpensive beauty secrets out of both of these brilliant doctors, many of which are mentioned in the chapter on skin care in The Best of Everything After 50: The Experts’ Guide to Style, Sex, Health, Money and More, the book I wrote when I hit 50 to help me enter this new phase of life with health, energy and style. One of the best tips came from Carmindy, my makeup expert, who convinced me that the most effective way to exfoliate skin (face and body) is with...white sugar. Don’t put it IN your body, she said. Put it ON your body! And, guess what? It works. Just be extra gentle when using it on your face.

My favorite “beauty secret" (which sure wasn’t a secret to the ancient Greeks, or my grandmother) is...using olive oil on just about every part of your body.

Olive oil has been used for thousands of years for so many different things — health, beauty, cooking and more. The ancient Greeks knew of its power to heal wounds...and eventually they started using it to light oil lamps, cooking...and for beauty.

These last two years, I did a lot of experimenting with countless products, until I eventually had to narrow down my list of “must haves/must use.” Probably on the top is olive oil. Here are a few things you can (and should) do with olive oil:

•After exfoliating your body with white sugar on a wash cloth (in the shower, take a little olive oil (infused with a few drops of lavender, if you wish) and gently massage it all over your body. Result? Skin like velvet.

•When your hair is completely dry (without the use of a blow-dryer!!), add a few drops of olive oil in your hands, rub them together, flip your head over, bending down and scrunch a little olive oil in your hair. Result? Shiny (not greasy, unless you accidentally put on too much!!) and healthy looking hair.

•Rub a little extra olive oil on your elbows and heels (all over your feet actually) every night. Result? Softer, smoother elbows and feet.

•If your facial skin is feeling especially dry, take one drop of olive oil in your hands, and very gently tap it all over your face, making sure it doesn’t look slick. Take a tissue and blot your skin just a little. Result? Skin that’s soft and moist, but not greasy.

Keep a little spray bottle in your bathroom, or one of those plastic sqeezy things that diner ketchup comes in. You’ll be ready to use the “elixir of the goddesses “whenever you feel the need... which, since I turned 50, seems to be just about every day.

Save some for your salads!

About the Author: Barbara Hannah Grufferman writes and blogs about baby boomers and life after 50, the subject of her recent book.

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