EVO oil in the Mediterranean tradition for beauty: uses and customs from ancient times to today

Extra virgin olive oil, also called EVO oil, has always been a precious ally for human well-being, not only in terms of food, but also in cosmetics.

Since ancient times the benefits of EVO oil for health and beauty have been known and used with important cosmetic applications. Rich in polyphenols, antioxidants and vitamins, extra virgin olive oil has moisturizing and emollient properties, keeping the skin elastic, radiant and contrasting stretch marks.

Its benefits also extend to hair and nails, strengthening its molecular structure and increasing its growth. The chemical composition of EVO oil also boasts the presence of a very particular molecule, squalene (SQ) which has antioxidant, immunomodulatory and anti-tumor properties. It is the same molecule that the deep sharks are equipped with and therefore makes them immune from the onset of tumors.

The chemical structure of extra virgin olive oil was hardly fully known to the ancients and yet, since the Phoenicians and Egyptians, its beneficial effects were already widely used in cosmetics.

A miraculous product in the cosmetics of antiquity

Although Phoenician women already used olive oil as a cosmetic for body care, the most representative figure of antiquity in the relationship between olive oil and beauty can only be Cleopatra. The Queen held a real spa in her palace, completely dedicated to body care, thus increasing its already legendary beauty.

Then it was the Greeks who introduced the use of oil in athletes’ gyms. Initially this element was due to the principle that beauty was synonymous with strength and vigor, thus preparing the body of athletes to excel in the games to be held downstream of Olympus.

This custom will still remain in force among the Romans, but with a more practical sense. Anointing the bodies of gladiators was also valid to expose them to a more difficult grip by opponents. However, among the Romans, the use of olive oil as a cosmetic for body care with “beauty baths“, treatments based on olive oil mixed with essences of various types, persists.

After the fall of the Empire and throughout the Middle Ages, body care was no longer considered a virtue, but a sinful vice, thus decreeing the abandonment of the use of olive oil as a cosmetic.

From synthesis to the return to organic

The modern era has seen the widespread use of cosmetic products with preparations and treatments based on olive oil, often with versions synthesized in the laboratory.

It is only recently, with attention to the biological value of the products, that EVO oil has returned strongly in the cosmetic industry for body care with treatments that, exactly as it was for the ancients, intended to marry Health to Beauty.