Frugal Beauty: The Frugal Moisturizer Experiment

As I used up the last of my Oil of Olay spf15 moisturizer about a week ago, I decided it was time to challenge myself to be more frugal in my beauty routine.

Photo by Taulu

I’m going natural.

I’m going frugal.

I’m going Olive Oil!

olive oil

Photo by Liam Wilde

Yes,  you read that right.  I have decided to use extra virgin olive oil to moisturize with for a month!

It’s the Great Olive Oil

Moisturizer Experiment

Now I am sure you all are thinking “What the heck?”.  I swear, I’m not as crazy as you all think.  Olive oil can be used in lip balm, lotion and soap-so why not on your face?  It’s pretty easy to find articles out there on the big wide internet about the benefits of olive oil as a moisturizer.

One thing to remember though-extra virgin olive oil has no SPF to it.  Quite the opposite as a matter of fact.  Putting olive oil on your face and then going out in the sun would be the equivalent of the 1980’s practice of slathering yourself with baby oil and then lying out to sunbathe!

Photo by Linda Beaverson

You’d basically magnify the sun’s power.  That would be very bad for your skin, you could cause a sunburn in the short term and possibly permanent damage in the long run.

Since there really isn’t enough sunlight in the Binghamton area in February to worry about sunburn I feel comfortable using it in the morning.  However, if this experiment is successful in the spring & summer I would moisturize, then after waiting for the olive oil to be absorbed I would apply sunscreen over it. Another option would be just to use the olive oil as an evening moisturizer.

My observations thus far:

1.  The skin on my face feels very soft.

2.  You only need a little bit of oil.  A very little bit.  Just enough to make your hands glide over your face, chin and neck.  If you over do it you will look greasy.

3.  Despite the fact that I am rubbing oil on my face I have not had any kind of acne breakout.

4.  Olive oil is a great makeup remover.  It not only removes mascara & eye shadow, but it takes off those “All Day” lipsticks like a charm.

5.  My hands seem very soft as well-I rub them together with any leftover oil when I’m done applying to my face.

6.  You do not smell like a salad.

Have any of you ever used olive oil?

Disclaimer~I am not a doctor, dermatologist, cosmetologist, or expert of any kind.  I am simply sharing my personal experiences.

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  1. kristie wasnesky says

    I have not used straight olive oil on my face but I do use an olive oil soap from a local vendor at our Farmer’s Market and LOVE it!!! I have not used face moisturizer in years! On the rare occasion that I have to use regular soap (like at a hotel) I can’t believe how dry and terrible my skin feels. As a matter of fact my husband was commenting on how my skin looks better than my younger sister, who by the way, uses a moisturizer every day.

    • Kimberly says

      Hello Kristie, I just read your post and wanted to tell you that the olive oil soap you use from the farmer market is Castelle (my spelling is wrong) Soap which is a real and natural soap. the “soap” you use at the hotels and other places are not really soap, but detergents – like laundry detergent. when a company makes soap for production they ultra process it to remove glycerin and all the good stuff to make it harder and last longer. the last several years i have made my own soap – much like what you are probably buying at the farmers market. my hubby, kids and i pick what we want in it – Shea butter, cocoa butter, aloe, avocado oil, whatever, and what scents if any (the kids like “monkey farts”… go figure LOL). My hubby doesn’t have the nasty dry patches in the winter any more. we are better for it. I am going to start my self with olive oil with some essential oils mixed in in the next few days. with creams and lotions it is nothing but oils mixed with water and a wax of some sort to bind it together – so why not just go for the better – less is best thought. good luck to all. Kim

  2. says

    Hi Jenn,

    This sounds like a very interesting experiment. I’m anxious to see how it turns out for you.

    My skin is very sensitive, so I have to be careful with soaps and moisturizers. I’m not sure if I would feel comfortable skipping my daytime moisturizer with sunscreen, but as an overnight moisturizer olive oil might work well for me. Unless it makes my pillowcase all oily. :)

    I’m always looking for new ways to save money and it looks like your blog is a frugal girl’s dream come true!

  3. Shannon says

    I use Vitamin E cream from GNC. Costs about $1.99 a jar and it is awesome. I’m 42 and everyone tells me I look like I’m early 30’s. Vitamin E cream is the ONLY way to go–but definitely, buy cheap!

  4. says

    I’m so excited to hear how this goes. I hadn’t thought of using olive oil as a moisturizer! I was particularly interested to find out that it can be used as a make-up remover since I’ve been out of my remover for a few days, but I have olive oil!

    Also? The worst sunburn this red-head ever had was in 8th grade at a track meet where everyone put baby oil on and tanned. Uh, yeah. I got sun poisoning with my fair skin. I still have the scars on my back. Be sure to get that SPF on there!

  5. Amyrlin says

    Hi Jenn,
    I would probably not use olive oil in this format because of my skin issues with my facial area. I have and still do use olive oil slightly warmed and rubbed into my scalp and the ends of my hair for a deep moisture treatment monthly. It looks healthier and I use it on my 7 year old who has extremely curly hair and is prone to dry ends. I have to use an SPF and I recently got sunburned here in AZ this weekend out hiking and the temp was about 70, the sun is harsh out here regardless of the season. I am interested to know how your experiment goes….

  6. says

    My SIL’s great aunt used olive oil all her life – when she finally passed on at age 94 she still had lovely skin. It’s all she ever used. Water to wash with and olive oil to moisturize. I’d completely forgotten about it until I saw your post. Hmmm… I don’t have an EVOO in my home but I do have grapeseed oil – wonder if I’d get the same result with that?

  7. Sam says

    I use olive oil on my hair weekly (my hair dries out easily) with great success. I’ve tried olive oil on my face & it was OK. I found pure solidified Jojoba oil in a jar and have been using that because I can control where th creme goes better then liquid oil. I do use oilive oil on my arms & legs with success – my legs seem to dry out a lot less with that then anything else (it even beats the Jojoba stuff).

    After reading about how SPF stuff can increase the chances for cancer I stopped worrying about it – I need the vit D to fight toxins more. I have extremely fine skin & have had no sun burn problems in the last 5 yrs since going all natural. I have had fewer complexion issues and need to moisture less frequently – like every 2-3 days except for the bitterest windy winter days. Now that I think about it my face tans more then anything now.
    I’ve always been one of those people who doesn’t see the point in looking young till I’m 80 though – if I get lines then Oh, well. As long as I don’t look like a dried prune or raisin, I’m good. I figure my white hairs give me more stature then looking like a teenager.

  8. Lorrie says

    I have used olive oil as a bedtime moisturizer on my face, and also tried it in the daytime for awhile, but got some blotches from the sun so went back to a moisturizer with SPF.

    The olive oil did pretty well but eventually I wanted to return to a cream so have been experimenting with some of the supposedly more natural kinds – first Alba, and now Yes to Carrots. I can’t see a huge difference with any one of them, but they seem to do well enough. I’ve also read that almond oil is a good moisturizer.

  9. says

    I have tried this before. It did make my skin softer but I didn’t care for the oily feel. Obviously works well for some though and worth trying!
    I also take an interest in frugal beauty tips so I appreciated this post and your site.
    Feel free to visit me @
    Beauty&Fashion for the frugal

  10. Jenny says

    How is the olive oil experiment going? Is it a good substitute? Is it too messy? My skin tends to be very sensitive, so I’ve been thinking about using something like olive oil or coconut oil.

    • Jenn @ Frugal Upstate says

      I’ll be posting about it soon-but I am pleased :) Just start out with the smallest amount, rub it between your palms then apply. It’s easier to add more than to take away if you put on too much :)

  11. Hannah says

    I use Lubriderm as a face moisturizer even though it is for the body. It has worked out well for me. It is cheaper than one specifically for the face. Does anyone else do this?

    • Jenn @ Frugal Upstate says

      Hannah-I think that is great if it works for you and doesn’t irritate your skin (which lubriderm shouldn’t!) The only issue with what you are doing is the same as I have with the olive oil-no SPF 😉 So just beware in the sun.

  12. Melody says

    I don’t think using olive oil on your face woud be considered FRUGAL? That stuff is EXPENSIVE! I will stick with the Walmart brand facial cloths and moiturizers.

    • Jenn @ Frugal Upstate says

      Melody-ahhh, olive oil is expensive compared to other oils for cooking, but if you compare the price per ounce to store bought moisturizers it is a lot more economical. Plus a very very little bit goes a long way :) I bought a small 12 oz bottle for just over $3

  13. Kimberly says

    There are other oils as well you can use as well.. sunflower, safflower, jojoba oil, avocado, many in fact if you don’t like olive oil or want to mix it with something. just go down to your health food store and start asking questions or start researching online.

  14. NOVA says

    hi. I made an experiment too. No lotion and no moisturizer regimen for 2 months now. I do not use any beauty product aside from baby powder since I am from the Philippines the warm weather causes oiliness. I am no longer suffering from zits and my skin is clearer and softer plus I do not look my age. cheers to natural and frugal beauty regimen!

  15. wendy says

    I used olive oil for my entire body when I was pregnant with my fourth child. I applied it after baths or showers. I have never had stretch marks, so I can’t say if the oil helped in that area, but it was very moisturizing.

  16. Joselyn says

    I started using EVOO about a month ago and my skin is amazing! It’s great for the very dry winter here in Canada, and, the best part – no more zits :) I put a bit into a container with a few drops of lavender and it smells amazing all day/night long!
    My only complaint is that my hair gets oily :( I’ve gotten into the routine of washing my face, putting on the EVOO, and then washing my hair to get the oil out. I have very short hair with long fringe and I find I have to pin my hair back for awhile, which only adds to the time it takes me to get ready.
    Other than that, it’s amazing! Especially at night!

    • says

      It really does work well! If you are having a problem with it getting in your hair, then maybe you are using too much. I use a really, really small amount–I literally just put my hand over the top of the open bottle, invert it quickly and then turn it back right side up. Then I rub that small amount that is sticking to my hand between my two palms, then spread it on my face. You wouldn’t think that there is enough on there to do anything, but it does!

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