What makes our olive oil so beneficial for your hair?
What we absorb matters. If our skin soaks up oil that’s nutrient-rich, that’s grown with respect using regenerative methods, the more nourished we’ll be, both scalp and soul.
Just like your scalp is the foundation for growing healthy hair, soil is the foundation for growing nutrient-rich ingredients with quality you can see, taste, and feel. Our organic olive oil is farmed using sustainable regenerative practices that rehabilitate nutrients in the soil for the healthiest plants and in turn, the healthiest hair.
In our journey to bottle the richest olive oil for our hair oiling rituals, we found it closer to our hearts than we’d ever imagined. This is the story of our oil, sourced from Lebanon, where it’s harvested at a 900-year-old monastery. There’s a reason we went this far to find it.
But before we begin let us break down some terms you will be hearing often and what they mean:
EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL
FIRST-COLD PRESSED, SINGLE ORIGIN, AND UNREFINED
Grown and harvested at a 900-year-old monastery in the "Holy Valley" of Qadisha, using rustic, regenerative practices using fertile, nutrient-rich soil that ensures a healthy, well-balanced, extra fresh oil.
FIRST-COLD PRESS MEAN?
First-cold pressed olive oil is made from the first round of extraction from fresh, intact olives without the use of heat or additional chemicals. This helps the oil retain its full nutritional value.
OUR OLIVE OIL IS UNREFINED
The difference between refined and unrefined olive oil is that unrefined olive oil stays in its purest state while refined oil is heated and filtered to remove any visual
Extra virgin olive oil undergoes little to no refinement in order to keep its bold flavors and color and hold more of its nutritional value and benefits.
OUR OLIVE OIL IS
Single-origin olive oil refers to oil that is made from olives grown and harvested from a single specific geographic region or farm. It features the unique characteristics of the land, climate, and soil, which influence the flavor profile of the oil. Single-origin olive oils are also the purest and healthiest form of olive oil.
The polyphenols in extra virgin olive oil act as an antioxidant which means that these compounds minimize free radicals in the body. Antioxidants affect the human health in various way from improving body functions and digestion to skincare. Antioxidants can also fight off cell damage in the body, enhancing the body's capability to fight off any diseases.
My father was the youngest of nine in a poor family of farmers from the northern part of Lebanon, called Nab’ha. His mother passed away in childbirth, and his sisters raised him.
His sister Madna was the kindest, most beautiful, larger-than-life woman. She had four children, my cousins. One of these cousins is Abuna Khamile, a monk who lives at the Qozhaya Monastery.
When we were sourcing oils for Najeau, I knew that the best olives were grown in the Mediterranean. Najeau’s heritage is rooted in our traditions from Lebanon, and we give back there, so I wanted to find oil that would be as authentic and as ethical to the source as possible. I asked my family if we knew anyone making olive oil in Lebanon. They said, “Yes! Your cousin Abuna!”
I remembered visiting Abuna at the monastery before I left Lebanon when I was 14, but I hadn’t been back in 27 years. It was then that I knew I needed to return to Qozhaya to seek out this oil, and the journey home began.
The 900-year-old Qozhaya Monastery of Saint Anthony is situated in the “Holy Valley” of Qadisha, a hundred kilometers north of Beirut. The monastery itself, the valley of Qadisha, and the forest of cedars are classified by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.
The monastery is surrounded by mountains, covered with cedar, oak, and pine trees. The valley is plentiful, cultivated with a rich variety of vegetables and fruits, like mulberry and olive trees.
“Qozhaya” is of Syriac origin, meaning “the treasure of Life.” But this doesn’t refer to worldly treasure. Instead, it means the abandonment of worldly goods for a life dedicated to prayer and detachment. “Life” refers to nature: the abundance of water endowing nature with its verdure, as several springs sprout from the land, irrigating the gardens there.
The monastery is of rich cultural, not just agricultural, importance. It houses an early printing press, the first in the whole of the Middle East and North Africa. This press at the Monastery of Qozhaya was the locus for the literary and intellectual Renaissance in Lebanon centuries ago. Today, there are people of every religion at the monastery—Jewish, Muslim, druids, Catholic, atheist. It’s a place of service and welcoming arms to all.
The monks, priests and hermits divide their time between praying and the cultivation of the land. In the past, the Qadish valley wasn’t in its present state of plenty; it was arid. Its abundance is due to the tireless labor of the monks. They’ve transformed the terraces into gardens. They’ve transformed the rocky mountains into fertile slopes that reach up to the cedars, the symbol of Lebanon.
The olive oil
Once a year, the olive trees bear fruit, providing the monastery, the people and communities that surround them with food, soap, and income. The priest and monks and hermits and others who farm at the monastery harvest the olives and press the olives to extract the oil. They use this oil to craft soap and sell it to replenish the community.
It’s about service and honoring the land, taking only what is needed and keeping the soil from being depleted by overproduction. This holistic, organic approach to farming not only yields a more nutritious crop, it also improves water and air quality, increases biodiversity, and helps counter the effects of climate change.
By not relying on pesticides and toxic chemicals, and not overworking the land, the growers are able to tend soil that’s microbially vibrant. Through this land stewardship, they’re improving, rather than degrading, the environment for the next generation.
The fancy term here is regenerative farming, but for them, it’s just nature in balance.
This goes to the heart of our products. We can source the fanciest oils, but if the soil it comes from is nutrient deficient and has been depleted over and over again, then what are we really giving you, and what is your scalp actually absorbing?
Olive oil is so important to our hair rituals, and runs in all of our treatments, so we wanted to make sure this keystone ingredient came from fertile, nutrient-rich ground and a place of deep respect.
The final component of that deep respect is the community that cultivates the oil. This aspect of our supply chain is like a family tie binding us to the place we called home. We wire the money directly to the monastery at Qozhaya. My cousin picks it up and he uses it to pay the debts of the monastery and to disperse aid to the surrounding community.
There’s no middle man and no red tape. It’s about the connection with the land where our goods come from and the people who work that land, because oil is something that should be made with integrity.
When you realize how deeply connected we all are—to each other, to the earth, to people across the world—you feel that connection when you apply the oils, and you know that your money went directly to aid and support the artisans and the workers.
Our olive oil is at the heart of our formulas. We feel honored to be able to use oil from the source, a source that profits the people there. They harvest and make the most beautiful, golden, nutrient-dense oils, and we’re proud to share them with you.