Does a Mayonnaise Hair Mask Have Any Benefits?

Does mayonnaise have any benefits as a hair mask?

A quick internet search of mayonnaise hair masks will reveal numerous supposed benefits that will help improve the health of your hair. While some of these claims might have some backing, others are unfounded.

Increased moisture?

To understand the potential benefits of this hair mask, it’s important to first learn about its ingredients.

Mayonnaise is classified as an oil. It primarily consists of canola or soybean oil, along with egg yolks, vinegar, and lemon juice. Some brands may have a few additional ingredients, such as olive oil and Dijon mustard.

In theory, mayonnaise can make your hair a little oilier since the product is primarily made of oil. This could potentially benefit curly and wavy hair types, which usually lack sebum (natural oil) in the middle and ends of the hair cuticle.

In contrast, naturally straight hair doesn’t usually need any added oils because sebum can make its way easily from the scalp throughout the rest of the hair.

Less frizz?

Reduced frizz is a natural side effect of proper moisture balance. Mayonnaise can potentially make your hair less frizzy from humidity and excessive dryness.

However, you will also need to practice other frizz-free hair habits, such as reducing your dependence on heated tools and patting your hair dry instead of rubbing it or using a hair dryer.

Stronger hair?

According to some beauty websites and blogs, mayonnaise also purportedly strengthens your hair and protects color treatments.

However, there’s no scientific research backing these claims. Mayonnaise is primarily an oil, so there isn’t enough of other ingredients (like egg yolks and lemon juice) to make such an impact.

Hair growth?

Some people also believe that a mayonnaise hair mask can make your hair grow. It’s thought that an amino acid in mayonnaise called L-cysteine does this trick.

One study on menopausal women with hair loss looked at the role of nutritional amino acids, including L-cysteine. Researchers found that this amino acid is important in building keratin, a type of protein, in the hair, which makes it strong and helps it grow.

L-cysteine was also described as being more effective when combined with vitamin B-6, which can also help with the absorption of other nutrients that are important to hair growth, including zinc and iron.

Still, the study focuses on diet and supplemental forms of L-cysteine, not on the application of the amino acid directly to the hair via mayonnaise. The lack of scientific research leaves unclear whether a mayonnaise hair mask can actually promote hair growth.

Natural lice treatment?

Other claims about a mayonnaise hair mask include its ability to treat head lice. The theory is that the thickness of the mayonnaise can suffocate head lice, similar to other alternative treatments such as butter or margarine.

However, none of these treatments are backed by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. If you do put mayonnaise in your hair for the treatment of lice, it may make the lice inactive temporarily, but it doesn’t kill them, according to the American Academy of Dermatology.

How to use a mayonnaise hair mask

While some of the above benefits are more reputable than others, it’s unlikely that a mayonnaise mask would actually do any harm. The major exception would be if you have an allergy to any of the ingredients in the mayonnaise, such as egg yolks.

Here’s how to use a mayonnaise hair mask:

  1. Wet your hair.
  2. Apply one cup of mayonnaise, starting from your scalp and working it out to your ends. Use more mayonnaise as needed, making sure that your hair is covered evenly.
  3. Massage the product or use a wide-tooth comb to ensure even application.
  4. Cover with a cap and wait 20 minutes.
  5. Rinse out thoroughly and shampoo as normal.

For best results, use the mayonnaise mask once a week to keep your hair soft and smooth.

The takeaway

It’s unclear if a mayonnaise hair mask delivers the benefits many of its proponents claim. However, it may be beneficial if you’re looking for a moisturizing frizz-tamer, especially if you have wavy or curly hair.

Aside from using masks to add more moisture to your hair, there are other things you can do to balance out the oil in wavy and curly hair:

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