We've all — at one time or another — put some unusual things in our hair. We've raided the pantry and the refrigerator in pursuit of the perfect treatment for our locks. And who can forget that crazy bull semen craze?
Well, another bit of the pursuit-of-perfect-hair wackiness is K-Y Jelly. Yep, the vaginal lubricant.
Some curlies swear by this product as a useful hair gel. Some say it prevents frizz while supporting curls.
What's In It?
After water, K-Y's main ingredient is glycerin, a humectant. Many hair care products contain glycerin because of its ability to attract moisture to the hair and keep it hydrated. According to noted hair-chemical expert Tonya McKay, glycerin's "thick viscosity and high boiling point are what make it an effective curl-definer and frizz minimizer (in the right climate)."
Keep in mind, though, that in humid weather, you might not want to put a humectant on your hair. Too much moisture can lead to frizz, of course.
Another K-Y Jelly ingredient, chlorhexidine, is a disinfectant and antiseptic. It is a common cosmetic additive, and sometimes used in hair care products as a preservative. We couldn't find any evidence, however, that it would have any impact on curl formation.
Other ingredients in the lubricant include more humectants and preservatives. The last ingredient listed for K-Y is sodium hydroxide, which, interestingly, is pretty caustic stuff. According to Paula's Choice, it is "used in small amounts in cosmetics to establish and hold the pH of a product." I'm sure it's diluted past the point of harmfulness, but still. Not sure I'd want to put it on my head, let alone on or in other areas.
How it is Used on Hair?
Many curlies find K-Y works best when used in combination with other stylers. Sometimes the jelly is mixed in with another gel or with a cream. Other times the lubricant is used as a base layer, with another styler layered on top. CurlTalker BigHairLaLa, for example, uses it under AG Re:coil. "The K-Y acts as a defrizzer and curl enhancer," she says.
CurlTalker Naturalista agrees that K-Y works well as a base layer. "These products help with frizz and moisture retention when used as a "primer," she says.
"it's great for frizz control," says Elita. "I use it under a curl cream then add gel on top."
Truwaves tried K-Y Jelly without any other products and was pleased with the way her hair looked. "I tried it today without gel, and my hair came out soft and wavy!" she says. "I'm definitely impressed."
But as Truwaves' day progressed, she says, "My hair became quite puffy throughout the day."
"I'm thinking this is due to the glycerin and the high dewpoint around here lately. I would definitely need to try some gel with it," she added.
When Morningstar used K-Y jelly for the first time, she was impressed with the results. "It felt great going on my hair and then I used a strong gel on top of it. It gave me great clumps. I air-dried as it was a beautiful sunny day and the results are fantastic."
It's All Up To You
While some curlies have found that generic brands works just find, others have a different story to tell. Oregano cautions: "Just be cautious of the generic stuff. Some of it I've found flakes horribly. Yuck."
According to a recent survey of Amazon, K-Y Jelly can be as inexpensive as $1.11/ounce. While this is cheaper than some hair care products containing glycerin, it is similar or more expensive than others. So cost alone might not be a good way to determine whether you should switch to K-Y Jelly.
As with all hair care products, most curlies find the only way to know if something works is to try it! And even if K-Y Jelly doesn't really work for you, using it as a hair product certainly would make an interesting topic at your next dinner party!
As CurlTalker Hakim Nuraldin says, "Now that's what you can call sexy hair."
Have you used KY Jelly as a hair product? Tell us about it in the comments below.