Honey provides us with a whole host of medicinal, nutritional, and cosmetic benefits, so it's no surprise that this wonder food is sometimes referred to as liquid gold.
Photo by Fascinadora -- Getty Images
Its use throughout history has been well documented and this multipurpose product is used in most parts and in most cultures of the world. When it comes to natural hair care, honey is a popular ingredient in both manufactured products and DIY recipes. The benefits of honey range from creating and maintaining a healthy scalp to hair lightening. Let us take a closer look at these benefits.
Dandruff and the itchy scalp it causes are a pain in the butt for many of us. If you find dandruff shampoos to be excessively drying to your hair or find the smell of ointments too gross to bear, then you should definitely give honey a try. A study published in the European Journal of Medical Research in 2001 concluded that the application of 9:1 honey: warm water mixture to affected areas relieved itching and flaking within one week, provided that the mixture was left on for three hours before rinsing. It was also found that 'skin lesions healed within two weeks and patients even showed an improvement in hair loss. The patients did not relapse even after six months of use.'
Honey possesses anti-fungal, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties that keep the scalp free of bacteria and fungus and addresses redness and itching caused by the overgrowth of these microbes. These properties also help to heal abrasions that may be caused by scratching or otherwise scraping the scalp, further keeping the scalp healthy.
If you've tried homemade deep conditioners in the past, chances are you would have tried the recipe that uses olive oil and honey as the only two ingredients. This recipe is probably one of the most popular homemade deep conditioner recipes among naturals and is as simple as it gets. Some recipes call for a 1:1 ratio of the ingredients while others use the ratio of 2 parts oil to 1 part honey. It's really a matter of preference and the end result is hair that is softer, shinier and more manageable than before. Adding honey to your regular conditioner/deep conditioner is also a common and beneficial practice.
Cleans hair follicles
The anti-microbial properties of honey get rid of impurities that can cause pore clogging so that hair growth can proceed unimpeded. Build up is removed from the scalp and so the hair is able to thrive. Though honey itself won't increase your rate of growth, it can create an environment where the conditions for hair growth is optimal.
When honey and water are mixed together, small amounts of hydrogen peroxide are created and this leads to the hair lightening over time. Though the source of the peroxide is natural and the process of lightening occurs slowly over time, it is no different from the bleaching process used in synthetic hair dyes so care should be taken to ensure the integrity and health of the hair are maintained and damage is prevented.
Moisturizes dry hair
Honey helps to prevent dry scalp and remove buildup. Being a humectant, it pulls moisture from the atmosphere into the strands to combat dryness and keep hair moisturized and manageable. Since it helps to remove buildup from the scalp, it relieves itching and combats dry scalp because buildup is not allowed to create a barrier between the scalp and the moisture and nutrients from products applied.
The heavy, sticky nature of honey helps to physically smooth the cuticles of the hair strands. This results in a reduction in frizz and an increase in the natural luster and shine of the hair. Mix 5 milliliters of honey in 4 cups of warm water and apply to hair as a rinse and watch and your strands become smoother and frizz disappears.
Some products that make the most of the many benefits this liquid gold has to offer are listed below.
- Curl Junkie Hibiscus & Banana Honey Butta Leave-In Conditioner
- Honey Baby Naturals Sweet Softening Conditioner