We have published hundreds of curly hair recipes on NaturallyCurly, but to this day the most popular treatment of all time is: the mayonnaise hair treatment. This is probably because our grandmothers, our mothers, the magazine you browse at the grocery – everyone is telling you to use mayonnaise on your hair.
Does it really work?
Yes and no. We often see eggs and mayonnaise (because it contains eggs) incorrectly touted as a strengthening protein treatment that can combat breakage. However, in truth they do not work as a protein treatment because the protein in eggs is too large to fit into the cuticle. Proteins must be hydrolyzed in order to do the job. So if your goal is strengthening, try a protein rich product that has been formulated for that purpose instead.
If your goal is softer, shinier, smoother feeling hair, then mayonnaise may be a good match for you. Mayonnaise does contain some hair healthy ingredients like lemon juice, vinegar and soybean oil which contain fatty acids and vitamins that can boost shine and act to seal in moisture. To find out what’s in a store bought jar of mayonnaise and its benefits, read here.
If you want to try a mayonnaise treatment for yourself, follow these steps.
How to do a mayonnaise hair treatment
- Apply mayonnaise to freshly cleansed, damp hair the way you would a conditioner. Focus on the ends as they are the oldest part of your hair, and avoid your roots especially if you have fine or thin hair.
- Put on a shower cap (a plastic bag works just as well) or a heated thermal cap. This step can increase the absorption rate of the mayonnaise into your hair.
- Leave the treatment in your hair for 15-30 minutes.
- Cleanse with a gentle shampoo to remove the mayonnaise from your hair. If you feel you still have some residue you can cleanse again.
"I tried it on my Type 2 & 3 curls! I went into this certain it would not work. We've published articles before about how the protein in mayonnaise is not hydrolyzed and therefore cannot work as a protein treatment. I'm also not a fan of using food for my hair - it's just too messy! The mayo also smelled, and that was extremely offputting. So I was very surprised when I tried this treatment and it really did make my hair feel noticeably softer! My hair felt the way it does when I do a nourishing deep conditioning treatment. Anecdotally, I've seen a lot of people say this makes their hair feel smoother, softer, and shinier, and now I have to agree. I'd recommend this as a cheap and easy treatment for anyone hoping to get those results! Will I be doing mayo treatments on the regular now? Probably not. I just can't get past the smell, and there are too many delicious-smelling DC's on the market for me to put up with smelling like a sandwich in the shower."- Cristina, NC Managing Editor
You can buy store bought mayonnaise or you can make your own with eggs, olive oil, lemon juice or apple cider vinegar, and coconut oil. Whichever mayonnaise you choose, always remember you can also add other natural ingredients such as olive oil, avocado, or honey to mix a custom cocktail for your hair needs. In fact, specifically adding almond oil and vinegar can help to get rid of lice.
If you’re looking for softer hair and extra shine, we recommend trying this treatment once a month.
Have you tried mayonnaise on your hair? How did it work for you?
This article was originally published in July 2011 and has been updated for grammar, clarity, and reader feedback.