As a rule of thumb, if we can eat, we can use it for our hair. Here’s are 4 reasons to keep a jar of raw honey in your kitchen when you aren’t adding a little to tea or using it to soothe a sore throat.
1. conditions and softens hair
Honey is a humectant and emollient. Humectants are used in moisturizing products to draw water into the hair shaft. For dry, damaged hair, humectants help restore moisture and elasticity. As an emollient, honey helps soften hair.
Note: If you live in extremely dry, very low humidity areas, be wary. In those areas, humectants may draw moisture OUT of your hair is the air lacks sufficient moisture levels. Conversely, if you live in extremely humid areas, humectants may draw too much moisture into your hair. Too much moisture will cause hair to swell
2. Anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, & anti-inflammatory properties help maintain a healthy scalp
Of the scalp conditions that we unfortunately suffer, dandruff, seborrheic dermatitis, and psoriasis are among the most common. Honey’s anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties may help inhibit the growth of bacteria, treating dandruff and seborrheic dermatitis (which can be caused by fungi that live on the scalp).
Honey’s anti-bacterial properties: According to the Iranian Journal of Basic Medical Sciences:
First, honey draws moisture out of the environment and thus dehydrates bacteria. The sugar content of honey is also high enough to hinder the growth of microbes, but the sugar content alone is not the sole reason for honey’s antibacterial properties (46). Second, the pH of honey is between 3.2 and 4.5, and this acidity is low enough to inhibit the growth of most microorganisms.1
Those suffering from psoriasis experience red, itchy, raised patches. The Journal notes that “honey’s anti-inflammatory properties may help alleviate scalp conditions, such as psoriasis.”2
3. Naturally lighten hair and create highlights
Pre-pooing with a mix of raw honey (1/4 cup of honey) and water for 20-30 minutes is an easy, natural way to naturally lighten hair and create highlights. One of the main enzymes in honey is glucose oxidase, which produces hydrogen peroxide.3 Hydrogen peroxide reactions with the melanin in our hair to lighten hair through oxidation.
Will honey lighten your hair after one use? No. The process will take time and a few applications.
Note: You could use bottled hydrogen peroxide to lighten your hair but be wary, using too much and leaving it on for too long with will cause dry hair and will turn brown hair orange. My mother learned that the hard way (and I shamelessly teased hair, calling her carrot top until she dyed it back).
4. Shiny hair
Honey is also a simple way to add shine to your hair. As an emollient, honey helps smooth hair. The smoother your strands, the more light your hair is able to reflect (which is why rough hair tends to look rather dull).
Sources 1-3. Eteraf-Oskouei T, Najafi M. Traditional and Modern Uses of Natural Honey in Human Diseases: A Review. Iranian Journal of Basic Medical Sciences. 2013;16(6):731-742. Link.