Mayo makes for a great addition to any sandwich, a reliable kitchen ingredient, and, um, the secret to glossy, shiny hair. Yes, you read that correctly. Believe it or not, washing your hair with mayonnaise is rumored to enrich your strands with oil and make them glossier and shinier than ever. So does slathering your mane in slimy, thick mayo really result in polished, lustrous hair, or should you just save the condiment for your subs? Well, I washed my hair with the stuff to find out.
I'm not one to shy away from a beauty experiment, no matter how gross or outrageous it may seem. I've washed my hair with Fanta, and I've even made my own hairspray using vodka as the main ingredient. But I have to admit that I was a little hesitant at the idea of working mayo into my hair in the hopes that it would make it glossy and shiny. I've only ever considered the product to be the perfect spread on my sandwich, after all, and definitely not the secret to flawless hair. But in the name of glossy, gorgeous locks, I was willing to give it a shot anyway.
So here's what happened when I washed my hair with mayo. Spoiler: You will definitely be surprised by the results.
I love devising a good beauty experiment, but I didn't come up with this one on my own. I found out about the supposed benefits of washing hair with mayo while browsing Real Simple's website and coming across a "Beauty Myths Debunked" article. One of the points made was that "applying mayonnaise to your hair will make it glossier," according to Philip Berkowitz, founder of Philip B. hair products.
Of course, I wasn't about to slather my hair with mayo at the referral of just one source. So I did some more research and came across an article on Byrdie Beauty featuring Blake Lively and her exclusive beauty tips. Would you believe that Lively, the epitome of shiny, glossy, gorgeous hair, applies mayonnaise to her flawless strands? Yep, it's a tip the actor inherited from her mom.
Could it be true? Could mayo really alter my dark, frizzy, and thick hair for the better? There was only one way to find out.
I went to the store, got myself a brand new jar of mayo, and picked a day on the calendar to wash my hair with it. A mayo hair wash is certainly an odd thing to pencil into your schedule, but I was determined to see whether this beauty theory had any truth to it, especially on my brittle, frizzy mane. I chose to wake up bright and early in the morning to apply the wash, just so I could track its results throughout one full day.
Taking the advice of Dr. Berkowitz via Real Simple, I mixed a few spoonfuls of mayo in with several drops of vanilla extract (to cut the smell) and hesitantly began spooning the product onto my hair.
The vanilla didn't do much to mask the intense stench. On top of that, it didn't work into my hair like most products do. Instead, it just gooped onto the surface of my strands. I really had to work it through from root to tip to get everything covered. It wasn't a very pretty sight.
After drenching all of my hair in mayonnaise, I wrapped it into a towel and set a timer for 20 minutes. It was the longest 20 minutes of my life.
The second the timer dinged, I followed directions from Real Simple again and started working shampoo into my hair before stepping into the shower to wash it all out. I tried getting into my roots and through my strands, but the goopy mayo was prohibiting me from doing much. Plus, the mayo mixed with the wild hibiscus scent of my shampoo was absolutely horrendous.
I had a feeling something was going to go wrong. And my intuition proved me right as the day went on.
Immediately after getting out of the shower, my hair felt silky smooth. Like, smoother than it's ever been. It even held a good shine, despite being very difficult to comb and smelling very strange.
I threw on some perfume and got ready for my day, slowly but patiently waiting for my hair to dry naturally. Unfortunately, something about how my hair was clumping and sticking to my head just didn't sit right with me.
My natural hair is curly and quite frizzy, but by midday it was clear that the mayonnaise was elevating my curls and diminishing my frizz. That was certainly a good thing, along with my hair still holding a shine like it never has before. But it still looked wet, as if I had just gotten out of the shower. It was also leaving an oily residue on my hands and on the back of my neck that I was not pleased about.
A co-worker at my office job commented on my wet hair, going in to touch it. I had to explain that she might want to rethink that. It was at this point that I realized I probably applied way too much mayo, and that there was still quite a bit left on my strands that was making it extra heavy, slick, and shiny. Even though I washed it out with shampoo and made sure to get real deep into my strands, I still felt like I had bathed in a sandwich.
By nighttime, my mane was practically plastered to my face. While it was shiny, sleek, and definitely could have been perfect for an up-do style, my naturally oily locks were over the weight of the mayo. I caved and finally washed everything out until the heavy grease and the smell were both gone.
Would I Try This Again?
Ultimately, this experiment was not a success, nor a failure, but something in between. It was very clear that the mayonnaise had the ability to smooth out my locks, make them extra shiny, and give 'em a luster that my regular 'ole convenience store product might not. That being said, I definitely think I applied too much, which in turn gave it a flat, wet look that just wasn't cute.
While I didn't achieve Blake Lively's #hairgoals as I hoped I would, I can definitely see how a little mayo might really benefit frail, brittle, or dry strands. With a smaller portion — and perhaps focusing on the dry parts of my hair alone — I might just be raving about this condiment as a hair treatment. Only in that case would the hassle of applying mayo to hair be worth it.
If you're curious to see if mayo can benefit your hair, my advice is to use it sparingly. I repeat: There's no need to get overzealous. Besides, you'll need some left over for your sandwich.
Images: Melodi Erdogan