This Single-Ingredient, Old School Hair Mask Is a Dry Hair Hero

Everything you need to know about making and using a mayo hair mask.

woman applying a hair mask

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We each have our own way of making our strands look their best. Maybe it's coloring our hair with the change of the seasons, wrapping strands into the perfect top knot, or taking the time to curl or straighten when you need a little boost. Each of these has two things in common: All produce gorgeous results, and all are habits that can make hair dry or damaged over time.

When we notice common problems with our hair—dandruff, frizziness, breakage —we tend to be interested in quick-fix solutions. When we see splitting ends, we get a trim. When our scalps get dry and flaky, we pick up a scalp scrub. And apparently when you're desperate for all-over moisture, you should actually reach into your pantry. Because mayonnaise has loads of purported benefits.

Meet the Expert

Scroll on to learn how mayo hair masks can potentially benefit your hair.

The Benefits of a Mayonnaise Hair Mask

mayonnaise

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It obviously sounds strange to use mayonnaise on your hair, and while there’s limited scientific evidence backing the purported benefits of the product as a hair mask, it's full of good-for-you ingredients. For starters: egg yolks. Egg yolks are loaded with amino acids, which can help promote hair growth. They also carry vitamins A, E, D, biotin, folate, and fatty acids—all of which may be nourishing to the hair. And that's just the egg yolks alone, my friends.

Mayonnaise also contains vinegar. You've heard of a vinegar rinse, right? Some claim it's a crucial element for our strands on its own. The idea is that vinegar may assist in balancing the scalp's pH levels. Add olive oil and lemon juice to the equation and you'll have stronger hair in no time. The results are apparently so dramatic that even Blake Lively uses mayonnaise on her famous head of hair, applying to strands before a shampoo to protect her ends from getting dry.

How to Use a Mayo Hair Mask

  • Now that you've allocated your mayo jar from the fridge to the shower, you'll want to get your strands wet before application.
  • Scoop out the same amount of mayo as the amount of shampoo you normally use. In terms of application, think of it as a 2-in-1 shampoo and conditioner.
  • Use it on the scalp the way you would massage in your shampoo, bringing it down to your ends the way you would work in your conditioner. (Those prone to scalp breakouts should exercise caution, however, applying the product to hair only.) "Avoid touching the conditioner to the scalp if possible – it is best to just lightly smooth the conditioner over strands," board-certified dermatologist Shala Fardin says. "Massage conditioner through to the end of strands and not directly into the scalp."
  • Once fully coated, grab your shower cap and turn up the heat (literally), allowing the product to set while the steam infiltrates your strands.
  • After about 15 minutes, wash it out — then rinse again. "The scalp is far more sensitive than one might think, and even a small amount of conditioner residue could cause unwanted irritation — and ultimately block follicles and pores," Fardin says.

Apply your mayo mask when you first get in the shower, then complete the rest of your routine while it sets for 15 minutes to take advantage of the steam in your bathroom.

How Often Should You Use a Mayo Hair Mask?

Once a month? Once a week? How often should we actually be using a mask or treatment on our strands? We turned to Certified Trichologist Michelle Blaisure of Bosley Professional Strength for the scoop. "Once a week tends to be the ideal frequency to apply masques and other nourishing treatment product," explains Bosley, "which, if applied too frequently, can weigh the hair down."

Boil it down to your hair type. Start small if you're unsure. Thicker or highly textured strands tend to take to moisturizing treatments better. Similar to using a conditioner, you'll quickly learn how much mayo is too much. If you do run into that problem, try using a clarifying shampoo or ACV rinse to remove any excess.

And don't wait until your hair is totally fried either. Take the initiative and watch out for signs and symptoms of dry hair before it's too late. If your hair is becoming abnormally frizzy, you're noticing breakage, or if you just got your hair colored last week, it's time to stay ahead of the curve. Bosley adds, "dry hair can be difficult to style. Color can fade much faster and hair can look lifeless and dull without the shine of healthy, moisturized hair."

Sound familiar? Bust out that mayo. Still not sold? Try this Tony Moly mayo mask made specifically for hair (not sandwiches).

tony moly haeyo mayo mask
Tony Moly Haeyo Mayo Hair Nutrition Mask $16
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Do Mayo Hair Masks Work on All Hair Types?

Mayo-based hair masks are most often associated for adding moisture and taming frizz on those with wavy/curly hair. In other words, it may be too heavy a product for those with oily finer hair types.

The Final Takeaway

While they can be beneficial for those with frizzy or curly hair, some mayonnaise-like products can also cause breakouts on the scalp. It's a good idea to check your ingredients' list. "Some oils can be comedogenic and this can vary based on a person’s skin type. One of the most commonly used offenders is coconut oil," says Fardin. "When broken down into fractionated components, this oil is much less comedogenic, but in its pure form, it can cause breakouts. Cocoa butter, flaxseed oil, marula oil, palm oil, sesame oil, and avocado oil can are also considered more comedogenic."

And keep in mind that while it mightb e good for strands, that doesn't mean it will be good for the scalp. "Some products that are good for hair can cause facial, truncal and scalp breakouts," Fardin notes.

Article Sources
Byrdie takes every opportunity to use high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial guidelines to learn more about how we keep our content accurate, reliable and trustworthy.
  1. Nakamura T, Yamamura H, Park K, et al. Naturally occurring hair growth peptide: water-soluble chicken egg yolk peptides stimulate hair growth through induction of vascular endothelial growth factor productionJ Med Food. 2018;21(7):701-708. doi:10.1089/jmf.2017.4101

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