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3 Foods that Strengthen Natural Hair

• Apr 24, 2013


Although I will not be parted from my commercial hair conditioner, I would have to be blind to fail to see the increasing trend of naturals wanting truly natural products and even raw ingredients. I generally say that if you are looking to give nutrition to your hair, you are probably better off eating the food first rather than using it in your hair. However, if you are fascinated by raw natural ingredients, here is a small science based guide:

1. Honey
Honey is essentially very concentrated sugar with very little water. The sugar in honey will naturally draw in water, making it a powerful humectant. How do kitchenicians use honey? I have seen honey used as a pretreatment before shampooing sometimes in combination with coconut oil. Users report that this leaves hair very soft post shampoo. Another method is to add honey to hair conditioner and the resulting effect is reported to be increased moisture to the hair.

2. Avocado
Avocado is a fruit that is rich in fat which makes it ideal for conditioning hair. Most users of avocado recommend processing it in a blender to make it a smooth and non-clumpy mixture which is easier to wash off after use. I have also seen reports of adding coconut milk to the avocado to further lighten the mixture. Avocado has a mix of saturated and unsaturated fats that could be beneficial for conditioning hair. If you are not prepared for the messy nature of using avocado, an avocado butter may be up your alley.

3. Banana
It is right here on BGLH that I first read that women were using banana or banana baby food specifically for hair conditioning. This was sometimes mixed with oil to add slip to the natural conditioner. As a fruit, banana is rich in quite a few vitamins including pantothenic acid which is closely related to panthenol and that can be absorbed by hair. Its soft texture does lend it quite well to spreading as a conditioner on hair, but much like avocado, it should be completely blended into a non-clumpy mix or you will be picking it out of your hair for hours.

4. Why Not Papaya?
I have seen quite a few natural companies adding papaya extract as an ingredient. However, I think that this is just a clever bit of marketing which plays to the desire of naturals to see natural ingredients. Papaya is one ingredient that could actually change your hair texture. Have you ever purchased meat tenderizer powder? Well, that normally contains papain, an enzyme found in papaya that breaks down keratin (the protein in meat as well as in hair). In science labs, we often perform what we call papain digests to break down proteins for analysis. Many naturals prefer to leave conditioners on hair for fairly long periods and routinely add heat. These conditions are very likely to actually make the papaya even more active enzymatically. In my view, if you like papaya and want to keep your curls and coils as they are, eat it instead of putting it in your hair.

Ladies, have you tried any of these foods on your hair? Share your results!

About The Natural Haven

Scientist on a hairy mission!

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24 Comments on "3 Foods that Strengthen Natural Hair"

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I tried the Mayonnaise, Honey and Eggs deep conditioner, and it did WONDERS; I never ever felt so soft and smooth, especially smooth, it seems to help strengthen my hair too. I have less breakage. I also made the shea butter with the oils conditioner and its doing great on my hair. Excellent sheen and moisture. I’m loving all this helpfu info. Thanks Naptural85 videos!!! 🙂 🙂 🙂

Me too, Naz!! I swear by Naptutal85’s recipes. I know the science says the protein has to be broken down (or something like that), but the Mayo, eggs, honey deep conditioner has totally changed the game for me!! It has made my strands stronger. There’s hardly any hair on the bathroom floor. I like making my own products not bc of the vitamins and minerals in them, per se, but I love being able to pronounce all the ingredients in my products. But, thanks very much for the papaya information, that’s one food that will stay just on my plate!!… Read more »

I can testify to the benefits of using honey as part of deep conditioner mixes and prepoo treatment. The softenig effect it had mixed with coconut oil (as a pre-poo)after rinsing out my hair was amazing:)


So for those looking to make a pre-poo including the honey…are there any specific recipes that you would suggest?

Mary Winston

I learned the hard way with the banana option. I thought why bother taking out the blender I’ll just mash it. I spent forever trying to remove the pieces and finally gave up and had to rewash. SMH


Mary, girl I know what you mean. It took me hours to get that banana out. That is the one time I used a regular brush on my hair. By time I was finshed, my hair was dry and I was tired. Lmbo! I said I will finish this tomorrow. Thank God I didn’t get attacked by ants.


I tried the eggs, mayo, honey mix as a deep conditioner: I liked it!

J. Nicole

I actually find it better to simply consume these foods instead of putting them on my hair. I’m pretty much a healthy eater and live a vegan life style, but when I started eating more avocado & other “hair healthy” foods, like chickpeas & lentils, I saw major hair growth in those months. I was actually about to start taking biotin supplements but after I noticed the change, I’m sticking to this.

Ugonna Wosu

why not eat them and put them on your hair sometimes too?

J. Nicole

I’ve tried both (I figured saying I found it ‘better’ was an indication), and for me consuming them works better. Putting them on my hair for me (me only) is a waste of good food since they have nutrients that benefit more than just hair.


J. Nicole I see where you are coming from. It works for your curls and that is great. Your curls are pretty by the way in your picture. My hair is the type of hair that drinks moisture so I will have to do both to get the maximum effect. In the end, whatever works best for your hair is all that matters.


I love adding honey to my conditioner. Leaves my hair super soft and my curls clump better.


Yay!!!! I thought it was just my imagination when I noticed how soft honey made my hair. But when I conditioned my hair without the honey, my hair was not as soft.


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Is using honey a good idea in winter when the climate is much dryer. For example glycerine (also an humectant) has a dryer effect durying the season as it draws water out of the hair instead of from the environment into the hair. What do you think?

whoever have problem with banana , should try peel banana’s extra skin first and mash it really good until it look like it is about to be juice . I did it with actual banana and don’t have to rewash. I know why you rewash cuz you were not mash right, you have to mash as if you are using it for baby food. But some ppl just mash for 5 seconds then put a large piece on hair, it aint right. They will be rewashed. It is same with avocado…you have to mash really well , right? Think abt… Read more »
D Small

Please check out Spa Hair Conditioner it already has the avocado and honey blended so if you would like to try this you want regret it.Love Peace and Happy Hair


It is best to experiment with different ingredients mentioned but from my experience my best deep conditoner is a combination of banana baby food,olive oil and honey. My hair is super soft and the curls are loose and bouncy. My co workers always think that I have straightened my hair after this treatment. Have fun and love your hair as you continue to love yourself.


I have been natural for a year and have not seen Harley any change since the big chop Help any advice?


Do you use the protein and deep conditioning treatments. Or did you transition a few months before doing a big chop.


Avocado oil is my boo! I love heating it with a little lavender infused oil and applying it as a pre-poo. I baggy overnight and shampoo and condition in the morning. I add the lavender because it gives me a wonderful night’s sleep.


i have tried banana, honey, and the avocado all in one mask… i gotta say my hair LOVED!!! it my hair stayed conditioned for about a week without adding any moisturizer except maybe water i used 1/2 over ripe avocado: 1 over ripe banana ( brown skin) 1/4 cup shea butter melted: 1/4 cup coconut oil:olive oil and a little honey i was almost out that it wasnt organic or anything but i loved this


Very worried :(( that my hair falls drastically!!please help me..


I tried banana, avocado and coconut oil before and it was nice but very important to blend them up 1st and for the avocado the skin thing thats on the nut on, make sure none of that is in the mixture, it was hell getting that out. I also tried banana, mayo and coconut oil and it was lovely! I’m definitely going to add honey to my next mixture, Thanks for the info!

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