Honey isn’t just tasty; it has an enormous number of uses and benefits. It can help with everything from sore throats to hay fever. You’ll also find ladies adding honey to deep conditioner in a bid to infuse moisture into their hair strands.
Deep conditioning is a hair care procedure that helps to keep your hair in good condition.
A deep conditioner can be either a moisturizing conditioner or a protein-based conditioner.
Adding honey to a deep conditioner is one way of ensuring more moisture infusion and improving moisture retention.
Where it all begins
The honeybees are incredible little insects.
To make one pound of honey they have to travel a total of 90,000 miles (which is three times around the earth) and take nectar from two million flowers.
The average bee only makes 1/12 of a teaspoon of honey in its lifetime.
Its brain is only the size of a sesame seed but it’s able to calculate complex foraging efficiency.
When a bee finds flowers, they tell the hive how to get to those flowers by dancing.
They are the hardworking divas of the insect world.
The honey they make is just as incredible.
It has a long shelf life: archeologists have found jars of honey in Egyptian tombs that are 2,000 years old that are not only safe to eat but still taste good.
Honey is a natural antiseptic so it can be used to clean wounds.
One use that many people have found for honey is adding it to their deep conditioner.
The idea is that the honey will help moisturize your hair, along with giving other benefits.
The Egyptians did it, why shouldn’t we? Let’s take a look at what honey can do for us.
Honey as a humectant and emollient
One of the many uses of honey is as a humectant. Humectants are products that draw in water and work well to moisturize your hair.
I wrote a detailed post about humectants here.
The sugar found in honey is anhydrous, which means there is no water in the sugar.
For this reason, honey loves to pull in moisture, especially from the air around us.
However, the two main concerns with using humectants are that moisture can leave your hair as quickly as it came and that you can get too much moisture resulting in frizz.
Usually, the fix for this is to use an emollient right after using a humectant.
Emollients act as barriers that keep water both in and out of your hair. Guess what else honey can do? Act as an emollient.
Learn more about emollients from this post that I wrote recently.
Products that act as both humectants and emollients trap in moisture and protect it from the world.
This can make your hair soft, supple, lush, and shiny. It can also do wonders for hair that is low or high porosity, drawing and keeping in moisture.
More than moisture…
While our main goal might be using honey as a moisturizer, honey has other benefits too.
Honey is great for promoting hair growth, it helps epithelial skin cells grow, which are important for your scalp and the base of your hair.
It is full of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and amino acids which help keep your hair healthy and strong.
Honey also contains 0.5 percent protein.
This may not seem like much but a little protein goes a long way.
Protein is essential for your hair, it’s what the body uses to produce keratin protein.
Keratin helps strengthen weak or brittle hair strands.
Finally, honey is a natural ingredient.
It’s not vegan – for the same reason milk isn’t: a living thing made it – but it is vegetarian and made without harming animals or the environment.
In fact, I recommend getting your honey from a local source.
The quality will be higher, you’ll be supporting a local business, and helping out the people keeping honeybees around.
That seems like a win-win scenario.
Just add honey?
So honey is amazing. If you’re like me you probably want this in your hair.
Does that mean you should just pour some in there? Probably not.
Honey is sticky, hard to spread, and pretty expensive.
You’d be wasting a lot of honey just trying to coat your hair if you have even medium length hair.
Most experts recommend mixing it with your deep conditioner.
Deep conditioners are there to help repair or moisturize your hair, and those are honey’s two best qualities.
Adding honey to your deep conditioner can boost the conditioner’s ability to heal and moisturize.
Honey also adds a natural emollient to the deep conditioner, helping lock in that moisture to keep hair beautiful and healthy.
A word of warning
Ok, so I know I said honey can last 2000 years, and it can. If it’s in a sealed jar. In a tomb.
Honey is still a natural product that can still spoil pretty easily.
It preserves so well because in a sealed dry environment the honey, which likes to attract water, has no water to attract.
However, if you leave honey out or unsealed it will draw in water.
Fungus and bacteria love water, which causes honey to spoil.
Honey can still spoil even when you mix it with deep conditioners.
Be careful to only mix a little at a time so you don’t spoil the whole bottle.
Add, don’t mix it with deep conditioners.
It’s also a good idea to find ‘raw’ honey.
This isn’t uncooked honey; it’s honey straight from the comb, with no added preservatives or chemicals.
That’s another good reason to buy from your local beekeeper rather than the supermarket, so you know you’re getting the fresh stuff.
One last warning and this one should go without saying, honey is a moisturizer.
If you need less moisture in your hair it would be wise to take it easy on the honey – use a small amount or skip it entirely.
How much do I need?
Good question. The answer is… it depends.
There is no real recommended dosage, and different people use different amounts.
You should experiment to see what works best with your hair.
That said, you don’t need much.
As a guideline, most people use somewhere between one to three teaspoons per cup of conditioner.
Honey is a powerful humectant and too much moisture can be a problem, so if your deep conditioner is already moisture heavy, then you may want to start with small amounts.
A moisturizing deep conditioner is recommended for people with low porosity hair (like me) which is usually dry and lacks luster.
To ensure deep moisture penetration, I go a step further and deep condition with heat.
Unlike the case with low porosity hair, high porosity hair will easily allow moisture to pass in and out.
This type of hair needs protein to strengthen it by filling in the holes in the hair shaft.
This is where the protein-based deep conditioner comes in.
Honey is just one natural ingredient that can do incredible things to your hair, but it’s certainly one of my favorites.
When I die, bury me with honey.
2,000 years from now my hair will still be killing it.