Destroy Hair with Mayo! Truth & Myth


Shiny and soft hair with mayonnaise mask. Do you believe it is possible? Read this article containing accurate scientific proof before you decide to damage your hair with mayonnaise.

Hundreds of websites try to convince us about benefits of applying mayonnaise on hair. Most of them even state that mayonnaise “help nourish and moisturize your hair from deep within” or “make your hair shiny and healthy”. Is that true?

Ok, what made me wonder while I was going through such websites is that the majority of them advised to purchase (!) some mayonnaise at local grocery store and use it as a hair mask to get wonderful results. What? Wonderful results!? I got interested in this type of “hair treatment” and decided to figure out whether it is really working on hair. So… I started with the study of components of store bought mayonnaise.

Let’s see what it contains. Traditionally, every mayo recipe includes basic ingredients like egg yolks, lemon juice, olive oil and mustard powder. Seems, nothing wrong with that. Of course, if we talk about homemade mayonnaise. But do you think store bought variant is all natural? Come down from heaven to earth and read its components very carefully. Put your mind on some logical things – any commercial mayonnaise will have preservatives to prolong its shelf life. Now the most interesting part is coming: are these preservatives really safe? Don’t you think it’s time you start reading product label.

Mayonnaise with Sodium Benzoate (E211)

Sodium benzoate is a food additive used as a preservative. Under acidic conditions, sodium benzoate inhibits growth of bacteria, mold and yeast and it is the cheapest way to extend a product’s shelf life. Even in lower doses this additive can cause non-immunological contact reactions (pseudo-allergy) in sensitive persons.

Benzoates applied dermally can penetrate through the skin. Now think to yourself: do you believe that using mayo hair mask regularly is the best way to grow healthy hair? Huge mistake!

Sodium benzoate has the ability to deprive the cells of oxygen, break down the immune system, and provoke cancer. It chokes out your body’s nutrients at the DNA cellular level by depriving mitochondria cells of oxygen and can shut them down. Cells need oxygen to function properly so they can fight infection as well as cancer.

Mayonnaise and Potassium Sorbate (E202)

It is also widely used as a chemical preservative. This property is attributed to its slightly acidic nature that prevents the growth of microorganisms and thus prolongs the shelf life of a product.

However, two studies have shown that potassium sorbate has the potential to mess with DNA. In study “Does potassium sorbate induce genotoxic or mutagenic effects in lymphocytes?” by Sevcan Mamura (2009), this additive is clearly seen to be genotoxic to the human peripheral blood lymphocytes (known as white blood cells).

In article “Mutagenicity and DNA-damaging activity caused by decomposed products of potassium sorbate reacting with ascorbic acid in the presence of Fe salt” by K.Kitano (Food and Chemical Toxicology, Volume 40, Issue 11, November 2002, Pages 1589–1594), potassium sorbate combined together with ascorbic acid (vitamin C, which is present in many foods), can cause mutagenicity and DNA-damaging activity. The risk demonstrated in the studies is very low, but still it is statistically significant.

Generally, preservatives like potassium sorbate are considered to be generally safe. However, prolonged use of any chemical product increases the risk of certain complications due to chemicals and free radicals produced as a result of biological reactions. Most common long term side effects that are observed with prolonged use of potassium sorbate are: nausea, vomiting and gastric upset, nutritional deficiencies by impairing the absorption of nutrients from the food.

Risk of allergic reactions may appear in situation when potassium sorbate is used in skin care products. By other words, it means that some people may develop extreme reactions and irritation when potassium sorbate comes in contact with skin, hair or other parts of biological membranes.

Mayonnaise and Calcium Disodium EDTA (E385)

EDTA is another preservative which is found not only in mayonnaise but also in shampoos, body wash, deodorant and skin creams. It is remarkably efficient at stabilizing mixtures of fats and oils, retaining consistency for long periods of time and extending shelf life.

EDTA may cause allergic reactions, asthma attacks, skin rash and possible kidney damage.

EDTA has the potential to increase the penetration of other chemicals that can be determined as safe so it should be taken into account that some irritation can be provoked. As was shown in “Final Report on the Safety Assessment of EDTA, Calcium Disodium EDTA, Diammonium EDTA, Dipotassium EDTA, Disodium EDTA, TEA-EDTA, Tetrasodium EDTA, Tripotassium EDTA, Trisodium EDTA, HEDTA, and Trisodium HEDTA” (by Lanigan RS, Yamarik TA., Int J Toxicol. 2002;21 Suppl 2:95-142.), these ingredients function as chelating agents in cosmetic formulations. The typical concentration of use of EDTA is less than 2%, with the other salts in current use at even lower concentrations. The lowest dose reported to cause a toxic effect in animals was 750 mg/kg/day. Generally, chelating agents are cytotoxic and weakly genotoxic, but at least not carcinogenic. Oral exposures to EDTA produced adverse reproductive and developmental effects in animals.

But what about skin and how EDTA influence epidermis? Clinical tests reported no absorption of an EDTA salt through the skin. Good news… These ingredients are likely, however, to affect the passage of other chemicals into the skin because they will chelate calcium. So the main idea is to be aware when combining EDTA with ingredients that previously have been determined to be safe, primarily because they were not significantly absorbed.

Myth or Truth? Mayonnaise as a hair conditioner

Still wish to apply mayonnaise as a hair mask? God bless those who believe mayo treatment is good for hair. I’d rather use real natural products like egg yolk, olive oil combined together to make hair stronger and more shiny. This way is even healthier than mayonnaise which contains chemicals.

Mayonnaise, as long as it is true, natural mayonnaise, and not the complicated versions that are now sold expensively in varying bottles, brands and names, actually does make for a great hair conditioner. The oil and eggs in real mayonnaise are is rich in fatty acids and protein that nourish the hair generously.

Healthy Homemade Mayonnaise which really can feed your hair

To avoid the many health disadvantages of commercial mayonnaise, make your own with healthier oils and no sugar or artificial ingredients. A classic mayonnaise recipe includes egg yolks, oil, lemon juice or vinegar and seasonings. Use avocado oil, olive oil or macadamia nut oil (just choose it regarding your hair type).

Combine the 1 egg, 1 tablespoon of lemon juice and mustard (you can remove it) in the container of a blender or food processor. Blend until smooth, and then blend on low speed while pouring oil into the blender in a fine stream as the mixture emulsifies and thickens.

And the last words: if you plan to follow someone’s advice on website to try store bought product as a natural remedy, first rule to remember – study its components very carefully until you are completely sure this very product is safe. Be wise!


  • “Does potassium sorbate induce genotoxic or mutagenic effects in lymphocytes?”
  • “Mutagenicity and DNA-damaging activity caused by decomposed products of potassium sorbate reacting with ascorbic acid in the presence of Fe salt”
  • “Final report on the safety assessment of EDTA”

Discussion16 Comments

    • The main topic is about store-bought mayo which is really full of chemical additives and doesn’t do any good to hair. Homemade recipe is out of discussion here as it is already clear for anyone it can be applied to hair and improve its complexion due to its natural ingredients. This post was not aimed at convincing anyone not to use mayo on hair but rather to warn those who are particular about their hair health. But which mayo to choose and apply it on hair or not – it is up to you. Anyway, nice to hear it worked personally for you. Good luck!

    • Ok so I took the time to read through this.honestly I have used mayo for a year and afterwards my hair feels soft and amazing! The ingredients in most products I use are chemicals out the wazoo. Lol I do what I can by making my own scrubs and such but I eat mayo so of I eat it I should be ok using it on my hair once a month)

  1. I’m not gonna get all scientific but all I know is that I did it. And my hair is soooo soft and it feels and looks thicker sooooooooo don’t be all scientific. Just try it

    • There are no facts in your comment. If you wanna tell something, please substantiate your answer. “Just try it. my hair.” – it’s not an argument

  2. I use Hollywood Mayonnaise (Hain Products. It contains eggs, egg yolks, egg whites, evaporated cane juice, honey, safflower oil, soybean oil, distilled grain vinegar, vitamin E, paprika for color and lemon juice concentrate. Zero preservatives. It’s a 24oz jar so will be eating a lot of tuna sandwiches along with conditioning my hair. HA!
    Deep conditioning once a week or so for 30 min is not going to hurt anyone, even with regular mayonnaise. Adding an egg and a little honey & some coconut oil to regular mayo can enhance it.

  3. The silly thing about this article carrying on over the chemicals that you would be touching is the fact that the mayonnaise came from your refrigerator, and you were going to eat it! You’ve probably been eating it your whole life. Still alive to do the hair mask are you? And nowadays you could always buy a clean or possibly even organic mayonnaise in a health food store if you prefer to not make your own. I did choose to use the preservative riddled mayonnaise that was already in my refrigerator, and my hair is the softest and shiniest that it’s been a long time! I proceeded to use it on my two teenage girls, and all of us love how our hair turned out. So I would say if your hair is dry and lackluster, it is worth trying some form of a mayonnaise mask :-)

    • Could you tell me what you did after this mask- did you wash your hair with shampoo and conditioned with a regular conditioner?

    • Rin Dandelli, Dermatologist, MSc

      Jniefer, please write down which mayo do you use? It will be interesting to know what components has bio mayo.
      @A h . Using shampoo after mayo masks is obligatory, otherwise your hair will clump with grease

    • Rin Dandelli, Dermatologist, MSc

      Mayonnaise mask have effects on hair, but the idea of article is to use mayo without artificial additives

  4. i want to ask u mayonise ,which we get in local grocery contain salt in its ingredeint .so can u use it as hairconditioner or not .reply me asap

Leave A Reply