The virtues and benefits of honey have long been heralded by philosophers, scientists and not to mention Winnie the Pooh. Over the ages, healing with honey — apitherapy — was touted in Greek, Roman and Islamic text, as a universal medicine, improving the immune system as well as enhancing physical stamina and mental alertness. Lately, though, aside from its superfood stature and prolific use in cosmetics and skin care, the beauty world has been waxing prolific about the pluses of honey for our hair.
To find out what this buzz is all about, I sought the insights of David Wolfe, renowned authority on health and beauty, author of Eating for Beauty and a beekeeper extraordinaire. Indeed, David’s hives on the north shore of Kauai, Hawaii, produce an amazing enzyme and mineral-rich beauty food, what he calls Black Gold Honey.
What to look for in honey
According to David, look for wild, raw, unprocessed honeys. The selection of pollens available to bees in a natural environment produce such varieties as Manuka or Pohutakawa that are darker and richer in essential nutrients than the cultivated ones.
"Honey is also a humectant," David advises. "It attracts moisture from the air. This hygroscopic property, along with its antibacterial, emollient and softening properties make it ideal for hair and scalp care." Furthermore, it seals the moisture in to protect the tresses, keeping them moist and full bodied, hydrated, shiny and nourished.
Make your own honey recipes
For effective, do-it-yourself hair conditioners, David shared three of his personal recipes:
Apply a simple honey mask to your hair before you wash it. Simply take a dollop of honey straight from the jar and gently work it into your hair starting from the ends and working up to the scalp. Leave in for 10 to 30 minutes before showering.
Mix a teaspoon of honey to a quart of warm spring water. Washing your hair with this liquid makes it soft and smooth. Gently pour over your scalp and hair as the final step in your shower. This is a great formula to repair damaged hair or eliminate long-term shampoo buildup.
For super-deep conditioning, try David’s avocado olive oil honey conditioner. You’ll need 1 avocado (must be soft and ripe), 2 to 3 tablespoons of wild honey and 2 to 3 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil.
Open the avocado, remove the pit, and completely mash it in a bowl. Add the honey and olive oil. Use a small blender (e.g. The NutriBullet) to thoroughly emulsify all the ingredients into a smooth texture.
Apply this mixture to your hair. Leave on your hair for 30 to 60 minutes. Use a shower cap if necessary to contain your hair and the ingredients. Rinse all the ingredients out with warm water. (You may have to change the ratio of the three ingredients to suit your hair type. Experiment and make changes to the recipe if necessary.
For ready-made honey hair products that sooth and nourish hair, try Organic Doctor Organic Manuka Honey Shampoo and Organic Manuka Honey Conditioner.
More hair care
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How to determine your hair is dry
Natural cooking oils that make amazing hair products