Can potato starch straighten your hair?

Haleigh’s hair hope: Okay someone told me that if I took the juice from a potato and let it sit in my hair that it would straighten it. Does this work?

The Left Brain’s stiff response:

Like I said when I blogged about using coffee to color hair, I love questions like this that can be answered by conducting an experiment. And while this question might sound silly question to some people, there actually is some science behind using potatoes for hair styling.

Stiff not straight

First of all, you should realize that only chemical treatments like relaxers can truly, permanently “straighten” hair that is really kinky or wavy. But styling products like gels and hairsprays can coat the hair and provide a temporary straightening effect by making the fibers stiff.

Starting with starch

Potatoes are rich in vegetable starch, the same kind of chemical that is used in laundry to stiffen fibers. So, it stands to reason that potato juice could be used on your hair to provide a stiffening effect much like a hair gel.

I illustrated this effect with a simple experiment. I took a regular potato and chopped it up on a blender with a cup of water. This released the water-soluble starches in the potato which I then I filtered off and collected. The result was a cloudy, yellow solution. I then dipped a hair tress into this starch solution and let it dry over night.

Here is a picture of the hair before applying the starch…

and another one after the starch has dried…

As you can see, the starch has made the hair much straighter and stiffer. While this proves potato starch CAN work on your hair, it doesn’t prove that it’s very good. The feel on the hair is terrible because the starch leaves it feeling heavy and sticky. Potato juice is NOT a practical way to straighten your hair.

The Beauty Brains bottom line

Potato juice can straighten your hair. But it doesn’t work nearly as well as styling products that are formulated specifically for that purpose. If you want to learn more, read our post on the 7 Sure Ways To Straighten Your Hair.

What do YOU think? Have you ever used vegetables or other food on your hair? Leave a comment for the rest of the Beauty Brains community, we’re hungry to know more.