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How honey helps hair

Ally asks: I have heard that honey will make your hair shiny and add moisture. And that it is a good alternative to ‘cones in conditioners. Does it really moisturize?

The Right Brain responds:

Ally, we’ve blogged before about the beneficial antibacterial properties of honey for your skin. But what about honey for hair? Good question!

Honey honey

Honey is a humectant, which means that it holds on to water molecules. This is a desirable property in a moisturizer, especially for skin. But unlike skin, hair is not alive and it doesn’t need as much moisture. What it does need is something to smooth the cuticle so the hair feels soft and looks shiny.

Sugar sugar

Unfortunately honey is not a good lubricant, so it doesn’t make hair slippery and smooth. In fact, it’s the opposite of slippery– it’s sticky because it’s basically a sugary solution. (Rub some between your fingers and you’ll see!) So it will not smooth your cuticles or help a comb pass through your hair without damaging it. So any moisture-grabbing benefits that honey might give your hair are off set by it’s stickiness.

The Beauty Brains bottom line:

There are plenty of honey based hair care products on the market but we’ve never seen any that use honey at effective levels for moisturization. Silicones are better for that purpose, even though people think ‘cones are bad for hair.

What do YOU think? Is honey an effective natural shine agent or just more marketing hype?