Medically reviewed by Katelyn Hagerty, FNP
Written by Our Editorial Team
Last updated 1/24/2022
Mayonnaise. Avocado. Olive oil. Honey. No, that’s not someone’s grocery list — though it certainly could be. Those are ingredients people often use for DIY hair masks to encourage shiny hair or healthy hair. Another ingredient to add to that list: Yogurt.
This popular (and nutritious) breakfast food is packed with nutrients, protein and probiotics and it is rumored to boost hair and scalp health.
Intrigued? Keep reading to find out if the rumors are true.
Anecdotally, people say that applying a yogurt hair mask (literally just applying yogurt as if it were a hair mask) can soften tresses and help rehydrate dry hair. It’s even a popular at-home remedy for hair growth in the Middle East.
But it’s important to know that there are no studies to prove this to be true.
So, why might people think it can do these things? Well, some of the components that make up yogurt have been found to have hair benefits when digested.
A study done in 2017 of 60 men between the ages of 18 and 60 found that 10 grams of Lactobacillus paracasei, a probiotic found in many yogurts, when consumed daily, significantly reduced moderate dandruff.
It’s worth pointing out this study was about eating yogurt (not using it as a hair mask) and was done on men.
In another study from 2013, probiotic yogurt was given to mice and it was found to improve hair growth and shine. Again, this was performed on mice — not humans.
Another reason that people may think yogurt is good for hair has to do with its protein content. Some yogurts (specifically Greek yogurt) are high in protein.
Your hair is made out of protein, so the assumption here is that adding a high-protein hair mask could strengthen strands.
However, it’s important to note that there’s no real research to back up this assumption — none that we could find, anyway.
The truth is, there’s just not enough proof to determine if applying a yogurt hair mask will move the needle when it comes to hair health.
That said, it likely won’t damage hair, so if you’d like to try it — go right ahead. Want some options that have a bit more research to back them up? We’ve got you covered.
Minoxidil comes in strengths from 2% or 5%, and is applied as either a foam or a topical solution.
Though no one fully understands how it works, it’s thought that it boosts blood flow to areas of hair loss, which then allows more nutrients and oxygen to help out your hair follicles.
It is also thought to extend your growth period, so hair grows for a longer time to replace any hair you are losing.
Hers has options that are also formulated to address any hair loss you may be dealing with and it will leave you with shiny hair.
Other things that can help address dryness:
Keep your hair tools on their lowest setting
Skip heat styling on some days to keep hair healthy
Avoid washing with hot water and try cool water or lukewarm water instead
Be gentle when combing damp hair and applying hair care products
Use a deep conditioning hair mask once a week as part of your hair care routine
Add more time between relaxing or dying your hair to avoid hair damage and encourage shiny hair
Biotin, a B vitamin, is thought to promote healthy tresses and turn around dull hair in instances where a biotin deficiency is present.
It’s found naturally in many foods, such as eggs, milk and bananas. But you can also find it in supplement form.
One study found that taking a supplement containing biotin encouraged faster hair growth in those experiencing thinning hair.
If you want to try a plain yogurt hair mask, go ahead and rub a cup of yogurt on those strands!
There’s really no harm in trying one of these DIY yogurt hair masks and there’s some anecdotal evidence it may help with damaged hair, moisture and shine.
Just know this: there’s no scientific proof that it will give you strong hair — or that it does any of these things when applied topically.
That said, there are some small studies (some of which were done on animals) that show ingesting yogurt may help with a flaky scalp and may boost shine.
Thankfully, there are a variety of other things you can do to help your hair strands look their best.
From using a prescription medication (like minoxidil) to switching to a hydrating shampoo and conditioner (these can boost shine and manage frizzy hair) to trying some supplements, there’s plenty out there to experiment with.
It’s also worth saying that if you’re not feeling confident in your hair, your trusted healthcare provider may also be worth reaching out to for advice.
They’ll be able to help you sort out any underlying issues holding you back from having the hair you deserve.
Try one at a time, or go all-in with them all — whatever you choose, healthy, normal hair is definitely in our future.