Theory tested: That molasses, specifically the Blackstrap variety, is chock full of nutrients and will help your hair to be stronger, healthier and shinier.
The idea from this test stemmed from the zany minds of my favorite DIY beauty guides but I had to make some slight tweaks to it. Their moisturizing hair mask calls for 100% pure maple syrup and all I have is Mrs. Butterworth’s, so, I looked in my cabinet for something equally sugary—a jar of molasses leftover from a recent baking spree was it. This was actually a serendipitous find; molasses is touted as a natural cure-all for multiple beauty woes including split ends, hyper-pigmentation, aging skin and irritated complexions. Most people, however, use molasses as a super moisturizing treatment for dry hair.
Products used: Grandma’s Original Molasses
Duration of test: 2 Days
Day 1: Based on all the hair mask recipes that I read (and what is recommended in The Beauty Cookbook for maple syrup), I decided to apply the molasses directly onto my dry, clean hair. Some recipes suggested heating the dark, sticky liquid in the microwave to ease in application but my hair is pretty sturdy so I slapped it on at room temperature—this proved to be a mistake.
Hanging my head over the bathtub, I poured the black gold directly onto my mane and attempted to work it through. Molasses, if you were wondering, is boiled down sugar cane and it turns out, boiled down sugar cane is incredibly sticky. It clung to each strand of my hair and was not moving. I was only able to pour enough on to encase every bit after separating my hair into thirds. I then wrapped my crown in plastic wrap carefully covering all the molasses (even as I am typing this, it sounds ridiculous) and waited for 30 minutes.
After a half an hour, I showered and shampooed with a gentle cleanser (think: baby shampoo) to properly remove the gunk from my hair without stripping the strands from any nutrients they may have sucked up in their 30-minute sugar bath. I conditioned and styled as usual. Once it was blown dry, I noticed my hair was a little softer than usual but not any more shiny.
Day 2: My hair had much more bounce than usual but was still not shinier. I visit the salon often enough that I don’t suffer from split-ends, so it is difficult to decide if the treatment made my hair stronger. One thing worth noting is that it was a cloudy, humid day and my normal frizz was absent for most of the day even though I spent a considerable amount of time outside
Conclusion: This is worth trying and I will definitely do this again. If you want to see for yourself, a few recommendations:
- For goodness sake, heat the molasses before using! You’ll save yourself and your scalp from a lot of annoyance (cool molasses pulls the hair). If you don’t want to heat it, some natural beauty sites recommend mixing the molasses with an egg/egg white, which may actually enhance the shine factor.
- Blackstrap molasses is supposed to be better for beauty purposes. Look for it at a health food store.
- Like Moroccan Oil, molasses may slightly tint your color with continued use. If that is what you are going for, consider this a benefit. If not, making a honey hair mask, which is thought to lighten hair, might be better.
- Realize that this is going to be messy and molasses smells a little smoky. Do not do this if you have somewhere to go right away.
- If you like to cook, keep a separate jug of molasses in the bathroom. Even if you are careful, this stuff is sticky and you will most likely get a hair in your molasses jar. Imagine how unpleasant it would be to offer your friends, family or co-workers some homemade gingersnaps and have them discover one of your hairs in it. No amount of bounce, shine or all around prettiness in your locks will make up for that.
Have any suggestions for a new test? Email me firstname.lastname@example.org!