3 Haitian Traditional Secrets for Longer Hair

Recently, there have been whispers amongst the blogosphere claiming that Haitian women may have a secret related to maintaining long natural hair. I even found one comment that said Haitian 4c hair may even be somehow different because it shrinks less and is not so dry. While some attribute longer hair or hair with more luster to the tropical climate or diet, I focused my investigation on whether there are any traditional methods and products common among Haitians that may have a scientific benefit.

1. Moelle de Boeuf (Bone Marrow)

bone marrow hair product
Yes, I will start off with one that on the surface appears quite odd. Moelle de boeuf is French for bone marrow. There are tales of grandmothers stirring up bone soup , cooling it down to allow the beef jelly to form and adding that to oil to create a hair and skin moisturizer. Commercially, there are hairdressing pomades available with the highlighted ingredient moelle de boeuf. So, what is this miracle ingredient? Well, beef jelly derived from bone marrow is essentially gelatin! Commercially, gelatin is produced from boiling bones much like the grandma story! Gelatin is hydrolyzed protein and therefore can both strengthen and moisturize hair.

2. L’huile mascreti (Haitian Castor Oil)

haitian castor oil
Apparently almost every Haitian will have seen or used L’huile mascreti which is Haitian castor oil. It can be cold pressed with a yellow color or indeed have ash added to make it Haitian black castor oil. Most reviews that I have seen do say that the genuine article is supposed to have a really strong smell (some say stink) and therefore recommend adding an essential oil. If you are a fan of castor oil then this may be a variation that you may choose to try. As is common with castor oil, there are many who say it can help hair regrow (no hard evidence) as well as serve as a thick sealing oil for longer lasting moisture (definitely likely).

3. Nighttime Routine

Moving away from products and going to methods there is a rather common night time tradition of braiding hair rather than sleeping with hair loose in Haitian culture. Some may choose to moisturize and use l’huile mascreti in the process, while others just detangle lightly and create 8-10 braids. It is common knowledge, especially if your hair is fine, kinky,long or dense that compacting it in a braid or twist before sleeping will reduce tangling in the morning. You can also utilise the process to create a fresh braid or twist out. Scientifically, the less mechanical damage your hair experiences, the more likely it is to still be on your head for years to come.

Any Haitian ladies out there? What hair care secrets were you taught growing up? If you’re not Haitian, feel free to share your cultural background and what you were taught about maintaining natural hair!

The Natural Haven

The Natural Haven

Scientist on a hairy mission!


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89 thoughts on “3 Haitian Traditional Secrets for Longer Hair

  1. Why would hatain people even try to give an american person “our hair secrets” when MOST black people dont even ecept us…

    • Why make a comment like that? people from Brazil ,Haiti,Jamaican,anywhere in Africa,Dark skinned people from India etc. Are black people just different culture,food, language but Europeans still see you all as BLACK people. No pun intended.


    • The only hair “secret” I see here is the contribution of tropical climate &”bone marrow” = Moisture Protein Balance. Girl Bye
      Acting like people in the Islands dont like yall

      • Acting like people all over the WORLD don’t like y’all. Don’t blame US because everybody looks down on Black Americans.

        • Oh yeah and all the fish you eat in your culture which is a big contribution in omega and other nutients which is essential for hair and nail growth. Acting like y’all haven’t BEEN fleeing that island of yours. Don’t blame us or nobody wanting you in their country.

      • The blogger did absolutely NO RESEARCH none whatsoever. There is way more to the Haircare practices of the Haitian people than what this article mentions. I’ll come back and elaborate at another time; but most (in addition to practices of other cultures) are being implemented in the Haircare practices shared in the Online Haircare Community in recent years.

    • I’m so done. I doubt they don’t except you but if there is cause for prejudice i can garentee it’s because the lot of this country is so far out of the wester social norms people dont even know what to do w/ yall.

  2. I am Haitian, when I was a kid my mom used to use castor oil in the hair but mostly on the scalp for better hydration. I had a head of hair before deciding to relax it. Leaving the hair alone was a good method my mom did as when you touch the hair too much, it dries up and fall…..good luck to you guys out there

    • I agree with Rody. Out of my 4 sisters, I have the longest hair cause I was tender headed and therefore my mom would only do my hair every Sunday as oppose to every day. Best advice is to leave your hair ALONE. Products are just added bonus, eat healthy and exercise. Your hair will produce it’s own oils!

  3. I’m in the Midwest and a proud Black American with ties to Mississippi. I was raised by my Grandma and always had a decent length of hair. We used similar products based on the ingredients listed above and I wore plenty of Anna Mae/ Ceily braids growing. My friends were from all cultures including Hatian but never noticed any real difference in their hair lengths. I started doing my own hair at 10 including relaxing, curling and styling. Therefore, I paid attention to everyone’s hair. If you take care of your hair, it will grow regardless of what type of Black person you are. My friends with the longest hair had Mississippi slave ancestors just like I did and some of the ones who didn’t have hair had ancestors from other Black cultures outside of the 48 ccontiguous U. S. states. In fact sometimes it would cause some jealousy because in their head, they were supposed to be “the prettier” one with the long hair. This article ‘sorta’ perpetuates the cycle of superiority that other black folks feel over Black Americans, when we were all using the same type of products with different names.

  4. I am Haitian, Dominican, and “black” (african american) . Because the Africana was more dominant in me than the Hispanic my mother and grandmother gave me oil massages every night and I got the middle of my hair braided in loose cornrows and the perimeter of my head done in plaits every night. My mother put my hair in plaits and shells everyday for school. I also got my hair washed only on Wednesdays and Saturdays ( a regimen i still follow ) and my grandmother gave me a hot oil like treatment on Sundays. But because my mother’s mom was Dominican my hair wasnt as kinky as my other family members so it didn’t require as much detangling and attention 24/7 . But I did participate in a lot of outdoor activities and school sports which reqduire me to drink a lot of water. Also I always atr some kind of food that provided protein daily like peanuts and I drank a lot of green smoothies and things like such. Because of my healthy body and hair routine my hair is now a little past waist length but I plan on getting it cut soon.

    • My good friend, Haitians are black than a mother..and have the nappiest hair ever. Dominicans are black too but most tend to have less black in them, but they DO have african ancestry like all blacks…they just hate to admit it…african americans are no different.. they are black too, meaning they have africa ancestry. Actually, african american is an incorrect term. its stupid and should be done away with. they are simply american. race and ethnicity are two different things. being from haiti, dominican republic or united states means absolutely nothing but where you were born. There was no need to put black in quotations as if being haitian is not black. You my dear are black, black and black some more. You just had long thick nappy hair. a good number of black women have this world wide especially west of the atlantic. I hate it when people say I am not black I am haitian..its like what..too me that is so stupid and you should stop doing it. You are just a black woman. And your parents took really good care of your hair when you were a kid. That is a blessing because most black people due to self esteem issues hate their natural nappy hair and do things that result in life long damage. keep up the good work and continue to inspire others

  5. I’m 11 years old and because of self esteem and bullying I begged my mom to perm my hair straight. Right now my hair feels like it’s getting longer and suddenly falling out. I’ve never heard of any ‘Haitian Hair Secrets’ since I’m Haitian. My hair is the same length as it was before and it’s confusing me because I expected it to be longer. Anyone have any tips?

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