honey cleansing hair

The use of hon­ey in hair care is not new at all. Many nat­u­rals are already famil­iar with the humec­tant, mix­ing it into home­made con­di­tion­ers and hair care prod­ucts. But hon­ey as a sort of sham­poo!?! Now this use is not dis­cussed as much.

I first learned of hon­ey as a cleanser, a cou­ple years ago, when I read this arti­cle on Con­fes­sion­so­fa­BlogVix­en detail­ing the facial rou­tine of mod­el Dominique Stro­man (pic­tured below). What she uses to cleanse her face are hon­ey and brown sug­ar mixed togeth­er as a scrub fol­lowed by lemon juice as a ton­er. Her skin is gor­geous, so what can I say? Appar­ent­ly hon­ey is work­ing for her (and it has also worked for women ages before our time). If hon­ey can do no wrong as a gen­tle facial cleanser, per­haps it could do no wrong as a gen­tle hair cleanser?

dominique stroman skin
Dominique Stro­man

My “hon­ey sham­poo” expe­ri­ence: The cleans­ing

After read­ing a few recipes for a hon­ey “sham­poo”, I mixed up my own to try for myself. I poured approx­i­mate­ly 1 part organ­ic hon­ey and 2–3 parts water into an appli­ca­tor bot­tle and shook the mix­ture vig­or­ous­ly. Then I used it (on wet hair) as I would my reg­u­lar dilut­ed sham­poo mix.

honey cleansing
[LEFT] The home­made cleanser. [RIGHT] Prod­uct gunk — con­di­tion­er, dirt — after wash­ing with the cleanser.
What was my first impres­sion? Well, there was no lath­er (lath­er makes me feel like my hair is actu­al­ly get­ting clean), but there was some lev­el of cleans­ing hap­pen­ing. As I rinsed the solu­tion from my hair and scalp, I saw the oh so rec­og­niz­able “prod­uct gunk” run­ning off my hair into the tub. (This was one week’s worth of gunk.) Now, grant­ed this was less gunk than I’m used to see­ing with my reg­u­lar sham­poo, but it was still gunk nonethe­less. I was actu­al­ly quite impressed.

The expe­ri­ence con­tin­ued: Soft hair, too!

After rins­ing and blot­ting with a tow­el, my hair was incred­i­bly soft, which was an unin­tend­ed byprod­uct of the cleans­ing. It was easy to sep­a­rate and detan­gle as well as very hydrat­ed and smooth to the touch. I was dou­bly impressed!

In sum­ma­ry: Does it real­ly work?

While I found no con­crete research on hon­ey as an effec­tive cleanser, there are stud­ies that sup­port its antibac­te­r­i­al and heal­ing properties[1, 2, 3], espe­cial­ly with regard to manu­ka hon­ey and med­ical-grade hon­ey on wound care. Addi­tion­al­ly, a review of hon­ey in skin/hair care shares that adding this sub­stance to a sham­poo “has been report­ed to con­fer abun­dance to hairs (i.e., the hairs are less like­ly to hang togeth­er), lubri­cate, and make comb­ing easier[3]”. It is also appar­ent that the use of hon­ey in der­ma­tol­ogy is “under­go­ing con­sid­er­able expansion[3].”

Giv­en my cleans­ing tri­al, I’d say that using hon­ey as a “sham­poo” is very sim­i­lar to using a cleans­ing con­di­tion­er. There is a gen­tle lev­el of cleans­ing that is ide­al for times when you don’t want to strip your hair of all its oils. It also leaves the hair feel­ing soft and hydrat­ed (which are prop­er­ties of humec­tants) mak­ing the hair more pli­able for sub­se­quent seal­ing and styling. How­ev­er, when you do have major prod­uct buildup that you want to elim­i­nate, then I’d rec­om­mend using an actu­al sham­poo, instead.

More recipes for hon­ey sham­poo

In my search for recipes, I found these three to be the most inter­est­ing, in case you’d like to try out hon­ey cleans­ing for your­self. Keep in mind that the type of hon­ey (manu­ka, refined vs. pure, etc.) does mat­ter. Also, I high­ly rec­om­mend mak­ing enough for just one use or, at the very least, stor­ing the remain­der in your fridge:


3 tbsp fil­tered water
1 tbsp raw hon­ey
few drops of essen­tial oil (option­al)

Instruc­tions: Mix togeth­er thor­ough­ly, wet hair, mas­sage mix­ture into hair, then rinse out com­plete­ly. (Recipe Source)


1/2 cup castile soap
3/4 cup raw hon­ey
1/4 cup African black soap (or just more castile soap)
1 tbsp apple cider vine­gar
1 tsp sweet orange essen­tial oil
1 tsp vanil­la essen­tial oil

Instruc­tions: Mix togeth­er thor­ough­ly, wet hair, mas­sage mix­ture into hair, then rinse out com­plete­ly. (Recipe Source)


1/4 cup of pure aloe gel
2 tbsp pure hon­ey

Instruc­tions: Mix togeth­er thor­ough­ly, wet hair, leave mix­ture on hair for a few min­utes, then rinse out com­plete­ly. (Recipe Source)

[1]Carnwath R, Gra­ham EM, Reynolds K, Pol­lock PJ. “The antimi­cro­bial activ­i­ty of hon­ey against com­mon equine wound bac­te­r­i­al iso­lates.” Vet J. 2014 Jan;199(1):110–4.
[2] Al-Waili N, Salom K, Al-Gham­di AA. “Hon­ey for wound heal­ing, ulcers, and burns; data sup­port­ing its use in clin­i­cal prac­tice.” Sci­en­tif­ic World Jour­nal. 2011 Apr 5;11:766–87.
[3]Burlando B, Cornara L. “Hon­ey in der­ma­tol­ogy and skin care: a review.” J Cos­met Der­ma­tol. 2013 Dec;12(4):306–13.

Have you tried hon­ey cleans­ing?  If so, what has been your expe­ri­ence?


Empow­er­ing women of col­or to break bar­ri­ers. Cherish.Thy.Melanin. https://cherishthymelanin.com/

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20 Comments on "My Experience using Honey to Shampoo My Hair + 3 Homemade Honey Shampoo Recipes"

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Jumily Myrim Pascual

This is a great arti­cle!!! I use hon­ey for hair,face and bodyscrubs :-)…and I am a licensed eses­theti­cian. Apple cider vine­gar works bet­ter ay remov­ing build up. Check out my blog for some post on nat­ur­al skin care rou­tines http://www.janeybloggins.blogspot.com


I used hon­ey and coconut oil as a deep con­di­tion­er once ( heat­ed it up) when I rinsed my hair was mois­tur­ized ad soft but the next day my hair was extreme­ly dry! Do you guys think the hon­ey did this? Oh and after­wards I did my leave in con­di­tion­er oils and but­ters.

Black Daria

IMO that’s the coconut oil.
Try to mix hon­ey with a dif­fer­ent oil, same ratios and you will imme­di­ate­ly find out who’s the guilty one.
Hon­ey + avo­ca­do oil.
If same results, try black molasses + coconut oil.

Nickell Hall

I use to use plain hon­ey to main­tain my locks many years ago. I have seb­or­rhea der­mati­tis and dur­ing those years my scalp was the health­i­est it has ever been. My hair was absolute­ly gor­geous! Thanks for this arti­cle. I will be revis­it­ing using hon­ey again as a cleanser!

Jen. Miller

Yes, yes, and YES!! My hair LOVES hon­ey… I’m find­ing more and more nat­u­rals who are embrac­ing hon­ey in their reg­i­men too. Loves!! Here is a link to the arti­cle I wrote about my expe­ri­ence with hon­ey as a cow­ash: http://www.thelittleinjenthatcould.com/honey-cowash/

Miss T

Has any­one used hon­ey as a leave in or mixed into their leave in hair prod­ucts?


I haven’t used it as a leave in though there are com­pa­nies that use hon­ey in their leave-in prod­ucts like Oyin and Qhemet. I think it would need to be dilut­ed. Just like you won’t apply just glyc­erin with­out mix­ing with water etc. Hon­ey is a humec­tant so it will attract mois­ture…

I still wouldn’t use just hon­ey as a leave-in because I would wor­ry that the smell may attract bugs or become sticky if I didn’t por­tion out cor­rect­ly. Just my two cents :)


Great Arti­cle! I used Hon­ey for the whole month of June and half of July and my hair changed tremen­dous­ly. It is so soft and detan­gling is a breeze! I used the Aloe recipe you list­ed, but I added 2 tsp. of Unfil­tered Apple Cider Vine­gar. Even though I’m no longer using it (until I can buy more) my hair is still soft and detan­gling is the eas­i­est task.


The only thing I’d wor­ry about with the usage of hon­ey is the spoil­ing. It is, after all, a food prod­uct. I might con­sid­er adding a lit­tle bit to my hair prod­ucts that already have preser­v­a­tives in them and are meant to be washed out. What do you all think?

Snow Bunny-Rebel

Hon­ey itself does not spoil. How­ev­er, mix­ing it with water will cause it spoil, no mat­ter how pure the water. That’s why the author of this blog said to mix enough for one use. You can also store the mix­ture in the fridge but that might cause some brrrrrr in the show­er! My daugh­ter has been using hon­ey instead of sham­poo for quite some time and her hair is so beau­ti­ful. Her curls are more defined. We are Cau­casian but have very curly hair. Back in the day, my broth­er had a ‘fro to rival Bil­ly Preston’s, tho light blonde :)


Hon­ey doesn’t spoil


I add honey/raw hon­ey to my con­di­tion­er all the time. I mix them togeth­er in a bowl with oils, add to my hair, then rinse out. It works great.



Miss Elisa K.

I’ve been using hon­ey for awhile. That added into my pre-poos with dai­ly coconut oil use real­ly made my hair grow pret­ty long in a year after I big chopped. Hon­ey is the bomb dot com.

The One

My issue with using hon­ey as a cleanser is the sug­ar residue that might be left in your hair after­wards. I’d be afraid that cleans­ing with any sug­ar-based prod­uct could lead to scalp yeast infec­tions (it hap­pens, look it up). That’s the rea­son that years ago I start­ed lim­it­ing the use of hon­ey in my hair prod­ucts even though it’s a great preser­v­a­tive and emul­si­fi­er.


Hmm, nev­er thought about that. Do you think do a a ACV rinse after using hon­ey sham­poo would keep that in check?


Might start adding hon­ey to my face mud mask (rhas­soul + jojo­ba oil). I also use hon­ey as a deep con­di­tion­er and I love it! I usu­al­ly mix it with kaolin clay which is gen­tle and can help cleanse the hair. Maybe next time, I’ll skip my sham­poo and see how it works. Thanks!

P.S. My clay and hon­ey recipes: http://puffpuffpoof.wordpress.com/?s=honey


Hmm. Impres­sive.

Nah nev­er tried hon­ey cleans­ing but now you men­tioned, I might give it a try.