What Is Hair Lotion?

Marjorie McAtee
Marjorie McAtee
Hair lotion may be used to treat dandruff.
Hair lotion may be used to treat dandruff.

Hair lotion is a hair styling product that is generally applied to the hair and left on. Its purpose is typically to moisturize the hair, although hair lotion can also be used to treat dry scalp, eczema, dermatitis, and other skin conditions affecting the scalp. Medicated hair lotions may also play a part in many hair-retention and hair-regeneration programs marketed for those suffering from hair loss. While a wide range of hair lotions and oils are available for sale, it is also fairly easy to make these products at home. They often contain simple, readily-available ingredients such as eggs, sugar, and vegetable oil.

Oil derived from a neem tree is often included in hair products.
Oil derived from a neem tree is often included in hair products.

The use of hair lotion is said to help keep hair hydrated, supple, and soft. Many people use hair lotion in an attempt to repair damage sustained after exposure to heat, chemicals, or UVA/UVB rays. Manufacturers typically claim that these products can restore the natural balance of oils to the hair and encourage hair to grow more rapidly. Additional claims often include protection from skin irritations on the scalp and elimination or reduction of dandruff flakes.

The use of hair lotion is said to help keep hair hydrated, supple, and soft.
The use of hair lotion is said to help keep hair hydrated, supple, and soft.

Most products marketed as hair lotion are oil-based. Castor oil, neem oil, and olive oil are considered beneficial for topical application to the hair. These products often also contain additional ingredients intended to support the health of both the hair and the scalp. The use of botanical extracts to enhance the effects of commercial hair lotions is considered quite popular. Extracts of chamomile, burdock, rosemary, henna, and other herbs are often added to commercial hair lotions to soothe the skin, enhance the color and appearance of hair, support adequate blood circulation in the scalp, and promote increased hair growth.

Medicated hair lotions may help with hair retention.
Medicated hair lotions may help with hair retention.

Many people make their own hair oils and lotions in the home. Since these products often contain few ingredients, they are generally very simple to create at home. Most homemade hair lotion recipes call for a base of olive or vegetable oil. Additional ingredients are often chosen based on the effect desired from the finished product.

Eggs are considered a popular ingredient in homemade hair lotions, because they are known for enhancing hair's softness and shine. Some people may forgo eggs, and instead apply a mixture of olive oil and honey to the hair. Lotions containing eggs or honey are typically left on the hair for a period of time, usually about an hour. The lotion is then normally washed out.

Other lotions, however, can be left in the hair until the next shampoo. Some people apply sugar water as hair lotion, due to the perceived moisturizing benefits of the sugar. Others apply homemade infusions of nettles, rosemary, or other herbs.

Can You Put Lotion in Your Hair?

Hair lotion helps moisturize and repair hair.
Hair lotion helps moisturize and repair hair.

Many products designed for use on your hair, such as conditioner and styling creams, contain some of the same ingredients as standard body lotion. These products may differ slightly in their formulas, but both generally contain ingredients that are designed to soften, smooth, and strengthen both skin and hair cells. In fact, many people swear by their use of body lotion as an all-over treatment to both moisturize their skin and their hair with just a single product.

Hair lotions containing eggs are generally rinsed out of the hair after an hour or more.
Hair lotions containing eggs are generally rinsed out of the hair after an hour or more.

Body lotion can make for a handy substitute for hair styling when hair lotion isn’t an option, but not all body lotions are suitable for use on your hair. It’s a good idea to take into consideration the ingredients in any product that you put on your hair, as well as your hair type, needs, and texture. Just as with hair lotions, not all body lotion formulas will support your unique hair type and care requirements. While you can put many lotions in your hair, it’s best to stick to storebought products and homemade options that are guaranteed to be safe and effective for your mane.

Is Lotion Good for Your Hair?

Some sunbathers use hair lotion to protect their hair from the sun's damaging UVA and UVB rays.
Some sunbathers use hair lotion to protect their hair from the sun's damaging UVA and UVB rays.

As long as your hair and scalp don’t have any major sensitivities or conditions, hair lotion is nearly always guaranteed to be safe for your hair. Body lotion, on the other hand, may exacerbate some common hair conditions, such as dandruff, greasy scalp, hair loss, itchiness, or breakage.

Some of the ingredients in body lotion may affect your hair by weakening color deposits, over-moisturizing to the point of oil or grease buildup, breaking down the integrity of your hair, or irritating your scalp. Body lotions that contain certain mineral oils, for example, do not penetrate your hair strands to moisturize them. Instead, they can act as a product barrier that other moisturizing solutions cannot pass through, leaving your hair dry and dehydrated. This is especially detrimental for those with curly, coarse, or dry hair types.

Hair lotion, especially formulas that aim to protect and moisturize your strands, can go a long way in supporting the health of your hair. A closer look at the ingredient list of any lotions, whether designed for your hair or body, should reveal whether the product is good for your hair. There are body lotions and hair lotions that are appropriate for use on both your skin and hair, as these products are made without harmful or damaging ingredients. Always look at the label before applying anything to your hair.

Even lotions that could cause harm over time may be okay to use once in a while when hair lotion is not available, but it’s far better to be safe than sorry and apply only solutions you are certain will benefit your hair.

What Causes Dry or Damaged Hair?

Your scalp produces oils that naturally moisturize and protect your hair, but several lifestyle, environmental, genetic, and behavioral factors that can increase or decrease your hair’s needs. Often, your body’s natural moisturizing systems can produce too much or too little to keep up with the effects of overwashing, temperature changes, and normal styling routines.

Some people are a lot more susceptible to dryness and breakage, including curly or coarse hair types. People with dry hair tend to experience more frizziness, dullness, or damage because the hair strands lack adequate protection within the shingle-like cuticles that shield your hair from the elements. When these cuticles are compromised, your hair may struggle to hold on to moisture.

Your hair may also be much drier if you:

  • reside in a hot, dry climate or if you spend a great deal of time in the sun, 
  • use heat, chemicals, and harsh products to style or color your hair,
  • regularly swim in chlorinated or salty water, 
  • or have health conditions that cause a dry scalp.

Dry hair may also be a symptom of a more serious health condition, especially if it is accompanied by other symptoms. Make an appointment with your doctor if you also experience fatigue, frequent chills, or hair loss.

How Can Lotion Protect Your Hair?

Not only can hair lotion add much-needed moisture to your strands, but these products can also contain deep conditioners and much-needed vitamins and minerals to strengthen and fortify your hair. As well, hair lotions can remedy the effects of overstyling and overwashing, adding moisture and heat-protectants that act as a chemical shield to prevent unnecessary heat damage. From mild moisturizers to strong heat-protecting products, hair lotion can preserve your hair color, treat dandruff, and prevent your hair from developing long-term damage to keep it shiny and healthy.

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Discussion Comments

anon990844

@Friststepha. Try this, wash hair then towel dry. Choose a hair conditioner that you do like (no use if you don't like the smell) . Pour about a penny-sized blob onto your palm and rub between palms just a little (no use moisturizing your hands only, is it?) and now rub it into your hair length and into the tip/end of your hair. You may repeat this with the same small amounts as to complete your own hair coverage.

When you apply this to your hair, you must not rub into your scalp at all; you are, in fact, avoiding the scalp. The idea is to only apply the minimum amount of conditioner possible. The reason is that you are not going to wash it out as you usually would do. This would not cause your hair to become lank as the case of your coarse dryness at present.

So now, you may gently scrunch your conditioner through your hair then leave in or comb it with a wide-toothed comb. After that, you can leave it to dry naturally (if it's summer or warm enough to) or part dry on a cool heat with hair dryer, leaving the hair slightly damp. You will find it seems bouncier maybe and fresher with this kind treatment. In between hair washes, you may spray your hair with a plastic spray bottle (bought almost anywhere) containing cool/cold water; you could just fill with tap water. Spray enough to just dampen your hair while gently scrunching hair with your fingers. Once damp, apply a penny-sized blob of conditioner once again to your palm and this time use your fingertips of the other hand to dip into the blob and then pinch the conditioner through and into your hair. Add more accordingly, making sure you only use enough to treat very lightly. Scrunch through your hair gently with your fingertips and allow yourself to enjoy getting to know your hair. Over time (not overnight completely) your hair will improve and soften into “calm” curls. This treatment is a bit easier that making portions and convenient/quicker so can be used more often. Once hair is improved over time you may like to use it a bit less.

Another treatment you could try at home is: 1 tablespoon honey and 1 tablespoon olive oil. (Or add more accordingly, keeping to the same ratio). Warm these two ingredients together and apply to damp hair, massage through hair and scalp. Wrap a good amount of cling film around your head/hair to cover and seal, then leave it to condition for one hour. Remove and wash your hair as normal. You could use this maybe once a week or/as you like to. Or you may like to use it once a month along with the above other treatment. I hope you find this suggestion helpful to your own decision and also you could still add a beaten egg to honey/oil portion as an on and off treatment. Anyway, good luck! --Georgina N.

Fristepha
My hair is very curly and gets insanely dry and tangled in the winter. It’s so unbearable most of the time that I hate the idea of even trying to get a brush through it. I’ve tried a lot of detanglers and hot oil treatments to help with the dryness, but it doesn’t seem to work. I’m contemplating making my own hair remedy, and I’ve heard great things about both eggs and honey for increasing shine and overall hair health.

Does anyone have any homemade hair lotion recipes that treat dry, easily tangled hair? Do you recommend heating the honey up a bit before putting it on the hair, similar to a hot oil treatment? Are there any essential oils that I can put into a lotion that will add moisture to my poor parched hair?

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    • Hair lotion may be used to treat dandruff.
      By: Jasmin Merdan
      Hair lotion may be used to treat dandruff.
    • Oil derived from a neem tree is often included in hair products.
      By: Unclesam
      Oil derived from a neem tree is often included in hair products.
    • The use of hair lotion is said to help keep hair hydrated, supple, and soft.
      By: Africa Studio
      The use of hair lotion is said to help keep hair hydrated, supple, and soft.
    • Medicated hair lotions may help with hair retention.
      By: diego cervo
      Medicated hair lotions may help with hair retention.
    • Hair lotion helps moisturize and repair hair.
      By: Miramiska
      Hair lotion helps moisturize and repair hair.
    • Hair lotions containing eggs are generally rinsed out of the hair after an hour or more.
      By: Roman Gorielov
      Hair lotions containing eggs are generally rinsed out of the hair after an hour or more.
    • Some sunbathers use hair lotion to protect their hair from the sun's damaging UVA and UVB rays.
      By: Antonioguillem
      Some sunbathers use hair lotion to protect their hair from the sun's damaging UVA and UVB rays.