Egg yolks contain essential vitamins (A,D, E, B9, B12, B6, K etc) minerals (sodium, potassium, calcium, iron, phosphorus etc), fats (saturate, mono-unsaturated, poly-unsaturated, cholesterol) and protein. Only about ½ of the egg yolk is protein. So egg yolks have multiple benefits when used on the hair.
- Egg yolks (number will depend on length of hair). Two yolks were just about enough for my 9 inches of hair.
- Oil (as much as you like. More oil equals oilier mix). I used ½ a cup of the alma oil (which I have since re-infused into the growth blend)
- Vinegar – Less is truly more here. I used ½ a teaspoon but a full teaspoon would have been better. ½ teaspoon brought ph to 5. The more vinegar used the more acidic. Keep in mind Ph is linear. Lemon juice is another choice to lower ph.
- Additives – Honey, glycerine, Shea water soluble …any of these will work. Aloe Vera juice, tea etc will make the mix too runny.
How to make and use the egg yolk mask:
- Begin by tempering the yolks with a little oil. Mix thoroughly after each hit and continue adding small amounts of oil. Once the mix begins to thicken, you can increase the oil in moderation. If you have a steady hand, simultaneously trickle the oil and keep mixing.
- Apply as you would any protein mask. Depending on how much oil you use, hair might fee slightly oily after rinsing. This works for me because I the oil creates great slip for detangling. It’s also great if you are into oil rinsing. If you hate oil, use more egg yolks and cut the oil in half.
- Leave in the hair as long as you like. Do not sit under the dryer or rinse with hot water unless you plan on making an egg yolk omelet on your hair.
- The mask will slightly harden on the hair so make sure you co-wash or deep condition with a moisturizing conditioner afterwards. I co-washed with V05 Shea Cashmere (which I swear by). Repeat the same process when you feel a protein treatment is needed. That’s anywhere from 8 to 24 weeks for my hair with more treatments in the winter than summer.
Egg yolk protein vs. Keratin Protein
As all proteins, egg yolk is comprised of amino acids groups of amine and carboxylic acid. The side chains of egg yolks are different from those of keratin because each of these proteins are created for very different purposes – egg yolk is meant to feed an embryo while keratin is meant to create fibers (hair, skin, hooves, nails, beaks etc). Protein folding (the process by which a protein structure assumes its functional shape) is a critical difference between the yolk and keratin. Between the eggshell and egg white is a transparent protein membrane partially made of the same keratin that makes up our hair.
So why use egg yolks for hair?
Yolks are fat rich. Our hair naturally has lipids in the strands constantly replenished by the sebaceous glands. The lipids (fancy word for molecules containing sterols, saturated and unsaturated fats as well as fat-soluble vitamins) in yolks naturally replenish the strand. Lipids are the glue of the cortex and cuticle, which gives protein fibers making up the hair strands strong cohesion.
The protein (amino acids carboxylic acid and amine) in egg yolk is very similar in structure to the protein that makes up our hair and therefore a strong reinforcement especially in cases on natural wear and tear of the hair strands.
Egg yolks are rich in lethicin, a moisturizing emulsifier that binds the mask to the hair strands.
Eggs are high in sulfur because large amounts of the element are necessary for feather formation. This sulfur content fortifies the strands di-sulphide bonds, which give our hair its strength.
Between the eggshell and egg white is a transparent protein membrane partially made of the same keratin that makes up our hair. Even though this amount is insufficient to have a major impact on hair (unless you use a gazillion eggs), it makes the case for eggs as a strengthening mask.
Egg yolks will give hair a wonderful shine, probably because the strands absorb so much goodness.
IMPORTANT: This mask will not make your hair grow (sad truth is nothing really can do that, short of a change in genealogy) but it will fortify existing hair strands so they are stronger and more resilient.