Milk: The Ultimate Hair Strengthener 

The health and beauty benefits of animal milks don’t need the USDA stamp of approval. It’s been common knowledge throughout the planet since man domesticated animals. So, milk — raw, processed or dry — has always been a crucial ingredient in beauty care.

Whole milk, cream and buttermilk  provide whey protein, casein protein, calcium and fats that support hair health.  Goat’s milk is rich in fatty acids and triglycerides. Add honey as a natural humectant to any of these milks and you’ve got a nourishing hair food.

Whole Milk and Cream


James Mburu milks his cows in Nairobi’s Dandora neighbourhood. He said he earns enough income from the sale of milk to provide for his family. [Bosire Boniface/Sabahi] Courtesy of

According to a food analysis of milk at Oregon state University, milk straight out of the cow has a pH of 6.6 before processing. After processing, store-bought milk that has been pasteurized (to kill harmful bacteria) and homogenized (preventing the milk from “creaming”) has a pH of 4.6 which is close to the average pH of human hair and skin.  Try this basic hair wash recipe by Fustany:

1 Cup Whole Milk

1 to 2 TBS Honey

Saturate hair from roots to tip. Cover with a plastic cap for 15 or more minutes. Co-wash or shampoo and condition. For curly, kinky coily hair textures (3c, 4a, 4b, 4c), add more honey and leave the mixture in for 30 minutes.

You can also use a mixture of dry whole milk and a few teaspoons of water or aloe vera juice to make a creamier consistency.

Cream is raw milk that has been allowed to thicken over time. Milk fat globules coalesce and rise to the top in a thick, frothy cream. Because cream is fat-rich, it makes a wonderful conditioning cleanser for dry hair. Substitute it for milk in a conditioning hair mask.


buttermilk in glass

According to a 2007 University of Cincinnati Clermont College Biology and Chemistry course lesson “Making Buttermilk,” buttermilk should coat the glass.

Buttermilk is the result of clabbering. Clabbered milk is raw milk left to stand, sour and thicken for 24 to 48 hours. During that time, milk sugar or lactose develops a bacteria called Lactobacillus and metabolizes the sugar into lactic acid. That acid lowers the pH.

Moreover, goat’s milk is rich in calcium, vitamin B12 and riboflavin, according to Beauty and Personal Grooming.

Try this common buttermilk conditioning mask recipe:

1/4 cup buttermilk

1/2 cup whole fat plain yogurt

1 egg yolk

Optional: 1 tsp coconut oil and/or 3 to 4 drops of essential oil such of grapefruit, sage or nettle

Goat‘s Milk

Photo Credit goats and sheeps image by Lemonade from

Photo Credit goats and sheeps image by Lemonade from

Legend has it that Queen Cleopatra owed her exquisite beauty to regular goat’s milk baths and beauty treatments. That’s probably because goat’s milk is fattier than cow’s milk, according to N101: Nutrition, Health & Sport.

powderedgoatsmilkLike cow’s milk, goat’s milk protein contains roughly 80% casein and 20% whey. But, its protein smaller fibers allow them to penetrate the hair’s cuticle — it’s scaly outer layer. According to, goat’s milk is also rich in vitamin A, D, choline, potassium, calcium and other hair-supporting minerals.

Here’s a creamy conditioner/mask inspired by using dry goat milk:

1/4 cup dry goat’s milk

2 or more tsp distilled water or aloe vera juice

1 to 2 TBS honey

Gradually add liquid to the dry milk until it becomes a cream. Add honey. For dry and damaged hair add a tsp of olive or coconut oil. Section and apply to pre-rinsed or damp hair. Cover with a plastic cap and leave in at least 45 minutes to 1 hour, 15 to 30 minutes for straight, wavy and oily hair types. Rinse, co-wash and condition as usual.


Additional Sources:

“Benefits of Goat’s Milk Acknowledged by Cosmetics Industry,” Ameanne DeJohn,

“Goat’s Milk is More Beneficial Than Cow’s Milk, Study Suggests,” Science Daily,

“Physical-chemical characteristics and fatty acids composition in dairy goat milk in response to roughage diet,” Scielo Brasil,

“Comparative Determination of Biochemical Constituents between Animals

(Goat, Sheep, Cow and Camel) Milk with Human Milk,” Research Journal of Recent Sciences,