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Cholesterol is a fatty substance that plays an important role in certain areas of the body, including the skin and hair.

Cholesterol is a waxy, fatty substance present in many animals, including humans. People can also use this substance in external treatments for areas such as the body and hair.

Cholesterol treatments may help seal the hair and protect it from damage or give a more natural look to damaged, overprocessed hair.

This article discusses cholesterol, its potential benefits for hair, homemade hair treatments, and some products that contain cholesterol.

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The body uses cholesterol in several key internal functions, such as building cell walls and making hormones. As research from 2019 notes, cholesterol is particularly important to tissues in the skin and hair to keep these cells healthy.

Many people are familiar with high cholesterol and its potential negative effects. High cholesterol may put a person at risk of heart disease, as it may build up on the walls of blood vessels.

The body makes all the cholesterol it needs, so it is not necessary to consume any sources of cholesterol. However, external sources of cholesterol may have some important uses, including for the hair.

The body uses cholesterol to build certain parts of the hair and skin cells. These areas, called keratinocyte membranes, are sensitive to external and environmental factors.

Cholesterol is 1 of 3 types of fatty lipids in the hair. The other lipid types in the hair are ceramides and 18-methyl eicosanoic acid (MEA).

MEA is a lipid substance that helps provide a barrier to the hair and keep the hairs together naturally. Some cholesterol products may also contain these or similar ingredients to support their functions.

Cholesterol treatments may help by repairing the hair and adding a protective layer to it, which may have a few of the following uses.

Repairing overworked hair

For people who regularly get hair treatments that involve heat, dyes, or chemicals, these processes may leave their hair overworked or damaged.

Some research suggests that unregulated heat may affect the structures of the hair cells and cause long-term damage to hair fibers. Certain grooming processes may strip the hair’s natural protection, weaken and erode the hair cuticle, and make the hair prone to damage.

Damaged hair may be dry and have a coarse, brittle feel. A cholesterol treatment may help repair the hair and give it a more natural, healthy look.

Softening the hair

Cholesterol treatments help soften their hair. The cholesterol may help improve damaged or overworked hair or help soften dry hair types by adding a protective layer to the hair strands.

Hydrating the hair

Whether due to overwashing, using too many products, or simply having a dry hair type, people with dry hair may find that cholesterol treatments help.

These treatments give the hair a more hydrated feel by adding extra lipids and fats to the hair.

Adding shine

Damaged hair may be dull and have an unhealthy look. Cholesterol treatments may help restore a natural shine to the hair.

Helping the cuticle lie flat

The hair’s cuticle may start to open or fray in response to damage, giving the hair a frizzy look.

Adding lipids such as cholesterol and 18-MEA may help restore the barrier in the hair and help the cuticle lie flat, giving it a more natural look.

A person may also benefit from making their own remedy at home. For example, mayonnaise treatment is one option that a person can try. The section below looks at how to use this treatment at home and how it might benefit the hair.

How to try mayonnaise treatment

Mayonnaise treatment may help add cholesterol to the hair. Mayonnaise contains egg yolks, which are rich in cholesterol, vinegar, and other acids to lower the pH.

To try this treatment:

  1. Work the mayonnaise into the hair from the scalp to the ends of the hair.
  2. Cover the hair with a cap, and allow it to sit for 20–30 minutes.
  3. Rinse the hair, then wash it as usual.

If a person does not have mayonnaise, using eggs themselves may have a similar effect. Beating two eggs and applying the mix to the hair, in the same way, may help the cholesterol get into the hair.

It is important to remember that everyone’s hair reacts differently to treatments. Some people may also not enjoy the smell of mayonnaise treatments or eggs.

Others may find that it causes hygral fatigue if the hair is over moisturized. This occurs when the hair cuticles swell and contract excessively, which happens due to the constant application of water. As a result, hair strands weaken and eventually break. People should ensure that their hair contains enough protein to counteract this.

Many products on the market may have similar effects as cholesterol treatments. Individual products or treatments that aim to rehydrate or deeply condition the hair may use similar ingredients.

Cholesterol is just one type of lipid that a product may include. Others include:

  • waxy ceramides
  • 18-MEA
  • plant extracts
  • essential oils

Products may contain any or all of these lipids and other ingredients to help improve hair health.

Some deep conditioning products, such as those that professional stylists use, contain similar ingredients. They may also contain other ingredients, such as proteins, to help strengthen the hair.

Hair products containing cholesterol are available to purchase online here.

Choosing a product over a homemade treatment may come down to personal preference and what works best for each person’s hair.

Hair types and an individual’s hair needs can vary based on genes. For example, people from Africa tend to have stronger hair that contains more oil and takes up less water than the hair of Asian or Caucasian people. These factors can affect how hair responds to treatment, and many products may target people with specific hair types.

Other factors, such as the environment and various hair treatments, may also play a role.

Some people may want the trust that comes with a professional product and reach for their trusted names instead of trying homemade cholesterol treatments. Also, those who avoid animal products may not want to use cholesterol hair products for ethical reasons.

Cholesterol treatments tend to be more cost effective than some professional products and deep conditioning treatments. Cholesterol products are relatively inexpensive but may be similarly effective.

Use any product as the label recommends. Although many similar products may not interact with each other, it may be best to try them separately to help identify what works best in each case.

There are several alternative homemade remedies that do not contain cholesterol. However, they do contain other vitamins and minerals that are important for hair health. The sections below look at some alternative treatments in more detail.

Avocado treatment

Avocado contains vitamins A and E and some key minerals, which people can use to nourish, moisturize, and strengthen their hair.

To try this treatment, mix a thoroughly smashed avocado with some acidity, such as lemon juice or apple cider vinegar, then apply it to the hair in the same manner as the mayonnaise treatment.

Hot oil treatment

Hot oil treatments may help some people replenish and rejuvenate their hair. These are typically specific products that are designed to heat up the oil and apply it to the hair.

People can also make their own heated oil treatment using household oils such as:

  • coconut oil
  • olive oil
  • jojoba oil
  • avocado oil

Oil does not contain cholesterol but using hot oil treatments may help replenish damaged hair. The heat may have a soothing effect while helping work into the hair shaft to control the appearance of damage.

To try this treatment:

  1. Apply the warmed oil to the hair right after washing it.
  2. Put a cap on the hair, and allow it to sit.
  3. Condition the hair as usual, then rinse.

Some hot oil treatments may also recommend overnight use for deeper conditioning. Even with a cap on, it still may be best to use a towel or cloth on the pillow when using an overnight oil treatment. This helps prevent staining and damage.

Learn more about alternative home remedies for the hair here.

Cholesterol hair treatments are a relatively cost effective way for some people to bring moisture and protection back to damaged or overworked hair.

However, finding a suitable cholesterol treatment for a person’s hair may take some trial and error and involve finding out how often they should use the product.

Some people may benefit more from a cholesterol treatment if they have dry hair. Others may not need to use this type of treatment as often if their hair is healthy.

People should always use these treatments with caution. Having too much moisture in the hair can cause it to become overhydrated.