View Full Version : Egg shampoo-- how does it work?

Gnarly Cranium
February 14th, 2006, 07:44 AM
I've been digging around the internet for hours trying to figure out just how and WHY raw eggs manage to clean anything.

All I've managed to come up with is something about eggs having lecithin (whatever that does), something about them being an emulsifier, and something about the proteins in the egg having hydrophilic and hydrophobic ends-- which sounds almost like the way a detergent works, but I can't find any specifics about it, or the whys behind why adding vinegar helps.

I've been washing with eggs for about a month now, just to see what would happen, and it seems to work very well. I can get my hair quite clean with eggs-- almost too clean in some cases-- though if I have enough oil in my hair they don't quite manage to get it all out, and then I end up with nasty dandruff.

Any science whizzes out there or trivia buffs who've come across a page that gets into more depth on this?

I'm thinking of doing an experiment of going back to some cones, and trying to figure out if egg will successfully wash them out.

Tai Shan Fan
February 14th, 2006, 07:53 AM
Warning: this is an unqualified response. I've never tried using egg 'poo and never researched it, but...
Could the oil/fat content in the yolk act as a solvent for the greese and scalp gunk?

I use the OCM for my face and oil cuts oil no mistake and this certainly cleanses my skin very well. (I use jojoba btw). I wonder if the yolk acts in a similar way.

February 14th, 2006, 10:25 AM
Yes, eggs behave just the way a detergent does. TheaEvanda goes into a little more detail in her egg shampoo post, here (

I just did an egg wash last night. Aren't they neat? :grin:

Love Long Hair
February 14th, 2006, 10:46 AM
i have a question could you get protein build up from it or since it is 100% natural not?

February 14th, 2006, 12:01 PM
i have a question could you get protein build up from it or since it is 100% natural not?
The last time I did egg shampoos, I experienced a bit of build-up, but that was due more to residue because it wasn't rinsing away enough. Now, I'm using an herbal rinse after(not quite perfected yet), and that has taken care of the residue.

I have never experienced the kind of protein overload that makes hair crunchy, though. I'm just guessing here, but since the protein in egg is whole protein, as opposed to the hydrolysed protein in hair care products, I don't think it will affect the hair as much and cause the crunchies.

Love Long Hair
February 14th, 2006, 12:21 PM
thank you. my hair i finally figured out toward less protein is better but not none altogether.

perhaps natural protein for me would be better and save me a dollar here and there never hurts as well.

Gnarly Cranium
February 14th, 2006, 03:27 PM
I've seen it said several times that basically the proteins in egg are 'too big' and can't bond to the hair like the hydrolyzed stuff does. Haven't dug into that yet, been trying to figure out the washing part.

Okay! Been burying myself in google researching this for a couple hours, here's what I've got:

The ingredient responsible for the washing action of eggs is lecithin (about 9% of the egg yolk).

Lecithin (usually derived from soy) is used in many cosmetic products, and gets listed as all sorts of things-- moisturizer, emollient, emulsifier, water-binding agent, fatty acid, waxy oil, antioxidant, etc etc. It can increase the absorption of other ingredients THROUGH the skin as well, it gets used for topical delivery of medicine... though that property could be a problem if it's being used in a hair or skin product with lots of preservatives!

Lecithin is an important substance found in nearly all cells-- and its function in the body is the same as what it's doing in my hair!! Lecithin makes cholesterol soluble in water-- keeps it from solidifying in arteries-- and just like there's a lot of cholesterol in eggs, there's a lot of lecithin in there. (after all baby chickens don't have heart attacks before they hatch-- the balance is such that eggs are actually pretty good for you!)

I found a page that said "The chemical structure of lecithin and the electrical charges it carries give it powerful detergent action. It is able to emulsify oils and hold them in solution. It also acts as a surfactant..."

So I looked that up. Turns out lecithin is an ionic surfactant-- specifically, an amphoteric surfactant. (sulfates are anionic, while the surfactants in conditioner are non-ionic)

This cosmetic ingredients defining page ( says this:

"Amphoteric Surfactants - Those in which the active molecule bears both positive and negative charges. Their properties depend upon th pH of the system and they may behave like anionics or cationics. Some of the finest amphoterics are used in shampoo systems formulated for dry or chemically treated hair due to their mildness and light conditioning properties."

(other amphoteric surfactants used in hair products include cocamidopropyl betaine, disodium cocoamphodiacetate, and lauroamphoacetate)

Amphoteric Surfactants range from anionic to zwitteronic to cationic as pH drops. (Cationic surfactants are what's in most fabric softeners). The behavior at the zwitteronic point is more or less like a non-ionic surfactant. So, since we want a mildly acid pH in what we put on our hair, and often add vinegar to the shampoo for just that, then probably lecithin's behavior would be somewhere between non-ionic and cationic, depending on lecithin's specific point of transition. (could that mean it's also anti-static at that point, like the fabric softeners? ooh! must research this!)

Still haven't gotten to my other question, will eggs remove silicones? ..but I'll keep digging.

Interesting side tidbit: (This page ( is very interesting-- it talks about different surfactants, and then goes into detail on the possibilities of using non-ionic detergents for washing clothes... heh basically like switching to CO for your laundry! Ever notice that it's the natural fibers that need dry cleaning??)

February 14th, 2006, 05:02 PM
The incredible, edible egg. </commercial> :wink:

Lady Snowflake
February 14th, 2006, 08:11 PM
Can I ask what egg shampoo recipe you're using? Does it contain vinegar? I've never done an egg shampoo without vinegar, and was wondering if it works just as good without.:smile:

February 14th, 2006, 08:20 PM
Can I ask what egg shampoo recipe you're using? Does it contain vinegar? I've never done an egg shampoo without vinegar, and was wondering if it works just as good without.:smile:
There's a link in my signature to a whole thread full of recipes that different people came up with. Right now, I'm doing a very simple one: 1 egg beaten very well with 2 Tablespoons of water. This is enough to wash my scalp area with just enough running down the length, as with regular shampoo. :smile:

Gnarly Cranium
February 14th, 2006, 08:32 PM
Usually my recipe goes like this:

1 egg
1 tsp ACV
1/2oz aloe
1/2oz honey
assorted EOs like tea tree and lavender

Final amount of that recipe about 3 oz, juuust enough for my hair. I apply on dry hair, scalp and all. I usually clip it up and let it sit for 30min-1hr. Haven't worked out yet how much time it needs. Scooping it onto my head from a bowl was very messy, so I pour it into a little squeezy bottle with oz measurements on the side. It smells almost edible. Almost. (tea tree oil makes it a bit funky)

I haven't tried it without ACV. The base pH of eggs is alkaline, and in an alkaline solution the lecithin will behave differently, though I'm not sure just how. The ACV does definitely seem to make the mixture more liquid, the egg isn't as gooey.

I've added several teaspoons of henna to the mix for a glossing, left it in overnight, and it rinsed out just fine (no way to tell if there was any color deposited, as my hair is black). Did notice some nice smoothing from the henna but I've only had enough to try that a couple times.

I've also added a bit of coconut oil, but I have yet to work out how much it can take before it overwhelms the cleaning. At 3 or 4 teaspoons of oil (some of it a pre-wash oiling, some added directly to the recipe) my hair didn't get clean, but that may have just been insufficient rinsing. When it's not rinsed well enough, I get heavy dandruff very quickly. (This week my scalp seems calmer than usual since I started COing. ...course, egg shampooing isn't exactly COing... EOing? heheh)

With no added oil, it gets my hair very very clean, enough that it gets sortof annoyingly fuzzy and light, and my braids get all muppet-like. ...Like right now. *points at fuzzies on my head*

Lady Snowflake
February 16th, 2006, 08:17 AM
Thank you, Flaxen and Gnarly, for your links and recipes!:grin: