Single Ingredient Spotlight: Marshmallow Root

This week we focus on marshmallow root on our hair! This is another humectant. I had originally planned on only spotlighting one humectant but in looking further into different humectants I wanted to see if there was much of a difference between them since so many are used at once at times in certain products. Turns out there can be big difference in what they do to our hair.

Marshmallow root is a film forming humectant, similar to flax seed or slippery elm. I had read some articles cite aloe vera as a film forming humectant but in my mind it isn’t the same as the others. Even marshmallow root, compared to slippery elm or flax seed didn’t have a much of a film. Aloe is very watery, marshmallow root, once it was in the stated I applied it to my hair, was also watery but did have a little bit of a slip feeling to it. Meaning it was a little slippery in my hands. Marshmallow root is often used in detanglers due to its slip. A popular detangler being Knot Today by Kinky Curly.

Marshmallow Root Recipe

I picked up a small bag of marshmallow root at my local healthy food store. It was about $3.00. I brought about 2 cups of water to boil and then I added 4 tablespoons of the marshmallow root (all shown in demo in video linked above). I let this boil for about 20 minutes. I kept waiting for a gooey texture but none really developed. I noticed my water getting lower so I took it took the heat and let it cool. I then used a strainer to separate out the root. What I was left with was a about 1/2 cup of brown looking water.

Hair Application

After my hair was washed and conditioner and got out of the shower as normal with my hair detangled and ready for product. I was afraid it would be difficult to evenly disperse the product because it was so watery so I diluted the 1/2 cup marshmallow root water into a spray bottle that had about 1/2 cup water in it. I spritzed my hair all over, scrunched, and then I continued to spritz and scrunch until I used the entire bottle. I wanted to be sure I had enough of the product in my hair. It was hard to tell because it didn’t leave any kind of feeling in my hair. I had errands to run so I let my hair air dry.




To the left is my hair fully dry after scrunching and fluffing. You can see my hair is more defined, has little frizz and is lacking some volume. This left my hair feeling soft and shiny. I was really impressed because I wasn’t confident that I would be able to tell anything was in my hair. I was also surprised in how it fared compared to the aloe vera. Aloe left my hair with volume and definitely frizz. Even though this was aIMG_3794 humectant as well, it left my hair soft and defined. Neither left any residue even into the second day. The picture to the right is my hair on the second day. I did not sleep my my hair in a pineapple. I spritzed my hair with the same water and marshmallow root water mixture. I used just enough to get my hair damp, scrunched, and then let it to air dry. By the time I arrived to work this is what it looked like. By the end of this day, similar to when I used the aloe alone, my hair got throw up into a messy bun.

While these are great products to use, even as a second day refresher, they obviously lack the long term hold needed to get to 3 and 4 day hair.



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