More Than Skin Deep: Eggs and hair are not the same

Just when I think I’ve seen it all, here comes Dr. Oz with a demonstration about how a flat iron can damage the hair.


As he is cracking an egg on the flat iron, he explains how an egg is the same chemical makeup as hair, both having protein and water, and an outer shell. Then he leaves the egg sitting on the 400-degree flat iron while it actually cooks into a fried egg.

The problem with this presentation is that, although both the egg and hair have proteins, the protein in the egg is of a globular shape, and the protein in hair is a rod-like shape. The two are nothing alike.

This is why if you crack an egg on your head – thinking the protein is going to be absorbed into the hair – you will end up with nothing more than an egg sitting on top of your head. It will rinse right off.

The shell of an egg and the cuticle of the hair are both responsible for holding in the water of each, but they are very different in composition. Even if they were the same, the shell of the egg was not present during the frying process. It was cracked and discarded, leaving the inside of the egg to fend for itself.

I don’t normally watch daytime TV, so I could not understand the reason for the misrepresentation.

Nowhere during this demonstration does anyone mention that the proper way to use a flat iron is to slide it quickly over the hair, instead of holding it in one place while your hair burns up.

At the end of the segment, an attractive woman with very nice, straight hair shows up with some well-known products to use for protection from the iron, such as a “leave-in” serum.

Unless your hair is truly made of straw, any serum product that the user “leaves in” will tend to leave a greasy look to the finished style. Instead of protecting the hair from the flat iron, the oil-like product swells the hair when heat is applied. When shampooed the next time, the hair feels worse than ever.

I’m not saying that the doctor is wrong. It’s just that the dramatization is a bit misleading to the public. If he had placed the egg in its shell on the flat iron, the results would have been much different.

Another way to simulate what really takes place would have been to take a piece of actual hair and pass it though the flat iron while looking under a microscope. You would see a strand of relatively healthy looking hair with the cuticle layer pressed neatly shut. But that wouldn’t sell hair products as well as making breakfast on a flat iron.

Some things that seem to make sense during a sales pitch really don’t make any since at all. I have seen a lot of bad hair come into my salon over the years, but as of yet, I don’t recall any of it looking like scrambled eggs.

TIP OF THE WEEK: Any styling tool, flat iron, blow dryer, curling iron, hot roller, will damage the hair. But with the right shampoo and conditioner, it will be just fine.