You may recall “curds and whey” from your childhood, but there’s more to curd than old nursery rhymes.

Curd itself is made from curdled milk and combined with plant acids, which is in turn more acidic than other milk products like yogurt. Nutritionally speaking, curd is a good source of protein and calcium, while also providing potassium, magnesium, and vitamin A.

While curd can be incorporated into a balanced diet to get the nutrients you need for healthy hair, some people also apply curd directly to the scalp. This is done to treat scalp conditions like dandruff more directly, as well as to help soften and strengthen the cuticle.

While more studies are needed to back the efficacy of curd for hair health, there are some potential benefits to consider discussing with a dermatologist.

While certain nutrients in curd may help promote overall hair health, the concrete links between curd and its benefits for hair aren’t so clear. Still, there are those who say curd has the following purported benefits.

Dandruff control

It’s said that hair health starts at the scalp, and for good reason — this is where your hair forms within the follicles underneath your skin. Dandruff is one scalp issue that can eventually affect your hair health.

Some claim that curd is a natural anti-dandruff product due to its anti-inflammatory properties. You may also see curd touted as being antimicrobial to help treat scalp infections.

Hair growth

Besides a healthy scalp, your hair relies on strength to remain intact so it can grow properly. To that end, some believe curd may help promote hair growth.

It’s thought that B vitamins are partially credited here, as they can promote stronger hair growth at a faster rate. Biotin (vitamin B-7) in particular is credited with the promotion of hair growth, along with other ingredients found in milk products, such as zinc.

Hair softening

Perhaps one of the more credible claims surrounding curd and hair health is the product’s ability to soften and moisturize your hair. You may also notice reduced frizz.

While no studies have linked curd with treating hair damage, another milk product, yogurt, has been used as a traditional Middle Eastern remedy for both damage and to increase growth.

While curd could potentially moisturize your hair and increase overall manageability, it’s important to be aware of the potential side effects, including:

  • allergic reactions, especially if you have a milk allergy
  • greasy hair and scalp
  • unpleasant smell

To test your skin, do a patch test of curd on your inner elbow and wait 30 minutes to see if the skin becomes inflamed before applying it to your scalp.

The key to reaping the purported benefits of curd is to combine it with other known healthy hair ingredients.

Curd hair mask

Perhaps the most reported way to use curd in your hair is in a hair mask. The curd is combined with other natural ingredients, such as honey, olive oil, or aloe vera.

Other plant-based oils have the potential to work with curd to moisturize your hair, including:

Fatty ingredients, such as eggs, mayonnaise, and avocados may also help reduce frizz.

Once you have your mask mixed together, apply it evenly to your hair. Place a shower cap on your head and let the mixture sit for 30 minutes. Rinse out before continuing with your shampoo and conditioner routine.

Curd scalp treatment

If you’re looking to treat dandruff and other scalp issues, you can combine curd with a small amount of plant acids. Possible combinations include curd and lemon, or curd and apple cider vinegar. Apply directly to the scalp and let it sit for a few minutes before rinsing out.

It’s also important to note that traditional curd is prepared with lemon juice or vinegar, making the product acidic already. Check the ingredient label carefully when buying prepared curd.

When making your own hair mask, consider looking for curd at a local health food store.

Curd shouldn’t be confused with yogurt. Both are made with milk, but yogurt is partially made with the help of healthy bacteria. Also, while plain yogurt may also be used in your hair as a mask, it doesn’t contain the lactic acid that curd has.

Curd contains nutrients that could potentially help scalp conditions and moisturize and strengthen your hair. Still, these benefits are anecdotal at best, as there are no available long-term studies on the use of curds for scalp and hair health.

Talk to a dermatologist if you have any ongoing scalp and hair health concerns.