Why Your Hair Needs Slippery Elm: Hair and Scalp Benefits


Nature always has the answer, we just have to find them. And that is why we never tire of searching for answers to our Curly Haircare struggles in nature!
One such solution we have always loved from the onset is a Native American Medicine- The Slippery Elm, known scientifically as Ulmus rubra.

What is Slippery Elm?

Slippery elm is a type of elm tree native to North America. Its inner bark is harvested and used for various healing and medicinal purposes. When mixed with water, the inner bark forms a slick, gel-like substance, which is where it gets its name "slippery."

This gel is packed with nutrients and has a mucilaginous texture, making it a fantastic natural conditioner. Let's dive into why your hair needs slippery elm and how it can benefit both your scalp and hair.

5 Benefits of Slippery Elm for Hair and Scalp

1. Moisturizes and Conditions Hair

Slippery elm is rich in mucilage, a gelatinous substance that helps to coat and condition the hair. This natural conditioner can help to lock in moisture, making your hair feel softer and more manageable.

It’s particularly beneficial for those with dry, brittle, or curly hair, as it helps to combat frizz and adds a natural shine.

A study published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology highlights the moisturizing properties of mucilage found in slippery elm and other plants.

2. Soothes Scalp

The anti-inflammatory properties of slippery elm make it an excellent remedy for soothing an irritated or itchy scalp. Whether you suffer from dandruff, eczema, or psoriasis, applying slippery elm can help to calm inflammation and reduce discomfort.

Its soothing effect can also promote a healthier scalp environment, which is crucial for hair growth. Research in the Journal of Herbal Pharmacotherapy has documented the anti-inflammatory effects of slippery elm, supporting its use for skin and scalp conditions.

3. Promotes Hair Growth

A healthy scalp is the foundation for healthy hair growth and Slippery Elm provides essential nutrients & hydration to the scalp, helping to strengthen hair follicles. The improved scalp health naturally leads to better hair growth over time.

Additionally, studies have shown that mucilage-rich plants like slippery elm can enhance scalp health and promote hair growth by providing essential nutrients and hydration.

4. Improves Hair Elasticity

Hair elasticity is a key factor in preventing hair breakage. Hair with good elasticity can stretch and return to its original state without breaking.

The conditioning properties of slippery elm help to improve hair elasticity, making it more resilient and less prone to snapping under tension or during styling.

The conditioning effects of mucilage have been reported in several studies, including those published in the International Journal of Cosmetic Science

5. A Natural Detangler

The slippery texture of the elm bark gel makes it a fantastic natural detangler. It helps to smooth the hair cuticle, reducing friction between hair strands. This makes combing or brushing through your hair much easier and less damaging.

It's particularly useful for those with thick, curly, or kinky hair types that are prone to tangling. The detangling properties of mucilage are well-documented in traditional medicine literature and modern herbal studies.

Get your hair smoothly detangled, softened and protected with the New Marshmallow Root & Slippery Elm Pre-Shampoo Detangler

How to Use Slippery Elm in Your Haircare Routine

1. Slippery Elm as a Leave-in Conditioner: -

  • Mix a small amount of slippery elm gel with your favorite leave-in conditioner.
  • Apply to damp hair after washing and leave it in to provide ongoing moisture and protection.

2. As a Hair Mask: - 

  • Combine slippery elm powder with other nourishing ingredients like honey, coconut oil, or aloe vera.
  • Apply the mask to your hair and scalp, and cover with a shower cap.
  • Leave it on for at least 30 minutes before washing out with a gentle shampoo.

3. As a Natural Detangler: - Get maximum length retention especially after a protective style take down. Gently detangle with slippery elm.


Slippery elm is a versatile and beneficial ingredient for anyone looking to improve their hair and scalp health naturally. Its moisturizing, soothing, and detangling properties make it a must-have in your hair care arsenal.

By incorporating slippery elm into your routine, you can enjoy healthier, shinier, and more resilient hair.

So, next time you’re looking to give your hair a natural boost, reach for slippery elm and experience the difference it can make!

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