I Massaged 4 Tablespoons Of Ketchup Into My Scalp. Here’s What It Did To My Hair

by Ileana Paules-Bronet
Ileana is the Senior Editor of Branded Content at Wild Sky Media. She grew up in upstate New York and Oregon and now lives in Queens, NY. Ileana graduated from Skidmore College with a degree in sociology. After graduating, she attended the Columbia Publishing Course in New York City, then worked as in marketing at Oxford University Press. Since transitioning to editorial, she has written for BuzzFeed, HuffPost, and Woman's World. She has also worked for local newspapers and magazines in upstate New York. In her free time, you can find Ileana watching Law & Order: SVU, eating ice cream, and spending time with her dog.

Here at LittleThings, we love a good hair transformation.

Just days ago, we wrote about this hairstylist who gave a complete makeover to a depressed teen.

Usually, we cover dramatic hair transformations, but after seeing some simpler hair transformations, I decided it was time for me to try my own hair makeover.

Here’s a little background on my hair: I started dying my hair red a few years ago and haven’t looked back since; my hair is relatively straight, but can also be kind of wavy; my hair gets pretty greasy; and my hair gets very frizzy (especially in the summer).

I mainly wanted to work on giving my hair some volume, decreasing its oiliness, sprucing up the color, and reducing frizz — that’s how I ended up deciding to dump ketchup all over my head.

To find out why I decided ketchup was the right choice for my hair, keep reading!

Potential Benefits Of Ketchup

ketchup hair wash
Ileana Paules-Bronet for LittleThings

Knowing that the key ingredients in ketchup are tomatoes and vinegar, I started looking at the benefits of those two components.

According to Fashionista, the acidity in tomatoes can help balance the pH levels in your hair, which makes it a great, natural color-corrector. If your dyed hair starts to look funky, your favorite condiment may be able help bring back its natural smell and color.

What’s more, we’ve all heard that old wives’ tale that claims a vinegar rinse on your hair can add volume, add shine, and detangle knots.

According to Teen Vogue, every word is true, and, lucky me, there’s lots of vinegar in ketchup.


hair ketchup
Ileana Paules-Bronet for LittleThings

I won’t lie to you — I’m not the biggest fan of ketchup. I very rarely put it on my food, which means I probably eat it about once a year.

Luckily, my boyfriend loves ketchup, so we had a large bottle in my fridge.

I wasn’t exactly looking forward to smearing the sticky red condiment in my hair, but with all the potential benefits, I convinced myself it would be worth it.

The Experiment

ketchup in hair
Ileana Paules-Bronet for LittleThings

Since I was just planning on using the ketchup as a one-time hair mask, I was hoping for some pretty drastic results.

I waited until my hair was pretty gross and greasy before using the DIY hair mask, hoping it would make the results more noticeable.

hair mask ketchup
Ileana Paules-Bronet for LittleThings

I figured I would be able to get away with using just a little bit of ketchup, but I found out pretty quickly that I’d need to use more than I expected.

Unlike shampoo, a little does not go a long way when it comes to ketchup. I ended up using about 4 tablespoons, or a quarter of a cup.

I rubbed the ketchup into my roots just like shampoo, focusing most on that area in order to increase volume, add color, and increase shine.

ketchup hotdog
Ileana Paules-Bronet for LittleThings

I decided to wait 15 minutes with the ketchup in my hair before rinsing it out, just to make sure I got the full benefits.

During this part of the experiment, I realized I should probably put ketchup on the ends of my hair as well, but I waited until I was in the shower so I wouldn’t make a mess.

Needless to say, I smelled pretty strong.

ketchup shower
Ileana Paules-Bronet for LittleThings

Finally, it was time to rinse the ketchup out of my hair.

Although my boyfriend told me the ketchup actually smelled good, I couldn’t get on board — I was pretty grossed out, honestly.

I was excited to wash my hair, but before it all came out, my shower turned into a disgusting ketchup steam bath.


ketchup hair before after
Ileana Paules-Bronet for LittleThings

I probably rinsed my hair four or five times while I was in the shower — I couldn’t deal with the idea of smelling like ketchup for the next day.

After I towel-dried my hair, I used my hair dryer to see what kind of results I got.

Unfortunately, I was not impressed.

greasy hair
Ileana Paules-Bronet for LittleThings

Although the vinegar was supposed to “clarify” my hair and get rid of oily buildup, it actually just felt more greasy than it had before I started.

As for the rest of my hair, I guess it had more volume, but it definitely wasn’t shinier or easier to deal with.

Ketchup Hair Mask: Final Thoughts

ketchup final thoughts
Ileana Paules-Bronet for LittleThings

To be quite frank, washing my hair with ketchup was a huge failure.

Would I recommend a ketchup hair mask to a friend? Probably not. I guess if you really like ketchup, you might enjoy it, but I don’t think it really has any benefits.

Would I use a ketchup hair mask again? There’s no way I’ll ever put ketchup in my hair again.

What do you think — would you wash your hair with ketchup? Please SHARE this article with your friends and family!