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How Can Beer Help Your Hair?

beer mugs
September 8, 2013 Reviewed by admin 17 Comments

Is using beer on your hair something that only Birkenstock-wearing nature enthusiasts and barefoot hippies do during their once-weekly baths, or could it be an accessible, affordable hair remedy for the rest of us? Beer hair is actually not a bad look. I know first-hand from a college party long ago, when my head got a spontaneous keg shower. The next morning, I awoke to find shiny, healthy-looking hair...far from the sticky, hard mess that accompanies an inadvertent hair dip in my cocktail. What is it about beer that may benefit your hair?

Besides getting compliments on your luscious locks from beer goggle-wearing guys in bars, there might be much more that beer can do for the well-being of your hair. As we discovered with the effects of beer on skin, there are special components within beer that are better for your body than any old carbonated beverage. When you soak, rinse, or spritz your hair with beer, its natural ingredients coat each strand and lend hair-nourishing benefits. In addition to B vitamins, the proteins found in malt and hops are said to repair damaged hair and boost overall body. Meanwhile, the maltose and sucrose sugars in beer tighten the hair's cuticles for enhanced shine.

Although it is debatable whether the corn, rice, or wheat protein in beer can actually deposit on your hair to form a strengthening film, there is no question that it makes hair seem thicker. This effect may be attributed to the proteins left on the hair fiber, though beer also seems to slightly swell the hair shaft. Ideal for fine hair, an at-home beer solution is an economical alternative to the $20-40 thickening tonics on the market, since it kills two birds with one stone- adding extra volume while at the same time coating the cuticles with shine. When experimenting with beer as a hair product, it is recommended to use traditional brewed beer made from hops to maximize nutrients and minimize chemicals (since most commercial beers are loaded with stuff you probably shouldn't be putting in your body, let alone your hair).

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If you'd prefer to pay someone else to package your beer in a hair preparation, there are more than enough products to choose from in the haircare market. Lush makes an entirely vegan Cynthia Sylvia shampoo composed of organic Irish stout and lemons for smoothing cuticles and boosting volume. Formulated for fine or fragile hair, Logona Volume Honey Beer Shampoo touts beer as its second ingredient. The South Korean Skinfood Hop Beer Hair Wash & Conditioner combines beer ingredients with copper peptide, vitamin-H, and herbal extracts to clarify the hair and prevent hair loss.

As you can see from the mixed bag of promises boasted by these beer-wielding hair products, there is no single function that beer performs. Its benefits depend on hair type and condition. If you feel a kinship with the back-to-nature hair washing types or just want to get some use out of undrinkable beer, have a go with one of the following recipes for beer-based hair treatments:

Beer Shampoo: 1 cup mild shampoo, 1/4 cup boiled beer- Start with 1.5 cup beer before boiling and let it cool to room temperature. Though the alcohol in beer has cleansing properties, combining it with shampoo goes beyond just removing dirt and grease to improve the hair's overall status.

Beer Conditioner: 1 cup warm beer (preferably mildly scented), 1 tsp jojoba oil- Follow up your regular shampoo with this natural, non-greasy conditioner. The beer adds body while jojoba oil adds shine.

Beer & Cider Vinegar Rinse: 1 oz water, 2 tsp cider vinegar, 1 oz flat beer, 5 drops rosemary essential oil- Rub this solution through your hair after shampooing to remove build-up from hair products.

Last night, I put the Beer & Cider Vinegar Rinse to the test. Though I feared that my head would reek of stale beer afterward, I instead woke up to find shiny, bouncy tresses with barely a tinge of scent (which came from the rosemary). Over the past few weeks, I had noticed the presence of something weighing down my hair and leaving a cap of grease. This treatment banished all traces of that mysterious something, though I probably have to thank the cider vinegar just as much as the beer.

If you've ever come across a skunky six pack in the back of your fridge or accidentally opened a warm beer, now you know what to do with it. Beer treatments are better suited for oily hair than color-treated or moisture-sapped hair, since they tend to leave a dry but healthy feeling. Beer is no substitute for traditional shampoo and conditioner, and it certainly won't win you any friends when used alone. But as an occasional clarifying rinse for fine or limp hair, beer can hold its liquor.

See also:

Boardwalk Empire Prohibition Party: The Beauty Benefits of Beer

Can Beer Improve Your Skin?

Make Your Own Moisturizing Beer Mask

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  • August 15, 2017

    by Matthew

    People need to know to evaporate the alcohol away from the beer before using it on hair. Heat up to 180 deg for 5 to 10 minutes, do not boil. I use Heineken and seierra Nevada Torpedo mixed with dr bronners mint liquid soap as shampoo and body wash, just make sure if you use pure Castile soap to wash your hair that you use in acidic rinse after words like citrus conditioner or diluted apple cider vinegar. Just make sure if you use pure Castile soap to wash your hair that you use in acidic rinse after words like citrus conditioner or diluted apple cider vinegar and yes nonalcoholic beer still has the proteins from the malts and oil's from the hops in it so I would say nonalcoholic beer actually you wouldn't have to evaporator the alcohol wife nonalcoholic beer so if it's really good multi hoppy nonalcoholic beer it would probably work good .

  • April 17, 2016

    by Chad

    I think this is true about beer and hair because I experienced a thickening this week and I almost NEVER drink beer. Turns out I was not imagining it because there is a theory that is does makes your hair thicker. This is really important for people who have naturally thin hairs. Try Budweiser STRAW-ber-RITA

  • January 9, 2016

    by Lynette Ford

    What kind of beer is good for damage hair. i need all the help i can get. I feel really bad about my hair the kind of hair i get the texture. My hair stick up people have make fun of me why does hair stick up its because its very thin hair. every time I start talking about my problems something else starts to happen why? i feel so embarrass about my problems. I wish that problem would go away.

  • February 7, 2015

    by kelly

    how often should i take beer rinse?

  • September 7, 2014

    by Robin

    Nice article but you should never make another dirty hippie reference in your writing career; just don't. You wouldn't have environmental science if not for these people and their culture that you only know about from people who were not there; who were never free.

  • August 3, 2014

    by Kawal

    Should we leave beer shampoo for some time after applying on hairs

  • July 16, 2014

    by naveen

    Cooking good

  • May 21, 2014

    by Hafsa

    Only non alcoholic beer is available in my country. Will the remedies still work if i use non alcoholic beer?

  • December 9, 2013

    by Jaya

    Beer just made my hair awsummmm.....
    Extremly soft and manageable.........
    I juzzzzzzzt luvd it
    I had never luvd my hair d way today l m.....
    Thanx a lot:)

  • January 20, 2013

    by JOHN DOE

    My hair was all over the place. I think my hair was drunk. ; ))

  • May 25, 2012

    by Mary-Kate

    Any good tip: Since heat is bad for the hair and you use curlers, smoothing a little beer throughout your hair helps the hold, keeps the shine, and makes your hair overall smooth. My grandma used this, and it works perfectly on all kinds of hair, greasy or dry!

  • March 12, 2012

    by Jenny DB

    If you haven't tried Duffys Brew it is A-MAZING. Smells soooo good and makes your hair so healthy and shiny, don't think i'll be using another shampoo again! TRY IT!!!!!

  • November 10, 2011

    by A'Kiyia

    I used beer for the 1st time in my hair!
    I soooo Love it! It made my hair so nice and soft. I put in some lavender essential oil and it took away the beer smell instantly. I used this remedy on my natural kinky hair. I kept reading blogs on how it makes your natural hair turn soft!

  • October 20, 2011

    by Neha

    My hair is very dry.I use hair color every 10 days for my gray hair.I use color conditioner.I use every day olive oil.Even my hair very dry.What I do for get silky hair ?

  • September 28, 2010

    by Michaela

    My brother dropped off a Heinikin (lil keg) as a joke (I bartend but never drink)and have had this in my fridge for two months. I had heard my grandma talk about how she had used beer as a shampoo and mayo as a conditioner back in WWII when they had ration tickets for everything and how it worked so well. I googled "beer in hair" and this wonderful website came up with recipe and all. I do have color treated hair and it didn't dry it out at all in fact it did the opposite as for the first time ever I didn't even need a conditioner! My hair is fuller, has a shine that no gloss could compare to and can't wait to see what happens when I straighten it! The best thing is my hair is so smooth and sleek and no offense to Paul Mitchell or Aveda this is just so much better and way more affordable and effective. I'm sincerely grateful and will be posting a link to this website to everyone I know. Thanks!

  • May 12, 2010

    by Lady

    mmm i just used beer in my hair in the shower. I've been using the same shampoo and conditioner for about 3 months now and my hair is pretty over it. Adding the beer into the mix boosted it. I recomend ending your shower with a quick rinse of cooler water. The cool water closes your hair cuticle as well as your pores. Closing the cuticle helps lock in the shine and the softness the conditioner provides (as well as the protiens from the beer) and cosing your pores keeps the dirt out and keeps skin soft from cleansing it.

  • July 8, 2009

    by aerwin

    Remeber that shampoo from back in the day Body On Tap? It had beer in it. I am going to make that beer shampoo.

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