Beer Rinse For Your Hair: Does it Work???

Beer = Perfect Hair?

I wish my hair was this long!

Is rinsing your hair with beer the long awaited miracle secret to long, shiny hair? Or just a hoax-y trend with no real results? I guess we’ll find out because I tried rinsing my hair with beer to see if it would truly improve my naturally textured hair (before and after pictures included). 

I’m pretty fearless when it comes to hair-related DIYs. I’ve cut my hair, I’ve highlighted my hair, I’ve even rubbed all kinds of mashed up fruits and veggies into my hair (DIY banana avocado hair mask…anyone?) but when I came across a DIY recipe for a beer rinse my first thought was, “um, ew.”

What Are The Benefits of Rinsing Your Hair With Beer?

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I have never understood the appeal of beer and the thought of saturating my curly hair with it seemed even less appealing. However, I couldn’t help my curiosity…if people are willing to risk having hair that smells like beer, the benefits of a beer soak must be pretty amazing and totally worth-while. So what are the supposed benefits of rinsing your hair with beer?

From what I’ve found, beer is the secret hair tonic we’ve all been searching for. Apparently, rinsing your hair with beer will make it: thicker, stronger, healthier, shinier, curlier (if you have curly hair), and can promote hair growth…phew…that is a lonnnng list. But what’s the science backing all of these amazing benefits?

Malts and Hops for Hair

Most of the sites promoting beer rinses credit the malt and hops in beer as an intense source of protein. While it’s definitely true that properly protein balanced hair is just as important as properly moisturized hair, if you’re like me you’re probably wondering what ice cream drinks and a bunny’s preferred method of movement have to do with beer or great hair.

Malt and hops are actually two important components of a beer’s structure. Many of the sites with DIY beer rinse recipes are a bit lacking in detail, when it comes to why a beer rinse is effective, but thankfully artisan beer brewers passionate about the craft are abundant online. 

What is Malt?

Photo by Tetyana Kovyrina on Pexels.com

I’d like to start by thanking The Brew Enthusiast for this detailed definition of Malt

“Malt is essentially the toasted version of any cereal grain. This includes barley, wheat, oat, rye, etc. The full name would be “Malted Barley” or “Malted Wheat”, if we chose to say it that way. We don’t choose to say it that way, so in beer vernacular we just say “Malt”. In most beer styles, the “malt” is barley, because it’s relatively high enzyme content makes it conducive for brewing. Pretty easy so far.

 We toast the cereal grain because we need to access the lovely sugars and enzymes within the grain. These sugars and enzymes form the sugary, substantive backbone of all beer. In their raw version (picked straight from the field), the starches in these cereal grains are not very accessible. Brewers sometimes use unmalted grain in their beer, but it’s a small percentage of the total grain used. We won’t get too far into the specific enzymes and chemicals we’re trying to create in this process, but suffice it to say that it’s important.”

– The Brew Enthusiast

If you’re still curious about malt I would highly recommend reading the rest of the article.

Why is Malt Good For Hair?

Even after knowing what malt was, I still didn’t understand how malt’s protein contribution worked so I had to spend some time on Brew Chatter to figure it out. To the best of my understanding, protein in grain aids the enzyme process during malting. As proteins break down during this process they become part of the malt base solution (the malt factor in beer). When protein interacts with hair it bonds to the hair shaft and fills in gaps, leaving hair strong and able to maintain its shape.

Did you know that some of our natural shampoo bars have natural sources of protein from grain? It’s true! Our Wheat and Honey Almond Shampoo Bar contains wheat germ (this bar also smells absolutely heavenly)

What are Hops?

“Hops are the flowers (also called seed cones or strobiles) of the hop plant Humulus lupulus,[1] a member of the Cannabaceae family of flowering plants.[2] They are used primarily as a bittering, flavouring, and stability agent in beer, to which, in addition to bitterness, they impart floral, fruity, or citrus flavours and aromas.[3] Hops are also used for various purposes in other beverages and herbal medicine.”

Wikipedia

Hops have an astringent property that acts similarly to how apple cider vinegar or a citric acid hair rinse works and supposedly produces the same benefits of fighting dandruff and promoting shine. Hops do have a protein content, which means they could potentially strengthen the hair shaft while also smoothing it down (what makes hair shiny). 

Putting The Beer Rinse To The Test

I knew a beer rinse was too crazy not to write about, but it was so outlandish that I decided I wouldn’t write about it without giving it a go first. A couple of recipes called for non-alcoholic beer, claiming any alcohol content would simply overpower any results by drying the hair out. I decided not to follow this instruction, why? I honestly feel like most DIY adventures happen on a whim, so unless you already have non-alcoholic beer on hand, you’re not going to drive all the way to the store when you’ve got alcoholic beer in the fridge (C’mon people, we want results and we want them now!)

Letting my beer get flat.

I happened to have a bottle of Leinenkiugel’s Toasted Bock (a name I would never remember or be able to spell if I wasn’t holding the bottle in front of my face) left over from when I made Corned Beef. I did pour the beer into a container and let it sit for a couple of hours to flatten in. Apparently when the carbon dioxide in beer mixes with water it makes it hard…and as we all know…hard water makes hair washing…hard. 

There are many different methods for beer rinses online. Some say the rinse should be after shampoo, some call for leaving the beer in the hair, I found another experiment in which beer was the shampoo! With so many methods, I decided that coming up with my own wouldn’t mess too much with any results. I wet my hair with water, soaked my hair (scalp to ends) in beer, waited a couple minutes, rinsed with water, and then shampooed and conditioned as usual. Just as I did with my Winter Skin Saver Bar experiment, I did not use additional product in my hair because I wanted few variables for a clear outcome.

Results of my Beer Hair Rinse

My second day hair before the beer rinse (natural lighting)

I was disappointed. As my hair dried not only was it frizzy, but my curls were limp. Limp, frizzy curls were far from the bouncy, shiny ones I’d been hoping for. On the plus side, there was no lingering smell because I rinsed before I shampooed.

The first photo is my hair before the rinse. My curls don’t hold up past wash day even with a sleep with my hair in a loose bun my curls still get pulled out which is what you can see from this photo.

My hair after the beer rinse (artificial lighting)

As you can see, the results of the beer rinse look dramatic compared to my second day hair. It makes it seem as though the beer rinse made my hair go from wavy to curly when in reality this happens every time I wash my hair. What I was really focusing on was the quality of my curls.

If you look at the second picture, you can see how the curls start as waves, you can also see how loose the ends of my hair are. In order to call it a good wash day, I’m looking for more curl at the top and bottom and less “floofy” curls. To see what my hair looks like on a good wash day you can check out my blog on how I discovered my naturally curly hair, or my popular blog on the benefits of natural oils for your hair.

My hair after the beer rinse (used camera flash)

I took one last picture with flash because sometimes indoor lighting makes for grainier photos. Yes, my hair looks shinier, but that is simply because of the lighting. You can still see how loose the curls are.

Would the results have been different if I had used non-alcoholic beer, followed a recipe more closely, or used a styling product? Maybe. One thing’s for sure, a beer rinse will not be replacing my weekly Herbal Hair Rinse.

Much Love,

Nora


Is A Hair Rinse Important?

Why is it important to use an acidic hair rinse?

An acidic hair rinse is a critical part of your natural shampoo bar regimen. The acid in the rinse removes scaly build up and residue on the scalp and hair shaft, and smooths the cuticles/scales causing them to lie flat and SHINE. The acid also restores the natural pH of your scalp, preventing it from becoming dried out and itchy. 

Each strand of hair has a cuticle which is made up of layers of protein, called keratin, scales cover the cuticle by overlapping each other. Healthy hair has scales that lie flat. Some commercial shampoos not only strip hair of its natural oils, but also injure the cuticle by tearing up the overlapping scales. Natural shampoo bars will not strip the hair of its natural oils, nor damage the cuticle and scales. You can read more about the benefits of our natural shampoo bars HERE.

Whenever hair becomes wet, the scales raise or soften slightly. Damaged hair also has raised scales, or “roughed up” cuticles. When washing hair with hard water, a high mineral content made up of mostly calcium and magnesium combine with the soap and form deposits on your hair (under and around the scales) weighing it down. Your hair may feel sticky and dirty no matter how often you wash it. Shampooing with soft water (which has a low concentration of minerals mostly of sodium and/or potassium ions), and following with an acidic rinse, will gently cleanse hair, remove deposits, and cause these scales to once again lie flat. This allows all residue to wash gently away leaving healthy shiny hair.

The Transition Phase. Most everyone when trying natural shampoo bars for the first time will experience this in one way or another. This transition phase can last anywhere from 1 day to 1 month. You can read more about it HERE.


Acidic Rinses.

Our Herbal Vinegar Hair Rinse is made with RAW certified organic apple cider vinegar. The vinegar is infused with nine certified organic herbs that your hair and scalp will love. Packed with trace minerals and vitamins, these herbs will nourish your scalp and strengthen your hair shaft. As we already mentioned, the acid in the vinegar removes scaly build up and residue on the scalp and hair shaft, and closes the cuticles causing them to lie flat and SHINE. 

Organic ingredients and their benefits:

Because of its antiseptic properties, apple cider vinegar may help soothe the itching or irritation from psoriasis and other skin conditions. The acidity of vinegar works to remove build up from hair, it also balances the pH of scalp and hair, smoothes the cuticles and leaves hair feeling soft and silky.

Marshmallow Root softens hair naturally and promotes hair growth. It provides natural shine and soothes dry, itchy scalp.

Horsetail can improve circulation, leading to the improvement of hair follicles and scalp, which helps stimulate hair growth. It is also great for treating oily scalps and soothing skin ailments such as dandruff, eczema and psoriasis. The herb also rejuvenates hair, adding sheen and strength.

Nettles have been known to inhibit the hormone DHT helping to combat hair loss, and the astringent properties may help soothe conditions such as scalp eczema, dandruff and dry, itchy scalp. Nettles also have anti-inflammatory properties.

Chamomile is wonderful for conditioning the hair as well as soothing an itchy, irritated or sensitive scalp and preventing dandruff because of its antiseptic elements.

Lavender is wonderfully healing and soothing, it also reduces inflammation, promotes hair growth and is antimicrobial, meaning it’ll help prevent scalp issues such as itchy scalp, dandruff and infractions.

Comfrey Root restores sheen and volume to hair. It is also great for the scalp because of its healing properties which come from the many antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. The roots and leaves of comfrey also contain allantoin and tannin that promotes new cell generation.

Rosemary helps to stimulate follicles making the hair grow longer and stronger. It is also traditionally known to slow the appearance of grey hairs, to help curly hair, and to slow down premature hair loss. It has anti-viral, anti-fungal, and anti-bacterial properties, so is used to treat dandruff.

Calendula has antiviral, anti tumor, anti-inflammatory and antibacterial effects. It’s impressive because of its ability to speed healing and lower inflammation. It also promotes growth of stronger hair by increasing collagen production and circulation in hair follicles.

Yarrow is anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, and astringent making it ideal for treating scalp conditions and promoting hair growth.

Our Citric Acid Rinses are a great alternative for those who do not like the smell of vinegar. Each of our sprays have the same the same pH value as apple cider vinegar but are rinsed out of hair after application.  Unlike the Herbal Vinegar Rinse which has the option of being left in.  As with the Herbal Hair Rinse, these rinses will help the cuticle scales to lie flat which helps remove build up and restore the natural pH, leaving hair soft and healthy.


Ingredients and their benefits:

Aloe vera contains something called proteolytic enzymes which repairs dead skin cells on the scalp. It also acts as a great conditioner and leaves your hair all smooth and shiny. It promotes hair growth, prevents itching on the scalp, reduces dandruff and conditions your hair.

Essential oils: We’ve chosen a variety of essential oils for our rinses which not only smell divine, but also have wonderful healing properties. Bay essential oil is known for promoting wound healing and inhibiting growth of bacteria. Lavender, which has amazing healing and soothing properties. Rosemary which is used to prevent premature graying and dandruff. Tea Tree whose anti-fungal and antimicrobial properties make it effective for treating dandruff and seborrheic dermatitis. Frankincense is also excellent at promoting a healthy scalp and moisturizing existing hair follicles to prevent and treat hair loss and so on.

Citric Acid is a great help in treating and soothing itchy scalp, which often leads to hair loss and stops hair growth.

Ascorbic Acid, also known as vitamin C is full of antioxidants which help reduce free radicals. Free radicals can damage your hair making it brittle and more prone to split ends. Antioxidants also protect your hair helping it be stronger and grow quicker.

PlantaSol CCG (INCI Name: Caprylyl Capryl Glucoside) is Ecocert approved and is a vegetable-derived solubilizer. A solubilizer is used to help the essential oils blend well through out the rinse, but we chose this one because it is only rated as a 1 on the Skin Deep database. 

As you can see, using an acidic hair rinse is a critical part of your natural shampoo bar regimen and will benefit both hair and scalp. Restore health and beauty to your hair by using natural shampoo bars and acidic hair rinses, your hair will shine with thanks!