One enduring “wives tale” or folk remedy, whatever you may call it, over the years and since I was a young kid, is that rinsing with beer is healthy for your hair. It was said to give a nice shine, help remove buildup and to help fortify the hair against damage and replenish health.
I even remember trying this folk remedy a few times, and aside from making my hair feel a bit softer and cleaning my scalp well, it didn’t seem to have a noticeably visible impact no my hair.
Plus, I’ll be honest. I didn’t love that my hair smelled like a brewery when I was done, even if I did shampoo it out it seemed to cling to my hair for a few hours afterward. This was akin to the other rather unsavory folk remedies such as conditioning with mayonnaise or doing a raw egg rinse in the hair.
It all sounds fabulous until you try it and it proves to be less than appealing in the sensory department. But is there any merit to this age old folk remedy for healthier hair?
Yes, there is and I’ll tell you why. It has to do with the properties of beer. Much like Apple Cider Vinegar, which is a small component of what we use in our popular Sulfate Free Shine Enhancing Shampoo (don’t worry it smells nothing like it), beer contains a few ingredients which naturally clean the hair and help with shine because they gently remove buildup and help to flatten the cuticle out a bit which can help with shine and the appearance of a healthier hair shaft.
The natural sugars created in the fermentation process
That natural sugars which are a byproduct of the fermentation process (hey, much like apple cider vinegar!) help to tighten the cuticle, which is the sheath that envelopes the hair shaft. This means a flatter surface which creates a shinier look.
When this sheath is cracked, roughed up or otherwise worn or dried out, this is what creates the look of dull and frizzy hair. In addition, damage to the cuticle also results in breakage and in slow growth. So these natural sugars really help to keep that cuticle strong and “together” instead of compromised and falling apart.
The hops, wheat and barley
The hops and barley which are a main component of beer contain special types of protein that can help the hair feel fuller and more voluminous, albeit temporarily. They help the hair to feel thicker too, which definitely explains why so many people have taken to rinsing with beer once a week or more. There is however no proof that it thickens the actual diameter or helps with medically thinning or balding of the hair.
They also contain B vitamins. B vitamins can help to fortify and strengthen the individual strands of hair. Look how popular the B Vitamin Panthenol has become in hair products for thickening and shine. It’s one of the pivotal ingredients in our conditioner as well, and these B vitamins really help to create soft body while helping fortify the hair (and skin) with strength and resistance to breakage and break down.
Removal of buildup
Beer can also help remove buildup from styling products and other goop you might put in your hair on a daily basis. Removal of buildup is also key in maintaining a shiny, healthy look and to keeping that bounce and vitality that makes healthy hair so visibly appealing.
If you’d like to try out a beer rinse, there is no need to dilute it. Simply take a can in the shower with you, any old brand will do, and work it in to your hair, letting it sit for a few minutes. You can then rinse it out. You’d still want to condition as usual as it will not act as a detangler.