Using beer to wash hair is a traditional remedy for limp, dull hair. Beer adds shine and volume to hair when left to go flat and used as a rinse.
Some might protest against wasting good beer on hair, but using a cheap lager every month or so to get shiny, full hair is arguably more natural – and more fun – than using commercial conditioners.
Beer has long been used as a conditioning rinse for hair. The drink contains B vitamins and proteins. Many people find that beer rinses give their hair volume, shine and softness. The effect lasts for several weeks, so it is not necessary to use beer every time you wash your hair.
A number of commercial shampoos and conditioners have been produced which contain beer or stout.
The brand of beer is not important (although it needs to be a fermented beer), but the beer must be flat. Because beer isn’t very cheap, some people like to use leftover beer from parties. Mixing different kinds of beer – lager, ale, stout and so forth – is fine. If you don’t like that idea, a new can of beer will work beautifully if it is opened and left at room temperature for several hours or overnight. Not only does this get rid of the fizz, but the alcohol in the beer will begin to evaporate. (Any remaining alcohol in the beer will not harm the hair, as it is rinsed out quickly.)
There are a few different methods for rinsing hair with beer.
Perhaps the simplest way is to shampoo hair as normal, rinse the shampoo out, and then simply pour the beer carefully over your wet hair. Some people like to pour the beer into a jug and swish the length of their hair in the beer first – this ensures good coverage. Massage the scalp gently to ensure the beer touches all the roots of the hair.
Rinse the beer out. From there you can finish the wash with a blast of cold water (which seals down the cuticle of the hair and helps it look shiny), or you can use conditioner in the regular way. Some people find that they do not need to use conditioner when they rinse with beer.
Another way to use beer is to mix the flat beer with a small amount of shampoo, and apply like regular shampoo. This method does require a bit more preparation, however, and is not necessary.
A minority of people apply the beer at the end of their shower and do not rinse it out. The beery smell will dissipate as the hair dries, but many people find their hair feels sticky and unpleasant.
Beer rinses can also be combined with other natural haircare methods – for instance, beer can be used at the end of a water-only wash, used in place of a cider vinegar rinse, or used with Indian herbs.