My hair is not particularly lustrous. It’s a perfectly fine head of hair, but I feel it could be more magnificent, more stunning. To bolster it, I’ve tried any number of shine-inducing products and volumizing shampoos, but to little avail.
So this week, I decided to try something new — I decided to test out the age-old theory that washing your hair with beer will make it shinier.
The logic behind the treatment is that the proteins in beer boost hair’s volume, while the sugars tighten cuticles, inducing shine. I had my concerns — if it didn’t work, I’d have gone to all this trouble only to smell like a keg party for the rest of the day. But if it did work, I figured, I’d have a new beauty tool under my belt, a secret regimen that I could bust out on special occasions, like, say, holiday parties. It seemed worth the risk.
While it might seem like washing one’s hair with beer would be a simple enough task, I didn’t want to go into it blind. Maybe I was supposed to mix it with whey powder or something, or use a particular kind of hops (I actually don’t even know what that means, but all the more reason to seek out help on the trusty old internet). I finally stumbled upon a seemingly respectable set of guidelines on WikiHow, in an article appropriately entitled, “How To Clean And Soften Your Hair With Beer.”
The first step was a little pre-shower preparation — I was to find a bottle of beer and bring it to room temperature. Based on the contents of my refrigerator, I had two options: Guinness, or Coors Light. Since my goal was to keep this endeavor of pouring beer on my head a classy one, I went with the Guinness (besides, go hard or go home).
I hadn’t left enough time to bring the beer to room temperature – my shower was, in fact, imminent – so I opted instead to just bring the beer bottle in the shower with me and run it under the hot water, like an alcoholic rubber ducky.
Once safely ensconced in the confines of my bathroom, my warm bottle of beer placed precariously on the side of the tiled tub, I followed WikiHow’s next step, which was to shampoo my hair, then flip my head over and pour the beer onto it, massaging it into my scalp and leaving there while I performed the rest of my showerly rituals.
The beer was chilly at first, but warmed up immediately as it mingled with the hot water (Courtney Stodden, take note). My directions didn’t specify how much of the bottle to use, and even if they had, I couldn’t recall the details while standing upside down and trying not to get beer up my nose, so I went ahead and used the whole bottle.
Some of the brown liquid stayed firmly put in my hair, making my light-brown strands look like it was 1995 and I was doing a Henna dye, and the rest pooled around my feet. With that experience now in my wheelhouse, allow me to suggest one thing that WikiHow left out: make sure that your drain isn’t clogged before you dump a bottle of Guinness down it.
Also, bear in mind that for the remainder of your bathing activities you will indeed have beer on your head. That means that beer will be dripping down your face, onto your legs as you attempt to shave them, and down your back in the wake of your shower poof.
In other words, be prepared to bathe your entire body in beer.
As an aside, I can also tell you now with certainty that getting beer in your eyes only stings a little. It’s not nearly as bad as shampoo; you needn’t fear it.[tagbox tag="beauty treatments"]
Once I had soaped up, shaved and exfoliated my face, my shower was vigorously wafting hops-scented steam throughout the bathroom and I was ready to rinse the beer out of my hair. A post-beer conditioner is optional, says WikiHow, but the texture of my hair after the beer came out – kind of like wheat, unsurprisingly – left me, in reality, with no choice but to slap on a thick layer of Davines Melu.
I stepped out of the shower and dried off, and now that my hair is styled and dried, I am ready to reveal the truth, which is: beer hardly does anything to your hair.
My hair is not better than it was pre-beer, and it’s not worse. It’s as if I had never reached for a Guinness, poured it over my head, left it there and then rinsed it out. My hair is neither shinier nor less shiny. It is exactly the same as it is every other day.
I really wish this weren’t the case, because throughout this process, I really became smitten with the idea of being some sort of shiny-hair maven, with women the world over coming up to me and asking what the secret to my long, luxurious locks really was. As their eyes widened in disbelief, I’d whisper into their waiting ears: “beer.”
But such a life is not my lot, and so here we are, and my final thought is this: showering with beer is kind of fun, because…well, most things with beer are fun. But don’t expect to wind up as the second coming of Rapunzel.