Kitchen Chemistry // Using Beer for Strengthening and Heat Damage

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Now, I’ve heard of this before and I do believe I may have tried it before wayyy back when I first went natural, but I don’t remember the results. I figured it wouldn’t hurt to try it again. The beer rinse. I know some of you are like, “Girl, I know you are not wasting good beer!” Yes, yes I did, but lemme tell you why!

The hops and malt in beer contain B vitamins and protein that coat the strands and help repair hair while the maltose and sucrose sugars tighten the cuticles, allowing hair to retain moisture, increases shine and smoothness, and boosts elasticity. While it is unclear which grains within beer create the strengthening film, it has been found that they slightly swell the shaft, giving the feel and appearance of thicker hair.

Low alcohol or non-alcoholic beer can be used, but it is best to use traditionally brewed beer made from hops. I used Budweiser, but some people say the darker the beer, the better the benefits. I’ll have to try this again with Guinness to make a comparison. I have seen a few videos of women using O’Douls, both alcoholic and non-alcoholic beer, but Bud is all we had at the house.

Main Benefits of Beer Rinse

  • Adds body and shine
  • Tightens cuticles for better moisture retention and smoothness
  • Increases elasticity
  • Softens hair
  • Helps hair to hold styles better
  • There have been many claims made to the effect of beer repairing heat damage. Although, there is no real way to repair heat damage, beer is a great protein treatment for use after heat styling to help curls bounce back
  • In order to reap the benefits, you must allow the beer to go flat and get warm. You can minimize the wait time by heating up the beer in a microwaveable container for several seconds. After washing your hair, use the beer in the same fashion you would use a deep treatment. Pour or spray the flattened beer on hair from root to tip and let it sit for several minutes. I covered my hair with a plastic bag and let the beer soak my hair for somewhere between 30 and 45 min (I got distracted by a TV show, naturally). After 20 – 30 minutes, rinse your hair with WARM water and continue with your usual styling regime.

    When I rinsed my hair, I could feel the difference as far as the strengthening coating left behind and my hair wasn’t so easily separated by water alone. I proceeded with my usual steps, sprayed with my Elixir (I finished off the Rainforest Suave conditioner and moved onto the Water Lily scent with aloe vera and vitamin E. It’s like a hair perfume now. I smell like I got fragrance bombed walking through Dillard’s), Eco Styler, and this time I also used what was left of my experiment with TRESemmé Split Remedy leave-in strictly on my ends in hopes that the silicone will help preserve them better (I recently trimmed), then I flat-twisted my hair back into my updo. **hairstyle tutorial on the way**

    I ended up having to blow-dry my hair, alternating cool and low, so I could be on time for my sister’s graduation. I decided I wanted to leave the back down so I went about doing my usual twist-n-blow method, but when I unraveled the mostly dry twists before finishing up drying, as I normally do, my hair wouldn’t shrink up. Don’t freak out! I didn’t lose my curl pattern, the beer rinse did what many people claimed; it held the pattern of my medium-large flat-twist. I ended up spraying my hair again and adding a little more gel to get my wash-n-go look I like.

    Did the beer rinse help define my curls anymore than usual? No, I wouldn’t say so, but I would say my curls felt more firmly set and much bouncier than usual. Ok so hair popping all day, fast-forward, I’m back home getting ready for bed, putting my hair in a ponytail, I notice my hair is much softer and smoother. Would I say my hair is shiner? Yes, actually! I attribute that to the tightening of the cuticles. I would also like to add that through flattening the cuticles against the shaft, the beer rinse reduced frizz. Even my edges were less frizzy all around. In fact, that awkward-length, fuzzy halo between the “baby hair” and the actual hairline is more manageable now. Would I recommend this to other naturals? Results are circumstantial right now and I’d like to try it a few more times before I really give it the thumbs up. Given that I’ve gone from washing every 2 – 3 week to a solid once a month, it might be a while before I report back on that.

    Speaking of reporting back, I’d like to quickly add my experience with pre-natal vitamins. I didn’t encounter any health issues, I noticed my nails were stronger and didn’t break as easily, but there was no increase in growth rate like with the One-A-Day multivitamins I was taking previously. My hair didn’t seem too different, but I did notice a growth increase of about 2/3 in. *shrug* I think I’ll just go back to multivitamins. There’s nothing super special about pre-nates so don’t go sweeping them ten at a time off the shelves and into your basket. Leave them for the preggos. Peace & Love

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