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Beer Shampoo . . . Because You’re Worth It

Sam Walters investigates the weird and wacky use of beer as shampoo…

Somewhere in the musty catalogue of old wives’ tales, there’s one about the virtues of washing your hair in beer. Though it sounds about as sensible as bathing in gravy or brushing your teeth with syrup, there are certainly a couple of reasons to give it a whirl.

Firstly there are all the celebrities who swear by it. Of course, a celebrity endorsement will start alarm bells ringing in the skull of anyone with a mind of their own. One look at Wayne Rooney’s habit of sleeping to the sound of a vacuum cleaner—or failing that, a hair dryer—is enough to cast doubt on any celebrity’s sanity.  This said, renowned Welsh beauty Catherine Zeta Jones might be worth listening to. She claims that the key to her lustrous locks is conditioning them in honey and beer, although she does admit to smelling like the bottom of a beer barrel for days afterwards.

But enough about celebrities. Let’s turn to Science and see if the vehicle on which we rode gloriously out of the Dark Ages can shine some light on this trivial matter. Whilst opinion in the scientific community varies as to how much of the beer should be washed out and how much left in, whatever happens after the treatment there will be some trace of beer on the hair. When the liquid evaporates, what is left is a residue of nourishing hops and barley. The result is that the hair has more body and weight. (Some though, we must warn, find that it has a drying effect and that it exacerbates a scalp prone to flakiness!)

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Well, if this fleeting analysis has left your hair gagging for a drink of the good stuff, then you have two options. The first is called D.I.Y. It involves buying a six-pack, sticking your head over the bath and pouring away till you come to your senses. The rest of the day you will be accompanied by a certain smell and greeted by the general public with the sort of looks usually reserved for those who have lost their way in life. The other option is to buy a product that has had to pass a few laws before making its way onto the shelves of a shop.

If the second option sounds appealing, then you might want to try Anelco’s Beer Shampoo. It’s the definition of cheap and cheerful, coming in a bright yellow bottle and priced at only £1.99. If you buy it and don’t like it then you’ll still have enough money left to console yourself with a bag of toffees.

Lush do one too, although if passing the shop leaves you gasping for a breath of unwashed air then it might be best to give this a miss. A 500g bottle will set you back £14.45, but the beery smell is masked somewhat by lemongrass and cognac oil.

Finally there’s this lovely wheat beer shampoo by Frank Leder. Never mind the beer, the retro packaging and its satisfying mention of words such as “handcrafted” and “artisan” are the sort of ingredients that make you feel really unique. At £36 per bottle, we should hope so too!

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I Love Good Beer Mag - Dec 2013