Posted on November 10th, 2009
Today’s post comes to us courtesy of contributor Sarah. Thanks Sarah!
It may seem like a waste of perfectly good beer to use it in soaps, skin-care, and hair treatments, but beer as a beauty treatment is possibly as old as beer as a drink. Beer was used topically by Greeks, Babylonians, and Egyptians, to soften skin and even cure wounds and irritations. In fact, many of the same qualities that make beer good for your insides also make it pretty good for your outsides. Consequently, a number of spas offer beer baths, beer facials and beer hair treatments; cosmetic companies like UK-based company LUSH market beer-based products; and even breweries themselves, like Magic Hat and Dogfish Head, use their own brew to make soaps and shampoos.
So what can beer do for you when you’re not busy drinking it?
Skin: Beer is rich in vitamins, minerals, anti-oxidants, and amino acids, so it makes sense that it would improve skin’s quality and luster. But the most active ingredient for improving skin might be the yeast. Brewers yeast can help balance the pH of skin and regulate the production of sebum (your skin’s natural oil,) making it ideal for treating acne-prone and dry skin. Much as it does in the beer itself, yeast kills bacteria on the skin’s surface (helping to fight breakouts) while enzymes gently exfoliate dead, dry skin without any harsh abrasion (perfect for drier or sensitive skin.) German skin care company Dayenne has made a business of this; nearly all of their products contain some amount of brewer’s yeast. Likewise, it’s tradition for spas in Eastern Europe to offer a number of beer treatments, from beer-baths to masks made from beer and certain raw ingredients of beer – crushed hops, malt, honey, etc. The trend is beginning to take off in the states but is still just getting started.
But never fear – you can easily make your own beer bath by adding your favorite brew to the bath water, or you can try making your own moisturizing beer mask at home.
Hair: Beer has been a home-remedy for dull and frizzy hair for ages, but it can work as a reparative treatment for nearly every hair type. Beer is extremely rich in amino acids, which help improve hair follicles and coat and repair each strand of hair. This makes it ideal for damaged, color-treated or fly-away/frizzy hair which needss that coating to look smooth and sleek. But it can also add texture, body and volume, which makes it great for finer, thinner hair. In addition, the hops present in beer can help treat scalp irritations, dandruff, and may even encourage hair growth/re-growth. LUSH offers two options for trying out beer in the hair: Cynthia Sylvia Stout Shampoo and The Strokes Conditioning Hair Treatment, both of which are made with organic Irish stout and bumped up with and an additional dose of brewer’s yeast. You can also check out Dogfish Head’s solid shampoo bar made with their Shelter Pale Ale.
If you want to do it yourself, you have a number of options: the simplest is of course just to pour a beer into your hair in between shampooing and conditioning, letting it sit for a few minutes before you rinse. But there are also numerous recipes for making treatments, shampoos, etc. Just pick your favorite brew and get started at Ehow.com
Tune in Thursday for part 2 of Sarah’s look at beer & health.