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Celebrate St Patricks Day With A Guinness Hair Wash

March 15, 2009

March 17th is the day that the world goes shamrock crazy in honor of St Patrick and his Irish homeland!  What could be more Irish than reading Oscar Wilde while listening to U2 and having your hair washed in Guinness!!!

Guinness turns 250 years young this year and still enjoys the accolade of being Ireland’s national drink.  In 1929 the black stuff was advertised as a health product claiming “Guinness is good for you”. A claim that was based on feedback from a marketing trial (the panelists reported to feel better after a pint, how simple!).  Guinness are no longer able to advertise that claim but Guinness still enjoys a folk law reputation of being good for pregnant ladies due to its high iron content – my mother was certainly advised to drink 1/2 pint of it twice a week!

Anyway, as we are a beauty blog we wanted to find out if there is any truth in the stories that washing in beer was good for your skin and hair.  I tried adding a pint of guinness to my bath (warm not hot water, a pint of guinness and away you go) and found that it definately didn’t do the skin any harm. In fact my skin felt quite soft afterwards but this could have just been one of those things. The smell was only faintly brewery and it didn’t linger on the skin.

As for the hair, I shampooed as normal and then rinsed with the beer (Guinness) before giving it a final rinse off.  My hair felt as soft and manageable as it usually does with a basic conditioner, was pretty easy to wet comb and felt soft when dried.  Again the smell wasn’t overpowering.

So, I found that a Guinness bath and hair condition were not at all bad. It works out fairly expensive to bathe in the black stuff on a regular basis though so I would say that this is a good novelty treatment or a once in a while thing. Same goes for the hair.

After trying a Guinness bath and condition I decided to see what, if anything is in Guinness that would benefit my skin and hair. Well, it is brewed with Barley which is un-fermented – this give it that distinctive taste.  While Barley does contain panthenoic acid (Vitamin B5) which is great for the hair, it is unlikely that it would be in the beer at high enough levels to really make much difference to the overall hair condition.

The beer also contains malt, hops and yeast. The malt helps to turn the barley into sugars so wouldn’t do much on the hair. The Hops are a flavouring agent and although hops are used in herbal medicine to treat various nervous conditions they have no documented use in hair or skincare. The yeast is also a source of vitamin B which can be good for the hair but again, is unlikely to be in a form that would “Stick”. Of course the beer also contains alcohol which can help to strip some of the oil out of the skin and hair but is unlikely to have a strong drying effect as the alcohol is in the beer at low levels.

So, is beer really good for the skin / hair?

Well, I can’t find any ingredient in the beer that would definately give a skin or hair benefit but I did find the beer bath and hair condition quite pleasent. It may be more of  a pH thing than anything but again, when the beer is diluted in a bath it’s pH is likely to reach around 6.5-7  which is the same as water! I see no reason (other than cost) for not giving a Guinness bath a go. It’s a fun way to start your St Patricks Day Celebrations.

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