Words by Margaret Link, Pictures by Stephanie Russo
A lady in Sephora tried to sell me collagen water for like, $10 a bottle. “It’ll make your skin so nice!” she cooed, as I evaluated the label skeptically. I turned down her offer and walked away, saving the $200+ she thought I needed to spend on my weekly oral collagen intake. I’m not about to be turned into a sucker whenever a beauty brand tries to pray on my insecurities (although beauty products are an $87 BILLION dollar industry… and that’s only counting North America).
Instead of turning to overpriced beauty products, I go back to my old standby: Beer. I firmly believe in the powers of a brewski as a beauty supplement (and not just through the lens of someone else’s beer goggles). From its nutritional properties to the functional applications of its constituent parts, beer is a cheap and easy way to boost your beauty regimen. Allow me to explain:
Beer Rinse for Hair
It may seem counterintuitive (or sacrilegious) to pour beer over your head, rather than into it. However, research proves that a quick rinse with your favorite hoppy beverage can do wonders to add shine and repair damaged locks. Our hair loves beer for the same reasons that we do - the high amounts of vitamin B, along with the proteins found in barley and hops, coat and nourish your strands, in the same way, that they help our bodies renourish and recover after a good sweat.
Want to make your own beer rinse? Here’s what you’ll need:
1 can of Sufferfest Taper IPA
Rosemary essential oil
Instructions: Open your can of Taper - take a sip - then let the beer sit open overnight (you’ll want it to be flat when you pour it on). Mix in a few drops of rosemary oil, which is said to stimulate hair growth, and reduce hair loss, then heat up the beer a bit if you like - it feels a lot better than cold beer running over your scalp! Pour the mixture over your hair after shampooing, and massage it into your scalp. Let sit for a few minutes, then rinse and style as usual.
If you’re not so into the DIY, the Lush Cynthia Sylvia Stout shampoo is a fully-vegan shampoo that uses a local stout, lemon, and balsamic vinegar to add shine and bounce. BROO makes hair and body care using freshly-hopped craft beer. Carlsberg even makes their own line of beer-based beauty products!
Beer Mask for Skin
You know the old saying - there’s no use crying over a spilled IPA. The positive impacts that beer can have on your skin are reason enough to embrace an accidental splash here or there. Brewer’s yeast can help keep your skin’s pH levels balanced - think fewer zits and tighter pores. Additionally, the acids and enzymes serve as a gentle chemical exfoliant.
To make a simple beer face mask with ingredients you already have at home (because you already have some Sufferfest in the fridge, no doubt): mix a cup of Shakeout Blonde Ale with a tablespoon of honey (we like manuka honey for its antimicrobial properties... works well on trail wounds, too!) and a tablespoon of softened coconut oil. Mix well, and then apply to your face with a cotton pad. Sit back, drink the rest of your beer, and relax for a few minutes before washing off with warm water. Voila, soft skin!
Have you ever cracked open a beer so delicious that you were like, “Damn, I could bathe in this?” Well, turns out that was a brilliant idea — a beer-infused bath could be your ticket to smooth, supple skin. "Beer soaks are commonly used to treat a variety of skin issues, from anti-aging to eczema," said Joshua Zeichner, MD, the director of cosmetic and clinical research in dermatology at Mt. Sinai Hospital. Apparently, the key here is the hops: they're antioxidant-rich, which gives beer natural anti-inflammatory properties (check out more health benefits of beer here). Additionally, brewer’s yeast is rich in B vitamins, which is known to soothe and brighten skin. So, grab two beers next time you head into the bath: one for sipping, and one for soaking.