Do Beer Hair Masks Actually Work?

If the first few weeks of quarantine were about contemplating rash beauty decisions and the one month mark had some of us figuring out how to maintain our chosen looks without access to professionals, I’ve now reached the point where I’m ready to turn my apartment into a one-woman spa. But with extended delivery times everywhere from Sephora to Amazon, it’s not always easy to get my hands on sheet masks, hair treatments and other self-care essentials.

Thankfully, grocery stores remain open — staffed by essential workers who are braver than the marines — and are stocked with ingredients that can become your next home beauty treatment. I’m not much of a DIY girl, but desperate times call for desperate measures. With some cursory google research and suggestions from some homeopathic hotties, I narrowed in on three low-maintenance hacks and set out to test them for you… as a treat.

Beer Hair Mask

A friend of mine used to rave about washing his hair with beer, but as this was usually at raves, I never really took it seriously. However, a stylist (and several YouTube tutorials) confirmed that a beer rinse or mask is great for dry hair. Apparently, the malt and hops in beer are great for reviving damaged hair.

My hair gay suggested that I use Old English, but that was far too triggering (cue a flashback to me playing Edward Fortyhands in college), so instead I bought a tall boy of Miller High Life, the Champagne of Beers. I shampooed my hair per normal in the sink, then saturated it with about half the can of beer and put on a shower cap. I left the beer mask on for fifteen minutes as I… finished the rest of the beer in the shower. It was a Saturday, so I guess that counts as brunch in the age of COVID-19.

I rinsed out the beer, conditioned it and let it air dry. I noticed that my hair dried quicker than it typically would and that my hair, which is naturally thick and wavy, had a more pronounced curl than usual. Once fully dry, my hair was very soft and shiny, and thankfully didn’t actually smell like beer. I usually need to use a leave-in cream treatment or oil after washing my hair to make it manageable, but my hair was less frizzy after the beer mask than it would have been if I’d washed it normally and applied the product.

Is it recommended? So… yes, the beer mask worked. My hair stayed soft and shiny until my next wash, but was still a bit dry at the ends. Combined with the fact that I doused myself (and most of my bathroom) in Miller High Life… I don’t know if this one is worth the trouble.

Toothpaste Face Mask

I never had bad acne as a teenager. After I started regularly taking estrogen, even getting an occasional pimple became a rarity. But I’d always heard that a quick fix for a zit was dabbing it with toothpaste. When I started researching DIY beauty hacks, the most popular option for skincare was a toothpaste and vaseline face mask. The whitening properties of the toothpaste are supposedly used to brighten the skin and remove spots. I’m extremely freckled, so the possibility of dulling some of my freckles, which have jumped out thanks to my meandering quarantine walks, sounded nice. The vaseline, I learned, was meant to moisturize and counteract the harshness of the toothpaste’s chemical components.

For the toothpaste, I used my old reliable Arm & Hammer, mixing about half a teaspoon with the same amount of vaseline. I applied the mask evenly over my face, making sure to keep it away from eyes. It stung a bit at first, but so does the Drunk Elephant TLC Sukari Babyfacial, so I wasn’t worried.

I left the mask on for 15 minutes and washed it off thoroughly. I noticed immediately that my skin was luminous and yes, some of my freckles seemed to have faded. For the next day or so my blotchy redness was gone, and my skin felt remarkably refreshed.

Is it recommended? If you’re looking for an illuminating home chemical peel, a toothpaste face mask might be for you. But I’m not a doctor or a scientist, so don’t sue me if you don’t like the results!

Mayonnaise Hair Mask

I hate mayonnaise. I hate it so much. It’s white and creamy and goopy. If I order a sandwich and ask for no mayonnaise and it comes with mayonnaise on it, I will send it back. The color and consistency are just… disgusting. Mayonnaise should be outlawed.

However, mayonnaise is mostly whipped egg yolk, and eggs are pure protein, which is excellent for your hair. I’d heard of using mayo as a hair mask for the first time when reading Go Ask Alice, the infamous anti-drug propaganda book so fake that one chapter starts with the sentence, “Another day, another blow job.” But before “Alice” starts turning tricks to fuel her drug habit, she’s a regular suburban girl who washed her hair with mayonnaise to keep it lustrous. If only that was her worst vice…

Knowing I needed to take one for the team — you’re welcome, loyal rosebuds — I breathed through my mouth long enough to apply a light coat of (my roommate’s) mayonnaise to the ends of my damp, unwashed hair, which I then covered with a shower cap for 20 minutes. Thanks to the cap I couldn’t smell the mayo, but it’s very presence haunted me.

I rinsed the mayo out with hot water, then shampooed and conditioned as normal. I let my hair air dry with no product, and while I hate to say it… the mayonnaise worked. My hair was remarkably shiny, dried quickly and felt far less brittle than it usually does with no leave-in product. Mayonnaise 1, Rose 0.

Is it recommended? If you don’t hate mayonnaise but do hate yourself, by all means, slather it all over your hair like a living BLT. But I’ll be sticking with my Olaplex No. 3 Hair Perfector.

The Final Verdict

Listen, we’re all bored, scared and trying to find some way to make our days meaningful. If experimenting with a home beauty treatment composed of ingredients you either already have laying around the house or can safely acquire from your local grocery store, go for it. As for me… I’ll wait until my next Sephora shipment comes in before having another self-care spa day.

Welcome to “You’ve Been Served,” Rose Dommu’s alternately irreverent and incisive look at beauty, ranging from the deeply personal to pop cultural — essays, product guides, interviews with artists/influencers/specialists and deep dives into the beauty industry’s impact on internet culture.
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