I love coffee as much as the next person, but I try to avoid drinking it due to a self-diagnosed caffeine sensitivity. However, that didn't stop me from taking some into the shower: I washed my hair with coffee, because I'd heard it would make my locks lovely.
Before I started my experiment, I wanted to know more about the benefits of washing my hair with coffee, so I spoke to some experts on the matter.
Nate Rosenkranz at Honey Artists tells me over email, "Rinsing your hair with coffee can be beneficial to your hair because coffee, in general, has a lower pH than water which will help to lay the cuticle flat. A flatter cuticle equals more shine reflection in your hair."
Chelle Neff, owner of Urban Betty Hair Salon in Austin, agrees that there are some serious perks to putting coffee on your hair. "Washing hair with coffee can be extremely beneficial," Neff says. "First of all, the rough grounds will aid in exfoliating your scalp and stimulate your hair follicle, which in turn helps hair growth. Also, caffeine has been proven to stimulate the hair follicle when applied directly to the scalp. This method is a great way to help baldness and hair loss without all the pharmaceutical/chemical methods."
"One of the major components of hair growth is testosterone," Francois says. "A by-product of testosterone is DHT, usually when broken down, DHT promotes hair growth, however when particular enzymes in the body lose the ability to breakdown DHT, a build-up occurs. The build up of DHT damages the integrity of the hair cells causing the hair follicle to weaken. Caffeine blocks the build up of DHT, which allows hair cells to function properly for hair growth! Clients with hair loss or thinning hair can possibly benefit from the use of caffeine."
After learning about these super science facts and advice from experts, I was more curious than ever — but admittedly, I had one more worry in mind: Though I love all hair colors, right now I prefer myself as a blonde. I read how coffee can be a natural hair dye, so I was mildly concerned that I'd be left with darker hair after I was finished.
As I mentioned, I'm also sensitive to caffeine. I'll admit that I wondered if I would absorb the caffeine through my scalp and be affected by it in the same way as drinking it. However, I tossed my concerns out of the metaphorical window because I was too enamored with the thoughts of potential scalp exfoliation, shiny tresses, and hair growth. All potential pros and cons considered, I threw caution to the wind along with my worries.
I had no idea what kind of coffee to buy, but I thought coffee granules would be my best bet to aid in exfoliating my scalp. I also do not own a coffee pot, so I went ahead and bought some instant coffee.
As I stepped into the shower, I realized I had no clue where to start, so I winged it. I turned the shower on, wet my hair, poured some coffee granules into my hand, and literally plonked them onto my head.
Suffice to say, it felt utterly wrong. I have thick hair which, like any hair type, has positives and negatives to it. I quickly realized that having thick hair would not benefit me in this particular situation.
Normally when washing my hair, I use shampoo and conditioner — the conditioning part usually takes a good few minutes and a ton of product and finger-combing, to ensure I'm left with tangle-free tresses.
I soon learned that I would not be left with easily manageable locks at the end of this ordeal.
In addition to this, the process was incredibly messy. My fiancé — who was a great sport and agreed to help me out by being my cameraman — said it looked like I had excrement in my hair and I had to agree. I kept spotting brown liquid trickling down my body and it was rather odd to say the least.
I also kept getting a little freaked out when I'd catch the coffee going down the drain, because out of the corner of my eye, it resembled blood. I knew it wasn't, but yikes!
On the plus side, I like how grainy the granules felt against my scalp and how the coffee made my bathroom smell like a coffee shop.
However, as I predicted, my mane didn't take kindly to missing out on my usual conditioning and finger-combing. It took me a solid few minutes to brush through all of the knots until my hair was finally tangle-free.
After drying my hair with a hairdryer as I normally do, I did notice my locks were a bit shinier than usual. Although, this could be marked down to the fact that they still felt greasy at the roots. TBH, my hair didn't feel super clean. Sure, it felt better than before I'd washed it, but I didn't feel comfortable leaving the house with slightly greasy hair.
I must say, my scalp did feel invigorated after a good scrub, but that was about the only benefit I encountered. That and I felt a bit wired — but this could have been a placebo effect. In addition to this, I was relieved that my hair hadn't changed color.
All in all, it wasn't a disaster, but I'm not sure if the mess and lingering scent was really worth it. To see the true benefits, you'd likely have to wash your hair with coffee regularly. Or just buy a caffeine shampoo, because that would be a heck of a lot easier!
Images: Anastasia Zhenina (1) /Unsplash; Phoebe Waller