There is no doubt in my mind that I am the perfect candidate for testing out the effectiveness of washing hair with soda. And not just any soda, but Fanta. When it comes to beauty habits, I’m fascinated by odd tricks and techniques that are out of left field. I’m totally down to try out any weird or gross product or process if it promises to make my skin softer and my hair fuller, even in the slightest. That being said, I’m also a major skeptic, and like to test the value of every beauty-related claim.
I can honestly say that it has been years since I’ve purchased a bottle of Fanta. My mom never actually bought Fanta, so I used to only be able to drink it after soccer games in elementary school. Since then, I’ve probably had it only a handful of times, either at parties or as a guilty pleasure when making a pit stop at a gas station on a road trip.
Obviously, I didn’t ever think to rinse my hair with it until undertaking this experiment. But when I was reminded of my memories of amazing goals and hour-long burpy giggling fits, I couldn’t help but feel a deep connection with Fanta. So I figured YOLO and washed my hair with orange Fanta.
Call me crazy, but I usually wash my hair in the shower with warm water and shampoo. But, like I said, I was intrigued by the claims, and I was interested to see how soda would work on my wad of thick, dark brown hair. I swapped out my warm shower water for freezing cold Fanta straight from the fridge, and well, I was pleasantly surprised with the results.
And it's not just because I got to drink a refreshing beverage while washing my hair. Even though I admit that was quite an amazing feeling.
Beauty gurus and models swear by Coca-Cola as a hair product, claiming its properties work to define, texturize, and volumize human hair. Suki Waterhouse rinses her hair with Coca-Cola to give it a tousled, relaxed look, and she’s a model for Burberry, H&M, and Vogue. While I doubted washing my hair with Fanta would make my mane as gorgeous as hers, I was fascinated by Coca-Cola’s properties and compared it to Fanta’s ingredients. What’s in soda that makes it so good for hair? And how might Fanta be different?
By briefly googling “Coca-Cola ingredients” and inspecting its differences from the Fanta bottle in front of me, I found that Fanta contains citric acid (naturally occurring in citrus plants) and sodium polyphosphates (inorganic salt compounds), two ingredients Coca-Cola does not have.
Since citrus is a beneficial, natural ingredient in a lot of different beauty products, I figured the citric acid from the orange flavor might benefit my hair. But salt I wasn’t too sure of. Both sodas, like all, have a hefty dose of high fructose corn syrup, as well as cane sugar, phosphoric acid, and caffeine.
But some hair products include these things as well — most shampoos also contain chlorides, sulfates, and acids (unless you’re using an all-natural, organic shampoo).
Either way, I hypothesized that Fanta, in all its bubbly classic orange glory, would leave my hair crusty and thick, and feeling oily and gross. In fact, I was pleasantly surprised. But first, I would have to make a mess.
I have relatively healthy hair. I have never permanently dyed it, it has never gone through a chemical process, and I just recently chopped off a few inches to get rid of my split ends. Like I mentioned before, my hair is thick and it’s a dark brown shade. It holds product pretty well, but also gets really oily, really quick.
In the warmer months, I let my hair dry naturally and it makes loose curls/waves and gets quite frizzy. So you get an idea, below is a photo of my hair on a really good day, pre-haircut, when I had blow-dried and curled it.
And this was my hair, dried naturally, before I started the experiment.
Now it’s time for the fun part. With three classic orange Fantas in tow (even though I only ended up using two), I made my way to the bathroom, where I decided to wash my hair under the tub faucet instead of in the shower. I was totally okay with getting Fanta all up in my hair, but I wanted to avoid getting my skin sticky and gooey. So I hung my head and started pouring the first 20-ounce bottle of Fanta over my head.
At first, the only thing I noticed was how freezing cold the Fanta was (if you try this, I recommend either purchasing a bottle warm or waiting for it to warm). Then I noticed how loud the Fanta was fizzing. It’s wasn’t the quiet, familiar fizz you hear when you pour a soda into a cup. It was loud, as if I put a whole stick of butter on a hot pan and amplified the sound with a loudspeaker. Okay, obviously that’s bit of an exaggeration. But it was quite a loud fizz, and right in my ear! Which is obviously different from the relatively quiet shampoo and conditioner I usually use.
Other than that, there weren’t many notes to take. I simply worked the other bottle into my hair, getting it completely wet with the soda. Then I let it sit for a minute or two and snapped this beautifully attractive photo of myself.
As you can see, my hair looked quite stiff once coated in Fanta. When I began rinsing it out, however, this stiffness began to diminish. My hair didn’t feel much different, and it surprisingly didn’t smell bad. I figured the Fanta would make my hair hard to comb through, but there wasn’t any difficulty on that front, either. After that, I waited for my hair to dry. And I cleaned up the mess I made. Warning: Cleaning up Fanta is not fun.
About two hours after my Fanta rinse, I inspected my hair to see how it dried. My hair was noticeably bigger. It dried with more volume, especially around my ears, where my curls formed. My curls were more defined, but I definitely had more frizz. I expected my hair would feel waxy and dirty or even sticky, but it actually felt pretty clean and healthy.
The next morning, though, my hair did feel slightly crisp. After I brushed through it all (see the photo below), it was apparent that my hair was at its biggest and its frizziest. But it didn’t feel as oily as it usually does after sleeping, and it had a pleasant, waxy texture to it. Other than that, it was my typical hair. Except, you know, its momentary reminiscence of the '70s disco era.
Yet again, a beautifully attractive photo of myself. Please enjoy.
Did washing with Fanta improve my mane? Besides infusing added volume and extra curly texture, it didn’t do much. I admit that I liked playing around with my big hair the following day, and it was definitely different from the products I use that make my hair fall flat. That being said, my hair is pretty frizzy, and this only elevated the frizz even further. Would I recommend Fanta to my friends? Probably not, but I could see how it might help people with thinner, lighter hair than mine. Plus, for added volume and texture, this might be a great tool.
Washing with Fanta isn’t necessarily something I see myself doing regularly. I’m convinced that the citrus component helped improve the volume and texture of my hair, but it seems as though the rest of the ingredients only added to the frizz situation. It didn’t smell bad, which was nice, but it didn’t feel silky and soft, either. I might do it again (key word: might), but I can only see that happening when it’s the dead of winter and I can’t even get the strongest mousse.
Nonetheless, I now have more fond memories to add to my repertoire of Fanta moments.
And an extra bottle to actually drink.
Images: Melodi Erdogan; Giphy; SukiWaterhouse/Instagram