The end of September is usually marked by cooler temperatures, fewer hours of daylight, brilliant yellow, orange and red leaf colors, and many harvest festivals toasting nature’s bounty from the summer growing months. Also, beer lovers often raise a glass (or two!) to celebrate harvesting hops, the dried, flowering part of the hop plant used in brewing beer, and their favorite brews during many Octoberfests and brewing festivals around the globe. Pilsners, ales, ambers, malts, lagers, saisons, stouts, wheat or Belgian styles and more are celebrated annually by beer lovers on September 28th, National Drink Beer Day. From new craft beers and artisanal beers to tried-and-true classics, we’re celebrating the versatility of hops with 6 surprising beer uses for hair and skin.
What is Beer?
In its most basic form, beer is an alcoholic beverage resulting from combining four ingredients: barley, water, hops and yeast. Brewer’s yeast starts the fermenting process, turning the sugars in the grains into alcohol and carbon dioxide (CO2). Different varieties of hops are used to add flavor.
Does Beer Have Benefits?
Beer usually contains proteins, carbohydrates, and trace minerals such as calcium, magnesium, potassium and sodium. Plus, it’s also known to contain small amounts of B vitamins, including niacin, riboflavin, pantothenic acid, vitamins B-6 and B-12, and folate.1 Hops are also sources of flavonoids, which are rich in antioxidants. Does beer have more antioxidants than wine? Studies have shown that beer contains more protein and B vitamins than wine, and surprisingly, the antioxidant content of beer is equivalent to that of wine.1 However, it’s important to note that the specific antioxidants are different since barley and hops are used in the production of beer and grapes, which contain different flavonoids, are used in the production of wine.1
Studies have shown that beer consumption in moderation may be beneficial for cardiovascular health and bone health.1,2 However, it’s important to consider that the alcohol in beer might negate those benefits, which is why we’re toasting these 6 hair, skin and beauty uses of beer.
6 Beer Recipes for Your Beauty Routine
#1 Apple Cider Vinegar and Beer Rinse for Hair
For volume and shine, try this apple cider vinegar and beer rinse for hair. Beer, jojoba oil, and apple cider vinegar help refresh and give hair a healthy glow.
- 2 ounces beer (we like ones with hints of apricot, raspberry or orange)
- 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon jojoba oil
- 2 drops sweet orange or lemon essential oil (or your favorite scent)
Directions: Combine essential oil with jojoba oil in a mixing bowl and stir with a fork to blend. Whisk in remaining ingredients and transfer to a shatter-proof container.
To Use: Shampoo and rinse hair as usual. Then, soak hair with beer mixture, working it through from roots to ends. Leave on 2 to 3 minutes. Rinse with lukewarm water. Dry and style your hair.
#2 Activated Charcoal and Beer Antioxidant Face Mask
We love to relax with a soothing and refreshing face mask. This face mask combines activated charcoal, beer and honey to nourish a healthy glow and help your skin’s defense against free radicals. Kaolin clay helps to clarify and refresh skin.
- 1 ½ teaspoons activated charcoal powder (about 3 to 4 capsules of activated charcoal)*
- 2 tablespoons kaolin clay (or ground flaxseeds)
- 1 tablespoon beer (we like wheat or Belgian styles)
- 1 tablespoon honey
Directions: Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl and stir with a fork or spoon to blend. If mask is too runny, add in more activated charcoal powder, kaolin clay or ground flaxseed until mask is your preferred consistency.
*activated charcoal can be messy, so we recommended handling with care and keeping it away from any fabrics to prevent staining
To Use: Spread the mask onto face, avoiding eye area, in a medium to thick layer. Leave on for 10 to 15 minutes and rinse off with warm water.
#3 Avocado and Beer Moisture Face Mask
Avocado is hydrating and contains many nutrients for skin health. When the months are colder and the air contains less moisture, try this moisturizing face mask to help add some glow to dull or dry looking skin.
- ½ small avocado (about 2 to 3 ounces mashed)
- 1 tablespoon beer (we like hearty ales or stouts)
- ½ teaspoon jojoba oil or coconut oil
- 1 drop chamomile essential oil (optional)
Directions: Mash avocado with a fork in a mixing bowl. Mix in all other ingredients, stirring with a fork until blended.
To Use: Spread the mask onto face in a medium to thick layer avoiding eye area. Leave on for 10 to 15 minutes and rinse off with warm water.
#4 Coconut and Beer Whipped Body Butter with Vitamin E
Self-care is an important part of any wellness plan, especially during high to stress times. Help quench dry skin and nourish it with this whole-body butter recipe, which includes an antioxidant boost from vitamin E. This recipe makes about 8 to10 ounces, but the volume will vary depending on how much air is whipped into the body butter. We recommend having enough jars on hand to hold up to 16 ounces. Whipped body butter can easily be stored in a glass jar with a tight lid in a cool, dry place. It makes a great gift too.
- 1 cup unscented cocoa butter (or shea butter)
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- 1 tablespoons sweet almond oil or jojoba oil
- 2 tablespoons beer (we like wheat or Belgian styles)
- 4 vitamin E capsules
- 5 drops ylang-ylang essential oil (or your favorite scent)
Step 1: This recipe requires a double boiler to warm the oils and an electric mixer to whip the body butter. Start the double boiler on medium heat and reduce to a simmer once it reaches a boil. Place cocoa butter in the top of the double boiler and cover. Be careful not to overheat. Stir occasionally until cocoa butter is melted.
Step 2: Once cocoa butter is melted stir in beer and continue stirring mixture for about 1 minute. Remove from heat and add in coconut oil, stirring until coconut oil is melted. Add in sweet almond oil and stir. Allow mixture to cool about 10 minutes.
Step 3: Pierce and squeeze liquid from vitamin E capsules into the melted oils. Add the essential oil into the melted oils and stir until blended. Transfer oils to an electric mixer bowl, scrapping sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula to transfer all the oils. A hand electric mixer with regular beaters will work too.
Step 4: Start mixer on low speed and slowly work up to medium speed to avoid splashing. Beat for 5 minutes, then place the bowl in the freezer for 5 minutes. Remove from freezer and mix body butter another 5 minutes on medium. Repeat 5 minutes in the freezer and 5 minutes mixing until you have a smooth, fluffy texture that resembles whipped butter or whipped cream.
Step 5: Use a rubber spatula to transfer whipped body butter to the jars. Store in a cool dry place and keep out of direct sunlight as body butter will melt.
To Use: Apply to skin using a small amount from the jar and allowing it to melt by rubbing your fingers and thumb together before spreading onto skin.
#5 Beer and Coffee Body Scrub
This caffeine-infused scrub is made for coffee lovers and beer lovers. Help exfoliate away dead skin and energize your skin with the natural coffee in this recipe.
- ⅓ cup fine ground coffee
- ¾ cup raw or turbinado sugar
- ⅓ cup beer (your favorite brew)
- ⅓ sweet almond oil or jojoba oil
- 5 drops lavender essential oil (or your favorite scent)
Directions: Combine essential oil with sweet almond oil in a mixing bowl and stir with a fork to blend. Add remaining ingredients to the mixing bowl and stir together until blended.
To Use: In your shower or bath, apply to damp skin in small, circular motions. Massage the scrub into skin, avoiding eye area. Rinse skin with warm water and towel off.
#6 Easy Hoppy Skin Soap
If you’re shy about using beer in your beauty routine, consider using hops flowers or hops extract. This recipe creates a nourishing soap for all skin types using Swanson Hops or Swanson XanthoForce Hop Extract powder for antioxidant support against free radicals. Give the soap (and your skin) an additional boost against toxins by adding activated charcoal powder too.
- Silicone Soap Tray Mold
- 16 ounces aloe vera melt and pour soap (or your favorite melt and pour soap)
- 3 capsules of Swanson Hops or Swanson XanthoForce Hop Extract
- 1 teaspoon activated charcoal powder (or 3 capsules of activated charcoal) (optional)
- .5 ounces tea tree essential oil (or your favorite scent)
- 1 spray bottle with 99% isopropyl alcohol (plus 2 tablespoons of 99% isopropyl alcohol)
Step 1: Chop 16 ounces of melt and pour soap into small chunks and then place in a microwave-proof container. Heat soap in microwave on 70% power in 30 to 60 second bursts until melted. Be careful not to let the soap boil.
Step 2A: Pierce and break open hop extract capsules, emptying powder into a glass mixing bowl. Add 2 tablespoons of isopropyl alcohol. Stir together and get rid of any large clumps. Add mixture into the melted soap. Stir to combine. Spritz the mold with 99% isopropyl alcohol, which allows the soap to spread easily into the mold, especially if it has details. Pour the melted soap mixture into the mold.
Step 2B (optional): If using activated charcoal, you can create a swirl design in the soap by first pouring two-thirds of the melted soap with hops mixture into the mold. Then, add the activated charcoal to the remaining one-third of melted soap mixture. Stir to blend. Pour slowly into molds. Use a chopstick or toothpick to swirl colors together.
Step 3: Finish by spritzing the top with 99% isopropyl alcohol to get rid of any bubbles. Soap will fully cool and harden over several hours or overnight.
Step 4: Remove soap from the mold. Wrap soap bars in plastic wrap to avoid any glycerin dew.
To Use: Use as part of your usual handwashing and skin care routine. These make great gifts as well!
Do you have favorite or unusual beauty uses of beer? Share them with us in the comments below. You can find most of the ingredients needed in these easy skin and hair care recipes with beer at swanson.com.
For more on nourishing your glow and body care tips, read Biotin Benefits for Every Body and 11 Best Self-Care Tips for Mind & Body. Explore using essential oils in our Essential Oils and Aromatherapy: Beginner's Guide to Using Essential Oils.
Note: Many of these recipes include essential oils. We recommend handling essential oils with care and following any usage, safety guidelines and drug interaction warnings on the label. Testing for skin sensitivity is important before using, and we recommend people consult a doctor, especially if they are pregnant, to discuss what is safe for their individual needs.
GOVERNMENT WARNING: (1) According to the Surgeon General, women should not drink alcoholic beverages during pregnancy because of the risk of birth defects. (2) Consumption of alcoholic beverages impairs your ability to drive a car or operate machinery, and may cause health problems.
1 Denke, MA. Nutritional and health benefits of beer. The American Journal of the Medical Sciences. 2000 Nov;320(5):320-6.1 (Accessed 9/10/18). https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11093684
2 Padro, T, et. al. Moderate Beer Intake and Cardiovascular Health in Overweight Individuals. Nutrients. 2018 Sep 5;10(9) (Accessed 9/10/18). https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30189619