Back in the ’90s, I learned everything about life from magazines like Seventeen and Teen. Sure, I didn’t have the cash to splurge on fashion, but at least I could figure out a few hair tips that, in my eyes, would instantly boost my popularity and earn me a spot as homecoming queen.
It’s amazing how young minds work.
These days, I’m a little less naive. I know one product won’t change my life or my social status. But there was something really comforting about the dream. Plus, learning about new products and ways to flirt with your crush every month was part of the fun of being a teenager. Sadly, print magazines aren’t as popular these days. Teens are getting all of their advice from the internet. It’s a quicker way to learn, but not something you can get as easily nostalgic over.
But hair care is still a big deal. To this day, I still use Herbal Essences after seeing the ads in magazines. But one product that didn’t cross into the 2020s? Beer.
Yes, beer is extremely popular as an alcoholic beverage. But back in the day, it was also suggested to use beer for your hair. The ’90s were all about DIY beauty. Eggs were also, supposedly, a great way to condition. But it’s something that never gets mentioned these days.
Beer was such a big deal that in 1978, a product came on the market that was called Body on Tap. The beer shampoo was endorsed by Kim Basinger, well before she even met Alec Baldwin.
Body on Tap came in three different types — Normal, Oily, and Dry. The commercials, which are now quite dated, consisted of a man deeply smelling his girlfriend’s hair while they’re walking in a field. The guy states his girlfriend’s hair smells good. And that’s probably the beer he’s smelling. As the commercial states, the shampoo shouldn’t be consumed.
Sadly, that’s one of the reasons why I never tried this experiment in college. I went to college in Pennsylvania, and it was harder than you could imagine to buy just a six-pack of beer. Purchases were by the case, and they were expensive. Too expensive to pour down the drain in the name of beauty.
While I’ll always relate to that poor college student, at least now I have a job — and I’m living in Maryland, where the government isn’t in control of liquor stores and beer distributors. I’ve also reached the age where it’s simply OK not to finish a beer. The luxury of alcohol has long since worn off.
My husband is the chef of the family and sometimes uses beer to cook with. This time around, I eyed the remainder of a National Bohemian (again, I live in Maryland) and asked him a weird question. “Can I dump the remainder of this on my head?”
My husband, having not read a teen magazine in his life, seemed confused. But he’s been married to me for almost eight years now, so he expects these types of things. That next morning, I took a shower and — as I promised — dumped the remaining beer all over my head.
Suddenly, I was taken back to those college days. The smell of old beer is both alarming and oddly comforting. The best part was that because I work remotely, I didn’t have to interact with anyone professionally who might think I had a lunch beer or five. This was purely for science.
Lo and behold, my hair seemed shinier.
After my first beer hair experiment, I was looking for a new way to apply the beverage without having to just dump beer on my head. I decided to take an empty spray bottle and fill it up (accidentally spilling a ton of it on the table, since I’ve never poured a beer into a spray bottle before) and use this as my new methodology.
That said, I still had the lingering “smells like beer” thing. I knew nobody would question me on it, as it’d be a tough topic to bring up. Nobody would shake my hand, introduce themselves, and then state, “Is that old beer I smell?”… probably.
I made sure the beer was rinsed out every time I used it, and I continued to use some of my normal hair products. The shine I noticed was legit, but my hair really did smell.
And that association may be why Body on Tap didn’t last very long. As it turns out, even beer manufacturers felt weird about the product.
According to Duffy’s Brew, the beer used in the shampoo was Budweiser. But the executives of Budweiser didn’t want to be mentioned in the commercials. “The fine people at Anheuser-Busch were kind enough to ‘denature’ the beer with formaldehyde so it wouldn’t be taxed as alcohol,” according to the site. “However, they did this VERY secretly, out of the eye-shot from most workers, and they prohibited the undrinkable product from being moved in marked Budweiser trucks.”
As I kept using the beer spray, I realized that while I did notice the difference, I wasn’t ready to fully make it part of my everyday routine. Especially because it was tough having to worry about whether or not I’d run into someone.
Having a spray bottle of beer in your bathroom also isn’t the best idea when you’ve got a toddler wandering around, as I do. Still, the shine! The fullness! It made me appreciate beer on a completely different level.
For the record, the best results came that first day, when I just went for it and poured it on. Spraying it on helped, but the difference wasn’t as noticeable.
Beer actually contains protein and B vitamins, which is why it may make hair fuller and shinier. While I might not use it every day, it’s definitely a fun option if I need a follicle boost. But all in all, drinking it seems to be slightly more enjoyable than dumping it on my head. But that’s just my opinion.