Photographed by Winnie Au.
Vodka isn’t just for your Cosmopolitan anymore. The distilled spirit is more useful than you'd think: It can be used to alleviate a toothache and even preserve flowers. It's also rumored to have a number of beauty benefits. You can use vodka as part of your skin-care regimen by diluting it with water to make an astringent that will cleanse your skin and tighten your pores. For your hair, Warren-Tricomi stylist Marc Mena says, “Vodka has a low pH level and is naturally acidic, which, when added to conditioner, can help maintain and lower a high pH level found in the hair. [It] has the ability to seal the hair cuticle which will manage and reduce the appearance of frizz, resulting in softer and shinier strands.”
Vodka can be incorporated through major components of your regimen. It can be added to shampoo, conditioner, and be used as a rinse. By adding a shot to your 12-ounce bottle of shampoo or cowash it can further help to remove build up on your hair and scalp. Shake the bottle so that the vodka is evenly distributed throughout the product and use as directed. If you have dandruff, there’s an extra bonus: Vodka can help to alleviate an itchy scalp and reduce dandruff. For a rinse, mix a tablespoon of vodka and a cup of water and pour over your hair after deep conditioning. Your hair should look clean, shiny, and more luscious.
There are also claims that vodka helps prevent hair loss. The Beauty Gypsy provides a great recipe to stimulate healthy hair growth: "Mix a tablespoon of organic honey and onion juice in a jigger of vodka and apply on your scalp. Leave it in your hair overnight and wash off in the morning. Vodka cleanses the scalp and stimulates the growth of healthy tresses."
Although vodka could have many positive benefits for your hair, it is important to remember that it should be used in moderation. If used too frequently or not diluted, vodka could dry the natural oils from scalp and hair. And, there are several other concerns: Can you add vodka to your hair care routine if your hair is color treated? Is it safe to use on your hair in the winter, when your scalp is already dry? Some are still hesitant about vodka being beneficial for your hair at all. Hair loss expert Samuel Lam, MD, is one of them: “Although I cannot seriously answer the question of whether vodka does anything special for hair, I can say that there are a lot of unproven home remedies, naturopathic, and other alternative therapies that have been touted to work but have not panned out.”
I haven’t tried using vodka on my hair yet, and I’m not sure that I ever will. But, I must say that I’m intrigued. If you’ve added vodka to your hair care routine, tell us about it in the comments! We’d love to hear about your experience, positive or negative.