Dear Lola: What’s the deal with coffee hair rinses?


Dear Lola, I searched on your site for a coffee hair rinse recipe but didn’t find one. Do you do coffee rinses? And if so, what does it do for your hair? What brand do you use? Do you do it before or after washing? I just don’t want my hair to smell like coffee. I’m curious and might give this a try but want to know more first. Thank you, Curious Curly Girl


Dearest Curious Curly Girl,

I recently began a hot and heavy affair with rice water, but before that coffee had the last word in my wash day routine. The caffeine in coffee has been found to stimulate the follicles. Studies have also shown that caffeine makes hair follicles more resistant to DHT, the hormone known to cause genetic hair loss. Note that in the study, caffeine was applied in vitro (in a test tube), and not applied directly to the scalp. Some sources even claim that coffee darkens the color of hair, though I’ve never had that experience. It does, however, generally have a pH of 5 – 5.1, so it is the bizness for smoothing the cuticles.

According to, human skin absorbs caffeine at a rate of 2.24+/-1.43 micrograms per square centimeter an hour. Or as The Beauty Brains explained, if you used every inch of skin on your body, it would take it about 2 hours to absorb the equivalent of 2 cups of coffee. All of that said, coffee is prob best used as a final rinse (not washed out). As far as a recipe goes, how about this: Brew coffee. Let it cool. Pour on hair and scalp.

Sorry, I couldn’t resist the chance to be a tad snarky. But seriously, it’s that simple. Though sometimes I wild out and throw in a handful of fennel seeds (astringent, treats an itchy scalp) and steep until the coffee is room temperature. After straining out the fennel seeds, I pour the coffee over my hair and scalp. My hair initially smells like coffee, but it doesn’t last more than 15 minutes or so.

Give that a whirl and let me know how it goes!



In need of unconventional advice? Hit me up!

Sources: PubMed, LiveStrongDr. WeilInternational Journal of Dermatology, Coffee FAQThe Beauty BrainsDr. Oz Fans, Essential Herbal Wisdom