by Sabrina Perkins of SeriouslyNatural.org
When we think of caffeine, we usually think of coffee, tea or even soda. We also think of the negative effects caffeine can have on our bodies and how we can cut down on our intake. But, just like anything else, there are two sides to this story.
Caffeine gets a bad rap and undeservingly so. Caffeine is believed to help prevent diseases like stroke as well as certain cancers, and more than 80 percent of adults in the U.S. consume caffeine every day in one form or another. This widely used ingredient has been found to be beneficial in several ways, even for our hair follicles. That may be surprising for some, so let’s explore exactly what caffeine is and how it can help our hair.
What Is Caffeine?
Considered the most widely consumed psychoactive substance worldwide, caffeine is a natural stimulant present in over 60 plants and it’s the main ingredient in coffee. Caffeine is a ‘socially acceptable psychoactive drug.’ In its purest form, caffeine is a white, crystalline powder that is extremely bitter and stimulates the central nervous system.
It seems the biggest concerns arise when consuming too much; according to the Mayo Clinic, consuming more than 500-600 mg a day can lead to irritability, nervousness, an upset stomach and insomnia, just to name a few things. Despite the negative affects, caffeine has been found to protect people from Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia, to lower the risk of Parkinson’s and Type II Diabetes, and to fight depression.
Caffeine can be amazing for hair in that it helps it to grow and even glow. Here’s a breakdown of what you can expect from using it:
How Does Caffeine Make Hair Glow?
Caffeine must be applied directly to hair for this benefit (through coffee, which can add shine as well as depth to dark hair). It’s great for hair butters or conditioners and can increase hair’s natural sheen or shine, which many naturals complain their hair is lacking.
How Does Caffeine Make Hair Grow?
The biggest benefit caffeine can bring to hair is to improve hair growth and structure. Caffeine stimulates and interacts with the hair follicles and even regulates hair growth so it can promote it and thwart hair loss. You can just keep drinking your morning cup of Joe to gain that benefit or you can take it a step further (like I do) and use a coffee rinse from time to time.
The International Journal of Dermatology found that caffeine was a great simulator of the hair shaft and helped hair grow faster by blocking the effects of DHT, a chemical known for damaging hair follicles. The researchers even found that caffeine enhanced hair shaft elongation and prolonged the anagen hair phase (the growing phase) which is excellent as that phase naturally decreases as we age.
Caffeine is a good thing for the sheen and growth of our hair, and I love it for hair rinses and even scalp-exfoliating scrubs. There are also some really popular products that harness the benefits of caffeine, like OGX Anti-Hair Fallout Niacin3 & Caffeine Root Stimulator Spray and MARC ANTHONY Grow Long Caffeine Ginseng Conditioner. While not everyone can appreciate a heaping amount of coffee, consider caffeine and what it can do to create a healthier environment for your hair.
Have you harnessed the power of caffeine for your hair?
Caffeine definitely minimizes excessive shedding for me. I’ve experienced the effects first hand, and it only takes one or two rinses to see the results! I prefer strong black-tea rinses or I simply use black tea in my henna glosses.