Coffee Isn't Just for Drinking: Discover Its Haircare Wonders

Beyond its rich aroma, coffee proves to be a multifaceted elixir for your hair. With the ability to promote hair growth, shield against UV damage, and even act as a natural hair dye, coffee-infused haircare is emerging as a sought-after remedy. Delve into this comprehensive guide for a caffeinated journey to stronger, shinier, and more resilient locks.

Caffeine benefits for hair

From inhibiting hair fall and stimulating growth by countering the effects of DHT (sex hormone) to enhancing strength and shine, caffeine shows potential as a versatile ally.

In fact, multiple studies support the beneficial effects of caffeine, especially when it comes to androgenetic alopecia (AGA), which leads to gradual hair thinning in both men and women.

Let’s take a closer look at the supported advantages.

Hair fall control and growth stimulation

DHT (dihydrotestosterone) plays an important role in some bodily functions. However, it can reduce the size of hair follicles, leading to hair thinning, and eventually, hair loss in people producing higher quantities of this hormone.

Caffeine works against the effects of DHT by stopping the enzyme phosphodiesterase, which hinders factors responsible for hair follicle growth. By blocking this enzyme, caffeine helps make the hair bulb thicker and the hair growth phase (anagen) longer.

A study revealed that caffeine may prevent the harmful effects of testosterone on hair follicles and enhance hair follicular growth in both males and females. These actions contribute to the stimulation of robust hair growth by elongating visible parts of the hair, increasing the hair growth phase.

Makes hair stronger and shinier

The effects of caffeine extend beyond hair growth. Since caffeine plays a role in hair cell growth, this also suggests promoting cells that protect the outer layer of hair.

Furthermore, caffeine's positive influence on the growth of hair from the follicle enhances the overall health and appearance of the hair. Its actions on both the hair follicle and the outer protective layer contribute to a smoother and shinier texture, providing a visible boost to the hair's strength and luster.

Reduces hair damage by UV light

UV light is recognized for its harmful effects on both skin and hair, causing damage to the hair follicles. Nevertheless, studies have shown that applying caffeine three days before and after UV exposure offers protection against UV-induced hair follicle cell toxicity damage.

These findings suggest that caffeine can alleviate UV-induced hair follicle damage and may act as a photo-protectant by triggering specific cellular responses within the hair follicle.

Works as a natural hair dye

Coffee is not only renowned for its potential to promote hair health but also as a natural hair dye capable of darkening brown hair. Unlike chemical hair dyes that can adversely affect hair health, coffee could serve as a safer, inexpensive, and potentially more beneficial alternative.

It's important to note that individual results may vary based on natural hair color and condition. Also, it may not stain hair uniformly to dark brown and could give a very subtle nuanced color to gray hair even after multiple uses.

Adding coffee to your haircare routine

Incorporating coffee into a comprehensive haircare routine might help achieve a subtle and natural hair color with potential hair growth benefits. Here are some DIY recipes to try:

Coffee oil

Coffee oil is believed to offer several benefits for hair, including adding a subtle stain to gray hair, promoting hair growth, and enhancing overall shine. Here’s how to make it.


  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1 tablespoon roasted coffee (100% Arabica)

Instructions. Heat a quarter cup of coconut oil at low temperature on a double boiler and add a tablespoon of roasted coffee. Brew and stir for at least 50 minutes. Sieve and apply once a week before hair wash.

Application and storage. After allowing the oil to cool completely, it can be gently massaged onto the scalp and on the entire hair length. This oil can also be stored in an airtight container for up to two months.

Coffee conditioner mask

This conditioner mask can be used after shampooing for better hair color. Here’s how you can make it at home.


  • 2 tablespoons coffee grounds
  • 0.5 cup brewed dark-roasted coffee (100% Arabica)
  • 4 tablespoons conditioner

Instructions. Brew a cup of dark-roasted coffee and let it cool down. Mix 2 tablespoons of coffee grounds with 4 tablespoons of conditioner and the brewed coffee, ensuring complete mixing.

Application and storage. Apply this mask evenly to the entire hair length of damp hair, avoiding the scalp, after washing your hair. Keep for 20–25 minutes and rinse with cool water. Use the mask within a week if stored at room temperature and within two if refrigerated.

Coffee rinse

This rinse may help stimulate hair growth and add shine to your hair. Here's how to make it.


  • 1 cup coffee (100% Arabica)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

Instructions. Brew a cup of coffee and let it cool. Mix the coffee with water and apple cider vinegar. After shampooing, pour the coffee rinse over your hair and massage it into your scalp. Let it sit for a few minutes, then rinse with cool water.

Application and storage. This rinse can be stored in a spray bottle and kept in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks for reuse. Spray the rinse onto the hair strands and leave it for an hour for a subtle hair tint.

Caffeine as an ingredient in hair products

Before incorporating haircare products infused with caffeine into your routine, it's crucial to consider a few essential points to ensure optimal results and suitability for your hair needs.

  1. Hair type consideration. Consider your hair type before selecting a caffeine-infused shampoo or conditioner. For oily hair, choose a product with oil-balancing effects; for dry and damaged hair, opt for moisturizing and repairing formulations. If dealing with hair thinning, select a shampoo with volumizing or thickening properties.
  2. Ingredients consideration. When choosing caffeine-infused haircare, focus on natural extracts like green tea, aloe vera, or ginseng, alongside ingredients such as hyaluronic acid, essential oils, biotin, amino acids, collagen peptides, keratin, or niacinamide for strengthened hair follicles and increased growth. Opt for sulfate, paraben, silicone, and fragrance-free shampoos to preserve natural oils, especially for sensitive skin and scalp.
  3. Other important factors to consider. Factor in the concentration of caffeine when selecting a product. Products ranging between 0.2–1% caffeine have been studied and reported for effective and safe use. Also, prioritize natural caffeine sources, such as coffee bean extract, over synthetic alternatives. It's equally important to choose a shampoo with a pH level of less than 5.5 to preserve the scalp’s natural barrier. To ensure reliability, opt for products from reputable brands with consistently positive independent reviews.

Will drinking coffee promote hair growth?

In general, oral caffeine consumption is considered safe for healthy adults at a daily intake of around 400 mg (approximately 5.7 mg/kg), and it does not raise safety concerns according to The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA). However, there is no significant reported correlation between hair growth and coffee drinking.

Achieving the same caffeine concentration through topical application would require consuming very high doses (50–60 cups) orally, which may result in undesirable effects on mental functions, including fatigue, nervousness, and feelings of anger or depression. In the cases of pattern balding, for example, relying solely on coffee consumption is not a good idea.

Side effects of caffeine

Caffeine, commonly found in coffee-based hair products, may have potential side effects for some individuals. These can include:

  • Scalp irritation
  • Dryness or flaking
  • Rare allergic reactions such as itching or rash

To prevent these side effects, it's important to perform a patch test before using any new caffeine-based hair treatment and always start with a minimum amount to know the sensitivity of your skin to caffeine.

Additionally, incorporate ample hydration through moisturizing conditioners or hair masks for counteracting potential dryness or flaking. It's also essential to store and use these products according to their specific instructions to minimize the risk of any potential side effects.

Overall, coffee being a natural ingredient is easy to add and worth trying as a new addition to a healthy haircare routine. Whether through DIY recipes or commercial products, incorporating coffee into your haircare routine presents a potential path to stronger, shinier, and healthier locks. Nonetheless, always prioritize safety by performing patch tests and following product instructions to unlock the full benefits of caffeine for your hair.


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