Beauty

This unusual Korean beauty hack is the secret to soft and shiny hair

Raise your glasses to this ‘neat’ hair-care ingredient you can find in just about any Korean specialty grocery store. Find out what it is and why dousing yourself with this drink is the trick to tip-top tresses
 

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As the resident alchie of the office, this brilliant K-Beauty hack – a secret shared with me by an ex-colleague currently getting up to all sorts of shenanigans in Seoul – must rank as the best one yet. Here goes: Steeping split ends with a shot of soju will give you super shiny hair.

Now, we’ve probably all heard of someone who swears by bathing their hair in beer. As it turns out, the trick is to select the right sort of alcohol to hose your head with. Always choose clear spirits distilled from rice, potatoes and such, like vodka or the potent Korean potion known as soju.

How this hair hack works

Here’s why colourless liquors lend superior shine to your locks. Ethanol has long been known for its so-called hygroscopic properties: Science-speak for the way it sucks in moisture molecules from the air.

By closing off your hair cuticles, each strand becomes smoother, allowing more light to bounce off your mane. This “tightening” effect is precisely why facial astringents and aerosol hair sprays contain so much alcohol – although there is, as always, a catch.

Coat your coif with alcohol too often and you’ll suffer from a “rebound” effect. Soju’s sebum-stripping ability has the downside of causing dehydration over time, which is why I recommend rinsing your hair out with alcohol only as an emergency measure before a special event, when you really need to, well, shine.

All of which is to say, this is the very definition of a “quick high”: Save it for Very Important Occasions only, or you’ll end up with a frizzier fringe than before.

How to create your own shine-boosting serum

Here’s how. First, step into the shower and wet with water, then administer a generous shot glass-full of your tipple to your tresses. Massage in for a few seconds and rinse off with cold water for extra cuticle-sealing shine. Blow-dry using the cool setting, style accordingly and you’re good to go.

Remember, avail yourself of the hard stuff only when you Absolut-ly must. A party where you know you’ll bump into your ex? By all means, bag the Belvedere and grab the Grey Goose. But revert to more conventional shine-boosting treatments the morning after.

Bottomline: Hew to an alcohol-free hair routine on most days, but prior to a big night out, marinate your mane in soju for a beautifying boost. See? Perfectly justifiable reasons to raid your home bar. I’ll drink to that!

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