What is a Hair & Scalp Tonic and How does it Work?
Everyone is always looking for the “next big thing” in terms of hair care products, but what if the thing you’re looking for has been around for years, you just never knew it?
Hair tonics and scalp tonics were very popular years ago, but went out of style when other, more modern products began to enter the market. Tonics in the past were mainly used as a hair styling aid, so when things like gels and mousse were introduced, these tonics lost their popularity even though they have other benefits as well.
There has started to be a resurgence of people using hair and scalp tonics as a way to help moisturize and keep their hair and scalp healthy, while also using as a style aid, but moisturizing isn’t the only benefit of hair tonics.
What is Hair Tonic?
Hair tonic is a styling product that usually comes in liquid form and used mostly on men’s hair. Their main purpose is to provide a light hold for styling the hair but some have surfactants to help clean the hair, but also ingredients like esters of butyl alcohol (here we go with the chemistry again!), glycerin, or silicones to moisturize and lubricate your scalp. Still others may have distinctive or seductive scents sometimes derived from botanicals like Witch Hazel, Nettle Leaf, Rosemary or limonene. In the early years, tonics and were made with mineral oil or petroleum jelly, but modern tonic hair products usually come in non-greasy formulas.
Barbers use hair tonics as rewetting agents to help their clippers and tools glide through the hair as they are giving you a haircut. They can also be used to give your hair that sheen/shiny look, which can be seen as a sign of healthier hair.
Hair tonic is used very similarly to other grooming products, like mousse or hair gel. Simply pour a little in your hand, rub your hands together, then run your hands through your hair. Once you’ve applied enough tonic, run a comb through your hair to help with styling.
What are the Benefits of Hair Tonic?
Aside from just being a styling agent for your hair, hair tonics have a variety of other uses and benefits that other products may not have.
Moisturize and Improve Scalp Health
One of the best things you can do for your hair and scalp is to maintain a healthy level of moisture. By keeping your hair properly moisturized you will avoid issues with static cling and split ends. For the scalp it can help with itchiness, redness, and flakiness of the skin.
Hair tonics often contain ingredients that will help maintain a healthy level of moisture on your hair and scalp but also provide a protective coating. Hard to pronounce – PPG butyl Ester- but also other natural oils can help coat and protect your hair follicles while sealing in moisture and give it a healthy looking shine. When applied to the scalp it may prevent dandruff or dry, itchy scalp.
Hair tonics can be used on the hair but may also be massaged into the scalp. Massage can help stimulate circulation, which is sometimes touted to promote hair growth and collagen production. However, hair tonics have not been proven as effective hair growth treatments and you should not expect to have increased hair growth from using hair tonics.
Split End Reduction
Since the hair tonics can help moisturize your hair follicles and help them seal them against environmental damage, it helps keep your hair strong by preventing breakage. When your hair is strong and healthy, you’re less likely to develop split ends. Hair tonics will help protect and rejuvenate your hair, sometimes even bringing severely damaged hair back from the brink.
Breaks Down Other Hair Products
If you typically use other hair care products, then you know how annoying it can be when those products start to build up and stick in your hair. Hair tonics can help to cut through the build-up and residue that those other products can leave behind. Removing these byproducts from other hair products can help keep your hair shiny and healthy, while helping to prevent it from becoming brittle and dry.
Why Did Hair Tonic Go Out of Style?
While the items we listed above are only some of the benefits that can be had from using hair tonic, you may be wondering why hair tonic ever went out of style?
The truth is, in their heyday of the 50s and 60s, tonics were popular as a styling agent for those slick backed pompadours and shiny wet styles (Imagine John Travolta in Grease). It wasn’t really a method to help with hair and scalp health. The late 60s and 70s were known for their au-natural shaggy locks, the 80s and 90s brought us the big hair days, punk rock, and yuppy hair of Wall Street. Tonic fell out of favor due to changing trends in hair styles and when other types of styling agents hit store shelves.
Mousse, gel, and hair spray because the go-to method for styling your hair as it allowed for more control over both the bigger hair styles but also the clean cuts. These products allowed you to mold and freeze your hair in ways that wasn’t possible with tonics.
As more people become health conscious these days, and start to look into more natural products that can protect and enrich their hair, hair and scalp tonics have begun to make a resurgence. While the 1980’s and 90’s may have had people going for big hair, or certain hair styles, that could only be accomplished with newer products, these days people are going for that more natural look, while still being clean and healthy, and that’s where hair tonics come into play.
Remember though, hair tonics are not a suitable solution for hair loss or hair thinning. There are no official studies that say that hair and scalp tonics will help regrow hair or help your hair grow thicker. But based on the ingredients found in certain hair tonics and how we know those ingredients affect hair growth, there is a possibility that because the tonics can make your hair healthier, you may feel like your hair is growing faster and/or stronger.
If you’re looking for a true hair growth solution, please contact us at the Limmer Hair Transplant Center and we’ll be happy to discuss the various hair transplant and hair loss treatment techniques.