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Unveiling Potential Side Effects Of Applying Coffee On Hair

UPGUYS > Blog > Hair > Unveiling Potential Side Effects of Applying Coffee on Hair
The person who wrote this article

Written by the UPGUYS Editorial Team
Published on July 23, 2023

The emerging trend of applying coffee to hair has captured the attention of hair care enthusiasts and professionals alike. This aromatic bean is being hailed for its potential benefits, from stimulating hair growth to enhancing scalp health. But, as with any novel treatment, it's crucial to be well-informed about not just the benefits but also the potential side effects and risks.

It's essential to have a balanced perspective before diving headfirst into this caffeinated hair care trend. This article aims to shed light on the possible downsides, ranging from adverse reactions and colour changes to potential hair damage, providing you with a comprehensive understanding of what to expect. 

Adverse Reactions to Coffee 

While coffee-based hair treatments may be beneficial for many, they can also result in adverse reactions for some individuals. These potential reactions may include: 

  1. Allergic Reactions: Rarely, individuals may have an allergic reaction to coffee or its components. This could result in itchiness, redness, or even swelling on the scalp or skin. 
  2. Scalp Irritation: Certain individuals, particularly those with sensitive scalps, might experience irritation or discomfort when applying coffee to their hair. 
  3. Sensitivity to Coffee Compounds: Some people might be sensitive to specific compounds in coffee, such as caffeine. This could manifest in localized reactions or systemic symptoms like jitteriness or increased heart rate if the caffeine is absorbed through the scalp. 

If you experience any discomfort or unexpected reactions following a coffee hair treatment, it's advisable to wash the coffee off immediately and discontinue its use. As with any new treatment, a patch test is highly recommended to avoid potential adverse reactions. 

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Colour Changes and Coffee 

Another potential side effect of applying coffee to hair pertains to colour changes and staining, especially noticeable in lighter hair shades. Here's what you need to know: 

  1. Colour Shifts: Coffee has a dark pigment that may affect the colour of your hair. Those with blonde or light-coloured hair may notice a slight darkening or a change in hair colour with repeated use of coffee hair treatments. 
  2. Staining: Coffee can potentially stain hair, and this may be difficult to reverse. While some may enjoy the deeper tones coffee can impart, for others, this might be an unwanted effect. 

If you're not interested in altering your hair colour, it may be wise to limit the use of coffee in your hair care routine or avoid it altogether, especially if your hair is light-coloured. 

Coffee, Hair Damage & Dryness 

Incorporating coffee into your hair care routine may have potential pitfalls regarding hair dryness and damage: 

  1. Potential Dryness: For some individuals, especially those with already dry or damaged hair, coffee treatments might potentially exacerbate dryness. This is due to its diuretic properties, which can reduce the water content of your hair strands. 
  2. Possible Damage: Repeated coffee application, particularly without appropriate moisturizing measures, might lead to brittle hair that's prone to breakage and damage. 

It's crucial to consider the health of your hair before starting any new treatment. If you decide to try coffee-based hair care, make sure to pair it with ample hydration. Incorporating a moisturizing conditioner or hair mask in your routine can counteract potential drying effects and protect your hair's health and shine. 

Caffeine Sensitivity 

Caffeine, a predominant compound in coffee, has potential implications for those with sensitivity: 

  1. Overstimulation: Caffeine is known for its stimulating effects. While this may benefit hair follicle activity, it could potentially overstimulate the scalp, especially for those with caffeine sensitivity. 
  2. Sensitivity Reactions: Individuals sensitive to caffeine might experience side effects ranging from local scalp irritation to systemic symptoms if the caffeine is absorbed through the scalp. 

If you're sensitive to caffeine, it's essential to approach coffee-based hair treatments with caution. You may want to start with lower concentrations and always perform a patch test to gauge your body's response. If in doubt, consult with a healthcare professional or a dermatologist. 

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Hair Porosity and Coffee 

The porosity of your hair, or how well your hair can absorb and retain moisture, can influence the effects of coffee-based hair treatments: 

  1. High Porosity: Hair with high porosity is more receptive to absorbing substances like coffee. While this could mean increased benefits, it might also mean a higher risk of colour changes, staining, or caffeine over-absorption. 
  2. Low Porosity: On the other hand, hair with low porosity may not absorb coffee as easily. This could result in less noticeable effects, but also a lower risk of adverse outcomes. 

Understanding your hair's porosity can help you anticipate the effects of coffee treatments and guide you to adjust your hair care routine accordingly. It's always important to observe how your hair responds to any new treatment and make adjustments as needed. 

Coffee Application Safety 

To mitigate potential risks when applying coffee to your hair, certain best practices can be helpful: 

  1. Patch Testing: Before diving headfirst into a coffee-based hair treatment, perform a patch test. Apply a small amount of your coffee mixture to a discreet area of the skin and wait for at least 24 hours to check for any adverse reactions. 
  2. Moderation is Key: Like most things in life, moderation is key when it comes to coffee-based hair treatments. Start with infrequent treatments and monitor your hair's response, adjusting frequency as needed. 
  3. Hydrate: Always pair coffee treatments with a hydrating hair conditioner or mask to prevent potential dryness and hair damage. 
  4. Consider Your Hair Colour and Porosity: If you have light-coloured or highly porous hair, be aware of the potential for colour changes and staining. 

By taking these precautions, you can enjoy the potential benefits of coffee for your hair while minimizing the risk of unwanted side effects. 

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Natural Hair Care Alternatives 

If coffee-based hair treatments do not suit your needs, there are plenty of other natural alternatives to explore: 

  1. Essential Oils: Ingredients like tea tree oil, lavender oil, peppermint oil, or rosemary oil can promote scalp health and stimulate hair growth without the potential side effects associated with coffee. 
  2. Aloe Vera: Aloe vera is known for its hydrating and soothing properties, making it a great natural remedy for dry or irritated scalps. 
  3. Egg Masks: Rich in protein, egg masks can provide a nutrient boost to hair strands, promoting strength and shine. 

The world of natural hair care is vast and diverse, and it's important to remember that everyone's hair is unique.

What works best for one person might not work as well for another. Therefore, individual experimentation and observation are key when finding the right hair care routine for your specific needs and hair type. It's always worth exploring different options until you find what works best for you. 

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Concluding Thoughts

As we've explored, while coffee can offer potential benefits to hair health, it's not without its potential side effects. From adverse reactions and colour changes to potential hair damage and overstimulation due to caffeine sensitivity, it's crucial to consider these risks when deciding to incorporate coffee into your hair care routine. 

Everyone's hair is unique, and what works wonderfully for one individual may not have the same effect for another. Therefore, it's always crucial to consider your hair type, sensitivity, and potential risks before making any significant changes to your hair care regimen. 

Finally, if you have specific concerns or if you experience adverse reactions, don't hesitate to consult with a professional hair care provider or dermatologist. With the right guidance and an understanding of potential risks, you can confidently navigate your hair care journey, whether it involves coffee or any other natural treatment. 


UPGUYS has strict sourcing guidelines to ensure our content is accurate and current. We rely on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations. We strive to use primary sources and refrain from using tertiary references.

This article is written for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. The information provided in the articles cannot and should not replace advice from a healthcare professional. Talk to your healthcare provider about any physical or mental health concerns or the risks and benefits of any treatment or medication.