Things Not To Do, Hair Care Edition

Do not wash your hair with coffee grounds.

I don’t care if you read on the Internet that doing this will give your brunette hair beautiful softness and luster, in addition to making use of something that otherwise would be garbage.  This is not a good idea. Here’s why:

  1. The process of applying coffee grounds to your wet hair is annoying, uncomfortable, and time-consuming.  They’re all crumbly and gritty and hard to spread around.
  2. They get under your fingernails and are very difficult to remove.  If you persist in scrubbing your scalp with your fingertips despite having coffee grounds under your nails, you will force some of them into the pink part of the nail, causing pain and (I know from past experience getting things stuck in there) possible infection.
  3. The coffee grounds you drop and the ones you rinse out of your hair will get all over the rest of your body.  While they may be useful as an exfoliant, there are body parts that should not be exfoliated . . . and those are the parts that will attract the most coffee grounds and the parts where they will adhere most stubbornly.  You will be itching and finding specks of coffee on the insides of your garments all day long.
  4. The exact trajectory of water flowing off your hair as you rinse will be made visible by the coffee grounds clinging to every surface of your shower.  While this may be scientifically interesting, it also will add 10 minutes of cleaning to your busy morning, and that’s just before you give up and grudgingly accept black specks all over your bathroom.  (We’re getting our bathroom renovated in a few weeks anyway.  Totally gutting the room and removing all the fixtures ought to get rid of those coffee grounds!  I hope.)
  5. Your hair will still feel icky afterward.  You know that bitter, oily stuff that clings to the filter section and sometimes other parts of the coffee-maker?  You just rubbed that all through your hair.  Great.  And while your family members will assure you that you only smell a little bit like a dirty coffee-maker, this still is not a desirable thing.
  6. Your hair won’t look any better.  In fact, when inspecting yourself for luster under the harsh lighting of the office restroom, you will find at least a dozen coffee specks still clinging to your scalp, which make you look dirty and careless rather than lustrous.
  7. You will have wasted your coffee grounds down the drain instead of putting them on your garden or using them to scrub cast-iron pans.

Oh well.  I was happy washing my hair with vinegar already, and many of the other environmental tips I’ve tried have turned out to be great ideas that made my life much happier and easier and saved a lot of money!

These aren’t exactly quick takes, but I did happen to come up with a 7-item list, so I hope Jennifer won’t mind if I link up to 7 Quick Takes Friday!  Readers, if you have ideas for a 3-year-old’s lunchbox, want to petition the governor of Texas to appoint Jennifer as Complainer About the Heat Laureate, want to read an entertaining discussion between early birds and night owls, or want to see what 7 things other people are thinking about today, stop in there.

About 'Becca
author of The Earthling's Handbook, about the environment, parenting, cooking, and more!

15 Responses to Things Not To Do, Hair Care Edition

  1. Kassie says:

    Many a time have I pondered doing this…and now I see it is evidence of Grace that kept me from doing just that! I read Curly Girl by Lorraine Massey probably six years ago, and jumped frenetically on the no-shampoo bandwagon – for like six weeks. I laughed at your list, thanks for sharing.

  2. Marissa says:

    I’ve never had any of these issues with using coffee grounds in my hair, but perhaps that’s because I’ve never used it as a WASHING method. Your troubles with it as a washing method sound like mine with using baking soda – it just doesn’t work for me.
    But, for a vain person like me (I have tried to give up shampoo. I really have. My hair just does NOT cooperate :oP) who uses conventional shampoo + conditioner afterwards, it works fine as an occasional exfoliater (exfoliant? is there even a noun for that?) and highlighter. Plus, my hair is of the sort that won’t show any remaining coffee grounds.
    I’m sorry it doesn’t work for you, though! Glad you’ve found other methods:)

  3. I love the way coffee grounds make my hair feel! I think it’s worth the extra trouble ~ and extra time to rinse them out well. I add about a rounded tablespoon of coffee grounds to a little of my natural liquid shampoo, lather up, and rinse, rinse, rinse. My dark brown hair (with a few gray ones sprinkled in) shines like never before and I can go 2-3 days before it needs washing again, instead of having to wash it daily. I wash my hair in the sink with a sprayer instead of in the shower, so I don’t have the other issues you mentioned. Thanks for the post, I enjoyed your point of view!

    • 'Becca says:

      Aha! Here I see some of the ways to make it work: Mix with shampoo (or use before shampoo as Marissa said) and wash in the sink.

      Since I already have a hairwashing method I can use in the shower and need to do just once a week, and I am happy with what it does to my hair, I don’t think I will try coffee grounds again–but thanks for the advice to those who are NOT happy with their hair!

  4. Bekah says:

    What about RINSING your hair with strongly brewed coffee? Same results? I’m wondering because I’m thinking of trying that instead. For the record, I’ve NOT used coffee grounds in my hair, but I was considering it until I read this post…

  5. Cherry says:

    I started using coffee grounds as an exfoliant in December and also to wash my scalp (I use a silicone-free shampoo to cleanse the particles away). It’s not at all as terrible or difficult an experience as this article makes it out to be! My hair has become thicker and shinier as a result, and my skin looks fantastic. I’m a natural brunette with olive skin, so the coffee grounds give me what looks like a mild winter tan. I use organic coffee and grind it very fine for my brew as I like my coffee strong. The scrub is exhilarating. Really, it’s no harder to rinse away than any other finely-ground exfoliating cleanser. I feel cleaner than when I used soap, and my skin is no longer winter-flaky. Husband says it feels amazingly soft. As for the environment: I use less than 1/4 cup grounds and turn off the water while I scrub. It’s better than flushing chemicals down the drain! Bottom line, I love it!

    • 'Becca says:

      Thanks for commenting! You are supplying more valuable details on how to do this right.

      We use a percolator, so our coffee is ground more coarsely. I am sure that was part of my problem!

    • Thank you! I’ve been using coffee grounds on my hair and on my body for about 7 years now and if the clean up is the problem, then there are other problems. I love using coffee grounds! As for a facial cleaner, I use honey and brown sugar on a daily basis. I learned these tricks and tips when I was unemployed and because they work so great, I have continued to use them to this day, and I don’t ever plan on going back to store bought!

  6. Dayna says:

    Don’t put coffee grounds in your garden. Coffee grounds have compounds that act as growth inhibitors to plants. This will result in smaller less vigorous plants with fewer blooms.

    Instead put the grounds in your compost pile. The growth inhibiting compounds will break down and the nitrogen in the grounds will feed the micro-organisms that drive the composting process.

  7. Caryopteris says:

    Slugs are allergic to caffeine, so using it around your hostas is a great idea.

  8. Pingback: What Earthlings Want to Know | The Earthling's Handbook

  9. chlocoapuff says:

    Why I did was I mixed my coffee grounds with conditioner and slathered (YES SLATHERED) it on my hair in sections then I sat under the dryer for 15 minutes, if you don’t have a dryer just leave it in for 30-45. Then I washed each section twice, first wash I scrub my scalp to get rid of any coffee oil/residue and get the bulk of the grounds out, second wash I smooth the shampoo through the shaft of my hair and finger detangle (not hard considering the conditioning mix I left in), then I rinse and my curls are clumped and soft.

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