You've definitely noticed that when you get a haircut from a barber, they use alcohol to rub on your head. And it feels like a burning sensation. So why do barbers put alcohol on your head? Does this have any specific purpose? What happens if any barber doesn't use alcohol after a haircut? Are there any substitutes to alcohol that barbers can use? 

Let's get answers to all these questions and know about the use of alcohol in hairdressing. Let's begin!

Why do barbers put alcohol on your head? 

Actually, barbers use alcohol (Isopropyl alcohol) after a haircut to disinfect and sanitize your head to avoid germs or bacteria from spreading from the cuts during the haircut. When barbers use a clipper or straight razor to remove/cut hair, your head gets minor cuts from their use. 

These minor cuts can carry bacteria and germs and can result in allergies or pimples on the head. So to remove these harmful bacteria and germs and sanitize those cuts, barbers use alcohol. 

Also, when the minor cuts are not cleaned properly, they develop into sores and bumps. 

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Are there any specific reasons to use alcohol?

Yes, alcohol has cleaning properties and also kills germs and bacteria. It is Corona time; you definitely heard of sanitizers; they have around 70% alcohol to kill germs. So, you can easily guess what alcohol does. 

It kills off all the germs and bacteria and sanitizes the minor cuts that happen during line-up cutting or hairdressing. 

What happens if any barber doesn't use alcohol after a haircut?  

If your barber does not use alcohol after a line-up or haircut, then you can develop sores or nasty bumps. You can even catch allergies and infections. 

So those little bumps will not look good after a clean haircut. If your barber doesn't use alcohol or any other lotion to sanitize the head, then ask him to do. 

If your barber does not apply alcohol, you can apply it by yourself or use lemon juice if alcohol is not available. 

Also, read this article –

How much alcohol should be used to sanitize the head after a haircut?

Definitely, your barber will not use a whole bottle of alcohol on your head after a haircut. Only a small amount of alcohol is enough to sanitize the head. 

Barbers use a few sprays or damped cloth with alcohol to sanitize the client's head. 

What are the side effects of using alcohol on the head? 

Yes, you read it right. Using alcohol on the head can have side effects. Some side effects are expected, and usually, every client has them, and some are specific. Let's look at those side effects – 

  • Burning Sensation: Using alcohol on the head causes a burning sensation. And almost everyone has felt the sensation. But it's normal, and it stops after some time. 
  • Skin dryness: The rubbing alcohol actually strips the skin of its natural oils, so using it on the head can cause skin dryness. Your head may feel dry after a haircut, so use oils after having a haircut from the salon.
  • Allergic reaction: An allergic reaction can occur after using alcohol on your head; that is called ‘dermatitis.' Dermatitis can include red rashes, itching, dry and cracked skin, swelling or burning, and even bumps. But this allergy happens with only a few people. 

Also, read this article –

What are the alternatives to rubbing alcohol?

There are many alternatives available in place of rubbing alcohol. If you're a barber, then you can use any of them in place of alcohol. Also, if, as a client, you're allergic to alcohol, then ask your barber to use any of these alternatives. 

  • Distilled Spirits
  • Vinegar
  • Witch Hazel
  • Aftershave lotion
  • Lemon/Lime juice

Also, these alternatives are as effective as alcohol. They will work the same way alcohol does. Although some of them, like lemon juice, will sting like alcohol. But they will not cause any allergy and will not be harsh as alcohol. 

Bottom Line

Next time you visit a salon and get a line-up haircut, don't forget to remind your barber about using alcohol on your head. Also, now you can tell others, ‘why do barbers put alcohol on your head?'

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Thank you for reading!