When I started to see beauty bloggers using club soda to clarify hair and give it more body, volume and movement, I immediately thought to myself: "Is everyone on the internet really that stupid?"
Possibly, but then I also remembered that club soda (or "seltzer" if you’re from New York) is frequently used in baking recipes to add air-related oomph, so maybe it would be possible in the hair realm, too?
In the name of science, adventure and the pursuit of perfectly buoyant waves, I figured I’d at least try it. So I grabbed a few cans of the fizzy stuff from the bodega on my street corner and opted to go the full monty; Instead of just rinsing out my shampoo and conditioner with the bubbly, I would also wet my hair with it. I replaced every water-related step with club soda to avoid any variables in my little experiment.
As I poured the first can over my head my husband walked into the bathroom and said in his thick accent, “Um, you lose your mind? Why you wasting those drinks on your head?” He paused and then continued, “Actually, I would like to pour that on your head.”
After a few laughs, I explained to him that it was about cleansing, aeration and volume. He shook his head, took a photo of me to send to his friends and walked out. I’m grateful he took the photo though, because at least I can share it with you so you know I honestly poured club soda all over my head on a regular Tuesday.
I used my normal shampoo and conditioner so I would easily be able to tell if the club soda made any significant difference in the end result (no experiment is complete without a control element, right?). As I let the conditioner sit for a minute or two I texted my colorist, Ludovic Audesson of Alessandro Mangerini Salon in New York City, to get his thoughts on if the trend held any weight.
Me: Hey, have you heard of this club soda hair-washing trend?
Audesson: Tell me you’re kidding.
Me: Does it work? I’m trying it now.
Audesson: If you want to waste money on more expensive water, be my guest, but your hair won’t look any better for it.
Sigh. I was already almost done with my fizztastic process and totally committed to it. I rinsed out my conditioner and dried my hair as per my usual.
Club soda may make your matzah ball recipe fluffier, but it certainly does nothing for hair. Not a single thing. Visually, not a single strand of hair seemed enhanced, clarified or more impressive in any way. If anything, my hair wasn’t as good as usual because I had wasted so much of my time and energy on the club soda that I halfheartedly used my blowdryer.
As I stared at my post-blowout reflection in the bathroom mirror, I wondered if maybe I had just done it wrong. Maybe I didn't use enough soda. Maybe my soda was slightly flat. Maybe I needed one of those flavored seltzers. Probably not, but there was enough doubt rolling around my head to call in yet another hair expert.
I gave George Alderete, colorist and global color educator for Keune Haircosmetics USA, a quick call to see if maybe I just wasn’t looking hard enough for the results.
“In my opinion, it is no different than water. Club soda is water infused with carbon dioxide. There are no benefits to using club soda,” he said.
Just what I suspected. No visible benefits, no actual benefits and a waste of $4 and change on bubbly water. I probably also lost a bunch of brain cells from bending over the sink for so long.
Verdict: The Internet is a black hole of lies, so don’t fall for this so-called "hack." Save your club soda for cocktails and your lunch bag.