Hair tonic is a product which is used to style hair. Historically, hair tonic was in widespread use, but many people have replaced tonic with gel, mousse, and a variety of other styling products which tend to leave the hair less greasy than traditional hair tonic. Some drug stores and hair salons continue to carry hair tonic for customers who like to use it, and people can also make hair tonic at home.
Like other “tonics,” hair tonic is supposed to make the hair healthier. A wide variety of largely spurious claims were made on the packaging for hair tonic historically, including claims that using hair and scalp tonic could reverse baldness, or that hair tonic would make the hair grow longer and thicker. In fact, like most hair care products, the main function of hair tonic is to make the hair look better, and to make it easier to style.
When hair tonic is applied, it makes the hair glossier, something which many people view as a sign of health in the hair. The oils in the hair tonic also help hold the hair in place, making it easier to style, much like mousse or hair spray. For people with dry hair, using a hair tonic can help moisturize the hair, preventing split ends, broken hair, and dull hair. However, hair tonic also tends to weigh down the hair, and it can create a listless or flattened appearance, which some people consider undesirable.
In addition to an oil which coats the hair, many hair tonics are also scented, with formulations for both men and women being available. To use the tonic, people brush their hair out and massage the tonic into their hair and scalps. Massage helps to stimulate circulation to the scalp, promoting scalp health, while the tonic moisturizes the hair and scalp. Once the tonic has been applied, the hair can be styled, with the tonic holding the hair in place and giving it a shiny appearance.
This hair product cannot promote hair growth, reverse baldness, or make hair grow in thicker, but it can make hair easier to manage, while promoting healthier hair in people with a dry hair type. It should be applied in moderation to prevent a greasy buildup in the hair, and some hair tonics may need to be washed out at the end of the day, or they will stain bedding and attract dirt.