The Czech lands have given the world the original Pilsner, the original Budweiser and many other significant firsts in the world of beer and brewing. Now a Czech company has started a line of health and beauty products made with beer, including beer shampoo, beer shower gel and beer soap.
Called Czech Beer Cosmetics, the beer beauty goods come from Manufaktura, a Prague-based firm known for its traditional wooden toys and tools, as well as bath salts, lotions and soaps. Introduced last fall, Czech Beer Cosmetics have quickly become one of the company’s top sellers.
“It’s probably our most popular product,” said a shop assistant at one Prague outlet. “Both with foreigners and with Czechs.”
Beer is very good for hair and skin, she added, because it contains vitamin B2, which is known to play an important role in the growth and repair of hair, skin and nails. A few folk beauty treatments include shampooing with beer, and some people have even been known to enjoy a beer bath.
In fact, I’ve enjoyed a beer bath myself. I’ve actually taken two baths in beer, the first at Landhotel Moorhof in Austria and an even better one at the Czech Chodovar brewery when I was researching Good Beer Guide Prague and the Czech Republic. Of course, I’ve also had beers poured on my head and dumped in my lap in pubs, and many times I’ve attempted to wash away my sins in a steady stream of lager. Perhaps more importantly, I have also occasionally been known to use soap.
So I picked up a bottle (resembling a tallboy, very cute) of Beer Shampoo and Beer Shower Gel, as well as a bar of Manufaktura’s Beer Soap, and took them home for a standard evaluation and rating.
Beer Shampoo. Pours a clear deep gold with no visible carbonation and a loose, chalky foam. The nose includes welcoming notes of ginger, sweet vanilla and bright citrus. Although beer is listed as the third ingredient after water and sodium laureth sulfate, it has an unpleasant mouthfeel and flavor. The finish is dry with the lasting scent of rich malt. Overall, a good shampoo in the classic Bohemian Pilsner style. 4.5 out of 5.
Beer Shower Gel. Clear amber with a thick, creamy foam and again, no visible carbonation. The nose hints of honey and wildflowers, including linden and clover. Beer is again the third ingredient but by now I am unwilling to judge mouthfeel or flavor. Body is smooth and clean with a lasting light spicy fragrance akin to a saison or a pale bière de garde. 4 out of 5.
Beer Soap. Cloudy amber with many visible particulates and a yeasty nose. On the skin, hints of malt and freshly baked bread rinsing to a clean, even finish. Overall 3.7 out of 5 (4.2 for style).
If you’re in Prague and you want to pick up your own beer soap and shampoo, there’s a Manufaktura kiosk in the bottom floor of Tesco (closest to the entrance on Národní), as well as the main store at Melantrichova 17 (near metro Můstek) and of course Manufaktura’s online shop.
Or just stay tuned to Beer Culture, as next month we’ll give away Czech Beer Cosmetics in our very first reader contest. Sure, maybe we can’t send you to Prague’s newest brewpub. Maybe we can’t send you on a to-die-for brewery tour of Moravian Silesia. But a bar of beer soap? Klidně.