Why Do Barbers Apply Alcohol After Haircuts?

Barbers Apply Alcohol After Haircuts

Did you wonder why barbers spray or pat alcohol on your head or its sides after your haircut? Numerous customers noticed a slight sting or burning sensation on their heads after the alcohol was applied. Is it really necessary to apply alcohol after a haircut? Are there any alternatives that can be used instead of alcohol to avoid stinging? What would happen if your barber skipped applying alcohol onto your head?

Things to Consider Before A Haircut

Before getting into the topic, we need to check numerous things that we should look into before getting our hair done. We need to inspect first the overall cleanliness and sanitation inside the barbershop as this might have an effect after your haircut.

Every tool that the barbers use should be sterilized properly, the floor of the barbershop should always be free from fallen hairs and dust, and the water to be used should always be dirt-free. The barber should also be neat, skillful, and has attention to detail so that the process of your haircut will be smooth, clean, and free from dirt and viruses.

If these qualifications are not met, consider changing your barber or looking for other barbershops that value sanitation in their businesses. You should always take these things into consideration so that you won’t suffer the consequences of numerous kinds of infections due to unsanitized tools and surroundings.

Aftereffects Of The Haircut

Barbers Apply Alcohol After Haircuts

After a haircut, there can be numerous things you should also take into consideration before leaving the barbershop. One of them is the sanitation of the parts of your head where hair clippers, trimmers or straight-edge razors are used to cut your hair.

During your haircut, the blades of the clippers and razors cause microscopic abrasions or cuts on your scalp or the sides of your head. Continuous friction from the razors affects the lipid layer of the epidermis (skin) on your scalp, resulting in the said cuts. This will eventually give easy access for bacteria and viruses to enter your body through the cuts on your head or neck.

When this happens, the said bacteria or viruses, which might come from unsanitized hands or tools of the barber, might enter and infect the skin on your head, eventually developing into nasty bumps or sores if left unattended.

If left untreated, it can develop into numerous kinds of serious infections like Folliculitis (Barber’s Rash), Tinea Barbae (Barber’s Itch), Tinea Capitis, and many more. This is also the same as when you shave your beard, mustache, or any other hair on your body.

Application Of Alcohol After The Haircut

In order to avoid getting your scalp infected by those bacteria or viruses, your barber will apply alcohol to disinfect the parts of your head where the cutting and trimming took place. It can be sprayed directly all over your head or patted through the barber’s hand, clean tissue or cotton balls to the parts of the head like the scalp, sideburns, and the back of your neck.

In the case of shaving, the barber can also apply alcohol on the mustache or beard part even though it is not advised, as post-shave balms and creams are less harsher to your skin while still effective against bacteria and viruses. The alcohol will prevent them from entering the microscopic cuts by tightening the pores and killing those viruses that are about to enter.

This will ensure that no serious infection will develop on your head after your haircut. It is a very important step, and the barber should not forget and skip it. As much as possible, though, your barber should not spray or put alcohol lightly into your hair as it will just block the alcohol from reaching your scalp, preventing it from fulfilling its purpose.

He or she should make sure that the alcohol will reach your scalp by soaking it in a clean tissue and then patting or rubbing the affected parts with it.

Type Of Alcohol To Use

Rubbing alcohol (isopropanol or isopropyl alcohol) with 70% alcohol content is the best type of alcohol to be used when disinfecting your head after a haircut. This is the type of alcohol that should be applied because it is very strong and effective against bacteria and viruses, and it evaporates quickly, leaving a cool and refreshing feeling. The application should just be the right amount as alcohol has many bad effects on your skin if not utilized properly.

Bad Effects of Alcohol On The Skin

Barbers Apply Alcohol After Haircuts

Applying alcohol to your head has numerous side effects. When the alcohol is applied to your skin, the natural oil that covers it will be removed, making it drier than usual. This is not a cause of concern at first, as this dryness doesn’t last long and was the result of virus control.

Still, you should always apply moisturizers as soon as possible after taking a bath, as too much dryness will make your skin crack, open, and bleed, which will eventually attract more irritants. The alcohol can also cause a stinging effect as it comes into contact with some nerves in our opened skin, just like when you put alcohol to clean your wound.

There are also some cases of people having allergies or skin problems that might get worse when coming in contact with alcohol so it is important to notify the barber that applying alcohol to your head is not possible for you and ask for effective alternatives.

Best Alternatives To Use Instead of Alcohol 

Using alcohol as a disinfectant is a cost-effective and readily available option among barbers, but its negative side effects should not be ignored. Aren’t there any good alternatives that we can use instead of alcohol? Absolutely yes. Some great alternatives include lime/lemon juice, witch hazel, and vinegar.

They are also an effective virus killer without stripping the natural oil in the skin of our head. The lemon juice can also sting a bit, but unlike alcohol, it won’t do any harm to your skin. On the other hand, we can use post-shave balms when shaving mustaches and beards.


Using alcohol as a disinfectant on your head after your haircut is a must-step to ensure that the microscopic cuts caused by the trimmers and razors won’t get infected by bacteria or viruses coming from unsanitized barber tools and surroundings.

The process is slightly painful but should be endured to avoid skin problems. If your barber skips this step, numerous infections might occur, which can lead to numerous skin complications. Using alcohol is not an ideal option, though, as it has side effects that might affect your skin if not taken care of.

You can recommend numerous alternatives that won’t be harsher on your skin while still fulfilling the same purpose. The next time you visit your favorite barbershop, make sure that your barber disinfects your head after your haircut to avoid uncomfortable and unsightly consequences.

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