Best Hair Tonics

Most guys don’t know about the benefits of hair tonic and what it can bring to their grooming routine.

Having voluminous and healthy hair doesn’t really come on its own.

You have to protect your hair as well as care for it with a variety of products.

Hair that you don’t care for will ultimately get thinner, lose its shine, and in some drastic cases start to fall out.

You definitely don’t want to lose your hair, right?

One product that could help in retaining the shine and making your hair healthy is tonic.

If applied right, it benefits your hair in numerous ways.

To help you with the proper usage of hair tonic, we’ve created a helpful article that will break down all the most important things for you.

What Are Tonics For Hair

Hair tonics are liquified hair moisturizers that often include light oils, petroleum and/or witch hazel, and other ingredients. It is generally used to prevent the hair from weighing down with oils as other gels and foams do. It is first designed to style the hair and give it a shiny, groomed look since men often don’t wash their hair.


Hair tonics used to keep the hair sleek and smell good since men didn’t always shower frequently (Gross!). Nowadays, it is known that hair tonics serve so much more than styling your hair.

Moisturizing your hair and scalp, improving scalp’s pH, fighting with dandruff and itchiness, adding shine and gloss to your hair, helping to break down the residue of other hair products and cleaning clogged hair follicles are only some of the benefits of using hair tonic.

Hair tonic also protects hair against split ends and breakage, preventing hair loss and boosts hair growth and hair thickness; therefore, when used with hair shampoo that facilitates hair growth or premium castor oil for hair growth, it is amazing not only to prevent hair loss but also promote hair growth.

Other than the health-related benefits of hair tonic, it is also an amazing, easy-to-use aid for everyone who wants to style their own hair. In barbers, you can see hair tonic is generally used to give the clippers an easy cut and is often used to massage the scalp after a haircut.

How It Work

There are a lot of ways to style one’s hair. There are also a lot of products that serve different purposes as well. You can get powerful hair cream that keeps your hair under control the whole day, which pretty clearly states the purpose or you can give yourself a proof hairstyle with wind and humidity-resistant hair wax. All of these products have pretty high alcohol content.  Alcohol, in particular, is known for the properties that work opposite to moisturizers.

So contrary to other hair care products, hair tonics are used to tame and style the hair while also taking care of it. Thanks to the nature of herbal oils and petroleum-based ingredients, they allowed us to style our hair without making it too heavy and stiff. This makes them an amazing conditioner that repairs damaged, dry and brittle hair, as well as allowing them to be used with other hair care products such as repairing shampoos and other hair oils.

Pros and Cons 


  • Promotes hair growth.
  • Easy to use.
  • Fights with split ends and breaking.
  • Moisturize and balances the pH of your scalp and hair.
  • Guarding against static electricity.
  • Prevents dandruff.
  • Clean clogged pores and additional residue from other products.


  • Some scents might be too strong or conflict with your regular cologne.
  • Contains harmful ingredients, so it is poisonous to swallow.
  • Some ingredients might be allergic to some people.
  • Over-using or using the product in the wrong way can irritate because of the chemicals.

Ingredients to Look for

Ingredients to Look for in Hair Tonic


Birch is a natural oil that is obtained directly by the tree itself or its leaves. The oil has natural disinfectant, stimulating and pain-relieving properties. Generally, in skincare, it can be used as a natural toner.


Nettle is known to be a cosmetic additive that actually prevents hair loss and helps to stimulate hair growth.

White Marigold

White Marigold is an ingredient that is added specifically to treat irritated or sensitive scalps. As well as it helps with reducing inflammation, it also helps with regenerating hair follicles.

Wild Chestnut

Wild Chestnut is a pretty common ingredient found in many hair care products and for a really good reason. Wild Chestnut oil improves hair’s condition in general, adds volume and helps with hair loss.


Rosemary is generally used to improve the scalp condition, not depending on the hair type. It has been used in almost all hair care product recipes. You can also find rosemary or rosemary oil in shampoos, especially in the ones that fight with dandruff.


Yarrow is a flower that can commonly be found in large fields. Medically the yarrow oil is used to reduce inflammation in wounds, to help to erase the scars and acne scars. Also helps with calming the skin.

How to Choose

Hair Type

Hair type is the number one thing to consider when choosing the best hair tonic for you. Since different hair and scalp types have completely different needs, it is best to determine yours. Usually, thick hair and dry scalp require products that can provide more moisture and irritated and sensitive hairs need more gentle tonics. 


Ingredients are crucial to know, especially if you have a sensitive scalp. The best thing you can do in that situation is to visit your doctor or local pharmacist to get prescribed special ingredients.   


Effectiveness is surely a very important measure, yet it is hardly something you can understand without trying. You may try to look for online comments and blogs if you are buying hair tonic from supermarkets. The best thing to find out the effectiveness, though, is to try the product since the product efficiency depends on the person. 


Herbal ingredients might shout out for quality. How come? All-natural hair tonics usually contain many different herbal oils that your hair and hair can benefit from. Herbal oils are obtained from natural herbs; the most common ones are rosemary, thyme, juniper, sesame and black seed. 

How to Choose the Best Hair Tonic


The price must be one of the most important aspects to look for. We all want some quality products but don’t want to leave our whole wallet in the cashier to find the balance. Sometimes the more you pay is not, the more quality you obtain; you might just be paying for a brand. 

Size of the Bottle

The size of the bottle might seem funny to you, but it is important. Sometimes the price/amount ratio of one product is so much better than the others. There is no wrong in picking that if you are not going for the cheapest option. 

How to Use

Step 1 – Your hair must be dry

Water dilutes the tonic just like water-soluble hair pomade; you should avoid mixing the tonic with water. It also better be clean; tonics used to be used to make dirty hair smell and look nice, but since we are styling the hair here, it better start with clean hair.  

Step 2 – Start by applying small amounts

You need to distribute the tonic evenly; then, you can add more if you need. 

Step 3 – Style your hair using a comb

You can even use your fingers at this stage. 

Step 4 – Don’t dry

Never dry your hair after tonic. The alcohol part in the tonic will evaporate and leave you with a dried glossy sheen. 

We mean, after you apply, you can go ahead and style your hair however you want it. You can comb your hair, shape it, style it and even cut it thanks to the sleek hair texture that hair tonic will give you. Don’t forget to use professional-grade quality hair clippers for better results. You can also use different types of equipment that will make styling your own hair easier, like making precise cuts with hair cutting shears.

Hair Oil vs Hair Tonic

While hair oil is a moisturizing treatment for your hair, hair tonic is both a moisturizing and hair growth stimulative treatment for both your hair and scalp. Hair oils usually contain different mixtures of oils; the most common oil choices are jojoba, coconut and almond, and common herbal oils. They generally feel thicker than any other pomade or tonic. You only need hair oils a couple of drops and you can apply them every day as a daily moisturizer for your hair. Even though they make your hair soft and manageable, they are not totally meant to style your hair. While hair tonics are essential oils mixed with petroleum and sometimes alcohol, they tend to be less heavy and oily. They are specifically used to tame and style your hair.

Does More Spending Mean More Quality

Well, it does in every product until a certain point. The more money you spend on it, the higher quality of ingredients you get. So as you spend more, you are more likely to get natural oils and healthy ingredients, whereas if you go for the cheapest one, you might end up with excessive chemical formulations and high alcohol contents. This will worsen your hair condition and give you more serious conditions such as allergies or irritation.

Do’s and Don’ts 


  • Start applying with a couple of drops first, then add if you need any.
  • Choose according to your needs.
  • See a professional if you have dehydrated scalp or thick hair.
  • Use the world’s best hair gel to style your hair.
  • Expand your usage like using the tonic for a long-lasting pubic hair trimmer.


  • Use with wet hair.
  • Dry after using it.


FAQ About Hair Tonics

Are hair tonics good for hair?

Well definitely is. They are great to style the hair (not even mentioning the retro look and shine) and help with hair growth and fight dandruff.

What is the difference between hair tonic and shampoo?

Hair tonic is not used as a shampoo. Tonic is usually a hair moisturizing agent that contains some essential oils and humectants such as petroleum jelly. Shampoo, on the other hand, much like soap, contains cleaning agents that can hold the dirt and excessive oil produced by hair. While shampoos are mostly used to clean, tonics are used to groom and style.

Does hair tonic help hair growth?

Regular usage of hair tonic is associated with a reduced number of split-ends causing less hair loss and more hair growth. Because it contains natural oils, it helps the scalp and the hair get more moisture and the nutrients they need.

When should you use a hair tonic?

Usually after your shower and definitely on dry hair. Your scalp being relaxed really helps with the penetration of oils into it. You can also use it whenever you want to style your hair. Barbers and hair salons use it after a haircut for a sleek touch.

Can I use a hair tonic every day?

Yes, you can use them every day. You still better check the ingredients before using them to see if there will be any harmful ingredients for you to put on your scalp every day. If your hair is fine with the treatment, you can use your hair tonic every day to style your hair. If you ever start to notice any damage or irritation, you need to stop using it immediately and seek medical help from a doctor or pharmacist.


Hair tonic has been around for hundreds of years for both men and women hair grooming and recently has done a risen again. It includes essential oils, alcohol and petroleum and is used for moisturizing the hair and scalp and styling your hair. It is very easy to use and you really cannot make mistakes with it.

Vinnie - Barber

About the author: Vinnie – Barber

Vinnie is one of the members of the Beardoholic writers team. He’s also a barber and hairstylist for 15 years now and he has a kick-ass beard of his own, so he surely knows what makes a magnificent beard and hair and how to achieve them. He’s our go-to guy for all the latest beard and hairstyle trends and he always has a tip or two on how to grow and style a thick beard fast.

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