Surprising uses for beer

With St. Patty's Day coming up, you're probably stocking up on beer. Did you know there are ways to use it besides drinking and as an ingredient in culinary arts masterpieces? Beer is a versatile liquid that can help you do many things besides feel a little loose. Here are a few surprising ways to use this hops-filled malt beverage:

As a moisturizer
No, seriously – beer is made with yeast, which can do wonders for your skin. Simply run a hot bath and instead of adding in some Epsom salts or a bath bomb, pour a beer into the depths. Soak for 20 minutes or so and enjoy the aroma of the delicious drink. The only downside to a beer bath is that you will end up smelling like you spent the night at a bar. To avoid this, take a shower with soap immediately following your bath. The alcohol in beer has some antiseptic and antibacterial qualities, so you're actually cleaning yourself and the tub at the same time. 

As a hair treatment
Going to the salon can get expensive. While you're working hard learning to cook online, you might not have the time or funds to make a trip to your favorite stylist for some damage control. Straightening, using gel and harsh chemicals and just being out in the sun can make your hair limp and dull. For a cheap and easy at-home treatment, wash your hair with beer! Choose a brew that is high in hops (think India pale ale) because it contains vitamin B and protein, which can repair damaged strands. The sucrose and maltose used in the fermentation process can make your hair shine because it tightens each strand at the cuticle. Yes, you will end up smelling like beer. But hey, there are plenty of citrus varieties to choose from for a more shampoo-like scent!

As a fire extinguisher
You'd think the alcohol in beer would make spraying a fire with it a dangerous idea. Actually, the water content of most brews overrides the alcohol and can make an aluminum beer can a handy extinguisher. Just as if you were going to shotgun the beer by puncturing a hole in the can, you can use the carbonation pressure to put out a fire while staying several feet away. This is only useful for small fires, like if your grill gets a little feisty, so be sure to have a real extinguisher on hand for serious emergencies. 

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