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Vitalis Hair Tonic

Most people in their 20s would probably not have heard of the term “Vitalis hair tonic” before. Millenials are used to hair styling products like gel and wax. But, if you ask your father or grandfather, they would most likely have heard of Vitalis hair tonic. I would guess they have even used it before.

So, what is hair tonic?

Simply put, Vitalis hair tonic is an alternative hair styling product to gel or wax. It was quite widely used in the past. As a matter of fact, it made its debut in the 1940s during the Mad Men era. Marketed as the anti-Brylcreem, Vitalis hair tonic was the non-greasy, grown-up alternative to petroleum-based pomades. Vitalis users referred to products like Brylcreem as “greasy kids’ stuff.”

Check out this 16mm film print of Green Bay Packer great Bart Starr for Vitalis hair tonic – a classic ad.

Some barbers who have been in business for more than twenty years, still use it when cutting hair. They spray a bit of the tonic onto your hair after cutting it. Vitalis hair tonic makes styling your hair easier. Your hair should look glossier, but not sticky like gel or wax. If does, that is a good sign that tonic was used by your barber.

Vitalis Hair Tonic Ingredients

Some people might be wary of the ingredients that are used in making the Vitalis hair tonic. Here’s why. It contains:

  • Alcohol Denat
  • PPG-40 Butyl Ether
  • Water
  • Benzyl Benzoate
  • Fragrance
  • Dihydroabietyl Alcohol
  • D&C Yellow No. 10
  • FD&C Yellow No. 6

It is entirely different from typical gel or wax as it is in pure liquid form. However, other hair tonics have other ingredients. As you can guess from the name, hair tonic can also contain other oils.

Mineral oil, liquid petroleum jelly and ethanol are some of the common oils or liquids used in making hair tonics. These liquids also help to introduce a manly scent to your hair when applied.

Benefits of Mens Hair Tonic

As with most hair products, a lot of claims were printed on the labels. Unfortunately, these claims were not always accurate and no one verified anything. Hence manufacturers tended to make a lot of exaggerated claims with mens hair tonic. Some of these claims included:

  • Helping to reverse baldness
  • Make your hair thicker and longer

The primary benefit Vitalis hair tonic is to help hold your hair in place. It worked similar to wax or gel. Apart from that it can increase the level of moisture in your hair. Also, it helps to lubricate a dry scalp, reduces dandruff and keeps edges from breaking. You can get some here.

In short, hair tonic is used like wax or gel to hold your hair firmly in place. The main difference is that hair tonic is not as sticky as other hair styling products. On the negative side, it can’t keep more complicated hairstyles in place.

How to Use Vitalis Hair Tonic

To apply hair tonic to your hair, start by cleaning and brushing your hair out. Slowly massage it into your hair and scalp. You could skip the massaging part and apply the hair tonic. However, massaging your scalp helps your hair and scalp to absorb it faster. Also, it helps to promote scalp health by stimulating circulation.

After the hair tonic has been absorbed by the hair, proceed with any number of mens hairstyles. Some barbers use it to style facial hair such as your beards or sideburns. Use a Denman brush to get the look.

Taking Care Of Your Hair

Hair tonic is weaker than wax and gel. As a result, it is unable to hold some hairstyles in place. When that happens, you should try to switch to a simpler hairstyle. If that is not possible, use pomade, gel or wax as it is stronger.

Vitalis hair tonic should be used on your hair moderately. Too much use and you’ll have a buildup of grease in your hair. It is also important to wash out the tonic before you go to bed. If not, it may stain your bedding sheets and pillow cases.


As hair tonic is in liquid form, it is dangerous to leave it lying around children. They may mistake it for a bottle of wine and take a sip. Hair tonic can be poisonous and even fatal, if it is taken internally.

Hence, please take proper care to keep your hair tonic in a safe place. Out of the reach of children. Although it is written clearly on the bottle that it is not for internal use, they may not heed the caution.

All in all, hair tonic is an excellent alternative hair styling product. If you don’t like heavy products like wax or gel, this might be for you. Some who used wax or gel in the past, are now hooked on using hair tonic. They see Vitalis hair tonic as a great alternative and they plan to never go back to wax or gel again!

You can buy it here.

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