Apple cider vinegar (ACV) is so much more than just a salad dressing – this wonder tonic is packed with raw enzymes and beneficial bacteria which aid digestion, weight loss, cholesterol levels and more.
It’s also a cost effective, natural and organic topical treatment for all manner of skin and hair issues. No matter what hair type you have, apple cider vinegar has a place in your hair-care arsenal.
Need convincing? Here are 10 reasons why an apple cider vinegar hair rinse will work for you:
1. Balance Hair & Sebum pH
Our hair and the natural oil that comes from our scalp, known as sebum, have a pH level of between 4.5 and 5.5. When kept at this acidity level, the scalp is safeguarded against fungal and bacterial growth, ensuring healthy hair and skin.
Unfortunately, many shampoos and other hair products disrupt this natural pH which can affect the cuticles of the hair and the condition of the scalp.
Apple cider vinegar is naturally high in acetic acid and has a pH level which is close to that of human hair. Regularly rinsing with this vinegar can help bring your scalp and hair to its ideal acidity, especially if you have oily hair.
2. Antibacterial and Antifungal Properties
An ACV rinse is also a good preventative regimen – by maintaining the natural pH of your scalp, you’ll be creating a hostile environment for the fungus and bacteria that cause these issues.
Rinsing even once a week with an apple cider vinegar mixture has brought relief to many dandruff sufferers and prevented further flaking.
3. Cleansing and Clarifying
Using a multitude of products on our hair – like serums, gels, sprays, and masks – leads to product build-up. All this sticky residue can leave the hair looking flat, dull and lifeless.
One of the easiest ways to get rid of this accumulation and restore life to your locks is by using apple cider vinegar.
When applying ACV, make sure you let it to sit in the hair for at least three minutes which, according to ‘The Science of Hair Care’, is the time the vinegar requires to break up the molecular structure of the residue, allowing it to be easily rinsed away.
4. Add Natural Body & Define Curls
The Curl Manual claims that an apple cider vinegar rinse can make your curls ‘pop’, by bringing back their springy bounce!
And, unlike conventional shampoo and conditioners, the vinegar won’t weigh down the individual strands, meaning you can enjoy more movement and natural body to your hairstyle. You may even find you don’t need to use heating and styling products after a vinegar rinse, saving your hair from further damage.
A fantastic natural detangler, apple cider vinegar is usually used as an alternative to conditioner in the popular no ‘poo movement.
It’s so effective as its natural acidity helps to smoothen down the cuticle – encouraging knots and tangles to slip out and allowing a brush to glide through more easily.
6. Reduce Frizz
Frizzy hair is caused by lifted cuticles on the hair. Smooth down the cuticles with apple cider vinegar and you’ll enjoy an overall smooth, frizz-free mane.
7. Add Shine
The cuticle’s position also affects the light reflecting properties of the strands. When the cuticle is down – as it is after an apple cider vinegar rinse – the hair is better able to reflect light, giving your ‘do a glossy, healthy appearance.
8. Reduce Porosity of the Hair
Normal hair allows necessary amounts of moisture to penetrate the outer cuticle, while porous hair absorbs liquid quickly…but loses it just as quickly.
High porosity is the result of damage to the hair from chemical treatments and environmental exposure. This irreversible destruction creates gaps and holes in the surface of the hair shaft leaving the hair more prone to further damage.
While you can’t change the porosity of your hair, you can manage it by using an apple cider vinegar rinse to flatten the cuticle and minimize gaps. In order to ensure the new hair that grows out doesn’t suffer the same harm, eliminate the source of the damage and take note of these 22 natural secrets to growing healthy hair.
Not sure if you have porous hair? A simple test will reveal all. Drop a strand of clean hair into a glass of water. If it immediately sinks, your hair is of high porosity. If it floats midway, it’s of normal porosity. If the strand floats towards the top and it takes a while to sink, your strands are of low porosity.
9. Stimulate Hair Growth & Prevent Hair Loss
Apple cider vinegar stimulates better blood circulation to the hair follicles – something that is vital for encouraging hair growth and preventing hair loss. Furthermore, this blood carries essential nutrients to the hair follicle cells, strengthening the roots and promoting growth.
10. Prevent Split Ends & Breakage
By using an apple cider vinegar rinse regularly, you’ll be naturally removing tangles from your hair, closing the cuticles, improving porosity and encouraging stronger strands – all of which lead to a reduction in split ends and breakage.
Choosing an Apple Cider Vinegar
You’ll find a large variety of apple cider vinegar brands in supermarkets and health stores. However, not all of these confer health and beauty benefits like those outlined above.
When selecting an ACV brand, you may be drawn to the more attractive, clear vinegars over the cloudy ones. But these clear vinegars have been pasteurized, losing many of their health benefits.
To make sure you’re getting the good stuff, purchase only those vinegars that are labeled organic, raw and unfiltered. These tend to be cloudy, and have a sediment in the bottom, known as ‘The Mother’ – which contains all the bacteria and enzymes that make this product so powerful.
Bragg’s Apple Cider Vinegar is widely regarded as the top brand of ACV and you’ll find it in most grocery and health good stores. Alternatively, you can purchase a bottle or two from Amazon on this page.
How To Do an Apple Cider Vinegar Hair Rinse
Mixing up and applying an apple cider vinegar hair rinse couldn’t be easier. Just follow these steps:
- Blend one cup of water with two to four tablespoons of vinegar to make your rinse.
- After you have shampooed and thoroughly rinsed your hair, slowly pour the mixture over your entire scalp, allowing it to run down the length of your hair (being careful not to get it in your eyes).
- Massage the mixture into your scalp, which will also serve to stimulate circulation and hair growth.
- After one to two minutes, rinse out the vinegar.
If you have dry hair, start out with two tablespoons of vinegar per cup of water. If you have oily hair or dandruff, three or four spoons will probably be required. You can adjust this blend over time to see what works best for your hair.
Repeat this process anywhere from once a month to twice a week – although once weekly is recommended for most hair and scalp issues.
If you’re concerned that you’ll smell like a pickle after this rinse, don’t be! Once your hair dries, the vinegar smell will disappear.
Adding Herbs To Your Rinse
While apple cider vinegar alone is a powerful natural hair treatment, adding certain herbs or flowers can serve to enhance color, or target specific hair and scalp issues.
To mix up a batch of herb infused vinegar, simply add two cups of cider vinegar and one cup of chopped herbs to a glass jar. Cover and allow to steep in a dark place for two weeks before straining and decanting the vinegar into a clean bottle. The infused vinegar will keep for six months to a year if stored properly in a cool and dry area.
When ready to use, dilute two to four tablespoons of the herbal vinegar with one cup of water and rinse using the method above.
Add the following fresh herbs or flowers to your apple cider vinegar rinse to enjoy richer tones:
- Rosemary or parsley – enrich dark hair.
- Sage – cover up grey hairs.
- Chamomile – add natural highlights to blonde or light brown hair.
- Rosehips – enhance red hair.
These herbs can help you address particular hair problems you may be suffering:
- Calendula – condition dry hair.
- Linden – use on frequently shampooed hair.
- Nettle – reduce dandruff.
- Lavender – add fragrance.
Adding Essential Oils
Essential oils can do the same job as the herbs they come from, but they don’t require the two week infusion time.
Blend two cups of cider vinegar with 5 to 10 drops of essential oil and store in a cool, dark place for up to twelve months. To use, dilute two to four tablespoons of the mix with one cup of water.
Not all essential oils are safe for hair, but the following can be used:
- Cedarwood or Clary sage – stimulate the scalp, promote hair growth.
- Chamomile – adds shine and softness to hair, soothes the scalp.
- Geranium – strengthens hair.
- Lavender – deep conditions, adds shine and fragrance, helps control dandruff.
- Rosemary – stimulates the roots, improves hair growth, increases circulation in the scalp.
- Sandalwood – helps with dry ends, adds fragrance.
- Tea tree oil – controls oily hair.