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If the thought of using an apple cider vinegar hair rinse seems a bit out there, I totally get it. Before I added apple cider vinegar to my hair care routine (using this raw apple cider vinegar), I was a bit skeptical to say the least. The last thing I wanted to do was walk around with apple cider vinegar hair.
But, after doing a lot of research on the benefits of apple cider vinegar for hair and skin, I decided to take the plunge. I first ditched my conventional toner for a DIY apple cider vinegar facial toner and was blown away with the results. I also began researching more about the harmful ingredients in conventional makeup and skin care products, and it really opened my eyes. As I started working on switching out my cosmetic products to safer ones, my skin completely changed and my hormonal acne and blemishes disappeared.
Soon after, I started experimenting with applying an apple cider vinegar hair rinse. Truthfully, when I was experimenting with my ACV rinse recipe, there was absolutely no information available. I started from scratch, and spent months perfecting the formula.
Now, apple cider vinegar is one of my favorite ways to keep my skin and hair on point. And while there are many benefits to apple cider vinegar—both internally and topically, one of my favorite uses is this hair rinse.
Why do an Apple Cider Vinegar Hair Rinse?
To give you enough confidence to pour apple cider vinegar on your head, here’s the basics on how it all works.
Your hair is actually a two-part structure consisting of a follicle and a shaft. Just below the surface of the skin are sebaceous glands, which secrete sebum through the hair follicle. This oil lubricates your hair and skin, and is part of the acid mantle. Your acid mantle is a very fine, slightly acidic film that maintains and protects the overall health of the hair and skin.
Your acid mantle has a big impact on the appearance of your hair. The outer layer of the shaft, also known as the cuticle, is compromised of tightly packed overlapping scales. The acid mantle is instrumental in making cuticle scales lie flat, which gives hair a shiny, smooth appearance and protects from moisture loss.
Unfortunately, this system can be easily disrupted. If you’ve ever had a bad hair day, it’s probably because of disruptions to your acid mantle. The acid mantle typically has a pH of around 5, which means it is slightly acidic. Many hair care products, treatments, and some shampoos are more alkaline (have a pH above 7), which can contaminate or remove the acid mantle.
The Anatomy of a Bad Hair Day
When the acid mantle becomes alkaline, hair swells and the scales on the cuticle open. This leaves your hair susceptible to breakage. It also results in frizzy, brittle hair which has a “dull” appearance due to the fact that the hair is absorbing light instead of reflecting it. Hooray picture day!
The acid mantle can also be disrupted by other factors, including stress, diet, and sweat. So, proactively restoring our hair to its natural pH and maintaining the acid mantle is crucial for strong, healthy hair.
Why Raw Apple Cider Vinegar?
Raw (or unfiltered) apple cider vinegar is simply the by-product of the fermentation of apples. Apples are loaded with potassium, pectin, malic acid and calcium. Fermentation fortifies the end product with even more beneficial acids and enzymes. Raw apple cider vinegar leaves all of the nutrients in the vinegar, which is why it’s the preferred option over pasteurized apple cider vinegar.
Because apple cider vinegar has pH of around 3, when properly diluted with water, it helps to balance the pH of your hair, leading to many happy hair days.
The Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar For Hair
Apple cider vinegar has many positive benefits. When you dilute it properly and apply a rinse regularly, you’ll start to notice some pretty profound shifts in how your hair looks and responds.
- Gorgeous, Frizz-Free Hair: Apple cider vinegar is packed with nutrients that are great for building luscious locks, including B vitamins, vitamin C, and potassium. Because it is slightly acidic, it also serves to restore the natural pH of the acid mantle. Exposure to this acidity hardens the outer layer of the hair and flattens the cuticle, resulting in hair that shines, slides easily, and is less prone to tangling or snagging.
- Clears Out Product Build-Up: Apple cider vinegar also contains natural alpha-hydroxy acid, which gently exfoliates the scalp and hair, allowing for removal of dead skin cells and build up that can occur from sweat and/or conventional hair products. This improves the appearance of the hair, reduces itchiness, and allows for better styling.
- Restores Balance and Reduces Dandruff: For those who experience scalp-related conditions such as dandruff, apple cider vinegar can bring relief because of its anti-viral, anti-fungal, and anti-bacterial properties. In addition to being antimicrobial, apple cider vinegar is also anti-inflammatory, which can counteract the skin inflammation that typically occurs with dandruff and a dry, flaky scalp.
How Do I Use ACV For Hair Care?
While it may seem a little odd at first, apple cider vinegar can fit right into your normal hair care routine. Just do this quick and easy hair rinse once a week to experience the benefits.
First, mix three tablespoons of apple cider vinegar with 1 3/4 cups of water. If you have more oily hair or scalp issues like dandruff, go ahead and use four tablespoons of apple cider vinegar. (Head’s up: four tablespoons is 1/4 cup, so that makes the measurements easy!)
Lean your head back and pour the rinse over your head, working it into your scalp. Be careful to avoid contact with your eyes.
Let the mixture sit on your hair for 1-2 minutes. Then, just rinse the apple cider vinegar out of your hair. When your hair dries, it will look beautiful and won’t smell like apple cider vinegar!
Can I Use Apple Cider Vinegar If I Have Color Treated Hair?
Yes! The experts agree that apple cider vinegar is safe for all hair types, including color-treated hair. If you have color treated hair anshuttd want to remove buildup (but not your gorgeous color), ACV is the perfect fit!
Tips + Tricks
- The specific amount of apple cider vinegar you use in the recipe may vary depending on your individual needs. If you have very sensitive skin, start with three tablespoons. Work your way up to four tablespoons if you aren’t experiencing results.
- As a general rule of thumb, dry hair will do better with less apple cider vinegar, while those with oily hair or scalp issues such as dandruff will do better with more apple cider vinegar.
- Treat this rinse like a treatment, so start by applying it once a week. You can up it to twice a week if it works well for your scalp. If you have drier hair, you may find you do best applying this hair rinse 1-2x a month.
- The best way to mix up the recipe is to pour the ingredients into a 16 oz plastic squeeze bottle. You can also do this in a large silicone pourable measuring cup. Just buy a set for your shower!
- After you rinse out the apple cider vinegar and your hair dries, it will no longer smell like apple cider vinegar.
- If your hair is shoulder length or shorter, you can reduce your overall rinse by half. So, use 1 cup of cool water and 1-2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar.
- After you rinse out the apple cider vinegar, you can apply your conditioner to the ends of your hair just like you normally do.
Have any questions, insights, or experiences you’d like to share about using apple cider vinegar for hair care? Post them below! I’d LOVE to hear from you!