Apple cider vinegar, commonly referred to as ACV, has been trending in our cuisine, skincare regimen, and healthy living tips over the last few years. Why? Because this simple kitchen item has so many uses and benefits.
In fact, we have come to know it as an excellent solution for scalp and hair health and appearance. Whether you’re dealing with itchiness and dandruff or dryness and breakage, using an ACV rinse can help detoxify your hair and bring it back to life.
Let’s take a look at how that happens and the steps you should take towards thickening, nourishing, and repairing your hair.
How Does it Work?
Apple cider vinegar is known for having high levels of acidity. At the same time, dry, frizzy hair tends to have a high pH balance. This is a matter of basic chemistry. The acetic acid found in ACV can help lower the pH balance in your hair, making it stronger, shinier, and overall healthier.
The high acid levels in ACV also serve to kill harmful bacteria and prevent them from multiplying. The removal of certain bacteria in your hair and on your scalp can significantly improve overall scalp health. It can even have a positive impact on your follicles, ultimately boosting hair growth.
There have also been claims that because ACV is plant-based (from apples), it contains alpha-hydroxy acid, which is a component that can help exfoliate your scalp. Practicing exfoliation is an excellent way to tackle inflammation and reduce dandruff.
Finally, apple cider vinegar contains tons of vitamins and minerals that are just all-around good for your hair. Various hair products often contain Vitamins like C and B because of their ability to seal in nutrients.
To sum it all up: an ACV hair rinse can help solve tangles and frizziness, bring life, body, and shine back to your hair. ACV hair rinse can also decrease oily residue, mitigate dandruff, and unclog and activate hair follicles.
When researching ACV or hearing others talk about it, you may have heard something about the mother. The mother refers to strands of enzymes, proteins, and good bacteria contained in organic, unfiltered apple cider vinegar.
These components are what most people believe cause all of the health benefits found in ACV. The mother is also known as Mycoderma Aceti. This acetic acid bacteria develops on fermenting alcoholic liquids.
This information is necessary because when most store-bought apple cider vinegar is made, manufacturers remove the mother. The mother makes the vinegar appear dark and cloudy, so companies often remove it for marketing reasons.
The truth is, the mother is the healthiest and most beneficial part of ACV, so make sure that you use only organic versions for your hair rinse.
How to Use Apple Cider Vinegar in Your Hair
An ACV rinse is one of the most straightforward hair care products to make in your own home. The steps are simple:
- Mix two or three tablespoons of apple cider vinegar with some water.
- Shampoo and condition your hair as per usual.
- Pour the ACV and water mixture over your hair, disbursing it evenly and massaging it into your scalp.
- Let the mixture sit in your hair for two or three minutes.
- Rinse it out thoroughly with warm water.
You should try to use your ACV rinse in your hair washing regimen two or three times a week. Some people find that the smell of the vinegar is too strong for them; you can combat this by adding a few drops of essential oils. However, there’s no need to fear – the acidic smell should dissipate rather quickly.
If you find that the effects of your mixture aren’t what you hoped, you can also try increasing the amount of vinegar that you’re using in your ACV hair rinse recipe. We recommend using no more than five tablespoons at a time, and you should always dilute it with water.
When you make your ACV rinse mixture, you should only use the highest quality vinegar product. We highly recommend Bragg’s organic raw apple cider vinegar.
Bragg’s product is unfiltered, unheated, and unpasteurized with 5% acidity. It also keeps the mother intact, making it better for you and your hair.
Containers and Storage
If you intend on continuing your use of the ACV rinse, you can make a more substantial mixture and store it for convenience. However, you must use proper containers or storage so you can get the most out of what you make.
You can use plastic squeeze bottles, spray bottles, or even travel shampoo bottles to hold your ACV rinse. You shouldn’t keep your rise sitting out on your bathroom counter in an open bowl or lidless container.
One of the best containers for continued use is a plastic squirt bottle, like the ones used for condiments. While it sounds it a little odd to use a mustard bottle to apply hair products, the squirt top makes it super easy to control where you add the rinse, rather than pouring it over your head from a cup or a bowl.
Also, these bottles have a wide opening so you can pour your mixture in, and the small cap on top makes for perfect storage. The longer nozzle of the bottle will also help you get passed the hair and get more of the ACV onto your scalp. These bottles also sit nicely right in your tub with your other hair care product bottles.
Proper storage like this can help your mixture stay good for up to 6 months or longer.
Issues to Keep an Eye Out For
Many problems that people come across with their hair has to due with the right balance. When your pH levels are off, it can cause things like dryness, irritation, and breakage. Using apple cider vinegar can certainly help, but there is such a thing as too much of a good product.
Because apple cider vinegar is acetic, it can also be caustic. It has the potential to irritate or even burn the skin if overused. This is why it is essential to dilute your rinse with water; you should never use ACV on its own directly on your scalp or skin.
Additionally, do your best to avoid contact with your eyes. The same acetic components can be very harmful and painful if they get into your eyes. Should you accidentally come into this kind of contact, wash your eyes out immediately with fresh water.
Other Helpful Tips
Using apple cider vinegar and water together on their own can deliver some awesome benefits to your scalp, roots, and hair. But, there are other things you can add to your ACV hair rinse recipe to give it a little extra enhancement.
Many herbs have similar and additional benefits, and you can add tons of them to your mixture. Here are a few popular options you can add to your ACV hair rinse recipe that benefit the color of your hair:
- Rosemary – Dark Hair
- Parsley – Dark Hair
- Sage – Graying Hair
- Chamomile – Blonde/Light Brown Hair
- Mullein – Blonde/Light Brown Hair
Other herbs can have different effects on your hair, such as these:
- Lavender – Helps with Oily Hair
- Nettles – Treat Dandruff
- Horsetails – Helps with Brittle
- Linden – Good for Frequent Shampooers
- Thyme & Witch Hazel – Helps with Oily Hair
Besides, it’s nice to know that lavender and lemon verbena are useful for adding some fragrance. Even if you’re not looking for other benefits or an ancient remedy, a little natural scent can be a pleasant ingredient in your rinse.
You can use any of these herbs either fresh (many of them are easy to grow at home!) or dried. If you’re using the time-honored tradition of dried herbs, you can add them in loose, tie them in a cheesecloth bag, or use them in teabag form.
Of course, using loose herbs means that you will have to strain your rinse, so you don’t end up with little leaves in your hair.
There is very little research on apple cider vinegar and its effects on hair – only trial and error performed by individuals and their testimonials.
That being said, there are a few things you should know. For one, while ACV’s ability to boost pH holds pretty firm and evidence-based, which addresses a common problem found in traditional shampoos, there is very little evidence supporting claims that ACV contains enough good vitamins to impact your hair in any shape or form.
Additionally, no research proves for sure that ACV has alpha-hydroxy acid. This claim comes from the fact that apples contain this acid, but as for the vinegar, it has yet to be proven.
Finally, nothing has scientifically proven that apple cider vinegar is anti-inflammatory. Some experts even caution against this claim due to the fact that caustic acids can actually have the opposite effect when used improperly.
All of that being said, many people have used apple cider vinegar for their hair and have seen excellent results. We always advise on the side of caution and recommend that you know the risks before using the product for yourself.
If you’re looking to detox your hair in a natural and botanical way, then perhaps you should consider giving an apple cider vinegar rinse a try. The results may clarify your hair, remove buildup, repair damage, and even stimulate re-growth after hair thinning or hair loss.