There’s a lot of buzz around apple cider vinegar. It is made through the fermentation of apples. The fermenting process enriches it with healthy live cultures. While it tastes delicious, apple cider vinegar (ACV) is much more than just salad dressing: it is lauded for countless healthful uses including antifungal and antioxidative effects (1+2). Lately, we’ve been experimenting with apple cider vinegar in our hair care regime.
Those with very oily or tangle-prone hair, or excessive product buildup may especially benefit from an ACV hair rinse, however, it’s great for all hair types. Not only does it add shine, decrease fuzz and reduce dandruff, but it also decreases product residue buildup and soothe scalp itchiness. It’s fast and inexpensive and easy to DIY at home. But first, let’s dive in to basic hair care science and explore exactly how apple cider vinegar can benefit your locks!
How does our hair ‘do?
Hair consists of two parts: a follicle, and the shaft, which are the visible strands. The outer layer of the shaft is called the cuticle. It is a series of overlapping layers of cells that strengthen and protect the hair. Sebaceous glands beneath the skin secrete sebum through the follicle to lubricate our scalp and hair. This sebum is part of the acid mantle, which is a delicate acidic film that works as a protective barrier. A healthy acid mantle is crucial for the overall wellness and appearance of our hair and skin (3).
As the pH of our skin lies somewhere around 5, and many hair care products are more alkaline (with a pH higher than 7), the acid mantle is easily disrupted (4). When it becomes too alkaline too often, hair cuticles swell and become prone to breakage and damage. This may cause the hair to appear frizzy, dull, and tangle more easily.
What else affects our hair health?
Salon colour treatments, boxed dyes, and many shampoos may alkalize the hair. Changing climates, extreme temperatures, sun exposure, and even too much sweating can affect our pH. Heat tools and particularly windy days cause damage by drying out the hair shaft and causing split ends, and excess product build-up can cause a dull, greasy, or weighed-down appearance.
What can we do?
This is where apple cider vinegar reigns supreme! By rinsing our hair with ACV, we counteract the swelling of the cuticles caused by alkalization. This literally smooths down the cuticle, making your hair look smoother and shinier. As apple cider vinegar is anti-fungal, anti-microbial, and an excellent clarifying agent, it can wash away grime and built-up product that isn’t removed with regular shampoo.
Can Apple Cider Vinegar damage my hair?
Everyone is unique and this applies to hair as well. Apple cider vinegar rinses may not work for all. Those with very fine, brittle, or dry hair may not benefit from an ACV rinse.
As with most good things, apple cider vinegar rinses are most effective in moderation. If undiluted, apple cider vinegar is too acidic and could potentially degrade the hair or irritate the scalp. However, when properly diluted and used in moderation, it is perfectly safe.
Always dilute ACV with water and apply no more than once per week. If your hair or scalp feels dry or irritated, try diluting the mixture more and applying it less often. If the irritation continues, or if your hair and scalp issues worsen, discontinue use.
How do I rinse with apple cider vinegar?
Use good quality apple cider vinegar that still contains the “mother.” We like Bragg’s Organic Raw Apple Cider Vinegar.
As for a recipe, we’ve been enjoying this simple yet effective formulation from Holistic Habits...
What you’ll need:
- Glass jar of any size
- Dried or fresh herbs of choice (such as lemongrass, lavender, sage, spearmint, peppermint, rosemary, chamomile, or herbal tea)
- Raw Apple Cider Vinegar
How to make your hair rinse:
- Add dried or fresh herbs to your glass jar. Top up with Apple Cider Vinegar.
- Seal tight with the lid and place in the fridge.
- Let sit for about 2 weeks – strain the herbs and store the liquid in a glass jar.
To use as a hair rinse:
The length and thickness of your hair affects how much you’ll need to use, but generally, 1-3 tbsp. of your ACV rinse to 1 cup of water is a good starting point for medium thickness, shoulder-length hair. Pour the amount of ACV rinse into a large bowl, then dilute with the appropriate amount of warm water.
In the shower after shampooing, work the diluted ACV rinse into your hair, starting with your roots. Massage your head with your fingers to stimulate the scalp. If you find the rinse is too strong, try diluting it more. Do not allow the vinegar mixture to get into your eyes. If this happens, rinse immediately with water.
Allow the ACV rinse to sit in your hair for a few minutes, then rinse well. You can use it in place of conditioner, or if you want to use conditioner, you can do so before or after using the ACV rinse.
An ACV rinse is a wonderful and simple home remedy for lacklustre hair. It’s fast and simple to DIY your own hair rinse at home. It’s a budget-friendly, plant-based, natural solution to bring body and shine back to your hair and keep those locks looking luscious.
We want to hear from you! What are your favourite DIY hair hacks? Let us know in the comments below!
- (2014, September 14). Antifungal Activity of Apple Cider Vinegar on Candida Species …. Retrieved October 16, 2019, from https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/jopr.12207
- (n.d.). Apple Cider Vinegar Modulates Serum Lipid Profile …. Retrieved October 16, 2019, from https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00232-014-9685-5
- (2012, January 24). What the Hell Is pH? – Lab Muffin Beauty Science. Retrieved October 16, 2019, from https://labmuffin.com/lab-muffin-guide-what-the-hell-is-ph/
- (n.d.). Natural skin surface pH is on average below 5, which … – NCBI. Retrieved October 16, 2019, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18489300
- (n.d.). The Shampoo pH can Affect the Hair: Myth or Reality? – NCBI. Retrieved October 16, 2019, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4158629/
- (2014, May 8). Functional Properties of Vinegar – Wiley Online Library. Retrieved October 16, 2019, from https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/1750-3841.12434