I make no secret of my love for apple cider vinegar (ACV) and that love extends to my hair, where ACV can help clarify, moisturize and bring balance to my locks. ACV can help just about any hair problem, and its affordability makes it a cost-effective way to care for your hair naturally.
Apple cider vinegar contains a wealth of beneficial enzymes, vitamins, minerals and amino acids, nutrients that your hair needs on a regular basis to remain healthy. However, its highly acidic nature means that ACV should be diluted with water any time you use it on your hair or body. Suggestions for dilution range from a one-to-one ratio to a one-to-five ratio (one-part ACV to five-parts water), so play around with the mixture to determine the best balance for your body.
Here are five of my favorite ways to use apple cider vinegar for better, healthier hair.
Clarify hair of buildup
Even when you use natural hair products, buildup is a common problem. It can leave your hair looking dull and will contribute to dryness and tangles. Use the following ACV rinse to remove buildup from your hair and make it shiner in the process.
- 1 part apple cider vinegar
- 1 part purified water
- Mix apple cider vinegar and water in a reusable bottle.
- After shampooing, pour the mix over your hair.
- Allow the rinse to remain on your hair for up to five minutes before rinsing with warm water.
- Repeat at most twice a week for best results.
The acid in ACV can help flatten the surface of each hair strand, sealing split ends. This makes it easier for a brush or comb to glide through your hair. Although you should still avoid too much brushing if you have naturally curly hair, an ACV rinse can help when you do need to brush your curls.
ACV improves hair’s porosity, or its ability to absorb and retain moisture. Its acidity seals the hair cuticle, protecting each strand and locking moisture in. Apple cider vinegar is also antimicrobial, so if your scalp itches, either from a minor infection or simply a dry scalp, you might find relief using it regularly.
Stimulate hair growth
The nutrients in ACV can help stimulate hair follicles while removing dead skin cells from your scalp, which encourages hair growth. Try the below nettle tea and apple cider vinegar rinse to give your hair an extra boost — nettle contains significant amounts of silica, which also helps with hair growth.
- 1/2 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 cup nettle tea, cooled to room temperature
- Combine ingredients in a reusable container or spray bottle.
- Apply to your scalp and massage with your fingertips (not fingernails) to encourage absorption without irritating your skin.
- Allow the rinse to stay on your scalp for five minutes before rinsing with warm water.
- Repeat this rinse once a week for best results.
Balance pH levels
The acetic acid in ACV can help balance pH levels on your scalp. Hair is slightly acidic, with an ideal pH level of 4.5 to 5.5. However, shampoo is often alkaline (or a base) and can throw your hair’s pH balance off. Apple cider vinegar mixed with water has a pH of around 2.9. Rinsing with ACV can counteract any imbalance caused by your shampoo by making your hair more acidic.
Don’t overdo it!
When you use apple cider vinegar in your hair care routine, it’s possible to overdo things. Your goal should be to bring balance to your hair and scalp, so pay attention to how both feel. If you start feeling irritation where there previously was none or your hair seems frizzy, use less ACV in the shower or reduce the frequency you use it.
Again, always dilute ACV, no matter how you use it. It’s a powerful acid and can cause skin irritation. And always use organic, unpasteurized and unfiltered ACV with “the mother” for the best health benefits in all applications.
Have you ever used ACV on your hair? Let us know in the comments!