A cup of olive oil, two teaspoons of dijon honey mustard, a third of a cup apple cider vinegar. Sounds like the makings of a delicious great salad dressing, right? But did you know you can also use apple cider vinegar in your hair care routine? That’s right! Apple cider vinegar is a great ingredient to use to achieve shiny, frizz-free curls, a balanced scalp pH, grow longer curls, fight scalp infections and more.
In this article, you’ll learn the benefits of apple cider vinegar for curly and natural hair, as well as how to use apple cider vinegar in your hair routine for longer, bouncier, shinier curls.
What is apple cider vinegar?
Apple cider vinegar is the byproduct of fermented apple, enriched with live cultures, minerals, acetic acid, and nutrients such as vitamin B and vitamin C. Sometimes, you’ll find apple cider vinegar with “mother”, which means the apple cider vinegar is unfiltered and unrefined. This is the best type of apple cider vinegar to use to reap its complete benefits.
Because apple cider vinegar is an acidic product, the science-backed reason why it does wonders for dry, brittle, or frizzy hair is because the scalp is usually quite alkaline. When you apply the acidic apple cider vinegar to the alkaline scalp, it balances out the pH. A balanced pH means a healthier scalp, which leads to all those great results like shiny, smooth, frizz-free hair.
Apple cider vinegar for curly hair benefits
Now that you know why apple cider vinegar works so well, here are some benefits your curly hair and scalp can reap from this miracle ingredient.
- Makes hair shiny
- Treats oily hair
- Balances the scalp
- Removes buildup
- Soothes and heals the scalp
- Promotes hair growth
- Detangles hair
- Helps dye jobs last longer
- Restores curl pattern
1. Makes hair shiny
Hair tends to get dull and lifeless after constantly using the same hair care products, which causes buildup. Apple cider vinegar clears out blocked hair follicles, leading to shinier curls over time. In the short term, it coats the hair shaft, making the hair softer and shinier.
2. Treats oily hair
If your hair is too dry, you can use a deeply hydrating conditioner to restore it to its optimum condition. For oily hair, however, you need something that acts against this excess oil without stripping the hair of essential oils. This is where apple cider vinegar comes in. It’s great to use with oily hair, as it cleanses the hair of the excess grease without totally stripping the scalp.
3. Balances the scalp
As mentioned earlier, the scalp has an optimal natural pH balance it should stay within—about 5.5 for the scalp, and about 3.5 for the hair shaft. Once the pH balance moves beyond this, you’ll start to notice less than desirable changes to your hair, including dryness, frizz, dullness, higher hair porosity, and more. Apple cider vinegar helps keep the scalp’s pH balance, returning the hair to its optimal level.
4. Removes buildup
Over time, it’s inevitable that there’ll be product buildup, blocking the hair follicles on the scalp. Whether it’s from using dry shampoo everyday or co-washing regularly, you may find that over time, your hair becomes more and more unmanageable. When that happens, it’s time to clarify the scalp with apple cider vinegar. Because apple cider vinegar is more acidic than regular shampoos, it works more effectively to exfoliate dead skin cells and remove buildup for clearer follicles.
5. Soothes and heals the scalp
Not only does apple cider vinegar clarify the scalp effectively, but it also has anti-inflammatory and anti-fungal properties to soothe and heal an irritated, itchy scalp. If you have consistent issues with dandruff, this may be due to pesky scalp infections, which apple cider vinegar can also help mitigate.
6. Promotes hair growth
Hair can’t grow if the hair follicle is blocked or damaged. If you find that your hair just won’t grow past a certain point, it might be time for an apple cider vinegar rinse. All the benefits mentioned above, including clarifying the scalp and removing buildup will inevitably help with stimulating hair growth.
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7. Detangles hair
Our hair strands have an outer layer called the cuticle, which is responsible for protecting the inner hair shaft. Usually, the cuticle lays flat, which leads to shiny and smooth hair. When the cuticle is damaged or raised (due to factors like dyeing the hair or using excessive heat), it leads to dry, dull, hair that’s more prone to tangling. An apple cider vinegar rinse lays the cuticle down flat, allowing a comb to easily glide through the hair. If your hair is prone to constant tangling, give apple cider vinegar a try!
8. Helps dye jobs last longer
Hair dye is usually alkaline, which opens up the hair cuticle. This not only makes the hair dry and dull, but also increases the porosity of the hair, making it easier for the dye to escape over time. Similarly to the point above, because apple cider vinegar flattens the hair cuticle, it allows for less porosity and maintains the hair dye’s vibrance.
9. Restores curl pattern
High pH, open cuticles, blocked hair follicles and scalp buildup, are all reasons why you may be losing your curl pattern. If you find that your curls just aren’t as bouncy or defined as they used to be, it might be time for an apple cider rinse. The combined benefits of apple cider vinegar could be just what your hair needs to restore your curls.
How to do an apple cider vinegar rinse for curly hair
Now that you know the benefits of apple cider vinegar for your curly hair, here’s how to use it in order to reap these amazing results. Because apple cider vinegar is highly acidic, you can’t just apply it directly to your hair. You’ll need to create a diluted mixture first, then apply. Here’s how to do that:
Gather your supplies. You will need:
- ¼ cup raw apple cider vinegar with mother (non-refined)
- ¼ cup cool water
- A couple drops of your favourite scented essential oils
- A bowl
Step 1: Mix together all the ingredients into a bowl. You can either leave the mixture in the bowl or put it in a spray bottle to make it easier to apply to your hair in the shower.
Step 2:In the shower, first shampoo your hair as normal with a regular shampoo and rinse it all off thoroughly. Then, instead of conditioning, you’ll apply your apple cider vinegar mix.
Step 3.Apply the mixture to your scalp and massage with your fingertips to loosen dirt, debris, oils, and bacteria. Make sure you have enough mixture to apply to the rest of your hair so that all your hair is thoroughly covered.
Step 4: Leave the mixture in your hair for a few minutes, then rinse off with cool water (not hot!) Because the apple cider vinegar helps reseal and flatten the cuticles, you don’t want to use hot water as this would open them up again, reversing the benefits of the apple cider vinegar.
Step 5:Condition your hair as normal, using an alcohol, sulfate, and silicone-free conditioner.
Step 6:See how your hair feels and reacts. If you feel like your hair sort of looks the same or hasn’t experienced any drastic changes, try adding a little more apple cider vinegar next time to your mixture until you find the right balance for your hair.
Can we directly apply apple cider vinegar on hair?
No, it isn’t a good idea to apply apple cider vinegar directly to your hair. The reason for this is because apple cider vinegar is extremely acidic. Its acidic nature is actually what helps restore the pH balance of your hair and scalp, but because of this, you should also be careful when applying it to your hair. This is why we recommend diluting it first with water before applying. When you create your diluted mixture, start off slow and note how your hair looks and feels. If you feel that you can increase the amount of apple cider vinegar in the solution, slowly increase it until you’re happy with the results.
Is apple cider vinegar good for your curly hair?
The answer is a resounding yes. Apple cider vinegar has numerous benefits for curly hair. Not only does it enhance shine and restore damaged hair, its acidic nature and anti bacterial properties aid in hair loss, balancing a dry scalp, treating dandruff, reducing hair breakage, and promoting new hair growth. If you have colour treated hair, it also helps retain hair colours. Apple cider vinegar truly is a miracle hair rinse for all hair types!
Can apple cider vinegar help frizzy hair?
Yes! An ACV hair rinse helps keep frizzy hair at bay by deeply moisturizing the hair and promoting a healthy scalp. Because it also lays the hair’s cuticle down flat, this reduces frizziness and promotes smoothness and shine.
Can you use apple cider vinegar to clarify your hair?
We don’t recommend using apple cider vinegar as a clarifier. Although apple cider vinegar does help remove mineral buildup from the scalp, it shouldn’t replace your regular clarifiers, which cleanse the scalp deeply.
How often should you do an ACV rinse?
You can do an apple cider vinegar rinse up to twice a week, being sure that the mixture is properly diluted. Any more than that, and you may end up stripping the hair and drying it out.
Forget the salad…try an apple cider vinegar rinse
Now that you know the benefits of apple cider vinegar for curly hair and how to make your own rinse at home, give it a try. We promise you’ll be happy with the results! If you have tried an apple cider vinegar rinse in the past, let us know how it went in the comments below.