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Why an Apple Cider Vinegar rinse is great for hair

Inside: How to do an ACV rinse on your curly hair.

I have been researching the hell out of the Curly Girl Method and everything you need to do after switching to this way of washing my hair. One thing that cropped up was the ACV rinse and I was intrigued.

An Apple Cider Vinegar rinse is a method of clarifying your hair to remove build-up, restore pH of your scalp, prevent dandruff and make your hair shinier. It is easy to do and makes all the difference to hair, especially for those doing the Curly Girl Method.

If you are doing The Curly Girl Method then you may be finding that your hair is getting greasy and bogged down by all of the product that you are putting in your hair. This tends to happen more to wavy hair as curlies have such thirsty hair that they soak it all in.

Even if you aren’t a curly girl, an ACV rinse is beneficial to ALL hair types, so let’s take a look at what it is and why you should start doing it regularly.

What is an Apple Cider Vinegar rinse?

An ACV wash is quite simply, a couple of tablespoons of apple cider vinegar mixed with water. You then pour this mixture over your hair and allow it to sit on the scalp and hair for a few minutes.

You then rinse with water and voila, the process is done and you will have much healthier hair as a result.

Benefits of an ACV rinse

Why on earth would you want to pour vinegar on your hair? It’s a valid question, but once you see the benefits you’ll be reaching for the mix all the time.

– Removes build-up. No matter what hair products you use on your hair you will always get build-up on your scalp and on the hair strands themselves. An ACV rinse is a natural acid that will wash away product and exfoliate the scalp.

Despite the acidity, it is a much gentler than other clarifying shampoos so will remove build up without stripping your hair of natural oils.

Removes dandruff. It is antimicrobial and so will control the bacteria or fungi that can lead to scalp and hair problems such as itchiness and dandruff.

Restore pH. Healthy hair has a pH range of 5 – 6 and your scalp is 4.5- 5.5. If your hair moves away from these ranges, due to the products or styling processes you use, you will notice a change to the condition of your hair.

Generally, if it moves towards a more alkaline pH, your hair will look dull, frizzy and lifeless. So using an ACV rinse of an acidic nature will help bring the balance back towards the lower end of the scale and your hair will begin to shine once again.

When do you need to do an Apple Cider Vinegar rinse?

Everyone’s hair is different and everyone has different routines that they use with products and styling.

Typically speaking, curly hair is much thirstier than straight hair so will need more nourishment. That is why so many curly girls regularly use an ACV rinse as part of their haircare routine.

If you have straight hair, your hair may not need as much moisture but then again if you use straighteners or stripping products (even normal shampoos strip hair due to the sulphates found in the ingredients) then you could have just as much need for the rinse.

The things to look out for are:

– dullness

– lifelessness (heavy build up weighing it down)

– stringiness (i.e. greasy)

– Frizz

– Itchy scalp / dandruff

All hair types can experience these symptoms and all will benefit from an ACV rinse.

NOTE: If you have sensitive skin or any open wounds then do not use this process. Or if you really must, then reduce the amount of vinegar to the amount of water used.

How to do an ACV rinse

If you are a visual person, I have done a YouTube video explaining the whole process. If not, scroll down for written instructions…

As far as I can tell, any apple cider vinegar will do – I got mine from the supermarket where the ketchup/sauces are.

The recipe uses measuring cups, which I find so much easier for measuring liquids. 1 cup is the same as 236ml if you prefer to use a measuring jug.

– Mix 1 cup of warm water with 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar (or scale up as I did with 2 cups to 4 tbsp)

– Pour the ACV mix over your hair and gently squeeze into the hair. Leave it on for a few minutes.

– Condition and style as normal.

You should notice that your hair is much lighter and bouncier afterwards, not too heavy with build-up.

How often should I do the ACV rinse?

This goes back to ‘when should I use an ACV rinse’ which is, when you see the signs. But in general you can use this up to 3 times a week.

However, if you use it too often then you can end up swinging your hair pH too far towards the acidic side of the scale and that will create its own problems.

The best thing to do is keep an eye on your hair and let it do the talking. For me personally, I do my rinse once a month and that is more than enough.


I hope that helps! Let me know how you get on!

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Louise Gregory

Tuesday 5th of January 2021

Thank you for the invaluable advice, please keep it coming