Bragg's Apple Cider Vinegar
Written by Sarah E. Jahier
I know that using apple cider vinegar on your hair might seem odd, but trust me, this stuff is incredibly effective at conditioning your hair and balancing the pH levels of your scalp, resulting in shiny, smooth, well-conditioned hair and a healthy scalp!
I have been using this treatment about once or twice a week for over a year now, and have gotten multiple requests to share this easy, cost-effective method, so here goes!
My hair is naturally coarse, thick, frizzy and dry, so I always look for products that will sufficiently smooth and condition my hair. The problem is, most conditioners or treatments either gunk up my hair and leave it feeling overly conditioned/weighed down or don't work at all. After jumping from product to product, someone mentioned using apple cider vinegar (ACV) mixed with water as a conditioning rinse. Since ACV is already a powerhouse ingredient (it can be used for so much – cleaning, as a preventative to getting sick [when I start feeling sick, I take a shot of it and it keeps colds/flus/etc. away!], for cooking, as a beauty treatment [it is great as a toner – mix equal parts ACV and water and ta-da!], and so much more), I was excited to try it as a hair treatment.
Clear condiment bottles
I bought a clear condiment bottle (you know, the squeeze bottle you can put ketchup or mustard in, as sen above), then filled about ¼ of the bottle with apple cider vinegar (I use Bragg's, and buy a big gallon jug of it from Amazon or Whole Foods, which lasts me quite a bit!), and filled the remainder of the bottle with warm water right before getting in the shower (the warm water is more for comfort since I don't like cold water on my head!). You can experiment with the ratio of ACV to water to see what amount works best for you. If my hair is feeling particularly dry or damaged, I sometimes up the ACV amount to half the bottle.
In the shower I shampoo as usual (I am currently using Acure and Desert Essence’s shampoos and conditioners). Once I rinse all the shampoo out I apply the mixture of ACV and water to my hair, focusing on the scalp. The squeeze bottle lets me squirt the ACV/water where I want it and I generally use up the whole bottle. I use the whole bottle on my hair since my hair is so thick and coarse, but you don’t necessarily have to use the whole bottle – just play around with what amount works best for your hair. I leave it in my hair for a minute or two before rinsing it all out. (Tip: Don't get the ACV in your eyes or they will sting to high heaven! If you do get it in your eyes, just rinse with water until the stinging is gone.)
The apple cider vinegar will condition your hair and can be used in place of conditioner, however sometimes it can leave your hair a little tangled. In that case, you can still apply a light conditioner after the ACV rinse. I use just a small amount of conditioner (just enough to detangle my hair) when I use ACV and rinse it out as usual. Applying a little bit of conditioner after the ACV treatment will also help cut down on the vinegar smell (thought this does fade and isn't really that strong). I don't recommend using any deep conditioning treatments at the time of using the ACV rinse, though, as it will weigh down your hair and overly condition it.
It might take a few treatments and a few tries at finding the right ratio of ACV to water and the right amount to use on your hair, but soon you should start to notice that your hair is softer, shinier, and more manageable! ACV also gets rid of scalp buildup, and is wonderful at treating dandruff or flakiness. If you dye your hair, ACV also helps retain color and will keep it more bright and vibrant (it is safe to use on color-treated hair - I've used it on both bright red and deep black, and the ACV won't fade it, but actually enhances hair color!)!
Apple cider vinegar is relatively inexpensive, you can find it at most grocery stores (or order it online), and it is one of the most effective treatments I've used that keeps my hair and scalp healthy, especially since I am constantly abusing my hair with heat (blow-drying and straightening it) and dye.
Let me know if you try this apple cider vinegar rinse and what you think of it!