Apple cider vine­gar (ACV) has long been used as a nat­ur­al hair care prod­uct to pro­mote healthy hair in both men and woman. Its acid­i­ty is close to that of nat­ur­al hair, it’s a good con­di­tion­er and clean­ing agent and it’s also an effec­tive germ killer.

As a result, apple cider vine­gar uses and ben­e­fits for the hair include:

  1. Vine­gar hair rinse
  2. Hair Herbal rinse
  3. Essen­tial oil vine­gar hair rinse
  4. Dan­druff and itchy scalp relief
  5. Nat­ur­al hair loss treat­ment
  6. Home Rem­e­dy for head Lice
1. Vinegar Hair Rinse

Hair is on the mild­ly acidic side of the pH scale and has an ide­al pH of 4.5 to 5.5, which is close to that of an apple cider vine­gar rinse (pH 2.9).

On the oth­er hand, many of the hair care prod­ucts we use, such as soap-based sham­poos, bleach­es, hair col­ors, and per­ma­nents are strong­ly alka­line.

Rins­ing with apple cider vine­gar will help bal­ance the pH of your hair and remove the buildup that can result from the use of these styling prod­ucts and inex­pen­sive sham­poos.

Rins­ing will also close the numer­ous cuti­cle scales which cov­er and pro­tect the sur­face of each hair shaft. This imparts a smoother sur­face which reflects more light and as a result leaves your hair shinier, smoother and eas­i­er to man­age.

Hair Shaft Open Cuticles - roughHair Shaft Closed Cuticle - smooth

Rough hair shaft with open cuti­cles com­pared to smooth hair shaft with closed cuti­cles.

Don’t wor­ry about the slight vine­gar smell you will notice after rins­ing. It will dis­ap­pear com­plete­ly as your hair dries.

Make your own healthy after-sham­poo hair rinse by mix­ing 1/3 of a cup (75 ml) of ACV into a quart (1 liter) of water. You can then store this mix­ture in a plas­tic bot­tle and keep it in the show­er for ready use.

If you would like to pre­pare a small­er batch of this vine­gar hair rinse recipe to exper­i­ment with, try mix­ing 1 table­spoon (15 ml) of apple cider vine­gar into 1 cup (250 ml) of warm fil­tered tap water.

Apply the vine­gar rinse after sham­poo­ing and then rinse it all out, or for extra con­di­tion­ing, you can leave the rinse on your hair. This nat­ur­al hair care prod­uct can be used once or twice a week or more often as need­ed.

2. Hair Herbal Rinse

By infus­ing var­i­ous herbs into the vine­gar rinse, you can enhance dif­fer­ent hair col­ors and con­di­tion hair at the same time.

Here are some rec­om­mend­ed herbs to use with apple cider vine­gar:

To make your own herbal hair rinse nat­ur­al hair care prod­uct:

  1. Place 2 table­spoons of the dried herb (or herb mix­ture) into a muslin bag or tea ball and put in a warmed tea pot.
  2. Pour 1 pint (500 ml) of boil­ing water over the herbs and infuse for 2 hours.
  3. Allow the liq­uid to cool then pour it into a quart (1 liter) jar.
  4. Add 1 pint (500 ml) of apple cider vine­gar and mix well.

To add extra fra­grance to the herbal rinse, try adding a few drops of laven­der or lemon or rose essen­tial oils.

No time to make your own nat­ur­al hair care prod­uct?
You can buy online, ready made apple cider vine­gar herbal hair rins­es.

3. Essential Oil Vinegar Hair Rinse

If prepar­ing a vinegar/herb infu­sion is not your cup of tea, then a faster way to enhance the hair con­di­tion­ing effect of apple cider vine­gar is to add a small amount of cer­tain types of essen­tial oils.

To make a batch, just add 5 drops of the essen­tial oil to 1 cup (250 ml) of apple cider vine­gar. When you are ready to rinse your hair, take 1 table­spoon of this mix­ture and add it to 1 cup (250 ml) of warm water.

Types of essen­tial oils that go well in a vine­gar hair rinse include:

4. Dandruff and Itchy Scalp Relief

The acids and enzymes in ACV kill the “bot­tle bacil­lus”, a bac­te­ria that is one of the caus­es for many scalp and hair con­di­tions such as dan­druff, itchy scalp, hair loss and often baldness.The bac­te­ria clogs hair fol­li­cles allow­ing dry crusts to form that itch and flake.

For a sim­ple home treat­ment for dan­druff and itchy scalp, apply full strength ACV to the scalp, rub in, and leave on for a half hour to an hour before wash­ing your hair.

For an extra strength nat­ur­al hair care prod­uct, apple cider vine­gar can be infused with herbs such as sting­ing net­tle, south­ern­wood, gooseg­rass, plan­tain and bur­dock root all of which help pre­vent dan­druff on their own. Tea tree oil is anoth­er excel­lent nat­ur­al anti-dan­druff ingre­di­ent, which can be added.

5. Natural Hair Loss Treatment

In her book Apple Cider Vine­gar- Mir­a­cle Health Sys­tem, Patri­cia Bragg rec­om­mends try­ing the fol­low­ing nat­ur­al hair loss treat­ment:

For bald and thin­ning areas apply to scalp an hour before sham­poo­ing- 2 Tbsp ACV mixed with a tiny pinch cayenne pow­der.
Then before going to bed, mix a roy­al jel­ly cap­sule with one tsp ACV, pat on bald areas and leave overnight.

The fol­low­ing herbs have also been used to pre­vent hair loss and stim­u­late hair growth:

Make your own vine­gar mix­ture as per the herbal hair rinse recipe giv­en above and apply it full strength to the scalp. Rub it in and leave it on for a half hour to an hour before wash­ing your hair.

6. Home Remedy for Head Lice

Lice infes­ta­tions are very con­ta­gious and are char­ac­ter­ized by intense itch­ing caused by an aller­gic reac­tion to a tox­in in the sali­va of the lice.

If you find that com­mer­cial lice prepa­ra­tions are too tox­ic (many con­tain pes­ti­cides) for you or your child’s skin, try the fol­low­ing herbal head louse treat­ment described in the Gale Ency­clo­pe­dia of Alter­na­tive Med­i­cine that uses all nat­ur­al hair care prod­ucts:

    1. Care­ful­ly brush the child’s head with a mix­ture of 3 parts olive oil and 1 part laven­der essen­tial oil.
      • First apply to a small area to test for aller­gic sen­si­tiv­i­ty or skin reac­tion.
      • The hair should be sat­u­rat­ed with the olive oil mix­ture and a show­er cap put on for 5 hours.
      • The olive oil clogs the breath­ing pores of the lice and they can’t hold their breath for more than 4 hours.
    2. Fol­low this by an apple cider vine­gar rinse, 1 table­spoon (15 ml) ACV added to 1 cup (250 ml) water, to unglue the nits from the hair. 
      • Nits or lice eggs are fair­ly small and can be pearly to grey in col­or.
    3. Then, using a fine-tooth comb, par­ents should comb the child’s hair metic­u­lous­ly to remove the lice eggs from the hair shaft.
    4. And final­ly, wash the child’s hair with a nat­ur­al sham­poo.

Once com­plet­ed, check the child’s hair every oth­er day for the next 10 days, and if need­ed repeat the treat­ment.

Ladies, have you tried any of these uses? Do you incor­po­rate apple cider vine­gar into your reg­i­men?

Black Girl With Long Hair

Leila Noel­liste, founder of Black Girl with Long Hair (April 2008). Social media, pop cul­ture and black beau­ty enthu­si­ast. bell hooks’ hair twin…

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114 Comments on "6 Ways to Use Apple Cider Vinegar on Natural Hair"

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[…] Now, when it comes to my hair…I use Apple Cider Vine­gar every week, along with  Ter­ressen­tials Pure Earth Hair Wash.  In the past, I would mix the clay wash with water in a bowl before apply­ing to my scalp/hair, but one day decid­ed to replace the water with Apple Cider Vinegar…I haven’t looked back since.  I definit­ly feel I am get­ting a dou­ble cleanse with the great ingre­di­ents of Ter­ressen­tials + Apple Cider Vine­gar.  Proof that it works comes from com­ple­ments on how shiny my curls are + how clean my scalp is.  Last­ly, sim­i­lar to my facial rou­tine,… Read more »
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I have been read­ing about the uses of ACV for over a month. There are pros and cons on near­ly every site I read. The main uses I read about are for hair care, pre-teen acne, and weight loss. I am still uncer­tain if I should try ACV at all, how­ev­er I did try dilut­ed mix­ture on the acne, and she com­plained that it made her skin itch. Ay help out there, any advice?


Ive been using ACV since i was about 16 (11 years now). I have mixed hair and use it pri­mar­i­ly to rid my scalp of buildup from the var­i­ous prod­ucts i use to tame my hair!!! I love it!!

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Great look­ing hair


My hair is a bit thin and just start­ed using vine­gar for thick­er hair , does it real­ly work ? what else can you use to make your hair nat­u­ral­ly thick­er faster ? any good prod­ucts or nat­ur­al stuff that could work ? i also heard alvera gel is good to thick­en­ing hair , used it twice already , no improve­ment yet !

Knotty Natural

Cas­tor Oil!

Candy Girl

I have been using ACV as a hair rinse for sev­er­al months now. I rinse 1–2 twice a week, I love the results so far. My hair is much shinier, health­i­er look­ing! After about a month, I notice that my hair was not break­ing as much! Will use for life! This arti­cle also has some good info.


Well ladies this white boy has heard that drink­ing a tea­spoon a day pro­motes hair growth!!


Hey Jim. You are cor­rect!! I’ve been drink­ing Brag­gs ACV since April. One tea­spoon in an 8 ounce cup of water with Agave Nec­tar for sweet­ness. My hair has grown. I have lost weight, but most sur­pris­ing is my eye­lash­es. That have thick­ened, dark­ened and grown in length. My sis­ter asked me more than once why am I always wear­ing mas­cara. Hel­lo? I’m not :-) (Bat­ting my lusty eye­lash­es)


I use ACV rinse once a wk in my hair and it has made my hair strong and healthy. I have made it part of my wkly hair regime because it is on point for dan­druff and break­age.


I use Bragg’s raw acv (with the Moth­er) lOL any­ways, it real­ly con­di­tions my hair, smooths the cuti­cle and adds shine. I find it helps detan­gle my hair. It soothes my scalp as well. Real­ly great nat­ur­al prod­uct that nev­er dis­ap­points.


this has been awe­some knowl­edge ladies thank you for shar­ing, i will try using ACV on my hair as well. how safe is it on chil­dren? i would love to try on my girls too.


I use it on my daugh­ter with no trou­ble. I always dilute it heav­i­ly.


i use acv [bragg] first then i cleans my hair. i do not dilute it.

gwen jarvis

By using Brad’s Vine­gar to rinse my hair will it strip my hair col­or?

Chatty with the Natty
Chatty with the Natty
I tried ACV rinse tonight for the first time. WoW!!!! This stuff made my hair look and feel the best it ever has since I’ve had nat­ur­al hair!! My mea­sure­ments… 1/3 cup ACV to 1 quart water. I actu­al­ly made 1 cup ACV and 3 Quarts water. After co wash­ing my hair with AS I AM COCONUT CO WASH I rinsed that out and then did the ACV rinse for a final rinse. My hair was so soft, silky and man­age­able. To do the two strand twist to my scalp I used essen­tial oils to twist to my scalp, coconut… Read more »

Thanks for post­ing this reply! This is the response that I’ve been look­ing for. I have decid­ed to try co-wash­ing this week­end, but won­dered how the ACV would work n con­junc­tion with it. I also have high­lights in my hair. Do you think the dilut­ed ACV may harm my hair?
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Christine Hooker

I have used vine­gar (dilut­ed at about 1/4 cup to a quart) since I was a very lit­tle girl. And I am, well, quite a few decades old­er now! It was my mom’s swear-by. The smell has nev­er been an issue. Goes away quick­ly. Fun­ny thing, I was just read­ing some new reports of the dan­gers of so many sham­poo and con­di­tion­er ingre­di­ents, the FDA has no over­see here, and sug­gest­ed the vine­gar rinse to the mom of my grand­daugh­ters. Many of the ingre­di­ents in the com­mer­cial prod­ucts are car­cino­genic par­tic­u­lar­ly for chil­dren.


Inter­est­ing. I’ve actu­al­ly nev­er been able to bring myself to use any “food” ingre­di­ents in my hair. Do those of you who use this find it just as easy and quick as using store-bought prod­ucts — cleansers, sham­poos and con­di­tion­ers? Any­thing that adds steps and time to my rou­tine is a turnoff for me. Not going to use the excuse of the smell because you ladies have addressed that.

Also, is this some­thing that works on dread­locks as well?

Great info in this post. Thanks!

Knotty Natural

I find it’s easy, cheap, and most of all NATURAL, which is impor­tant to me! It comes from nature, rather than in a lab :)

Yes, you can use it on locks.


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When doing an ACV rinse, I dilute it first sim­i­lar to what you have men­tioned (just I add it to warm water). The smell does not turn me off. My locs are dark­er and a lighter it would seem, too. But to top it off, my scalp thanks me for it. No itchy or tight scalp beyond a week. I love to feel the warm water on my scalp. Real­ly nice! I have nev­er tried it with an essen­tial oil, so that will be my next step.


I also use horse­tail in my rins­es.


may I know how much horsetail/stinging net­tle you use in your rinse?


I do ACV and sting­ing net­tle rins­es. Last sat­ur­day I did ACV Gold­enseal Net­tles Saw Pal­met­to and burdock..I noticed it is mak­ing my hair much stronger and I am expe­ri­enc­ing less break­age..

Knotty Natural

I love herbal ACV tea rins­es! I make them myself!

Toney Osako

My chief is also keen of YouTube com­ic video lessons, he also watch these even in place of work hehe­he..

I love doing ACV rins­es on my hair! For me, they make the dif­fer­ence between a good hair day and a PHENOMENAL hair day, lol. It’s like an ACV rinse makes my hair the best it can be. It makes it shinier, eas­i­er to style, soft­er, bounci­er, and real­ly high­lights my tex­ture. If I have some sort of spe­cial occa­sion com­ing up, I always do an ACV rinse the night before. I dilute it a lot, though. Usu­al­ly, I’ll put 4 table­spoons of ACV in a liter of water…occasionally, I’ll increase it to a quar­ter of a cup. Nev­er more… Read more »
Sass' n Curlz

All great tips! I bought some a week ago to use as an aid to weight loss/internal cleans­ing and it helps! I now will be using it as a rinse on my hair as well.


I’ve been think­ing about doing a Vine­gar rinse. Some­times I find that a prod­uct I’ve been using stops work­ing as well as it was, and won­dered if was just build up. I tried using sham­poo, but that just made me super dry. (I don’t nor­mal­ly use sham­poo.)

ariella taylor

Well I read some­where that hair with low poros­i­ty shouldn’t be rinsed with ACV. How true is this? And do I need to replace my co-wash with this rinse if I do decide to go for it?

Sherrie C

Excel­lent information–thanks for shar­ing. Bragg ACV is a sta­ple in my home. I will try it this week­end as an after-sham­poo rinse.


Do I need /can I condition/deep con­di­tion after the acv rinse?


You don’t have to the ACV rinse is pret­ty much my last rinse (exclud­ing the cool/cold rinse to rid the smell) .
I use more ACV then want is rec­om­mend­ed above. I use the ratios of 1:3 or in rare cas­es 1:2 of ACV to water with great results I fol­low with Cold water to rinse after ACV and as it dries the smell goes away.


You don’t have to… but ts good to con­di­tion after the ACV rinse. Hair tends to become full of sta­t­ic after the rinse so I use con­di­tion­er as a fin­ish­ing touch and to get rid of the smell.


Does it have to be Bragg’s ACV? Has any­one had great results using gener­ic ACV or oth­er brands of ACV?

Kathleen Jackson


Kathleen Jackson

Any kind is good ACV as well as White vine­gar. Makes the hair beau­ti­ful, shiney, soot and a great detan­gler..


The Bragg has the “moth­er” in it which is most of the good stuff. I LOVE this brand but I will grudg­ing­ly buy gener­ic as well. Go with your bud­get.


I swear by the Brag­gs ACV- not sure why it is dif­fer­ent, but I have tried oth­ers (gener­ic, Heinz, etc), with­out any luck. Glad some­one left a mes­sage about the impor­tance of dilu­tion and clar­i­ty around what pH means! I would not sug­gest putting this stuff on your hair un-dilut­ed. I have chron­ic skin con­di­tions and I use a q-tip to place it care­ful­ly on my skin only– not my hair. If I am going to use it on my hair it is dilut­ed or mixed with ben­tonite clay.


I’ll have to try this because the head and shoul­ders is just not work­ing I keep hav­ing to comb out the flakes the day after. Don’t know why I haven’t jumped on this yet, I’m all for home reme­dies.

Jelisa | Blogging Ever After
Jelisa | Blogging Ever After

Wow. Yet anoth­er prod­uct I cook with and didn’t real­ize I could use!


I dilute ACV (the same one pic­tured) and use a ton­er and I real­ly enjoy it. I’ve also tried it for weight loss with good results.


How are u using it for weight loss? Dilut­ing it and drink­ing it?


I drink it straight. Usu­al­ly a tea­spoon a day until I can tol­er­ate a table­spoon. Then as time pro­gress­es, I step it up to a tea­spoon of hon­ey in a shot glass topped off with the ACV. I stir that togeth­er and have it in the morn­ing before break­fast. It real­ly helps with diges­tion, free rad­i­cals and appetite con­trol.


I had an ACV sham­poo bar and it left my hair real­ly dry. I’m not too if doing an ACV rinse would yield dif­fer­ent results.


meant to type “i’m not too sure”

Emperess NiNi
Use dilut­ed ACV like the above men­tion direc­tions. You will love how soft, shiny, boun­cy, & just gor­geous your hair will be after fol­low­ing the direc­tions in arti­cle. I work out 4–5 days a week & the dilut­ed ACV is per­fect for me because sham­poo is too dry­ing & the ACV gets rid of sweaty build-up, grime, & doesn’t strip the organ­ic coconut oil I use in my hair.  The great thing about using ACV is that it is mul­ti-pur­pose. You can use it as a sore mus­cle soak, diet aid, pour it on sal­ad as dress­ing (much tasti­er than Ital­ian),… Read more »

I didn’t know that it wouldn’t strip the coconut oil. That has been a con­cern of mine. Thanks for shar­ing!


How is the smell? I mean I’m assum­ing it goes away after a while, but if I were to use a rinse in the gym show­er would I smell like ACV for at least 30 min­utes? Or do you add essen­tial oils to lessen the vine­gar-y smell?


For me, the smell pret­ty much goes away imme­di­ate­ly. I nev­er notice or am both­ered by it and i have a strong nose. Once you apply your leave ins and mois­tur­iz­ers, you should have no smell what so ever.

Create House

I’m def­i­nite­ly going to try to full strength apple cider vine­gar to help with the dan­druff prob­lem I’ve been hav­ing.


Don’t do full strength!!!! I didn’t dilute my rinse enough when I used it for the first time today and it made my hair dry. I know this because I deep con­di­tioned for 3 days pri­or to wash­ing today and my hair was super soft even through the sham­poo­ing part of my rou­tine. I’m pissed because I did all of that work just to muck it up at the end. So be warned dilute accord­ing­ly.
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Maya, The full strength, undi­lut­ed ver­sion is only meant for pre-poo, not as a con­di­tion­ing rinse. I used it full strength, steamed, then did my nor­mal wash/condition/moisturize rou­tine… Worked WONDERS, and I have reeeaaaal­l­ly bad dan­druff (seb­or­rhea der­mati­tis).


“Hair is on the mild­ly acidic side of the pH scale and has an ide­al pH of 4.5 to 5.5, which is close to that of an apple cider vine­gar rinse (pH 2.9).”

pH is mea­sured on a log­a­rith­mic scale, which in gen­er­al means that a pH of 2.9 is NOT close to pH 4.5. That pH would be a bit too harsh for most people’s scalp, and could dam­age your hair. ACV must be suit­ably dilut­ed before use


She says this in the post. The mix­tures are usu­al­ly 2:1 or 3:1 with water and vine­gar.


I was think­ing THE SAME thing! 2.9 is too acidic. ACV MUST be dilut­ed ladies.




I was able to ditch sham­poo com­plete­ly by using dilut­ed acv to cleanse my scalp week­ly or bi-week­ly, depend­ing on my scalp build up. Month­ly I use Aztec Indi­an Clay to cleanse the scalp. I live by ACV! You can also bathe with it, it aids in weight loss, cook with it, etc.

I’d sug­gest pur­chas­ing the bot­tle with the moth­er in it; the murky sub­stance in the bot­tom. That’s the good stuff!


Aids in weight loss? How does that work?