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

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Kye J

Can I do a acv rinse followed by a oilrinse?


What happens if you keep apple cider vineger on scalp for 4-5 hours.

Show N\' Glow

I finally know what is wrong with my hair. I would like on conditioner but still end up with frizzy dry hair. My hair used to be so soft that it would air dry into luscious curls. :(. I am working very hard to get my old hair back.


Not sure if you know this or are a part of this page, but this article is eerily similar to yours, posted a few months after:


[…] a bottle of apple cider vinegar requires as much care as buying produce. shares their insight on choosing the right […]


[…] a bottle of apple cider vinegar requires as much care as buying produce. shares their insight on choosing the right […]


[…] people have written awesome stuff about ACV and its uses for hair so I am just going to give you a link. Please, read it and consult our darling google for more […]


[…] 6 Ways to Use Apple Cider Vinegar on Natural Hair […]


[…] I really like tea hair rinses, and how great they make my scalp feel.  I’ve also used an apple cider vinegar hair rinse to close up the hair cuticle, and help prevent split ends. So recently, I had the brilliant idea to […]


Same questions…do I use a conditioning product?


When doing an ACV rinse after washing my hair, would I do it before or after conditioning?


I want to avoid using shampoo. Can I moisturize, use the vinegar, and then deep condition afterwards?


[…] One of the most traditional ways to combat this imbalance is through an Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) rinse. In addition to cleansing your hair, some studies have shown how a combination of ACV and […]


I’m going to nitpick a bit and note that based on the pH values you gave, that means the vinegar is 40-400 times more acidic than hair.

Other than that, I will try some of these; thanks!


[…] Cider Vinegar Rinse — for Cleansing and Clarifying If you haven’t tried an ACV rinse yet, you must be living under a rock! Okay, kidding but seriously the ACV rinse is one of the […]


[…] Sources: Huffington Post, Black Girl Long Hair […]


[…] Apple Cider Vinegar Co-wash and Rinse […]

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Does ACV have moisturizing benefits? I’m trying to concoct a spray to use on my hair daily (as it can get very dry) that would aid in moisturizing, and that is also safe to use as a leave in. Would you recommend ACV as an ingredient?


[…] 3) Good old Apple Cider Vinegar!  ACV is a long time favourite for a lot of people.  Aside from dressing your salads and marinading your meat, a simple ACV rinse is said to help balance the pH of your hair, closing lifted cuticles and removing nasty residues from the surface of your tresses.  Rather than re-inventing the wheel, there is a great post on using ACV for a final rinse after shampooing here […]


Is there a specific brand of ACV to use or can it be any brand?

Knotty Natural

I get that ACV with the mother in it…the brand probably doesn’t matter but I get the health store brand. It’s about $3 where I live.

Tamika Scott

As long as it’s raw organic preferably with “mother” the brand is not a huge deal. I usually get mine from the vitamin shoppe it’s about $3

Djinn Tea
I am a naturally curly-girl who has believed for 20+ years that curly hair is more fragile than straight, but not known why. For a long while I have been doing minimal shampooing, and know it’s better for curls; about 3 weeks ago I decided I would try the baking soda/water alternative to shampoo just for something to do, because no matter what I spend on shampoos and conditioners, nothing helps my disgusting flaky scalp, and everything fries the heck out of my hair…I didn’t intend to make a big life-change, I just thought, hey, I’m bored, why not try… Read more »

I think everyone is different. The whole no shampoo thing does not work for me at all.


Can you use normal white vinegar to clarify hair?

Djinn Tea
I am not completely sure but I think that vinegar is vinegar…and all vinegar is GREAT! It’s a cheap as heck thing that has practically MAGICALLY qualities! The natural remedies/panacea types would have you believe that ACV has some magical qualities, but vinegar in and of itself is a great thing, available to all, very inexpensively. I would wait for people who have used both ACV and regular vinegar to weigh in, but I think they all have the same chemical properties, don’t they? I dunno for sure, I barely passed Chemistry in HS, but I think it’s all about… Read more »
Knotty Natural

Personally, I prefer any ACV that has the mother in it! The mother is the brown murky substance found at the bottom of the bottle! You won’t ever find that in the white vinegar. The white vinegar is pasteurized, refined and distilled.


For acv for itchy scalp…how many parts acv and water mix should I use? Thanks for the assistance


Also when do I apply the acv to the hair…before or after shampoo for itchy scalp…thanks again

Knotty Natural

I always use 1 pt ACV to 2 pts water.


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genius, Melissa! OMG! I have all of these ingredients too. I would have never thguhot to make a drink like this that mimics Booch. Oh, and my my MIL basement. I rarely use it now was using it more for the pulp. I got freaked out about fructose and the high sugar. I know I can do straight veggie juices, but the clean up was annoying. My kitchen is SO small, I figure, (IF) we ever get out of this place I will make it more of a staple! For now I eat my plants or blend them! I… Read more »

I’m currently using an ACV rinse 2-3 times a week. I first used after a shampoo before a conditioner. Tonight I just did the rinse as a cleanser. I had product build up so I really just wanted to clean my hair. So I used the ACV rinse and washed out, and followed if up with my homemade leave-in conditioner. My hair was squeaky clean with just using the ACV rinse. My scalp used to itch really bad in the middle of my head, since I’ve been doing the ACV rinse…the itching has disappeared.

Hi there. I’m new to the all natural movement but have 3b/c biracial tight curly hair. I recently moved to the desert and have found that my hair is super dry, but my attempts to use store-bought butters and pomades have left it feeling weighted down and greasy. I am thinking about building up a DIY hair regimen that includes a coconut oil pre-poo, ACV rinse, and yogurt/OO/honey/egg deep condition one every few weeks. I currently co-wash every other day, and shampoo every 2 weeks. I was wondering if I still need to wash my air with a natural shampoo,… Read more »
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[…] Apple Cider Vinegar Rinse — for Cleansing and Clarifying If you haven’t tried an ACV rinse yet, you must be living under a rock! Okay, kidding but seriously the ACV rinse is one of the […]


[…] Apple Cider Vinegar Rinse — for Cleansing and Clarifying If you haven’t tried an ACV rinse yet, you must be living under a rock! Okay, kidding but seriously the ACV rinse is one of the […]


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Love your article and never thought about applying herbs to ACV rinse, maybe I will try it with herbs to see how while it does my hair


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I would like to try this,but what is better on hair coconut oil or this vinegar. and if both are what should I use first coconut or the vinegar.can I do both the same day one in the morning n then at night?

Both are known to be good for natural hair, but it also depends on your own hair since everyone’s is different. Coconut oil, at least for me, makes finger detangling an easier process, and apple cider vinegar is great for clarifying. Coconut oil isn’t only good for finger detangling – it’s just what I use it for. Try Googling coconut oil uses for natural hair; it has a lot more benefits. If you do want to use both, you can try pre-pooing with coconut oil, then rinsing your hair with ACV (mixed with water) in the shower after washing. You… Read more »

Wow! Finally I got a weblog from where I can truly take helpful facts regarding my study and knowledge.

Peggy Jones

I am glad that I found all of this info
it will help me out with my problems.

Thank You,



Can vinegar rinses cleanse hair grease? I wanna be able to do the curly girl method but i use hair grease

Kinky Curly Marie

Yes it clears hair grease.