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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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?

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

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.

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?

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.

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 »

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

Knotty Natural

I always use 1 pt ACV to 2 pts water.


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


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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 […]


[…] I love an ACV rinse [Apple Cider Vine­gar rinse]. […]

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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 »

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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.

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In the Unit­ed States, the dif­fer­ence between apple juice and cider is not well estab­lished. Some states do spec­i­fy a dif­fer­ence. For exam­ple, accord­ing to the Mass­a­chu­setts Depart­ment of Agri­cul­tur­al Resources, “Apple juice and apple cider are both fruit bev­er­ages made from apples, but there is a dif­fer­ence between the two…”..*

Until next time


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