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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[…] 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… 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.


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.


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


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.


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.

Kathleen Jackson

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

Kathleen Jackson



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… Read more »

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.


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

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




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


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


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?