How to Use Apple Cider Vinegar for Hair

Apple cider vinegar is one of the readily available natural ingredients that has so many benefits and uses for hair.

Apple cider vinegar hair rinse is so far the most popular use. Following is the recipe plus more tips to use ACV for hair growth, dandruff plus more other benefits and possible side effects.

Apple Cider Vinegar Hair Rinse (DIY Shampoo) + Recipe

Rinsing or washing your hair with apple cider vinegar after shampooing or conditioning is a popular hair care practice for many women. As the name suggests, it is simply rinsing your hair with a mixture of ACV and water.

diy apple cider vinegar hair wash recipe
Washing Hair with ACV


Making your own ACV is of essence because it contains, minerals like iron, manganese, and potassium. The fermenting process breaks down vitamins like B Vitamins and Vitamin C. Organic ACV is readily available in stores but does not have minerals, vitamins or nutritional elements but the mother does.

Making the mother ACV makes it more powerful. You require a glass jar, organic apples, cheese cloth, raw or organic cane sugar, distilled water, a wooden spoon and a sieve. Clean and sterilize a glass jar. Use organic apples because they don’t have pesticides, non-organic are sprayed with pesticides which can mess it up.

DIY Apple Cider Vinegar for Hair

  1. Sterilize the glass jar and put it in an oven to kill bacteria.
  2. Wash organic apples with clean water.
  3. Chop the apples in medium size and put them in the jar.
  4. Leave the Apples for a few minutes to allow sugar to rise to the surface.
  5. Add some distilled water in the jar to submerge the organic apples in water.
  6. Submerge floating pieces of apples with a glass lead.
  7. Add two tablespoon sugar to the jar containing apples and water.
  8.  Cover the jar with a cheese cloth to prevent fruit flies.
  9. Leave the mixture for a month.
  10. Keep checking on the mixture to see whether bubbles have formed.
  11. Fermentation will break down fructose into alcohol.
  12. Acetic acid will break down  alcohol to vinegar.
  13. After 1 month open the jar and sieve the fermented Apple Cider Vinegar is now ready for use.

ACV Hair Rinse Steps

  1. Wash your hair with shampoo.
  2. Apply conditioner and rinse with water.
  3. Mix ½ to 4 tablespoons of Apple Cider Vinegar with 8 ounces of water in a spray bottle.
  4. Test the solution on your hair.
  5. If you have oily hair apply more ACV.
  6. If you have dry hair apply less ACV.
  7. Spray ACV into your hair.
  8. Gently massage it into your hair and scalp.
  9. Wait for a few minutes.
  10. Rinse it all out.
  11. You can as well leave it on your hair to prevent tangles in long hair.

Apple Cider vinegar Mask for Black Hair

You can use ACV to make a mask for black hair.


The DIY Apple Cider Vinegar Detox mask for Black hair ingredients include; ¼ cup of raw and Organic Apple Cider Vinegar and 2 cups of water, a deep conditioner and moisturizing styler and oil of your choice (


  1. Wash your hair with shampoo.
  2. Apply the solution of ACV + Water solution on your hair and scalp.
  3. Select a conditioner of your choice and apply on your hair
  4. Rinse and style your hair
  5. Finally seal your hair with oil which may be coconut oil, grape seed, olive oil or almond oil.

ACV Wash for Colored Hair

ACV is safe to use for all types of hair including colored hair.

Due to the slightly acidic pH of ACV rinse, some experts argue that it can also extend the life of hair color when applied just after rinsing off the dye.  Most hair dyes are alkaline, which opens up the hair cuticle.

When hair color is applied, it can then penetrate to the hair’s inner cortex, where it is thought to react with the hair’s pigment molecules to produce a color change

To make the color of your hair last longer you need ACV, water, shampoo and conditioner. Use can use the following two processes:

Method #1 ACV diluted in water.

  1. Wash your hair with shampoo
  2. Apply conditioner and rinse with water.
  3. Mix apple cider vinegar with water in the ratio of 1:3
  4. Pour the mixture in a spray bottle.
  5. Spray the solution in your hair and scalp
  6. Massage gently and wait for a few minutes
  7. Rinse your hair with water

Method #2, ACV mixed with Baking Soda

The following ingredients are required for the process of rinsing hair with Apple Cider Vinegar mixed with Baking Soda. ¼ cup of baking soda. ¾ CUP OF acv, 1 table spoon of sea salt. 1 Table spoon of lemon juice and lukewarm water.

  1. Wash your hair with shampoo
  2. Apply conditioner and rinse with water.
  3. Treat and dye your hair.
  4. Mix the ingredients in lukewarm water
  5. Soak treated colored  hair into the tub for 15 minutes
  6. Rinse it off with water

After this process it lightens the color of your hair making it shiny and healthy. If you have dark hair it lightens the color of your hair.

How long to leave Apple Cider Vinegar on Hair?

Just 3 minutes! The Science of Hair Care, also confirms that when applying apple cider vinegar makes sure you let it to sit in the hair for at least three minutes.

Why? This is because vinegar requires about three minutes to break up the molecular structure of the residue, allowing it to be easily rinsed away.

Apple cider vinegar hair rinse before or after conditioner

If you want to use a conditioner you should use it before the hair rinse. This is because apple cider vinegar eliminates the remains of soap, shampoo, or conditioner.

White Vinegar or Brown ACV for hair?

Both White and Brown ACV work well with the hair although they have few different aspects. White vinegar is made from sun ripened grains and clear water. Some people are allergic to Apple Cider Vinegar thus they may prefer White Vinegar. It has a pungent smell but it can be reduced by diluting it with more water compared to brown ACV.

Brown ACV on the other hand contains a higher level of B – vitamins, Vitamin C and minerals that are essential for hair recipes.

The PH level is less acidic thus less water used to dilute it. It has a less intense smell compared to white vinegar thus preferred by many people compared to White vinegar.

How to use ACV for Hair Growth/Loss

It is everyone’s desire that after keeping your hair for a certain period of time it should grow.

Some hair has stunted growth due to a buildup of the used products on the scalp.

Apple Cider Vinegar contains Alpha hydroxyl Acid that strips the scalp without affecting the skin and breaks up buildup.

Apple cider vinegar benefits hair growth

ACV also has B- Vitamin that contains biotin which does not only accelerate hair growth but also prevents hair loss. It also contains Potassium, iron, manganese and calcium minerals that prevents hair loss. Hair breakage mostly occur when the hair is dry and tangled. ACV makes the hair moist and detangles the hair limiting hair breakage.

Below are some various on how to use apple cider vinegar for hair growth.

Apple cider vinegar with water and sage oil

Apple cider vinegar works effectively to get rid of dandruff whereas sage oil fights microorganisms due to its antimicrobial characteristics.


Add ½ cup of apple cider vinegar to 2 cups of warm water. Stir the mixture to mix the ingredients properly. Then pour a few drops of sage oil to the mixture.


Spray it on your scalp evenly when you have shampooed your hair and wait for 30 minutes then you rinse it off properly. Do this once a week for better results.

Apple cider vinegar with avocado and coconut oil

Coconut oil is a great natural conditioner and moisturizer while avocados contain many nutrients. To use them on your scalp, take n equal amount of apple cider vinegar and water. Mix them properly and pour the mixture into a spray bottle.

Spray it on your scalp and hair evenly. Apply the mixture thoroughly by dividing your hair into parts and then covering them with the solution. Let it soak for 5-10 minutes. Prepare the mixture of tree oil and shampoo. Use it to rinse off the apple cider vinegar.

Allow the shampoo to stay on your scalp for 2-3 minutes. Then wash it off with water. After that make a puree of avocado mixed with 2 tablespoons of coconut oil. Stir well to mix the ingredients. Apply it to your hair and massage gently.

Cover your hair with a shower cap and leave it for about half an hour then rinse it off with a mild shampoo and clean water. You should do this once a week to keep your scalp hydrated.

Apple cider vinegar with tea tree oil for hair

Both apple cider vinegar and tea tree oil have antibacterial properties which thus kills Bacillus bacteria that is responsible for various hair problems like hair loss, dandruff and flakiness.

Tea tree oil and Acv for hair growth
Tea tree oil


Add 5-6 drops of tea tree oil to half a cup of apple cider vinegar and mix them properly.


Apply it to your hair and rub the scalp gently and wait for five minutes. Rinse it off using a shampoo and water afterwards.

How to use ACV for Dandruff

People with dandruff have a condition known as seborrheic dermatitis. This condition is thought to be triggered by stress, different weather, Malassezia yeast or sometimes it is genetic. Sometimes you skin may be sensitive to shampoo or dyes and skin condition as psoriasis cause dandruff.

Acv Hair Rinse has a PH Level of 3 in which yeast cannot withstand. This unfavorable condition kills yeast leaving your hair healthy. It is the elimination of the yeast that in turn prevents dandruff.  ACV also contains acetic acid which is anti-bacterial and anti-fungal. Apply ACV on the scalp to prevent dandruff and itching using the following steps:

  1. Dilute vinegar with water in the ration of 1:1.
  2. Apply the diluted ACV hair rinse on your scalp.
  3. Wait for a few minutes to experience a burning sensation.
  4. Rinse the skin to prevent irritation.
  5. Your scalp will be relieved from psoriasis and dandruff (

Sometimes a dry scalp or a very oily scalp may also cause dandruff in your hair. ACV balances the moisture and PH level of your scalp preventing dandruff. It also eliminates a buildup of hair products that accumulates on your scalp and restores the texture of your hair. ACV contains acetic acid that is anti-bacterial and anti-fungal that prevents dandruff.

Vinegar Massage Dandruff

You require the following ingredients; shampoo, and a conditioner, 3 table spoons of Apple Cider Vinegar and water. Prepare it within 2 minutes then apply and wait for 10 minutes. Below are the steps to follow;

  1. Wash your hair with shampoo
  2.  Mix Vinegar and water in the ration of 1:1
  3. Close your eyes and pour it in your scalp slowly.
  4. Massage Apple Cider Vinegar gently on your scalp.
  5. Leave the Apple Cider Vinegar for 10 minutes.
  6. Wash your hair with shampoo.
  7. Apply the conditioner and rinse your hair thoroughly.
  8. Repeat the same process once weekly or once in two weeks.

More Apple Cider Vinegar Hair Benefits

Apple cider vinegar contains some amino acids and antioxidants which has a lot of benefits to your general health. It is made by fermenting the sugars from apples. This turns them into acetic acid, the active ingredient in vinegar.

How is apple cider vinegar good for your hair? Using ACV as a hair wash or rinse offers numerous benefits for your mane. Below are some benefits.

Balances hair and sebum PH

Many commercial hair care products can have a negative effect once used on your hair leaving it weak and dry. The normal PH of your hair should be 4.5 to 5.5.When your hair PH is kept at this normal PH level, your scalp is protected against fungal and bacterial growth, promoting healthy hair and skin.

Other hair products can alter with this natural PH which in turn affects the cuticles of your hair and the normal condition of your scalp.

Due to the high levels of acetic acid which is naturally found in ACV and also contains a PH level close to that of human hair it can therefore help your scalp and hair to its optimal acidity for those with oil hair.

Antibacterial and Antifungal properties

Apple cider vinegar has anti-inflammatory, antifungal and antibacterial effects. The acetic acid in apple cider vinegar has antimicrobial properties which help in killing bacteria and fungus which are the main causes of dandruff and loss of hair.

Washing your hair with apple cider vinegar helps to maintain your scalp PH preventing the formation of these bacteria and fungus that can affect the normal growth of your hair. It also treats burning sensation and irritation on the skin of your head.

Bottom line, the main substance in vinegar acetic acid, can kill bacteria and/or prevent them from multiplying and reaching harmful levels.

Cleansing and clarifying for your scalp

When using a variety of products on your hair like serums, gels, sprays and masks they lead to product build up which can leave your hair looking flat, dull and lifeless.

One of the cheapest ways to get rid of this accumulation of these products on your and restore back the life of your hair is by using apple cider vinegar because it contains alpha-hydroxy acid which gently removes all dead skin cells and build-up from your hair leaving it healthier and shinier.

Prevents split ends and breakage

When you regularly use apple cider vinegar rinse on your hair it naturally removes tangles from your hair, closing the cuticles, improving porosity and encouraging strong hair strands which will eventually lead to a reduction in split ends and breakage.

Stimulates natural hair growth and prevents hair loss

Apple cider vinegar stimulates better blood circulation to hair follicles therefore promoting hair growth and preventing hair loss. The blood that circulates also carries essential nutrients to your hair follicle cells, strengthening the roots and promoting growth.

Reduces porosity of the hair

Normal hair allows necessary amounts of moisture to penetrate the outer cuticle, while hair which is porous absorbs liquids quickly but also loses it quickly. High porosity is the result of damage to the hair from chemical treatments you use and environmental exposure.

This irreversible damage creates gaps and holes in the surface of your hair shaft leaving your hair at risk of more damage. You can manage the porosity of your hair by using an apple cider vinegar rinse to flatten the cuticle and minimize gaps.

Adds shine to your hair

The position of the cuticle affects the light reflecting properties of the strands. It works by closing the hair cuticle enabling it to reflect light off from it. When the cuticle is down as it is after an apple cider vinegar rinse the hair is better able to reflect light, giving your hair a shiny, healthy appearance.

Reduces frizz

Frizzy hair is caused by lifted cuticles on the hair. Smooth down the cuticles with apple cider vinegar and your hair will be smooth and fizz-free giving it a healthy appearance.

Apple cider vinegar is a natural hair detangler

Apple cider vinegar is a natural detangler because of its effective natural acidity which helps to ease the cuticle and thus encouraging knots and tangles to slip out and allowing a brush to move smoothly through more easily.

Apple cider vinegar as detangler
ACV detangles hair

It is a natural conditioner

Apple cider vinegar is acidic, causing the hair cuticle to seal. This means that the surface of the hair is smooth rather than rough and moisture is locked in. Apple cider vinegar helps to prevent frizz, enhancing shine and resolving dryness of your hair.

Packed with nutrients

Apple cider vinegar contains nutrients beneficial to your hair including B vitamins, vitamin C and potassium which are all important to your hair in different ways.

Side Effects of Using ACV on Hair

ACV contains acetic acid that contains caustic that affects the skin if used without diluting with water. Dilute ACV with water before use to prevent itching before using it to rinse your hair.

When used alone and in excess, it depletes your hair of natural oil making leaving it dry. Yolanda Lenzy, MD, of Lenzy Dermatology in Massachusetts, states that ACV hair rinse is not harmful but it is acidic and can dry out the hair leading to its breakage.

Rinsing your hair with the ACV solution that is not diluted can lead to mild burns. Avoid the effect of ACV on your scalp by diluting with water and rinse. Even though it lowers the PH level of the scalp, you can experience more irritation if the PH falls low.

Eye irritation. Avoid eye contact with the ACV. If it finds its way in your eyes, rinse them thoroughly with water.

ACV can help in making your healthier in terms of looks and feel. It is readily available and cheaper compared to other hair products. If used appropriately, the results are overwhelming.

Sources & Citations

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