I’ve used commercial shampoos and conditioners for my entire life – that is, until a year ago when I realised the problems they were causing. When putting together my shopping list, I noticed that I was going through a large bottle every few weeks. For the first time, I stopped to think about it.
A single lather was no longer enough – I was doing a double lather every single day and yet by evening time my hair had already started to get greasy (I’m a morning showerer). It had also started to thin and break. Maybe you can relate to this story, or have your own issues with hair damage, if so, read on!
Luckily I found a solution in the most unlikely place – my cupboard. I’ve been using apple cider vinegar on my hair for nearly a year now and all of the above problems have resolved. My hair is looking better than ever. I want to share with you 7 reasons to wash your hair with apple cider vinegar – your hair will thank you.
The Problem With Shampoo & Conditioner
You’ve probably heard of sulfates and parabens – a family of chemicals found in most commercial hair products. Although they’re great at cleaning your hair, they’re also damaging in the long term. They strip the natural oils from your hair, drying it out and stimulating further oil production which causes the greasiness I experienced.
These chemicals can also fade the colour from your hair and many sources claim a link with cancer – although this remains unconfirmed. Better safe than sorry, I say. Especially when there’s an all-natural alternative that gives even better results. (source)
7 Reasons To Wash Your Hair With Apple Cider Vinegar
Marketing for commercial shampoos and conditioners has been very successful. Almost everyone uses them without ever giving natural options a second thought. It’s only when we start having problems that we start to investigate.
I was sceptical at first – the only place I used apple cider vinegar was on my salads. The smell alone made me reluctant to put it on my body. However, the benefits outweigh any negatives (I can’t even think of any) and once you rinse thoroughly there won’t be any lingering odor.
1) It Balances Your Hair’s pH
Our hair and scalp are naturally slightly acidic, whereas many hair care products such as shampoo, hair dye and bleach are strongly basic. This causes damage to the cuticle of the hair – leading to dryness and frizziness. Apple cider vinegar is acidic. When diluted, it’s close to the pH of our hair, avoiding these problems and restoring the cuticle to its smooth state. (source)
2) It’s a Great Cleanser for Your Hair and Scalp
Apple cider vinegar contains alpha-hydroxy acid to gently exfoliate your scalp and hair. In layman’s terms – it will remove all of the dead skin cells and residue from commercial products, leaving you with squeaky clean, shiny hair. (source)
3) It’s a Natural Conditioner Too
As I mentioned already, the acidic properties of apple cider vinegar causes the hair cuticle to seal. What this means is that the surface of the hair is smooth rather than rough and moisture is locked in. A one-step ACV rinse does the job when it comes to preventing frizz, enhancing shine and resolving dryness.
4) It Helps with Itchy, Dry Scalp & Dandruff
Apple cider vinegar has an anti-inflammatory, antifungal and antibacterial effects. It naturally fights dandruff (caused by a fungus) and soothes itchy skin. (source)
5) It Prevents Tangling
Another result of a smooth cuticle is less tangling. Since the surface of the hair is restored to its smooth, natural state, strands do not snag and tangle as much.
6) You Won’t Have to Wash Your Hair As Often
If you’re stuck in a cycle of daily shampooing like I was, this is an important benefit. Of course you can still rinse daily with water to remove the dust and dirt of the day but you won’t find your hair getting greasy between washes forcing you to cleanse with harsh products.
I’ve already explained the theory behind this – it’s somewhat counterintuitive. Apple cider vinegar leaves most of the natural oils in your hair intact, so your scalp doesn’t need to compensate by overproducing them. At present, I can get away with cleansing twice a week with this method. (source)
7) It May Encourage Hair Growth & Prevent Hair Loss
Take this one with a grain of salt as it’s more of a traditional remedy than scientific proof but some sources claim that apple cider vinegar can increase hair growth. It may work by stimulating the root but it also reduces hair loss from breakage. (source)
Apple cider vinegar may seem like a cure-all for your hair ailments, and in many ways it is. However there are a few factors to consider before starting.
Many commercial conditioners are enhanced with oils to add moisture to your hair. This is not the case with apple cider vinegar so you may want to use a DIY hair treatment made from coconut oil or similar once a month for improved results.
Long term use of apple cider vinegar on your hair can lighten your hair colour. This is a pro for a lot of us – low maintenance highlights? Yes please. However, if this is a negative for you, you should avoid ACV or limit its use to once a fortnight or less. (source)
I’ve never had a problem with the smell of vinegar but if you are really worried about it you can add a drop of lavender oil to the mix. No one will be any the wiser.
So, How Do I Wash My Hair With Apple Cider Vinegar?
There are lots of different “recipes” out there for DIY apple cider vinegar rinses, mostly based on ACV in water. I recommend 2 – 4 tablespoons of ACV in 16 oz of water, starting on the lower end. Obviously you won’t need as much if you have short hair. (source)
Pour the mixture over your hair from root to tips and let it sit for 2 minutes. If you are going to skip using shampoo completely, make sure to scrub your head gently with your fingertips or a scalp-cleansing brush like this one. Rinse your hair thoroughly with water and then dry as usual.
To ease yourself in, try replacing one shampoo a week with an ACV rinse and gradually build up until you’ve eliminated shampoo completely (if this is your goal). Alternatively, you can use it in conjunction with commercial products by treating your hair once a fortnight to a deep cleanse with this method.
Apple Cider Vinegar Hair Tutorial
Washing my hair with apple cider vinegar has really made a big difference to my hair quality and resolved the bothersome issues caused by shampoo and conditioner. I would definitely consider myself a convert.Most of my friends are sceptical when I tell them the secret of my shiny, smooth locks but I recommend giving it a go for at least six weeks before making your own judgement. It will save you time and money at a minimum and give you a hair makeover if you’re lucky! Let me know in the comments how you get on, I’d love to hear your experiences.