5 Ways Apple Cider Vinegar Repairs and Strengthens Your Hair

by Jori Geck July 29, 2021

Apple cider vinegar (ACV) is not only used for improving health, or adding it to salad dressings, or household cleaning, but it can also be used for hair care! The powerful antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory benefits of apple cider vinegar work to support your scalp's pH, kill off fungus and germs, control dandruff, and more. Today we are going to dive into the common causes of damaged hair and break down how effective apple cider vinegar is towards hair health. 

Common Sources of Hair Damage 

It is common to experience hair breakage or damage nowadays. The hard water we use to wash our hair, the heat damage from styling, and the dye we use to switch up our hair color, all of these experiences will cause product build-up and damage to our hair. It can make our hair too oily, add frizz, and put a halt to hair growth (4). When our hair is overwhelmed with oil, we usually rely on products like dry shampoo

This is when hair rinses become an important step to revitalizing your hair, no matter what hair type you have. Let's take a look at the DIY ACV rinse that you can incorporate into your weekly routine to reduce daily hair damage. 

Apple Cider Vinegar Hair Rinse 

The apple cider vinegar rinse consists of three parts and is simple to make. All you need is:

  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tbsp cold water 
  • 10-15 drops of tea tree oil 

All you have to do is mix all the ingredients in a spray bottle, and spray it all over your dry hair. Then you will massage it in your scalp for about five minutes, and leave it sit for an additional five minutes. After that, you will rinse out in the shower and use your shampoo and conditioner as you normally would. Make sure that are you rinsing thoroughly to get all the ACV out to avoid any leftover vinegar that may cause irritation. It is beneficial to use this rinse a few times a week, or as you feel needed, you may also increase the amount of apple cider vinegar to up to 5 tablespoons per rinse. The apple cider vinegar that we recommend is Braggs Apple Cider Vinegar which you can usually find on Amazon or at your local grocer. This brand is unfiltered, raw, and includes all the enzymes and bacteria that are very beneficial. Now that we have gone over how to rinse your hair with apple cider vinegar, let's take a look at the top five benefits that it can provide for your hair. 

Apple Cider Vinegar and pH Balance 

Similar to the importance of the pH level in your stomach, your scalp pH level can determine the quality of your hair. When our scalp pH is more alkaline than acidic, it can lead to many issues like oily hair, hair loss, dryness, and dead ends. On top of that, most shampoos out on the market right now do not address this in their formulas and contribute more to the alkaline scalp pH. One study found that the acidity of apple cider vinegar can help lower the pH of your scalp, this promotes a smoother, healthier shine and increases the strength of your hair since an alkaline environment is more suitable for our naturally fragile hair follicles (1). Let's discuss how apple cider vinegar can help with dandruff. 

Apple Cider Vinegar and Dandruff Control

While there is no research directly correlating apple cider vinegar and dandruff control, there are multiple studies that support its antimicrobial abilities. Apple cider vinegar may help soothe a dry, flakey and itchy scalp. ACV has antifungal and anti-inflammatory properties that have been shown to prevent specific types of fungus from growing and killing off bacteria that could be causing irritation and dryness. (2). That means apple cider vinegar will help control the growth of bacteria on your scalp and this may reduce the itchiness and flakes. Now that we have discussed the benefits of ACV and dandruff, let's see if apple cider vinegar promotes hair growth. 

Apple Cider Vinegar for Hair Growth

If your hair follicles are lacking nutrients and moisture or are overloaded with bacteria, it can cause weak brittle hair and decreased hair growth. Due to the fact apple cider vinegar can ward off bacteria and its acidic nature, it can exfoliate the scalp and hair follicles that will help your hair grow faster, and stronger, according to a dermatologist (3). Another claim is that apple cider vinegar may help close our hair cuticle and bind together split ends. Preventing hair breakage is vital to healthy hair growth. 

ACV Vitamins and Minerals for Hair

Some claims say that vitamins and minerals in apple cider vinegar can help wash away product and oil buildup. This effect is said to exfoliate the scalp and nourish, moisturize, and prevent breakage to your hair and promote growth. While there is not much research done on the contents of vitamins and minerals in apple cider vinegar, it is said that the apples used to make the ACV may transfer beneficial vitamins and minerals like vitamin B, C, and potassium. Apple cider vinegar has acetic acid and alpha hydroxy acid in it, and it is said that both these components have the ability to exfoliate your scalp and absorb excess oil. 

Apple Cider Vinegar and Hair Volume 

Our hair can go flat, frizzy, and limp over time due to excess oil and hair product build-up. The more grease and oil you have on your hair, the more it will become weighed down and diminish the appearance of volume (5). Because apple cider vinegar is acidic and anti-inflammatory, this can help break up leftover products and cleanse out the natural oils that typically overwhelm the root of your hair. In addition, the vitamins and minerals mentioned above help exfoliate your scalp which will help rid of bacteria that can contribute to limp hair. 

Ultimately, apple cider vinegar can be used in so many different ways, and as mentioned today, it can even be used for hair care. The vitamins and minerals, acidity, anti-inflammatory, and antimicrobial effects are not only capable of cleansing and exfoliating the scalp, but promoting hair growth and volume too. With just some apple cider vinegar, water, and a few drops of tea tree oil, you can create your own DIY rinse to add to your weekly hair care routine at home.

References 

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4158629/
  2. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/14717453/
  3. https://www.insider.com/apple-cider-vinegar-for-hair-2019-3
  4. https://www.healthline.com/health/hair-breakage
  5. https://www.realsimple.com/beauty-fashion/hair/hair-care/apple-cider-vinegar-for-hair
Jori Geck
Jori Geck

Jori Geck has a Bachelor of Science in Nutrition from Central Michigan University. Jori is a full-time Nutritionist at NuVision Health Center and has a desire to share her passion of healing the body with food, and improving overall health in natural, sustainable ways.