Apple cider vinegar (ACV) rinses are one of most cost-effective and beneficial ways in existence to improve hair health. A good ACV rinse can remove product buildup, restore the pH balance of the scalp and hair, promote blood circulation in the scalp–which can stimulate new hair growth–and give the hair a soft, healthy sheen.
One of the greatest benefits to those with curly hair, however, is that an ACV rinse will shut down the hair cuticle to protect the inside of the hair shaft from damage. In a previous article, I touched on the pH scale and how acidic solutions close the cuticle, which will keep moisture inside your hair and keep frizz at bay. On average, ACV carries a pH of 3, which is far more acidic than the 4.5-5.5 pH value of hair, making it an excellent and effective rinse for this purpose.
For maximum benefit, some proponents advocate use of only raw, organic and unfiltered vinegar rather than the “sparkling clear” vinegar you usually find on the grocery store shelves. And some individuals also choose to add a base including additional ingredients such as aloe vera, agave nectar, essentials oils, etc. to their ACV rinses as well.
One caution: you need to bear in mind that ACV is an acid–over 100 times more acidic than your hair–and it needs to be respected as such. Acids can and will start to degrade your hair shaft with overuse, so you must be cautious and pay strict attention to your hair’s reaction to frequent ACV rinse use. I personally believe a monthly to bi-monthly ACV rinse provides more than sufficient benefit for almost everyone.
Depending on your hair texture and porosity, you may be able to support a greater amount/frequency of usage than others can, but you must be careful to judge yours accordingly. If you are doing frequent ACV rinses and are seeing positive results, then your dilution ratio is most likely suited to your hair type.
If you begin to notice degradation in your hair shaft–breakage, frayed ends, dryness, brittleness, or more porous hair–then you need to revisit your proportions and make adjustments accordingly.
My Recipe for ACV Rinses
– 2 cups water (I like to use cold water)
– 1/4 cup ACV (I use the Bragg ACV, it’s organic)
– a few drops of essential oils (type does not matter)
Combine these items in a cup and use this as a final rinse when you complete your deep conditioning treatment. It will help to close the cuticle and seal moisture in!