Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar Rinses on Black Hair

An All-Natural, Affordable Treatment

There's no shortage of hair products marketed toward black hair of all textures, whether you need something to make the most of your relaxed mane or you're after super-hydrating products for your natural tresses. Treating yourself to a great new hair care line is wonderful, but it's also a good idea to see what you already have on hand. The more you learn about black hair and what's good for it, the more you may be surprised to learn that your kitchen can hold a wealth of goodies. In many cases, you'll save money and time by looking on your pantry shelf for the newest product. 

Apple cider vinegar rinses aren't for everyone, but if you want to give this inexpensive treatment a try, you'll enjoy the following benefits. Remember, don't use undiluted vinegar on your hair; this is a rinse, mixed with plenty of water. The trick is finding the perfect ratio of ACV to water; some women swear by a 1:4 of ACV: water, while others use much more water. Since this is an acid we're talking about, it's better to err on the side of more water.

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Closes Cuticles, Leading to Smoothness

Apple cider vinegar rinses can smooth your hair's cuticles.
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If you view a strand of hair under a microscope, you'll see that it's not a smooth tube. It's covered with scale-like cuticles. When your hair's cuticles lie flat, your tresses appear shinier (or at least have some sheen) and your hair feels smoother. Hair cuticles are often damaged through poor treatment and chemical processes. Raised cuticles don't reflect light as well and feel rougher.

Using ACV rinses after cleansing helps to close the cuticle shaft, making your hair smoother, shinier and easier to comb through, as well as holding moisture in more effectively.

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Balances Hair's pH Levels

pH strips for measuring pH levels in the hair
By Lilly_M [ GFDL or CC-BY-SA-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Brief science lesson: On the pH scale, which ranges from 0 to 14, human hair falls on the lower and mildly acidic end, somewhere between 4.5 and 5.5. Unfortunately, many of the hair products we use disrupt our hair's natural pH since a lot of them are alkaline and on the higher end of the scale.

Undiluted apple cider vinegar has a pH between 4 and 5, but you shouldn't use it undiluted on your hair! Diluted, it's closer to a pH of about 2.9; still acidic and much better than a pH of 7, often found in commercial products. A vinegar rinse helps to restore your hair's natural pH balance, keeping it healthy.

To avoid damage or rough hair, begin with a large ratio of water to vinegar (4:1 / water:vinegar is a good starting point), but you can always increase or decrease your amounts as needed.

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Removes Product Buildup

Apple cider vinegar rinses can remove product buildup.
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One of the reasons people who are on a "no-poo" regimen like ACV rinses is because it removes buildup that can make your hair appear dull. If you don't use shampoo, you still need to get old products and dirt out of your hair. ACV rinses, usually combined with a baking soda cleansing routine, are great for cutting through oily buildup. Once all those old products are rinsed away thanks to the vinegar, your hair should feel softer and appear more vibrant.
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Relieves Itchy Scalp

Apple cider vinegar rinses can relieve an itchy scalp.
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If you suffer from an itchy scalp and/or dandruff, vinegar rinses often provide relief from the irritation because vinegar contains antibacterial qualities. The itchiness doesn't need to be an effect of product buildup, but in some cases, it is. ACV effectively cuts through buildup on the hair and scalp, giving your scalp the fresh, clean start it needs.
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Affordability

ACV can save you money. JGI/Royalty-free Getty Images

Not everyone has unlimited funds when it comes to buying hair products. Whenever you can find something that works for you while saving you a lot of money, it's time to celebrate. Not only is regular apple cider vinegar incredibly inexpensive, it's easy to find. Just pop into your grocery store, chain or discount retailer and chances are, you'll find a bottle of ACV for around a dollar.

Of course, if you choose the organic ACV, you'll spend more, but many women tout the benefits of the non-organic version just as well.

Buy apple cider vinegar at Amazon

Do What Works for You

Remember: If you try ACV rinses and find that your hair isn't feeling or looking better, there's no reason to continue doing them. As with other natural and commercial products, some things will work better for you than others. The good thing about ACV is that you won't go broke trying it out!