Using apple cider vinegar for curly hair is not a new concept but does it really provide all of the benefits claimed?
Can apple cider vinegar make a difference to curly hair health and growth? Are apple cider vinegar rinses and shampoos worth all the hype?
I explore these popular hair care treatment and more in this article plus provide answers to all the questions people usually have about using apple cider vinegar for curly hair.
What is Apple Cider Vinegar?
Apple cider vinegar is a type of vinegar derived from fermented apple juice.
Apples are crushed and the juice extracted. Bacteria and yeast are then added to the apple juice to commence the fermentation process for turning the sugars into alcohol.
Afterward, in a second fermentation process, the alcohol is converted into vinegar.
Apple cider vinegar has many applications in culinary preparations such as salad dressings, marinades, chutney, sauces, etc.
There are also certain health claims made about apple cider vinegar. There is no evidence to support these claims.
However, traditionally, the vinegars were used to treat certain conditions such as ulcers and wounds as far back as 420 BC by Hippocrates.
Apple cider vinegar is aka cider vinegar, malus sylvestris, vinagre de manzana, vinagre de didra de manzana, and vinaigre de cidre.
Does Apple Cider Vinegar Help Curly Hair?
Apple cider vinegar is one of the natural products that curly ladies use as an alternative to shampoo.
It’s supposed to help lower the hair and scalp’s pH, promote shine, help cuticles lay flat, and may control the incidence of dandruff.
There are many hair care products as well that contain apple cider vinegar and I’ve outlined a few of them below.
My experience with apple cider vinegar and videos shared by various YouTubers suggest apple cider vinegar is indeed beneficial to curly hair.
What Are the Benefits of Using Vinegar on Hair?
There are many claims about using vinegar on hair. While some of them are a bit outrageous, there are 3 definite major benefits of using apple cider vinegar on the hair:-
1. Regulates Scalp pH
When the pH level of your hair and scalp is thrown off, it can lead to a dry and itchy scalp as well as dry hair.
Using an apple cider vinegar rinse can help regulate your hair and scalp’s pH and eliminate the dryness and itchiness. It also prevents issues like dandruff and flakiness.
2. Promote Softness and Shine
The nutrients in apple cider vinegar helps promote softness and shine on curly hair. It can revitalize the appearance of dry and dull curls.
These nutrients can also help control frizz and help the cuticles lay flat. This is a great benefit for high porosity hair.
3. Clarify Hair and Scalp Without Stripping Oils
Apple cider vinegar can help cleanse the hair with our stripping natural oils if you’re on a no-poo challenge or practicing the Curly Girl Method.
It also gently removes any product build-up on your hair and scalp.
There may be additional benefits but this could just be something else you’re doing right in your regimen.
Note – do not use apple cider vinegar undiluted. It will burn your scalp and cause skin irritation. Always dilute it liberally with plain water or distilled water.
How To Use Apple Cider Vinegar For Curly Hair
The most popular way to use apple cider vinegar for curly hair is as a rinse. It may also be used as shampoo after cleansing with Castile soap.
Apple Cider Vinegar Hair Rinse
You will need plain or distilled water, apple cider vinegar, aloe vera juice, and an essential oil like lavender essential oil or ylang ylang essential oil (exact measurements in how to card below).
Step 1 – Mix Ingredients
Open a spray bottle and measure in the distilled water, apple cider vinegar, and essential oil. Close and shake well.
Step 2 – Apply To Hair
Shampoo and deep condition your hair in sections. Afterward, spray the apple cider vinegar onto your hair and scalp generously.
Massage in with your fingertips. Do this in sections and pin up each section as you finish. Leave in for 5 minutes.
Step 3 – Rinse Out
Rinse out the apple cider vinegar rinse thoroughly with lukewarm water then proceed with the rest of your regimen.
You can also use this recipe in place of shampoo (use a scalp massage brush too) then deep condition your hair afterward.
Do not overuse this recipe. If you do your full regimen every weekend, then it’s fine to use it every weekend or every other week.
Using it every day can cause skin irritation even if you dilute it. As always, pay attention to how your hair and scalp react to new treatments.
Apple Cider Vinegar Rinse for Locs
You can use the recipe above for locs as well. Just spray generously into your locs and let sit for 5 minutes.
Then rinse out thoroughly with lukewarm water. This should be a nice detoxifying process for your locs.
You may also use the apple cider vinegar shampoo recipe shared in 11 Shampoo Alternatives for your locs.
Recommended Hair Care Resources
What Are The Side Effects of Apple Cider Vinegar on Hair?
Apple cider vinegar is well tolerated and shouldn’t cause any side effects when used as directed.
Overuse can lead to skin irritation and it may irritate sensitive skin so start with very mild formulations before you increase the amount of ACV in your rinses.
And never use apple cider vinegar on your hair or skin undiluted.
Which Apple Cider Vinegar Is Good For Hair?
There are two brands of apple cider vinegar I’ve used and I found they both performed satisfactorily. They are:-
You can also find apple cider vinegar in the food section of any grocery store.
Apple Cider Vinegar for Curly Hair FAQs
Should I Use Apple Cider Vinegar Before Or After Shampooing?
It depends on what you’re trying to achieve but you can use it either before or after shampooing as you can see from the hair rinse recipe shared above.
I prefer to use it as a final rinse after shampooing and deep conditioning my hair.
Is It True That Apple Cider Vinegar Lightens The Hair?
Apple cider vinegar doesn’t lighten hair from my experience. I haven’t noticed any such effects on my hair.
It is possible it may have a lightening effect on different colored hair like brown, blonde and red hair though.
Can Drinking Apple Cider Vinegar Help With Hair Loss?
This is a myth and not possible. Drinking apple cider vinegar cannot help with hair loss. There’s no connection between the two.
You can however combine ACV rinses with other hair care practices to optimize your hair growth.
Is Apple Cider Vinegar Bad For Curly Hair?
On the contrary, apple cider vinegar is great for curly hair, especially high porosity hair.
Apple cider vinegar helps promote softness and shine as it balances scalp pH.
Apple Cider Vinegar Hair Products
Below are some popular apple cider vinegar hair products. I’ve never tried them but there are loads of good reviews.
DpHUE Apple Cider Vinegar Hair Rinse is especially popular!
The Aveeno Apple Cider Vinegar Blend line includes a shampoo and conditioner.
The line is infused with oatmeal extract and apple cider vinegar to soothe the scalp and add shine and volume to dry and dull hair.
Each bottle retails for under $10. LEARN MORE HERE.
DpHUE Apple Cider Vinegar Hair Rinse removes impurities and cleanses in-between using shampoos.
The formula is also infused with argan oil, lavender extract, and aloe vera for added softness and shine. Additionally, it’s a safe rinse for color-treated hair as well.
dpHUE states this ACV rinse is great for braids and extensions. The apple cider vinegar line also includes a hair mask, scalp scrub, shampoo, conditioner, and leave-in therapy.
You can view the complete ACV line HERE. The line retails as from $30.
Pura D’or Apple Cider Vinegar Thin2Thick is infused with the goodness of biotin, keratin, caffeine, castor oil, and aloe in addition to ACV.
The manufacturer states the product can promote thickness but that is debatable. Nevertheless, it does contain some great ingredients for optimizing hair health.
The shampoo and conditioner set retails for $29.99. LEARN MORE HERE.
Girl and Hair Apple Cider Vinegar Hair Rinse acts like shampoo and is infused with vitamin E, castor oil, and rice water to strengthen damaged hair.
It also includes tea tree essential oil for a refreshing scalp tingle. The rinse retails for $11.99. LEARN MORE HERE.
The key ingredients in R+Co Acid Wash Apple Cider Vinegar Cleansing Rinse include apple fruit extract, aloe vera juice, and tamanu oil.
It cleanses, conditions, and gently removes product build-up. The rinse retails for $30. LEARN MORE HERE.
Final Word on Apple Cider Vinegar for Curly Hair
To summarize, apple cider vinegar will not work for everybody but it certainly can’t hurt your hair.
If you try it and your hair doesn’t like it, simply clarify your hair and use something else.
The experiment won’t damage your hair if the apple cider vinegar is used correctly.
Share your experience with apple cider vinegar in the comments section.
Pin for Later – How To Use Apple Cider Vinegar for Curly Hair
Abi is a curly hair expert, researcher, product tester, and author of the highly-rated Healthy Hair Care Series. She is also the founder of Ade Ori Hair Care, Healthy Natural Hair Products, and Natural Oils for Hair & Beauty. HNHP has strict editorial standards and ensures all the information on Healthy Natural Hair Products is the best for natural hair care. Learn more about our Editorial Policies
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