Apple Cider Vinegar Rinse for Natural Hair

Apple Cider Vinegar  Rinse is a great treatment for natural hair.  Apple Cider Vinegar  (ACV) has many benefits for in and outside the body.  Some of those benefits for hair are: balancing hair and scalp pH, removing product buildup, treating dandruff and hair loss.

Why an Apple Cider Vinegar Rinse works for hair.

Hair is on the mildly acidic side of the pH scale and has an ideal pH of 4.5 to 5.5, which is close to that of an apple cider vinegar rinse (pH 2.9).

Many products are strongly alkaline or have a pH of 8 or more. Rinsing with apple cider vinegar will help balance the pH of your hair and remove the buildup that can result from the use of these styling products and inexpensive shampoos. Rinsing closes the hair cuticle which cover and protect the surface of each hair shaft. Closed hair cuticles results in shinier, smoother and easier to manage hair.

HairCuticleARough hair shaft with open cuticles compared to smooth hair shaft with closed cuticles.

Don’t worry about the slight vinegar smell you will notice after rinsing. It will disappear completely as your hair dries.

How Do You Use It?
1 Part  Apple Cider Vinegar into 3 Part warm filtered tap water. Apply the vinegar rinse after shampooing or a thorough cowash and then rinse it all out, or for extra conditioning, you can leave the rinse on your hair for a minute or two. This natural hair care product can be used once a week.

Note: I recommend using organic ACV.Courtesy of Curl Whisperer

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.

Have you tried a ACV Rinse?

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  1. I used a hair treatment that sucked out all the moisture of my hair. It left my hair sooooo dry and hard that it felt like i had a broom in my head. Think of the hair after a color treatment. It was worst and no treatment i did solved it. I was ready to concede defeat and cut my hair when i discovered ACV. It saved my hair and my sanity! I believe the treatment left my hair cuticles so open that nothing i did afterwards was held inside to repair the damage. ACV is the hole grail for me! I used it once every two months when I color my grown hair roots

  2. I have color treated locs. Is ACV safe to use?

  3. Lee Anna McGuire says:

    You are so beautiful!! I just discovered your website. I am racially mixed and I never know what to do with my thank you so much for this site and the hope you have given me! ~Lee

  4. Linda Miller says:

    Can you use the vinegar rinse on color treated hair? I have itchy scalp during the winter months and it dirives me crazy. I tried olive oil, but it is hard to wash out of my fine, thin hair. Help!!!

    • Have you tried tea tree oil?

      • Linda Miller says:

        I have tried tea tree oil which is added to a shampoo. Are you suggesting straight tea tree oil and if so where would I buy it? I used goats milk bar soap last week and it gives a little relief. I sometimes omit blow drying and styling products and just let my hair in it’s natural state to give it a break. In a few hours after washing, I’m back to scratching. I am willing to try whatever you can suggest. Thanks so much for your help!

      • Most health food stores have tea tree oil. I researched the benefits on the internet.

  5. Kamisha Cook says:

    I used the rinse, while my hair still has conditioner in it. It makes detangling process for my 4c hair much easier. My hair is smoother, softer, and rinses out easily. Do you have any advice on what styles to wear wear when you have breakage in the middle (very short) of your head? Wash n go is a no no for me; twists out just get more tangled, and styling it in 2 strands you can still see the difference. I am at my wicks end.

  6. LaShanda Parker says:

    What if I workout Monday-Friday? Can if be used more? My head gets really sweaty and the ACV rinse helps get rid of the salty sweat. I am protective styling with either cornrows or 2 strand twist with my own hair. I do a mini wash Wednesday and Sunday using the ACV one Wednesday. Can I use it Sunday as well? I keep the styles in for at least 2 weeks.

    • Yes, you can use it twice a week. The main thing is to make sure that its not too strong. You don’t want your hair to feel hard or your scalp to have a burning sensation. So diluted ACV and rinse thoroughly to avoid the stuff previously mentioned.

  7. says:

    Can you explain how to properly rinse the ACV out if you have Marley braids?

  8. I read that ACV is good for getting rid of dandruff. I’ve been using it almost weekly for about 2 months and I’ve seen no difference. I leave it in for about 30 minutes. I was doing a 1 to 1 ratio and upped to 2 ACV to 1 water last week but still have dandruff. Am I doing something wrong? Thanks!

  9. Hello,
    I’ve read that some people actually leave in the ACV rinse on the hair after shampooing as opposed to rinsing it out – some say they find great benefits using it as a leave-in treatment…
    What do you think about those using it that way? …Since it’s an acidic product as you mentioned above, wouldn’t that be “too harsh” to leave on hair and will damage the hair shaft… or do you think it’s still okay to use it both ways – as a rinse-out and/or as a leave-in?


    • It really depends on how acidity the rinse is. Meaning it would have to be highly diluted with water. I used it as a leave-in and clarifying treatment when I wore Marley Twist and it irritated my scalp when I didn’t rinse it out. I recommend rinsing it out for that very reason. The treatment isn’t meant to be a leave-in. Leave-in conditioners should be pH balanced.

  10. Can it be used on relaxed hair? (I know this is a natural hair site but I get a lot of tips here)

    • Hi Laurie,

      Yes! I’m glad you’re finding great tips here! Natural Hair Rules is healthy hair care tips for all hair types and textures. Thanks for reading.

  11. What should the Ph level be for the ACV rinse?

  12. hi,advice on dandruff treatment

  13. I remember as a lil girl my great grandma would rinse my hair with regular white vinegar. Never knew why but I remember my hair being squeaky clean after ward. Now that I’ve gone natural I may have to try it again.

    • Vinegar is great for conditioning and clarifying hair. Please make sure to use Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV), though. ACV is less process and has more organic nutrient perfect for the hair.

  14. I tried it on my granddaughters hair. It decreased the dandruff and she was not constantly digging in her head for weeks because it was itching.

  15. Latosha says:

    just did a acv rinse today. Whenever my hair is feeling dry or just “blah” it brings it back to life.

  16. My hair loves a good ACV rinse. Its easier to manage and feels so good

  17. Help my locs at the root wont loc anymore i died my hair and now my hair is straight an thin not locking…..HELP

  18. Do you apply straight acv or do you add water and acv together, then apply it to the hair?

  19. Shant'e Hawkins says:

    I have used it for years. It revives my hair so well….

  20. Absolutely LOVE using ACV for removing product build up on my hair :)

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