What are the benefits of using ACV (Apple cider vinegar) on the hair?
Basically, vinegar removes build-up and residue from the hair shaft and closes the cuticles. Residue caused by products etc, coats the hair causing it to look dull so washing your hair with vinegar will rinse out the old styling product/buildup and let your hair breath resulting in more shine,
It does this by neutralizing the pH of the scalp and restoring the natural balance.
4.5 – 5.5 is the optimum pH* for hair, slightly acidic. At this pH, our hair is at it’s strongest. This ensures the cuticles are closed which means smoother hair with fewer tangles. It’s important to keep our hair at the correct pH as using products with a pH lower than 3 (alkaline) will cause corrosion of the hair & scalp causing damage. Equally, if the pH of our hair is above 5.5 the cuticles will begin to lift or open,exposing the hairs cortex. This in turn allows more moisture into our hair but will also allow more moisture out. Interestingly, relaxers have a pH range of between 9-14. This is why a relaxer/perm is followed by a neutralizer. Too acidic or to alkaline can damage our hair beyond repair, therefore it is essential we strive to use products within the correct pH range for optimum hair health.
So How do you use ACV?
A vinegar rinse is used after cleansing your scalp and hair thoroughly. It can be used as the last rinse after conditioning. Leaving the vinegar rinse on your hair helps prevent tangles, restores natural pH and helps prevent an itchy scalp. Additionally, vinegar has a tonic action that promotes blood circulation in the small capillaries that irrigate the scalp. The vinegar smell dissipates as the hair dries so don’t worry about the smell of vinegar lingering.
Most suggest using 1tbsp of vinegar to 2 cups of water. Since everyone’s hair is different you should use your own judgment on how much vinegar to use. Personally I find 2tbsp of vinegar to 2 cups of water is ideal for my hair. This amount leaves my hair baby soft with major shine. I use the rinse every time I wash my hair which is approximately every 1 to 1 1/2 weeks.
I make a herbal infusion using ACV, hibiscus, rose petals, rose buds and rose hips. This highlights my henna reds nicely. I keep this mixture in the fridge and measure out 2tbsp when i’m ready to use it.
All you need to do is pour the mixture over your hair, and use a bowl to catch the remnants so you can repeat a few times. I then leave mixture on my hair until its almost dry then proceed to style as usual.
Although plain white vinegar will work just fine, apple cider vinegar is what the experts seem to recommend but avoid using synthetic vinegar as that can dry the scalp and make hair brittle.
*pH stands for ‘potential of hydrogen’ or ‘hydrogen strength’ and refers to the acidity or alkalinity of an aqueous (water based) solution relative to the concentration of hydrogen ions present. The level of pH is measured on a logarithmic scale of 0 – 14 with 0 being the most acidic and 14 being the most alkaline. In the middle we have pH 7 which is considered neutral as it has an equal balance of acidity and alkalinity. pH 0 – 6.9 are acidic in nature and pH 7.1 – 14 are alkaline (base or caustic).
- The Pantry Staple That Helps Hair Shine (self.com)