Apple Cider Vinegar Shampoo: Is It Really Worth It? An ACV Rinse and Shampoo Test On Long Hair
Of course, I was fascinated with all the Facebook ads that were popping up on my iPhone screen about the apple cider vinegar (ACV) shampoo. Does it work? Or is this just a new trend? Hmm, I was in a perfect situation jump on the bandwagon and put it to the test!
I have a love/hate relationship with hair. I prefer having short hair. However, ever since my grandmother passed away from breast cancer, it’s been on my bucket list to grow my hair out long enough to donate.
My grandmother loved hair. Correction: she loved her hair! I know...such a rare quality to be in love with your own hair! Needless to say, going through chemo and losing her hair was a devastating blow to her self-esteem. Wigs itched, irritated her scalp and looked fake were her biggest complaints. And she was never given the opportunity to have a natural hair wig.
This inspired me to grow my hair long enough to give someone the opportunity to have a natural hair wig. It’s a big world, and I’m sure there is another woman in need out there just like my grandma. But growing out my short hair to long, was a bit of a challenge.
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What Type Of Hair Are We Working With?
I don’t have great hair. It’s straight, fine and not very thick at all. However, I was determined to make it work and stick it out. It took me almost 3 years to grow my hair out long enough to donate. In this time, I also discovered A LOT about my hair. The mistakes I was making washing it once (or twice!) a day, styling it, etc.
Because of my straight, thin hair, it tangled very easily and was especially a mess to comb out of the shower. I just assumed I needed to work in more conditioner on the ends. I was using a ton of products to try and get my hair clean and conditioned enough to comb through.
Acidic Levels In the Body And Hair Products Are A Factor
To begin with, the acidic levels in your body also play a factor in hair growth. If your body is too acidic, it will affect the acidic levels of your scalp and in turn, the development of your hair follicles.
If you are concerned about the acidic levels in your body, you can always visit a doctor or nutritionist. Some alkaline (more basic, less acidic) foods you could work into your diet include fruits, vegetables legumes and nuts.
I was finally able to take control of my hair after learning about acidic levels also in hair products. I washed it less with lukewarm water, used dry shampoos and only used heat on my hair 2-3 times per week (instead of 7!). This really changed my hair health.
I studied different hair care methods, such as apple cider vinegar (ACV) and here’s everything I learned in this process about the ACV trend.
What Is Vinegar And Why Is It A Natural Cleaning Agent?
I am a big fan of vinegar as a natural cleaning agent and have used it for years. Vinegar is made from an alcohol (mmm...like wine!) that has fermented (turned sour...oh no!) and forms into an acidic acid. Acidic acids take on many roles. One of which is to kill bacteria!
There are many types of vinegars out there depending on the alcohol used in the fermentation process. The most common in households is white vinegar. I deep scrub most surfaces with washcloth soaked with in hot water and add a drop of dawn dish soap. Then I use a spray bottle with 50/50 water/vinegar that doubles as a rinse and disinfectant.
Needless to say, apple cider vinegar is one of these many types of vinegars that because of its acidic characteristics, does break down grime and kill bacteria. Which is why I can see why so many people have taken to the idea of using it on their hair as a natural shampoo.
Apple Cider Vinegar: Natural Health Benefits
Apple Cider Vinegar has become popular over the years to consume for many health related benefits. Always be sure to check with your doctor before changing your diet. And never drink apple cider vinegar straight up without diluting it. It’s an acid ya’ll and can burn your esophagus! As well as too much can disrupt the natural pH levels in your stomach. However, when properly diluted and consumed, some research has contributed apple cider vinegar health benefits to:
- Helping control blood pressure and unclog arteries
- Improving insulin sensitivity for those who suffer with insulin resilient issues such as diabetes
- Contributing to weight loss by making you feel more full
- Lowering cholesterol and triglyceride levels
- Helping to absorb more nutrients from your food
- Promoting better digestion within your body
- Improving skin quality by giving you a nutrient boost
Source of natural health benefits information: 17 Things That Will Happen If You Drink Apple Cider Vinegar Daily
Difference Between Apple Cider Vinegar Rinse and Apple Cider Vinegar Shampoo
Now that we have discussed what is apple cider vinegar’s physical characteristics and health benefits, we can get to the “apple core” of it being used to clean hair.
I was originally confused setting down this path to use ACV on my hair. Is it a rinse, or a shampoo? And how do I do it? Here’s the difference and how to use each:
Use Apple Cider Vinegar, Mixed With Water As A Diluted Rinse Aid After Shampooing Hair
This is not a complex process. And involves only 2 ingredients, which the amounts or concentrations may vary depending on what type of hair you have and how long your hair is:
- Mix a few teaspoons of ACV in a cup of water
- Pour onto your scalp and down the back of your hair
- Massage in for 2-3 minutes.
- Rinse with lukewarm water.
Use Apple Cider Vinegar As A Shampoo To Wash Your Hair
There are a quite a few options for shampooing with ACV.
- The Baking Soda Wash:
- Mix 1 tablespoon of baking soda with 1 cup of water. Massage and wash your hair with it while concentrating more on the roots.
- Mix 1 tablespoon of ACV with 1 cup of water. Use as a rinse aid with your hair, concentrating more on the ends. After massaging 2-3 minutes, finish rinse with lukewarm water.
- Repeat once per week, or as needed depending on hair type.
- Store or Online Purchased Apple Cider Vinegar Shampoo:
- Pour shampoo into palm of hand, and work into wet hair concentrating at the roots and work your way down to the rest of your hair.
- Rinse with lukewarm water.
- Repeat process with a conditioner.
- Use once per week, or as needed depending on hair type.
Will Apple Cider Vinegar Help My Oily Hair?
If I went 3-4 days without washing my hair, the oil on my roots did really build up. I could control it some with the use of dry shampoo. For me, yes the apple cider vinegar shampoo does work when my hair was oily. From the other reviews I read online, for people who have more naturally oily hair, it has benefited them much more and they were able to use it more than once per week if needed.
For testing a product, it is recommended to start with a low dilution (of apple cider vinegar water) or a low amount of the shampoo at first and work your way up to a normal amount to see how it will react in your hair.
How Would Apple Cider Vinegar Impact My Dry Hair?
This is where I can offer a lot more opinion on how apple cider vinegar affected my dry hair. As I mentioned above, I have naturally straight, thin hair and it dried out the ends even more. The apple cider rinse tangled my ends horribly. If I let my hair air dry, the bottom of my hair dried insanely fast and was left frizzy. The top close to the roots did not feel dried out, but smooth and clean. Again, I only get oily hair after about 4 days of not washing my hair.
From other reviews online though, I have read similar experiences for dry, thin hair types like mine.
DIY vs. Store Bought Apple Cider Vinegar Shampoo: A Test On My Hair
Baking soda wash was awesome for extreme hair grunginess. Again, baking soda is a harsh chemical which is what makes it a great, non-toxic natural cleaning agent. However, using it excessively on your hair can cause damage to the hair and follicles over time. That’s why I stuck with once a week after I had excessively used styling products on my hair.
Overall, the apple cider rinse was too harsh on my hair. It was too acidic, left it tangled and dry even only using it once per week.
The apple cider vinegar shampoo I tested (I’ll leave out which one as to not shame the company as it may work for other people’s hair types) also did not work so well in my hair. I will commend the product though on not lathering, which means it was sulfate free.
Sulfates are known for stripping natural oils from hair, are not good for fine or chemically colored hair and can leave your hair dry as well. It was hard to get out of the operating norm it wouldn’t lather. But, we are kind of trained growing up that we need to work up a good lather with soaps to wash our hands, as well as our hair. This is not true as there are many great cleaning agents out there that are sulfate free and do not lather.
Should I Use Apple Cider Vinegar Daily On My Hair?
Based upon my experience above, I would highly discourage the use of apple cider vinegar daily for hair use. It’s acidic and could leave your hair too stripped. I would encourage basing your hair care routine on your hair type AND the level of products or activities you put your hair through. If you have fine, straight, dry hair and really don’t use any hair styling products all week, then you likely don’t need a crazy, harsh shampoo.
If you have oily hair, style daily with hair products and maybe sweat from working out a lot, you may need to clean your hair with a stronger shampoo. I used to think of just having 1 shampoo and conditioner in my shower was fine. And if it ran low, I just bought the same and replaced it. Now I’m glad I have a set of products, or natural alternatives such as baking soda, I can use depending on what I am putting my hair through that week.
Final Thoughts & Review Of Apple Cider Vinegar Treatments On My Hair And Lessons Learned:
- Learn about acidic levels in hair-care products and understand what type of impact they may have on each person's type of hair.
- Understand what type of hair you have as well as the acidic levels in your body. To reduce the acidic levels, eat more alkaline foods such as frutis, vegetables, nuts and legumes.
- The ACV Rinse was too harsh on my thin, straight dry hair.
- The ACV Shampoo was good for being sulfate free, but again I felt this also left my hair a bit too dried out.
Finally, I wanted to be one of the online followers that found a magical solution for making my hair grow out easier. Be thick, shiny and less tangled. However through this learning process, I discovered a lot about my hair! And the mistakes I was making washing it and using heat on it daily. My hair is too fine for aggressive cleaning and styling. And hair growth starts at the roots. Be a healthy version of you to have healthier hair.
Have any personal experiences or thoughts you would like to share on this topic? Please feel free to share them below!