Skip to main content

How to Use Apple Cider Vinegar to Balance Your Hair’s pH Level

• Jan 9, 2009


so, jenteel(our resident hair expert) has compiled a mini-series on the virtues of apple cider vinegar(ACV). the information is taken from this site. this is in keeping with my hope that we can get down to the nitty gritty of which products/ingredients are good for natural hair and which are not. thanks j!

Not only is apple cider vinegar an amazing tonic for the body, but it also is wonderful for the hair! I have incorporated apple cider vinegar (ACV) into my hair regimen yielding shiny, soft, moisturized hair! It is important to purchase raw/organic unpasteurized apple cider vinegar with the “mother” still intact. The “mother of vinegar” is a natural gelatinous substance formed during the last fermentation step. You will know it when you see those little “cobweb-like” things floating around. ACV is highly acidic, so test it out diluted the first time around to see if it dries out your hair; especially if you use chemicals like hair dye or relaxers. You may want to use conditioner afterwards or only use it once a month for clarifying purposes. Your options include either doing a prewash treatment with ACV, washing the hair with the ACV alone or doing an ACV rinse after washing. Enjoy your healthy hair!

Vinegar Hair Rinse

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). On the other hand, many of the hair care products we use, such as soap-based shampoos, bleaches, hair colors, and permanents are strongly alkaline. 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 will also close the numerous cuticle scales which cover and protect the surface of each hair shaft. This imparts a smoother surface which reflects more light and as a result leaves your hair shinier, smoother and easier to manage.

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

Make your own healthy after-shampoo hair rinse by mixing 1/3 of a cup (75 ml) of ACV into a quart (1 liter) of water. You can then store this mixture in a plastic bottle and keep it in the shower for ready use.

If you would like to prepare a smaller batch of this vinegar hair rinse recipe to experiment with, try mixing 1 tablespoon (15 ml) of apple cider vinegar into 1 cup (250 ml) of warm filtered tap water.

Apply the vinegar rinse after shampooing and then rinse it all out, or for extra conditioning, you can leave the rinse on your hair. This natural hair care product can be used once or twice a week or more often as needed.”


Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
13 years ago

hi all!
acv is apart of my cleansing routine. i consider it my final rinse, as i dip my freshly washed twist in it and pour the remainder over my hair and on my scalp. i don’t rinse it out. the smell dissipates as my hair dries. 

i use 1 capful of acv to 2 cups of water. 

to me, it makes my hair feel stronger and it does inpart shine on my strands.



13 years ago


It’s a must to rinse with ACV if I wash with shampoo; sometimes I don’t wash with shampoo, rather I use conditioner, but I still use the ACV rinse. Also, I never rinse it out…once it’s applied, I leave it in.

Seriously, it makes your hair very shiny, and it makes my curls softer and more defined.

Black girl with long hair
Black girl with long hair
13 years ago

ok, testimony: i used ACV for the first time this month. i was SO tempted to use a sulfate-ridden, sudsy shampoo (old habits die hard!), but i tried the ACV, even though my boyfriend’s mother thought i was, i diluted it and worked it into my hair. and i was like, ‘is this gonna work?! how will it clean my hair? i don’t understand.“i kinda poured it onto my hair and scalp. and did a downward-rubbing-motion thingy. ANYway, a few moments later, my hair and scalp felt clean. and on top of that, it felt soft! i didn’t end… Read more »

13 years ago

shampoos are overrated
there are so many natural ways to cleanse the hair
be it clays, acv, baking soda or co-wash

i think for us highly textured ladies
it makes the world of difference
when your hair is not stripped
it is easier to style and retain moisture
happy cleansing ladies 🙂

13 years ago

This article has been really helpful, the cobweb appearance I used to think that meant it was going bad. I also drink it something about it is very refreshing and it feels good on my scalp especially if I’m doing a protective style.

Adria Richards
Adria Richards
13 years ago

I have a bottle with full strength vineger so after I shampoo and condition, I pour about 2 tablespoons full strenght onto my scalp and massage it in. Vinegar is an amazing and natural hair care treatment. I began using it for my itchy scalp and dandruff.  Here are some photosI took today of my hair for this post. I’ve been wearing it naturally for 4 years now and it’s the best decision I ever made. Apple Cider Vinegar is better than regular vinegar because it’s less processed. My hair is soft and shiny after use. I will upload photos of my processed,… Read more »

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x

Shopping Cart