Apple Cider Vinegar for Hair – What Can It Do and What to Watch Out For

Apple cider vinegar is enjoying the limelight. Used for everything from weight management and health to beauty and skin care, there seems to be nothing it can’t do.

But what about using it for hair? Using new products on hair is a tricky thing. And it’s a person’s crowning glory. So, you need to be sure of its effects before you use it.

Keep reading to find out everything you need to know about apple cider vinegar. Find out how to use it. And the precautions that you may need to take before you do.

What Is It?

Apple cider vinegar (ACV) is made from fermented apples. Used as a condiment and popular health food supplement, it has other topical uses, too. ACV is often used in home remedies, though there isn’t enough scientific evidence to support claims of it being a cure-all for a variety of health problems.

There are benefits and science to back up using ACV in hair care, though.

Apple Cider Vinegar for Hair – What Can It Do?

Apple cider vinegar has different hair care applications. Its natural properties may also benefit hair if used in the right way. Some of those benefits include:


Have you used ACV as a home disinfectant? It’s popular because it’s a non-toxic alternative to household cleaners. But when used on the hair, it can help control bacteria and fungi that lead to itchiness and minor infections.

Acidity and pH

In addition, apple cider vinegar is acidic. How can this help? Healthy human hair with the right amount of oil and sebum is acidic, which keeps the cuticles healthy and safe from pollutants. But unhealthy hair tends to be alkaline and relatively high on the pH scale, the result of which may be brittle, dull, or frizzy hair.

Using an acidic substance like ACV, however, may help counteract high pH levels. So ACV can bring hair into balance and improve its health.

How to Use It

Create a simple ACV rinse by mixing a couple of tablespoons of it with water. First, shampoo and condition your hair as usual. After rinsing off the conditioner, it’s time to use the ACV rinse.

Carefully pour the mixture over your hair. Try to pour it evenly through the hair and avoid the eyes. Work the mixture into the scalp and let it sit for a few minutes. Lastly, rinse out with cool water.

Apple cider vinegar has a very strong smell. If you find that the smell is too strong for you, you may also want to add a few drops of essential oil into the ACV rinse.

The exact amount of apple cider vinegar depends on your needs. Generally, if you have dry hair, use a little less ACV. However, if you have scalp problems or oily hair, use a little more apple cider vinegar.

Wondering where to start? Start with a smaller amount of ACV and work your way up if you don’t see the results you’re looking for. For example, try 2 tablespoons mixed with water at first. But if you don’t see the results after a few rinses, you can work your way up to 4 tablespoons.

Unfortunately, the frequency also depends on the person and it’s not an exact science. So, you can try it once a week and adjust as needed.

Along with helping scalp and hair issues, using an ACV rinse may also help remove product build-up. Some experts suggest using a light conditioner after the ACV rinse and not before. However, that may not be necessary because the apple cider vinegar leaves behind a shiny finish.


Using ACV as a rinse isn’t a miracle cure. It’s supposed to restore balance to your hair. However, everyone’s hair is different. And it’s possible to overdo it.

If you notice your scalp or hair issues getting worse, stop using apple cider vinegar rinses. You can also try lowering the frequency or the concentration of your rinses.

Furthermore, apple cider vinegar is an acid. So it’s inherently caustic and may burn or irritate the skin. Remember to dilute ACV before putting it near your skin. If, however, you develop skin irritation, it usually clears up after a few days.

In addition, use caution if you have dark hair. The acidic ACV may bring out brassy tones in dark hair. If you do have dark, you may want to start out slowly and check your hair color for changes.

Is There Research to Support ACV for Hair?

Unfortunately, there isn’t any direct research that supports using apple cider vinegar for hair. What can it do for your hair? There are studies that support some of the claims.

For example, as an acid, ACV lowers pH levels. A study reveals that the high alkalinity of shampoos can lead to hair breakage, friction, and dryness. And acidic substances like apple cider vinegar can be used to counteract high alkaline levels and balance pH levels.

Additionally, ACV research data supports its antimicrobial powers. So theoretically, it may help keep fungus and bacterial scalp problems at bay. However, there’s no definitive research or science that supports it.

Furthermore, there’s also no research that says that ACV contains vitamins. It’s a supposition because it’s derived from apples, but not enough to have health benefits. It does contain minerals like potassium and calcium. However, these minerals don’t necessarily support hair care claims.

Final Thought

Should you use apple cider vinegar for hair? What can it do for you? Despite the lack of research data to support some claims, AVC is still a good rinse option for hair care.

It may not be a miracle cure, but if used with caution, it may be an inexpensive solution to dry and brittle hair. As a natural remedy, it’s also a good option for scalp itchiness.

However, you may want to exercise caution when using it on dark hair. Like all acids, it may lighten your hair or bring out unwanted brassy tones. To be on the safe side, you may want to use a little at a time and carefully monitor your hair color before increasing the frequency.