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Apple Cider Vinegar Shampoo Benefits Explained: Apple Cider Vinegar For Hair

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Taking care of your hair can be a hassle, no matter what type of hair or scalp you possess. It’s enough to take a look at the hair product aisle (online and offline) to get the picture: there are many products out there, all with their unique qualities and attributes and magnificent slogans… It’s honestly overwhelming to know where to start or what to try. After all, you don’t want to waste your time and money on something that’s going to disappoint.

One ingredient which stands out, in my opinion, is apple cider vinegar (ACV). There are those who use it as a natural hair tonic, so to speak. These people make regular use of it in their hair care routine. But why apple cider vinegar? What is it, and what are the benefits of apple cider vinegar shampoo?

What Is Apple Cider Vinegar?

Apples and apple cider vinegar in a jar.

Apple cider vinegar is used in many cosmetics products.

What is apple cider vinegar? Essentially, the production of ACV is a natural occurrence. It is the byproduct of ordinary, run-of-the-mill apple juice. The sugar in the fruit is converted into alcohol by adding yeast to the juice. The yeast turns the alcohol into acetic acid through the process of fermentation. That is how we get the apple cider vinegar we know and love. It’s a product of strong fragrance, powerful taste, and a multitude of benefits inside and outside of the body.

Apple cider vinegar is a staple of many cosmetics and wellness products. It is sold in a variety of shapes, forms, and consistencies. It’s also added to food products and beverages of all kinds. Different recipes call for the use of ACV, since it’s first and foremost the product of the apple tree, and as such, it holds a special place. “An apple a day,” and all that.

The effect of apple cider vinegar on the skin, scalp, hair, and body has been long discussed, although it still remains a folk remedy by today’s standards. There is no significant clinical evidence to support most of the claims which the proponents of apple cider vinegar make. In some cases, I happen to trust tradition and anecdotal evidence more than the clinical studies.

This is one of those times. I’m of the opinion that certain businesses and individuals are not interested in the proliferation of apple cider vinegar products. Also, after using apple cider vinegar in my hair (and around the home) for some years now, I feel I can attest to its vast usefulness.

Apple Cider Vinegar Hair Benefits Explained

Woman with hair blowing in face.

An apple cider vinegar rinse can really help your scalp.

Let me be clear: if you mistreat your hair, mistreat yourself (lifestyle, diet), overuse or misuse hair care products, or if you happen to spend significant amounts of time in a hair-harmful environment – there is a good chance that your hair is going to reflect all of that. There is no single magic ingredient that will get your hair to look like a shampoo commercial. At least, not after it has been abused by dyes, harsh detergents, or too much exposure to the elements.

That said, there are plenty of apple cider vinegar hair benefits. Undergoing an ACV rinse in your shower once a week (or once every several weeks, as needed) can help your scalp regain balance, and this can make all the difference. The scalp houses the follicles (roots), and each follicle nourishes its individual hair shaft. The most notable benefits for your scalp and hair are:

  • Apple cider vinegar helps to re-establish proper pH levels and to balance the production of sebum, the body’s natural oil.
  • Due to its acidity, apple cider vinegar can help remove residue and grime from the surface of your scalp, thereby preventing buildup.
  • Apple cider vinegar helps to condition your hair, keeping it free of knots and adding vitality and shine to your locks.
  • Apple cider vinegar helps to combat and prevent dandruff, as well as hair loss which is the result of a lack of nourishment. It does this by stimulating the scalp and increasing the flow of blood to the hair follicles.

The fact that you are dealing with an acid needs to be addressed. This is not a substance that you can combine with just anything. Also, leaving apple cider vinegar in your hair for long periods of time is not always ideal, since that may cause more harm than good.

Usually, a shampoo or conditioner made with apple cider vinegar only calls for 2 to 5 minutes before rinsing it out. But, under certain conditions, one is able to leave the apple cider vinegar in their hair and reap the rewards.

Can You Leave Apple Cider Vinegar In Your Hair?

If you want to you can leave apple cider vinegar in your hair, but do so properly. It needs to be diluted just right, and even then it does not suit all hair types to leave such an acidic product in their hair for hours. This remains true even though it is as natural an ingredient as you could want. It is all on you, the end-user, to experiment and see whether or not your scalp and hair enjoy it and make good use of it. It may act differently for you.

Plenty of people use apple cider vinegar as a final rinse. This helps to get rid of tangles and to smooth and seal the cuticle layer of the hair shaft. Others heavily dilute it and use it as an overnight leave-in product. This allows moisture to be better retained by the hair, and it can help a great deal with the look and management of your mane.

In that regard, both the root and the shaft can get a lot out of an apple cider vinegar leave-in product. But again, you’ll have to check out which kind of apple cider vinegar usage is right for you. I stress this because we all have different needs. And make no mistake, ACV can also be harmful when misused, like many other natural substances.

Apple Cider Vinegar Shampoo Benefits Explained

The number one apple cider shampoo benefit, as I see it, is the conditioning effect that an ACV shampoo has on the hair. It doesn’t just detangle, it also provides a shine and luster which stays with you. And speaking of things that stay with you…

Many people avoid apple cider vinegar because of the scent. Let me clear this up here and now: under normal circumstances, the admittedly strong and overpowering scent of ACV does indeed go away. It does not remain for long, not even after a leave-in has been used. Like I said before, it must be diluted properly.

This contributes to the scent wearing off more rapidly. If the scent is something that concerns you, feel free to add essential oils to provide the shampoo with a different scent. You can choose to leave your hair smelling more like mint, lavender, or oranges (to name a few). Don’t add too much, though. Essential oils are famously potent.

Another benefit of this type of shampoo is that it usually isn’t a daily-use shampoo. You don’t need to use it every day, which means that you will be using less of it overall. This saves some money, time in the shower, and your hair from over-exposure to any less-desirable ingredients which the shampoo may have.

Finally, apple cider vinegar shampoo can help to slow, negate, or reverse hair loss as well. Nothing is guaranteed, of course. But as a known benefit of apple cider vinegar, it can apply doubly in the shampoo. People use apple cider vinegar for hair loss; why not apple cider vinegar shampoo?

Don’t miss out on our amazing Apple Cider Vinegar Shampoo here at Maple Holistics!

Can I Mix Apple Cider Vinegar With My Shampoo?

Woman washing her hair.

It’s safe to add apple cider vinegar to your regular shampoo.

Yes, you can mix apple cider vinegar with your shampoo. Ordinarily, you can blend it with your choice of shampoo. You’ll want to experiment, but as a starting point, you can mix equal parts shampoo with apple cider vinegar and see how you fare. It is best to err on the side of caution, so feel free to add less at first.

Use the blend twice a week (a few days apart, ideally), and notice how your hair and scalp respond. Following up is crucial since you need to know whether you should change the formula or not, or maybe not use as much.

Adding apple cider vinegar to your shampoo means that you will not need to use a conditioner. The shampoo/ACV blend acts as a 2-in-1 product. I have never been a big fan of 2-in-1 or 3-in-1 types of products. I always believed that every product has its place, and that combining the two (or more) actions make those actions less effective, overall. When it comes to an apple cider vinegar blend, you can skip the conditioner – at least for a week or two – and see how your hair does in its absence.

Apple Cider Vinegar Shampoo DIY Recipe

Woman dropping oil from bottle into hand.

You can make apple cider vinegar shampoo from the comfort of your own home.

In order to restore balance and maintain it long-term, try this apple cider vinegar shampoo DIY recipe. Remember that this is a basis, a foundation. You may want to play around with the ingredients and the quantities as you witness your results.

You’ll need:

  • 17 oz of coconut milk
  • 2 tablespoons of unheated (raw) honey
  • 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar
  • Tablespoon of rosemary essential oil
  • Teaspoon of jojoba oil
  • Teaspoon of castor oil

Mix the ingredients together, and voila! You’ve created your very own DIY apple cider vinegar shampoo. This is a shampoo meant to provide pH balance, prevent dandruff and buildup, and basically cleanse the scalp. If you’re suffering from an oily or flaky situation, this could be useful. This shampoo will most likely be runnier than those you are used to, so store and use it accordingly.

Apple cider vinegar shampoos can be produced in-house and made to the specifications of the user. This can end up being cheaper (depending on your formula), which is almost always a good thing. An inexpensive and homemade shampoo does not necessarily reflect poor quality. It can be cheap and nonetheless healthy and effective.

Keep in mind that if you are suffering from long-term issues with your scalp and hair, a shampoo – natural though it may be – may not prove to be the best solution. Get yourself to a physician and see what you are dealing with.

Apple Cider Vinegar Hair Rinse

Side view of woman with short hair laughing.

Woman with shiny, frizz-free hair.

An apple cider vinegar hair rinse can help to detangle and defrizz hair. It can also boost hair’s body and shine while cleansing the hair and scalp and decreasing dandruff.

So now that you know how great apple cider vinegar is for your hair, you’re probably wondering how to best use it. In order to make an apple cider vinegar hair rinse, simply combine a few tablespoons of ACV with water. After you shampoo and condition your hair, pour the ACV/water combo over your hair and make sure it reaches your scalp. Leave it in for a few minutes and then rinse out the mixture. Do this a couple of times per week for the best effect.

In the event that the smell of the rinse is too strong for you, you can add some essential oils for a more pleasant smell. But don’t worry, the scent should dissipate soon after you rinse everything out.

It’s safe to use up to 5 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar in the rinse. Yet if you start noticing any negative side effects, you can try lowering the amount you put in the mixture, reducing the frequency of use, or even stop using it altogether.

Apple Cider Vinegar For Dandruff

As we’ve mentioned, apple cider vinegar is a great treatment option if you’re trying to get rid of your dandruff woes. It’s believed that the acidity of the vinegar balances the pH of your skin in order to minimize the growth of fungus, which helps eliminate dandruff. ACV also helps clean your hair and scalp by ridding them of product buildup, a common cause of dandruff. Additionally, the acetic acid in ACV can help lower the pH level of your hair, preventing the damaging of cuticles and hair breakage.

However, not enough studies have been done in order to conclusively say whether or not apple cider vinegar can help with dandruff. Yet there are some promising studies, which is why I think it’s worth a try.

In addition to using apple cider vinegar for dandruff, research indicates that ACV can help with lice, scalp acne, alopecia areata, baldness, hair loss, and dead ends.


The properties of apple cider vinegar – and their benefits for hair, scalp, and skin – have been known for generations. Clinical studies or not, there are people who swear by this ingredient. They’ve had the pleasure of experiencing true “apple power”, putting the fruit to work for them, without consuming it orally!

Taking care of your hair doesn’t have to be such a hassle. Sometimes, less is more. Sometimes, all you need is the right kind of product to take the place of several others. The value you can receive from a solid weekly or bi-weekly apple cider vinegar rinse has the potential to counter a lot of the harm which your hair may experience.

Again, this is not a magic ingredient. But alongside all the hair care products and their marketing ploys, it is good to know that there is a kind of shampoo out there which is relatively down-to-earth and highly useful. Only you have your hair, and only you can know what does it good. And you never know until you try.