What Does Apple Cider Vinegar Do For Your Hair?

What does apple cider vinegar do, you ask? More like what doesn't it do, am I right?! Okay, now that we've switched off the cheesy-comedian-voice ... If it's not in your personal practice to pay close attention to the world of plant medicine, you nevertheless may have noticed that apple cider vinegar (ACV) has been a popular natural health topic over the last few years.

However, the many benefits of ACV have been recognized since 400 B.C., when Hippocrates (yes, the father of medicine) would prescribe it, mixed with honey, for ailments such as a cough or cold (via Foundation Chiropractic). And he wasn't the only one who harnessed the magic of ACV early on. In clinical herbalist Michael Tierra's book, "Planetary Herbology," he details how masters of traditional Chinese medicine have been using it to dry out "damp" illnesses (i.e., sluggish or phlegmy) for over 3,000 years. 

Sometime within the past decade, ACV garnered the attention of America's mainstream media, and boy, do we know how to hop on a healthy bandwagon! (Looking at you, activated charcoal.) Nowadays, you can find ACV starring in everything from salad dressings to facial toners. And we've got one more for you to add to the list ... apple cider vinegar for hair care!

What can ACV do for your hair?

Apple cider vinegar is well known for its powerful antifungal and antibacterial properties, per Medical News Today. This can come in handy when going up against common scalp or skin problems like dandruff, acne, and folliculitis, according to Dr. Hadley King, a board-certified dermatologist and clinical instructor at Cornell University (via Today). Dandruff is most commonly the result of an overgrowth of yeast caused by the fungal infection Candida. But in multiple studies cited by Medical News Today, this yeast has proven to be no match for ACV.

Because apple cider vinegar is high on the pH scale, it has the ability to break down and wash away product buildup that might be weighing down your hair. And for that very same reason, Dr. Debra Jaliman, a board-certified dermatologist, says ACV is effective in balancing the pH of your scalp (via Today). Things like sun exposure, as well as hair processing and dying, can throw your scalp's pH out of whack, which can then lend to dry, porous hair and an itchy head. But a weekly ACV hair rinse can keep your scalp's pH where it's supposed to be.

How to make your own hair rinse at home

There are countless products on drugstore shelves that can give your hair the fix of ACV it needs. But if you're in the market for a more fun and affordable solution (pun intended), you can easily make your own apple cider vinegar hair rinse at home, per Organic It's Worth It. Start by filling up a mason jar with your favorite ACV, as well as six to eight rosemary sprigs and a handful or two of lavender. Rosemary aids in the health and growth of hair, and lavender is an antimicrobial, which kills the growth of microorganisms ... plus it smells divine. You can leave your dried or fresh herbs in the vinegar indefinitely, simply pouring more vinegar on top to replace any you use in the future. However, on your first go, you'll want to let your infusion sit in a cool, dry place for at least three weeks, so the liquid can soak up all the herbs' hair-healthy benefits.

Healthline says to dilute your little potion by combining a couple of tablespoons with a cup of water. Run the mixture through your hair after shampooing or by itself in between wash days, if you feel your hair needs a little clarifying.