For me, hair products are probably the hardest to let go in my pursuit of a greener life. Let’s be honest, I still have some not-at-all-natural ones sitting there on the shelf, looking pretty and asking me to use them. And I use them too. I’m a bit obsessed with my hair, you see. I suspect that my hair had something to do with S. first falling for me, so I have to keep it looking good.
In addition to all those products I’ve found something absolutely natural that is doing great things to my hair too. That something is apple cider vinegar aka ACV, which I occasionally use in place of conditioner. I’m not using it every time I wash my hair because I still like my all-natural conditioner (Urtekarm No Perfume Organic Conditioner) too.
The first time I used it I followed the instructions in this article “How to Use Apple Cider Vinegar for Beautiful Hair and Skin” and made a 1:1 solution with water. Later I found out that people use also weaker solutions – 1:2 or 1:3 –with great results, so I made my solution a bit weaker too because it is acidic, after all. It still works great.
How to use?
- Mix 1 part apple cider vinegar with 1–3 parts water. I have no idea how much difference the strenght of the solution actually makes, so I encourage you to test and find out the best solution for yourself and your water hardness. But I haven’t seen any instructions telling to make it stronger than 1:1, so don’t either.
- After washing and rinsing your hair as usual, pour the solution over your hair and wait for a couple of minutes. Avoid getting it in your eye. If you have a spray bottle, that might come in handy because it allows even and sparing application. I’ve also noticed that the hair is easier to comb afterwards, if I spray the solution on towel-dry hair and comb it through.
- Rinse thoroughly.
My verdict is that it works.
- The first thing I noticed after using ACV was that towel-dry hair was surprisingly easy to brush. So it seems to work as a natural detangler.
- After drying the hair was very soft. Might be that even a little bit more than after using my conditioner.
- My hair was also easier to style. I did not use any styling products, just a blow-drier and brush, and I was amazed how nice it turned out.
- The hair also felt lighter in weight, which I’m not sure is good or bad. I think it depends on the hairdo. For mine too light hair is actually not a good thing so that’s one of the reasons I’ll keep on using conditioner too.
- I did smell vinegar a little bit next time I made my hair wet before starting to wash it. And I’ve read it too that when hair gets wet the smell can resurface. So, maybe that’s something to keep in mind when you’re planning a romantic date involving a bath, skinny dipping or singing in the rain. Unless your partner is drawn to the smell of salad dressing. I speak from first hand experience here, but as S. is aware of my experiments with vinegar, he just complimented me on being the Queen of Vinegar and carried on… With singing in the rain, of course, what did you think?
If that’s enough for you to go and try it out, you can stop reading now. I personally also wanted to find out how it works.
What’s the secret?
Unfortunately I could not find any scientific sources about how ACV works, so we’ll have to settle with non-scientific sources this time (please treat them accordingly). The following is a list of facts that I could find about it:
- ACV helps break down product build-up in your hair1. This seems to back up my hunch about my hair feeling lighter in weight – less residue, less weight. So it basically deep cleanses your hair.
- It balances the pH of your scalp.2
- It closes hair cuticles.3 This as far as I can understand means that it makes hair shinier.
- It helps get rid of dandruff.4
- It removes dead skin cells that interfere with hair growth.5 In other words it boosts hair growth through exfoliating.
- As for it’s effect on dyed hair, I found totally contradictory information some articles saying that it is not recommended on dyed hair4 and some people sharing their experience that it has made their colour last longer6. Go figure! I cannot test it on myself because I don’t dye my hair.
- I’ve also heard that ACV can make blonde hair a little darker (brassy) because of its natural colour, and that blondes should use white vinegar instead. I have yet to find out how that works, but I’m sure I’ll try it soon.
2. WikiHow, How to Balance pH in Hair Naturally.
3. Naturally Curly.com, Apple Cider Vinegar as Hair Cleanser.
4. About.com, The Many Miracle Uses for Apple Cider Vinegar.
5. YAHOO! Voices, Apple Cider Vinegar Great For Hair Growth.
6. Long Hair Community, Question on ACV or vinegar rinse on chemically dyed hair.