Apple Cider Vinegar for Your Hair: Help or Hype? - TELETIES

Apple Cider Vinegar for Your Hair: Help or Hype?

The internet is filled with claims about using hair rinses with apple cider vinegar (ACV) to remove buildup and clean your hair.  These claims are more fiction than fact, just like many of the other health claims about ACV, as you can learn from this study at the University of Chicago Medical Center.

Although many believe it does work as an alternative to a clarifying shampoo, this could actually be the result of the science backed health benefits of apple cider vinegar with your hair and scalp and not the cleaning of buildup.

The three science backed benefits include:

  • Inflammation reduction through the antibacterial, antifungal, and antioxidant properties.
  • Keeping your hair’s cuticle layer closed for frizz-free shiny hair.
  • Hindering the development of dandruff causing bacteria.

Here’s why ACV won’t live up to the cleansing hype, how it actually can help to benefit your hair, and an easy to make at home apple cider vinegar hair tonic recipe.

Apple Cider Vinegar Cannot Replace Shampoo

ACV is roughly 94% water, 5% acetic acid, and 1% carbohydrates, which won’t actually “clean” your hair because you need a sulfate or surfactant to work as a detergent to break up and wash away the buildup. Both can work to cleanse the buildup caused by dry shampoos, sebum that combines with dead skin cells, and all the dirt and pollutants that come from the environment.

Hair and Scalp Protection

ACV contains a variety of organic acids, phenolic compounds, tannins, flavonoids, and carotenoids, which together give apple cider vinegar its antibacterial and antifungal properties. When you apply ACV to your scalp, these properties can help fend off inflammation, which plays a major role in both male and female pattern hair loss according to this study.

Fight Tangles and Adds Shine

Apple cider vinegar can help maintain the proper pH level for your hair, which is important because it keeps your hair from swelling and pushing out the hair’s cuticle layer.

Keeping the proper pH level for your hair makes sure the cuticles lay flat, giving you movie-star-like shine because light reflects evenly off your hair when the cuticle layer is flat. And flat laying cuticles help reduce frizz and tangles as the cuticles don’t get stuck against other hair shafts.

If you dye your hair, it’s extra important to keep your hair’s cuticle layer lying flat because the color molecules sit inside your hair shaft. Opening the cuticle layer allows shampoo to get in there and wash them out more quickly.

Reduces Dandruff and Flakes

Interesting fact: Flaky dandruff affects half the world.

Many times dandruff is caused by excess fungi and bacteria on your scalp, and dandruff can also be caused by a dry scalp. If you’ve noticed a few extra flakes on your shoulders, try apple cider vinegar because it’s been shown to hinder the bacterial growth that plays a big role in causing dandruff as well as fighting some of the fungus associated with dandruff.

But because dandruff can be a complicated issue, make sure to consult a medical professional if you’re suffering from major or chronic dandruff so they can advise you on medicated shampoos and other treatment options.

If you’re ready to try this natural hair treatment, here’s a recipe for a DIY hair tonic for occasional use if your doctor recommends it as a solution based on your skin and hair needs.

Apple Cider Vinegar Hair Tonic Recipe

The ACV will help seal down your hair’s cuticle layer and the coconut oil will penetrate your hair shafts to keep them moisturized from the inside while also fighting protein loss that can cause hairs to break more easily.


  • 2 tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 16 ounces of tap water
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil


  1. Shake the oil, water, and vinegar together like your making a salad dressing.
  2. Test the tonic on a small patch of skin to make sure it doesn’t cause a rash
  3. Rub the tonic through your hair.
  4. Leave it on for 15 min and rinse it out with cool water.

Not all the health benefits of apple cider vinegar for your hair are backed by science, but some are. If your doctor clears you to try it, give it a go.  If you found the above hair myth and fact post helpful, subscribe to our blog below for more just like it.

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