Should you use Apple Cider Vinegar for Natural Hair?
Do you co-wash your hair? Do you have an itchy scalp?Do you have overly porous or frizz hair? If the answer is yes, you should use an application of Apple Cider Vinegar Rinse every 2-4 weeks.
Rinsing your hair with ACV will rid the hair of product build up that co-washing can not remove. This build up results from the use of styling products, oils and products with silicones.
Rinsing your hair with ACV will help balance the pH of your hair and scalp which will relive an itchy scalp.
Rinsing your hair with ACV will close the cuticle layers of the hair which will reduce the porosity and frizz in your hair.
Shampoo removes product build up because most shampoos contain sodium lauryl sulfate which dissolves most silicones, oils and dirt but, and strips away all of your scalp’s natural oils. Natural hair is dry enough and harsh sulfates will just make things worse. This is why we co-wash; however, co-washing does not remove remove build up. Therefore, we need to clarify (remove product build up) on our hair and the application of AVC is good for this purpose.
ACV can be applied in three different ways depending on your hair’s need.
1. For reliving itchy scalp
Massage it liberally on your scalp “before” you co-wash your hair. Leave it on 3-5 minutes then co-wash it out.
2. For removing product build up
Massage it liberally into your hair and scalp “after” you co-wash and condition your hair. Leave it on 3-5 minutes then rinse it out.
3. For closing the cuticle layers on overly porous or frizz hair
Massage it liberally into your hair “after” you co-wash and condition your hair then “leave” it in your hair. The smell will disappear when your hair drys.
You can use one or any combination of these applications of ACV depending on what your hair needs. Most of the time, I use Application #3 because I have porous hair (colored-treated) that causes my cuticle to open. This ACV application closes my cuticles makes my hair shine.
However, ACV will cause some of your hair color to bleed (come out) so apply your ACV before your color. Sometimes, I will do the ACV application a day before my color, but, do what works best for your hair.
Apple cider vinegar is quite acidic. It has a pH of about 3. Wet hair has a pH of 4.5-5.5. If you add an acidic rinse like apple cider vinegar to the hair, it will further reduce the pH of your hair strands. Making your hair slightly more acidic will close the cuticles of the hair, making the layers of the cuticles lay down flat.
A smooth, flat cuticle will do four things:
1. Lock in protein and moisture.
Flat cuticles will not let out moisture and protein through evaporation which will keep your hair moisturized and healthy.
2. Adds shine to your hair.
Light reflects off of smooth surfaces. While you may not have as much shine as a person with bone straight hair, shine is an indicator that your cuticles are smooth and closed.
3. Flatten the hair for detangling.
Raised cuticles give the hair that jagged, rough feeling we often talk about with shampoos that “strip.” These raised cuticles are more likely to grab and snag on each other. This also helps with single strand knots.
4. Adds elasticity to your hair and makes your curls defined.
Remember that low pH substances have more hydrogen ions (as opposed to hydroxide ions). The more hydrogen bonds, the more manageable and elastic your hair will be over time.
Now, keep in mind that temperature of water affects cuticles as well. Warm water opens the cuticle so that co- wash and rinses can get the oil and dirt out. Cool water shuts the cuticle as conditioners (that are usually acidic) smooth the hair down and lock moisture in.
If your hair tends to get tangled or loses its luster over time, test out an apple cider vinegar rinse followed by a thorough conditioning and detangling session. After you’ve perfected your ACV mixture, it can be a very beneficial rinse for our wavy, curly, coily, and kinky hair.
Apple Cider Vinegar rinses should never make your hair feel hard. If the ACV rinse makes your hair feel hard or tangly after rinsing, your mixture needs to be diluted with more water. One part of apple cider vinegar to three parts of water is a good mixture to start with, i.e., one ounce of ACV to three ounces of water. Make adjustments by adding more or less water.
ACV is Safe and Healthy for your hair when used properly! *Note that ACV is an acid that is much more acidic than your hair. It can and will start to degrade your hair shaft with overuse. So, remember to be cautious and pay close attention to your hair’s reaction to frequent ACV use. Using ACV every 2-4 weeks is a good rule of thumb for almost everyone.
If you apply ACV frequently and get good results, then your mixture is most likely suited to your hair type. If not, then you need to make necessary adjustments.
How do you use ACV and how often?