When it comes to haircare, there are some ingredients that are like superheroes to our tresses. They may not get all the love and attention they deserve, but they come to the rescue when we’re feeling desperate. One of those tried-and-true ingredients I go back to over and over again is apple cider vinegar aka ACV.
We often hear of ACV being a go-to for busting belly bloat or making a healthy salad dressing, but apple cider vinegar is good to reach for when your mane is out of whack and needs a reset. “Apple cider vinegar is good for the hair because it’s rich in vitamins and minerals like vitamins C and B which are both great for strengthening the hair shaft,” says celebrity hairstylist, Andrew Fitzsimons. And even though it comes with a pungent, well, smell, the beauty benefits far outweigh the temporary nose discomfort.
Not to mention, you can snag a whole bottle of apple cider vinegar at your local grocery store, so there’s really no good reason not to give this a try. To get the scoop on why apple cider vinegar is good for the hair, we asked Fitzsimons to share what it is, why you need it and how to use it. Keep reading to learn more.
What is apple cider vinegar?
Although it’s not the most luxurious formulation, apple cider vinegar is made from fermented apple juice. To get ACV, the juice of apples is combined with yeast that transforms the natural sugars into alcohol. This is what gives it that strong scent and zippy flavor. And while that may sound like it has nothing to do with haircare, it’s actually chock-full of good-for-your-hair benefits like antibacterial and anti-fungal properties that can bust dandruff, flakes and itchy scalps to the curb and help get rid of unwanted product buildup (more on that below).
So, why would I apply it to my hair?
To start off, apple cider vinegar is not a styling product. But if you’re looking to have a healthy mane, here’s what this powerhouse ingredient can do.
Apple cider vinegar can help balance and repair the scalp
It’s no secret that a healthy scalp is the first step to having healthy locks. But if you’ve got an itchy or dry scalp, you may benefit from using ACV. Fitzsimons says applying this vinegar to the hair as a rinse can remove buildup of styling products and debris. “And since it’s slightly acidic, it is able to balance out the pH of the scalp without overly stripping the strands of their good oils.”
Apple cider vinegar can strengthen your hair
As stated above, applying ACV to the hair shaft can result in stronger strands, thanks to vitamins B and C. Stronger strands not only make the hair look and feel healthier, but it helps keep breakage to a minimum, too.
Apple cider vinegar may help reduce frizz and boost shine
According to Fitzsimons, when apple cider vinegar is applied to the hair, it coats the cuticle which leaves the hair shinier and smoother. This is especially beneficial for those with textured hair types that tend to be frizz-prone.
Apple cider vinegar can help promote healthy hair growth
Remember how we said ACV works miracles on the scalp? Well, since it clarifies and exfoliates the scalp, Fitzsimons says it helps to promote new hair growth, too.
What hair types is it best for?
Thankfully, this magic-working ingredient is great for all hair types. But those with curly, wavy, or coarse strands might find ACV extra beneficial. And if you find that your scalp tends to be dry, itchy or full of dandruff, this is a natural remedy worth the try. But Fitzsimons does warn that those with sensitive skin should consult a dermatologist before using.
I’m sold. How do I use it?
Thankfully, these step-by-step instructions are easy to follow. Here’s how to use ACV on your hair, according to a celebrity hairstylist.
1. Shampoo the scalp
Because, duh. The key to any hair treatment is to start with clean strands. Make your mixture
2. Make your mixture
Fitzsimons recommends mixing 3-4 tablespoons of raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar and 13/4 cups of cool water into a spray bottle. Then shake it up.
3. Apply to the hair
Here’s the fun part. Spray this solution all over your hair—from root to tip and generously on the scalp, too.
4. Massage it in
Once the solution is applied and the hair is saturated, use your fingers to massage it in. If you have a particularly dry, itchy scalp, give your scalp a little extra love.
5. Wait and rinse
After 2-5 minutes, rinse the solution out and follow with shampoo and conditioner. And voila! You’re done.
Apple cider vinegar is worth the try when it comes to upping your hair game. It’s easy to find and wallet-friendly and it only takes a few minutes to use.
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