The Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar For your Hair
Many YouTubers and beauty gurus across the internet are doing apple cider vinegar (ACV) rinses and flaunting their stunning results.
All of this buzz may have you begging the question: What are the benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar? Is this another wacky DIY trend, or is there a scientific foundation to support it?
The truth is that yes, Apple Cider Vinegar does provide real benefits, and will help your hair get healthy. And yes, the science is available to back it up.
How does Apple Cider Vinegar work?
To understand how Apple Cider Vinegar works its magic, we need to look at the structure of our hair; the outermost layer on a single strand of hair is called the cuticle.
On this layer, there are scales that have the ability to open and close. These are sometimes compared to the opening and closing of a ventilation system.
When our hair absorbs water, it swells and expands, creating space between the cuticle layers. The expanding and contracting of these layers can also be affected by a change in pH level, often influenced by our choice in hair products.
Products with high pH levels will help facilitate cuticle expansion. In other words, they will help them open up. When cuticles open, they allow for water and other nutrients from your hair products to reach the shaft.
Products with low pH levels will help the cuticle to contract and close. When the cuticles tighten, they trap in all that moisture and vitamins that our strands need to thrive. This is where Apple Cider Vinegar comes in. ACV has a low pH level, which means it will close those hair cuticles tight, and seal in all that moisture into your hair. This is a great benefit for naturals who often struggle to lock moisture into their curls.
When hair cuticles are closed and well-moisturized, a few other benefits will quickly become apparent. Because the cuticles are laying flat, hair strands will often appear and feel smoother. They will also be less prone to tangling, and therefore easier to style.
Knowing your hair porosity will also help in knowing whether ACV rinses will work for you. If your hair is highly porous (meaning there are greater gaps between the scales of your cuticle), you likely struggle to lock in moisture, no matter how much you deep condition. If this is the case, doing an ACV rinse after your normal wash day routine will help seal in all your hard work.
If you have low porosity hair, your hair cuticles are already laying flat to the cortex. This means that you may struggle to open them up to get moisture to the shaft, and probably don’t need any additional help to keep them closed. If this is the case, you may need to look for products with higher pH levels to help get that moisture in, to begin with.
How to use Apple Cider Vinegar?
So now that you have all this knowledge, you may be wondering what to do with it? Do you go dump a whole bottle of Apple Cider Vinegar on your head? No, that isn’t usually what is recommended.
After a standard wash day routine, people will often mix together 2-4 tablespoons of ACV with 16oz of cool water. While in the shower, the rinse is poured over the scalp. It is usually left to sit for 1-2 minutes, before being rinsed out thoroughly.
Just make sure not to get any in your eyes! There are also products that can be found that specifically use apple cider vinegar as an ingredient to be used to the same effect.