Apple Cider Vinegar Shampoo Benefits Explained: Apple Cider Vinegar For Hair

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Taking care of your hair can be a hassle, no matter what type of hair or scalp you possess. It’s enough to take a look at the hair product aisle (online and offline) to get the picture: there are many products out there, all with their unique qualities and attributes and magnificent slogans… One ingredient which stands out, in my opinion, is Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV). There are those who use it as a natural hair tonic, so to speak, and who make regular use of it in their hair care routine.

Why Apple Cider Vinegar? What is it, and what are the benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar Shampoo?

What Is Apple Cider Vinegar?

Essentially, the production of Apple Cider Vinegar is a natural occurrence. It is the by-product of ordinary, run-of-the-mill apple juice. The sugar in the fruit is converted into alcohol by adding yeast to the juice. The yeast -- which is basically a fungus -- turns the alcohol into acetic acid through the process of fermentation, and that is how we get the Apple Cider Vinegar we know and love: a product of strong fragrance, powerful taste, and a multitude of benefits inside and outside of the body.

Apple Cider Vinegar is a staple of many cosmetics and wellness products. It is sold in a variety of shapes, forms, and consistencies. It’s also added to food products and beverages of all kinds. Different recipes call for the use of ACV, since it’s first and foremost the product of the apple tree, and as such, it holds a special place. “An apple a day,” and all that.

The effect of Apple Cider Vinegar on skin, scalp, hair, and body has been long discussed, although it still remains a folk remedy by today’s standards. There is no significant clinical evidence to support most of the claims which the proponents of Apple Cider Vinegar make. In some cases, I happen to trust tradition and anecdotal evidence more than the clinical studies.

This is one of those times. I’m of the opinion that certain businesses and individuals are not interested in the proliferation of Apple Cider Vinegar products. Also, after using Apple Cider Vinegar in my hair (and around the home) for some years now, I feel I can attest to its vast usefulness.

Apple Cider Vinegar Hair Benefits Explained

Woman with hair blowing in face.

Woman with blonde hair.

Let me be clear: if you mistreat your hair, mistreat yourself (lifestyle, diet), overuse or misuse hair care products, or if you happen to spend significant amounts of time in a hair-harmful environment -- there is a good chance that your hair is going to reflect all of that. There is no single magic ingredient which will get your hair to look like a shampoo commercial. At least, not after it has been abused by dyes, harsh detergents, or too much exposure to the elements.

That said, there are plenty of Apple Cider Vinegar benefits. Undergoing an ACV rinse in your shower once a week (or once every several weeks, as needed) can help your scalp regain balance, and this can make all the difference. The scalp houses the follicles (roots), and each follicle nourishes its individual hair shaft. The most notable benefits for your scalp and hair are:

  • Apple Cider Vinegar helps to re-establish proper pH levels, and to balance the production of sebum, the body’s natural oil
  • Due to its acidity, Apple Cider Vinegar can help remove residue and grime from the surface of your scalp, thereby preventing buildup
  • ACV helps to condition your hair, keeping it free of knots and adding vitality and shine to your locks
  • Apple Cider Vinegar helps to combat and prevent dandruff, as well as hair loss which is the result of lack of nourishment. It does this by stimulating the scalp and increasing flow of blood to the hair follicles

The fact that you are dealing with an acid needs to be addressed. This is not a substance which you can combine with just anything. Also, leaving Apple Cider Vinegar in your hair for long periods of time is not always recommended, since that may cause more harm than good.

Usually, a shampoo or conditioner made with Apple Cider Vinegar only calls for 2-5 minutes before rinsing it out. But, under certain conditions, one is able to leave the Apple Cider Vinegar in their hair and reap the rewards.

Can You Leave Apple Cider Vinegar In Your Hair?

If you want to, you can, but do it properly. It needs to be diluted just right, and even then it does not suit all hair types to leave such an acidic product in their hair for hours. This remains true even though it is as natural an ingredient as you could want. It is all on you, the end user, to experiment and see whether or not your scalp and hair enjoy it and make good use of it. It may react differently for you.

Plenty of people use Apple Cider Vinegar as a final rinse. This helps to get rid of tangles, and to smooth and seal the cuticle layer of the hair shaft. Others heavily dilute it, and use it as an overnight leave-in product. This allows moisture to be better retained by the hair, and it can help a great deal with looks and management of your mane.

In that regard, both the root and the shaft can get a lot out of an Apple Cider Vinegar leave-in product. But again, you’ll have to check out which kind of Apple Cider Vinegar usage is right for you. I stress this, because no matter what some beauty YouTuber or blogger might say, we all have different needs. And make no mistake, ACV can also be harmful when misused, like many other natural substances.

What Is Apple Cider Vinegar Shampoo?

Woman in shower washing brunette hair.

Woman shampooing her hair.

Apple Cider Vinegar shampoos are produced and sold as a hair care product. This product can be one of many things: it can be a standard kind of store-bought shampoo, with a pinch of Apple Cider Vinegar thrown in for marketing purposes and nothing else. Alternatively, it can be a seriously pure and professional Apple Cider Vinegar product which is meant to replace your ordinary shampoo and/or conditioner.

There are some products which are salon-grade (for lack of a better term) and which avoid many of the detergents, preservatives, and artificial fragrances, etc. which other shampoos possess. Simply put, an Apple Cider Vinegar shampoo can act as a highly-functional antibacterial rinse, and it may be just what you are looking for.

The spectrum of usefulness and efficacy is wide, since it depends entirely on the formula. There is also the option of concocting a DIY Apple Cider Vinegar rinse, right in the comfort of your own home. Some choose to do this, because it allows you to be in complete control of the ingredients and their amounts. You can develop a unique product which is tailored to that person’s scalp, hair type, and hair care routine. Don’t get me wrong, though. Some companies make great Apple Cider Vinegar shampoos (wink wink).

Apple Cider Vinegar Shampoo Benefits Explained

The number one benefit, as I see it, is the conditioning effect which an Apple Cider Vinegar shampoo has on the hair. It doesn’t just untangle, it also provides a shine and luster which stays with you. And speaking of things that stay with you…

Many people avoid Apple Cider Vinegar because of the scent. Let me clear this up here and now: under normal circumstances, the admittedly-strong and overpowering scent of Apple Cider Vinegar does indeed go away. It does not remain for long, not even after a leave-in has been used. Like I said before, it must be diluted properly.

This contributes to the scent wearing off more rapidly. If the scent is something which concerns you, feel free to add essential oils to provide the shampoo with a different scent. You can choose to leave your hair smelling more like mint, lavender, or oranges (to name a few). Don’t add too much, though. Essential oils are famously potent.

Another benefit of this type of shampoo is that it usually isn’t a daily-use shampoo. You don’t need to use it every day, which means that you will be using less of it overall. This saves some money, time in the shower, and your hair from over-exposure to any less-desired ingredients which the shampoo may have.

Finally, Apple Cider Vinegar shampoo can help to slow, negate or reverse hair loss as well. Nothing is guaranteed, of course, but as a known benefit of Apple Cider Vinegar it can apply doubly in the shampoo. People use Apple Cider Vinegar for hair loss; why not Apple Cider Vinegar shampoo?

Can I Mix Apple Cider Vinegar With My Shampoo?

Woman washing her hair.

Woman washing her hair.

Yes, you can. Ordinarily, you can blend Apple Cider Vinegar with your choice of shampoo. You’ll want to experiment, but as a starting point you can mix equal parts shampoo with Apple Cider Vinegar, and see how you fare. It is best to err on the side of caution, so feel free to add less at first.

Use the blend twice a week (a few days apart, ideally), and notice how your hair and scalp respond. Following up is crucial, since you need to know whether you should change the formula or not, or maybe not use as much.

Adding Apple Cider Vinegar to your shampoo means that you will not need to use a conditioner. The shampoo/ACV blend acts as a 2-in-1 product. I have never been a big fan of 2-in-1 or 3-in-1 types of products. I always believed that every product has its place, and that combining the two (or more) actions make those actions less effective, overall. When it comes to an Apple Cider Vinegar blend, you can skip the conditioner -- at least for a week or two -- and see how your hair does in its absence.

Apple Cider Vinegar Shampoo DIY Recipe

Woman dropping oil from bottle into hand.

A few drops of essential oils can go a long way.

In order to restore balance and maintain it long-term, try this Apple Cider Vinegar shampoo DIY recipe. Remember that this is a basis, a foundation. You may want to play around with the ingredients and the quantities as you witness your results.

You’ll need:

Mix the ingredients together, and voila! You’ve created your very own DIY Apple Cider Vinegar shampoo. This is a shampoo meant to provide pH balance, prevent dandruff and buildup, and basically cleanse the scalp. If you’re suffering from an oily or flaky situation, this could be useful. This shampoo will most likely be runnier than those you are used to, so store and use it accordingly.

Apple Cider Vinegar shampoos can be produced in-house, and made to the specifications of the user. This can end up being cheaper (depending on your formula), which is almost-always a good thing. An inexpensive and homemade shampoo does not necessarily reflect poor quality. It can be cheap and nonetheless healthy and effective.

Keep in mind that if you are suffering from long-term issues with your scalp and hair, a shampoo -- natural though it may be -- may not prove to be the best solution. Get yourself to a physician (ideally a dermatologist) and see what you are dealing with.


The properties of Apple Cider Vinegar -- and their benefits for hair, scalp, and skin -- have been known for generations. Clinical studies or not, there are people who swear by this ingredient. They’ve had the pleasure of experiencing true “apple power”, putting the fruit to work for them, without consuming it orally!

Taking care of your hair doesn’t have to be such a hassle. Sometimes, less is more. Sometimes, all you need is the right kind of product to take the place of several others. The value you can receive from a solid weekly or bi-weekly Apple Cider Vinegar rinse has the potential to counter a lot of the harm which your hair may be subjected to.

Again, this is not a magic ingredient. But alongside all the hair care products and their marketing ploys, it is good to know that there is a kind of shampoo out there which is relatively down-to-earth and highly useful. Only you have your hair, and only you can know what does it good. And you never know until you try.