This natural ingredient transformed my scalp and gave me shinier hair
I’ve struggled with oily hair my whole life, and going more than a day without washing my hair has always felt like a cruel and unusual punishment, especially during the summer. Like sticky flypaper hanging from a wall, my scalp acts like a magnet for collecting dry shampoo, hairspray, and everything else it comes in contact with, which ultimately weighs my hair down. I tried clarifying shampoos for a while, but because of my skin’s sensitivity to ingredients like sulfates and chlorides, my scalp was often left itchy and dry. Desperate for alternatives, a friend suggested a simple kitchen ingredient—apple cider vinegar.
Apple cider vinegar (or ACV) is made from apples using a fermentation process that produces live cultures, minerals, and acids. Recent scientific studies praised vinegar for its many transforming benefits, including its outstanding antimicrobial properties that benefit health, skin, and hair. Stephanie Diaz, a hair colorist at Bumble and bumble, loves using apple cider vinegar because of its acidic nature: “Apple cider vinegar can prevent bacteria growth on the scalp, balance the pH, and remove surface impurities.”
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In chemistry, pH is a scale used to specify how acidic or basic a water-based solution is. According to recent studies, scientists found that the pH of our skin is slightly acidic. This acidic barrier protects our scalp from bacteria, viruses, and other potential irritants. However, over time this barrier can become damaged and alter the microbiome (made up of naturally occurring bacteria), leaving it susceptible to skin-irritating bacteria and dandruff-causing yeast. This can lead to a dry, sensitive, and flaky scalp, which, in turn, can cause the scalp to produce excess sebum to compensate, creating that greasy and oily look. When I don’t use a clarifying rinse, residue from pollution, dry shampoo, hairspray, and other hair products can build up over time and strip my skin of natural oils and essential “good” hair bacteria. To restore its balance and create a healthy microbiome, I do regular ACV rinses and get shiny, soft, and vibrant hair.
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To make a DIY apple cider vinegar rinse, dilute three tablespoons of ACV in 3/4 cup (or 13 tablespoons) of water in a spray bottle. Once combined, shake and spray the mixture all over your scalp and hair until your hair is evenly coated. Leave the rinse on for three to five minutes, then rinse and condition as normal. For best results, do this once every two to three weeks.