Should I Use An Apple Cider Vinegar Hair Rinse?

Hair can become limp, dull, and heavy due to buildup of residues from shampoos, conditioners, and hair styling products. An Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) Hair Rinse can help remove some of the buildup when used after shampooing. An apple cider vinegar (ACV) rinse can also help detangle hair, reduce frizz, restore body and shine, stimulate and sooth the scalp, reduce hair and scalp buildup, unclog hair follicles, decrease dandruff, and reduce excess shedding. An ACV rinse is especially helpful for people who are new to using shampoo bars.

How do I know if I need to use an apple cider vinegar (ACV) rinse?

Whether or not you need to use an apple cider vinegar (ACV) rinse depends on many factors.

  • Your water: If your hair does not seem to be adjusting to the shampoo bars, it may be due to your water. Hard water makes it more difficult to rinse natural shampoo from your hair. ACV will provide some slip to the hair and make your final rinse more effective.

  • Hair length: Many men and women with short hair have found that they do not need to rinse with vinegar, simply because their hair is short and easier to rinse.

  • Tangles: ACV rinses often help with tangles.

  • Residue & Buildup: If your hair has residue buildup from product use or you regularly use conditioners and heavy styling products, a shampoo bar may not remove all the residue from your hair like a detergent shampoo. Spot cleaning your hair with baking soda during your shampoo will remove unwanted buildup. It’s important to follow this clarifying treatment with an ACV rinse to restore a slightly acidic pH to hair and scalp.

Essential Oil & ACV Concentrate Recipe


Rosemary (2-3 drops)
Lavender (2-3 drops)
Grapefruit (2-3 drops)
Peppermint (2-3 drops)
Basil (2-3 drops)
Bay Laurel (2-3 drops)
Tea Tree (1-2 drops)


  1. Add essential oils of your choice to vinegar. Store mixture in a glass bottle.

  2. The mixture can be used right away or allowed to sit for a couple of days to steep.

  3. When ready to make your hair rinse: dilute 1 to 2 tablespoon of your Essential Oil & ACV Concentrate with 1 cup of water in a plastic squeeze bottle.

  4. Apply dilution to wet hair after shampooing. Manipulate scalp and hair for 1-2 minutes with ACV rinse.

  5. Rinse hair with fresh, cool water.

  6. At this point, you may choose whether or not to use a conditioner based on how your hair feels.

What is the best way to apply my ACV rinse?

While you can use any container to mix up your ACV dilution, I prefer to use a plastic squirt top bottle. Pouring a cold rinse on your hair is invigorating, but if you prefer a warmer rinse, make it right before you step in the shower using warm tap water.

How Often Can I Use The Vinegar Hair Rinse?

Since everyone's hair is unique you should use your own judgment as you experiment with ACV rinses. You will need to find a dilution and a frequency that works best for your hair type. Remember: dry hair likes less vinegar and oily hair likes more. Start with 1 or 2 rinses per week and adjust from there.

*A Note About Essential Oils

There are many wonderful essential oils for hair, but please proceed with caution when using them. Essential oils are strong concentrates and may cause skin irritation if not used correctly. Lavender is one of the few essential oils that can be used directly on the skin. Since some essential oils are stronger than others, it’s important to be be knowledgeable about the amount of essential oils that you add to your ACV concentrate. High quality essential oils are expensive, so start with 3-5 that feel right for you. My favorite source for medicinal grade essential oils comes from Wisdom Of The Earth and Shining Sun Aromatherapy.