How To Use Apple Cider Vinegar On Gray Hair (Easy Guide)

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If you have gray hair, it’s worthwhile adding apple cider vinegar to your hair care routine to help keep your silver locks shiny and soft. In this article, we give you our best tips on how to use apple cider vinegar on gray hair.

How To Use Apple Cider Vinegar On Gray Hair

Written By Summer Wise

What Is Apple Cider Vinegar?

Apple cider vinegar is made by fermenting apple juice. This process uses yeast to aid fermentation of the natural sugar in apples and then bacteria is added. This creates acetic acid which forms the basis of most kinds of vinegar.

Apple cider vinegar can come with or without the “mother”, which is strands of pulp and bacteria, protein, and enzymes that contain much of apple cider vinegar benefits.

Why is apple cider vinegar such a hit in the world of hair care, especially for those with gray hair? Well, in general, the scalp has a pH of around 5.5 which is actually considered slightly acidic.

The pH scale runs from 1-14, with acids scoring low and alkaline materials scoring high. A pH of 7 is therefore considered neutral.

Apple cider vinegar is of course acidic and therefore has a pH of between 2-3. This makes it more acidic than the human scalp.

Apple cider vinegar is therefore great to use on scalps that are lacking in acidity. The vinegar can thus help restore balance to the scalp.

This is important as low pH products keep the hairs cuticle closed, while high pH formulas open the cuticle. The more open your hair cuticles are, the higher the risk of damaged hair.

Why Use Apple Cider Vinegar On Gray Hair?

When used on gray hair, apple cider vinegar can help to lighten hair and refine the color. Gray hair can become brassy due to the light color which easily shows staining or poor hair health.

Many find that their newly embraced silver hair turns into a dull, yellowed hue but luckily apple cider vinegar can be used to balance out the color.

So how does apple cider vinegar work for this purpose? The acidity of apple cider vinegar helps to strip excess oil and debris from hair, while also closing hair cuticles. This helps to prevent further damage from environmental causes.

It’s important to cleanse and re-balance the pH of your hair if you’re using color refining products or intensive conditioning treatments.

Products that are used to keep wiry gray hair in check can lead to excessive product build-up and diminished hair health.

You need to remove build-up regularly from your scalp without irritating your scalp or drying out your hair with traditional shampoos.

Using Apple cider vinegar as a cleanser helps to remove grease with its acidic natural formula. This makes it perfect for a rinse in-between washes to clarify or even lighten gray hair, which can be more difficult to control.

Also Read: Why Won’t My Gray Hair Dye? (How To Fix)

How To Use Apple Cider Vinegar On Gray Hair

How To Use Apple Cider Vinegar On Gray Hair

There are a couple of ways to use apple cider vinegar on hair but the easiest and most effective is to create a rinse for hair.

Apple cider vinegar must be diluted before being applied to the body as it is too strong to use in its purest form.

A diluted weekly spray of apple cider vinegar will work to clarify and lighten gray hair to its former glory.

Below is a DIY recipe for an apple cider vinegar rinse that will clean, whiten, and clarify hair without damaging it or requiring the use of expensive products.

Apple Cider Vinegar Rinse For Gray Hair

You will need

  • Distilled water
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Spray Bottle
  • Mixing Bowl


  1. Pour several cups of distilled water into a bowl.
  • Add between 1 -3 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar for each 500ml of water used to create a diluted mixture before placing it in the spray bottle.
  • Soak hair thoroughly and use a scalp brush if necessary.
  • Leave for 5 mins and follow up with a conditioner.

Those with dry hair should use less apple cider vinegar, while those with lots of excess oil should use more if they feel it is necessary.

Using organic apple cider vinegar will add more benefits to your rinse, as unfiltered ACV contains more nutrients, protein, and enzymes for your hair and scalp.

The strong smell of apple cider vinegar can be avoided by rinsing hair with water after the spray or even adding a few drops of essential oils to the spray mixture.

Safety Using Apple Cider Vinegar On Gray Hair

Due to its acidity, apple cider vinegar should always be kept away from the eyes, the nose, and the mouth.

Undiluted apple cider vinegar can cause burning to the skin or internal systems of the body, making it essential to dilute it before application or consumption.

Gray hair can also tend to be drier than colored hair, as it has fewer natural oils and an often wiry texture.

Make sure to use a conditioner or leave-in treatment after rinsing with and washing out the apple cider vinegar to ensure hair does not become dry after application.

Keeping your gray hair conditioned, clean and shiny with the use of regular products and an apple cider vinegar rinse is the best way to give yourself a refined crown of gray hair, shining and with no signs of yellowing left in the light hue.

How Often Should You Use Apple Cider Vinegar On Gray Hair?

How Often Should You Use Apple Cider Vinegar On Gray Hair

One weekly rinse is the most regular use for this apple cider vinegar spray, although it can be used less frequently to avoid drying out the scalp or causing damage through overuse.

Dry hair types should use it less regularly than those with, particularly oily hair.

If you experience dryness, irritation or any other side effects with regular, prolonged use then discontinue use immediately.

Also Read: How To Use Black Sesame Seeds For Gray Hair

Why Does Gray Hair Turn Yellow?

Gray or white hair can become yellowed due to many reasons, from environmental effects to residue left by certain products.

To avoid this staining created a yellow cast over your silver locks it can be helpful to avoid yellow shampoos, smoke, and excess chlorine exposure from using a swimming pool.

Alternatively, it may be due to poor health or conditions that require attention from a medical professional.

All these issues can cause yellow-gray hair that needs rinsing and clarifying to bring back its light color and tone in most cases.

Many products are recommended for this purpose, such as purple or blue shampoos, sprays, and leave-in treatments.

However, there are more natural ways to achieve this cleaning without the product buildup left by commercial products on the scalp. Product build-up can lead to poor scalp health, dandruff, and more.

Alternative Methods To Remove Yellow From Gray Hair

Unfortunately, apple cider vinegar rinses may not be effective for all hair, and you may find that yellow remains in your gray hair.

There are alternatives to apple cider vinegar, although most are more damaging to hair, and you should consult a professional before using chemical products if you are unsure about using them on gray hair.

Hydrogen Peroxide

Hydrogen peroxide is used as a bleaching agent in many hair color products, such as blonde hair dyes or kits to bleach hair before adding vivid colors.

This makes it great at removing unwanted color from hair, although overbleaching can cause brassiness and extreme dryness so it must be used with caution.

Purple Shampoo

A less intensive product that could help with reducing yellow in gray hair is purple, or blue, shampoo.

This adds a cool tone to hair while washing, which neutralizes yellow, brassy tones and can give a clear gray color back to your hair.

However, some of these shampoos can cause product build-up on the scalp so they should be used in conjunction with other cleansing products to avoid excessive scalp build-up which can cause dandruff.

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