Apple cider vinegar has become increasingly popular over the last few years, due to its excellent health benefits. Apple cider vinegar is considered to be a natural detoxifier as well as a cleanser, which is also why it’s become so popular in the curly hair community.
Let’s take a look at why Apple Cider vinegar (also known as ACV) is fantastic for curly hair and how you can begin using it in your hair routine.
Apple cider vinegar is excellent to use for curly hair and is suitable for those following The Curly Girl Method. It’s a natural product that acts as a cleanser to remove oil, dirt, and product build-up. It can be a great shampoo replacement for curly hair because it’s gentle and doesn’t alter the natural curl pattern.
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Why Is Everyone Talking About Apple Cider Vinegar for Curly Hair?
There are a number of reasons why apple cider vinegar has become increasingly popular over the past few years.
The Curly Girl Method And The Popular Rise Of Natural Curly Hair
As you know, The Curly Girl Method is about embracing and maintaining natural curls without the use of harsh chemicals or ingredients.
Apple cider vinegar is Curly Girl friendly because it’s an all-natural product that can thoroughly clean the hair without the use of sulfate and silicone shampoo.
Many people who follow the Curly Girl Method don’t use shampoo. Instead, they look for cleaner products without sulfates and silicones that can clean their hair more effectively.
These could be co-washes or so-called low-poo shampoos but ACV is a great natural alternative.
Here’s a before and after example of using apple cider vinegar on the Curly Girl method:
As you can see, the apple cider vinegar rinse really did wonders for my curly hair! It restored my hair’s natural pH and helped my curls form much more naturally.
An apple cider vinegar rinse is therefore an excellent way of removing product build-up without weighing the hair down. This is something that normal shampoos can do.
While ACV has been used for decades, its hair benefits have definitely come to light more recently, with more people experimenting with natural solutions to their common hair issues.
Understanding how Damaging Shampoo Can Be
There are many shampoos on the market that simply do not work well for most hair types. They can cause product build-up, excessive oil, dry and brittle ends, and even dandruff.
That’s because some of them contain harmful chemicals such as sulfates that will strip the natural oils and often irritate the scalp.
Have you ever wondered about the way in which we shampoo and condition our hair?
First, we use shampoo that contains harsh chemicals to cleanse and strip our hair of oils and dirt.
We then use conditioners to make our hair soft again but what many people don’t know, is that most conditioners contain silicone.
Silicone has the ability to coat your hair strands in a similar way to wax. If you use hair straighteners, it’s sometimes possible for the heat to ‘fuse’ the silicone into the hair strands, making it almost impossible for moisture to penetrate.
So you can see that the normal way of shampooing and conditioning, really isn’t that great for your hair.
That is why a natural product such as apple cider vinegar is a great alternative to ordinary shampoo products for those with curly hair.
ACV won’t harm the integral structure of your hair cuticles and works great for those who tend to have a sensitive or irritated scalp.
Tip: Instead of using regular hair straighteners, try steam hair straighteners as these are not as damaging.
Many Curly Girls Now Turn To Organic/ Sulphate-Free Products
To maintain natural, beautiful curls then you really need to consider discontinuing use of shampoos and conditioners that contain sulphates, parabens, and other chemicals that can harm the hair and scalp.
Most people following The Curly Girl Method find that using all-natural, organic products significantly benefits their hair and scalp and leaves their curls in better condition.
ACV Is A Natural Cleanser
Apple cider vinegar is a natural detoxifier and cleanser, which means it can thoroughly clean the hair and scalp just as effectively as any shampoo (in fact, it’s usually far better for curly hair) even without the usual lather.
Clarifying Apple Cider Vinegar Rinse Vs Shampoo
Using ACV instead of regular sulphate shampoo provides you with many more benefits.
Of course, it contains no chemicals, colourings, and other harmful ingredients. But using ACV also means you’ll usually wash your hair less often.
Regular shampoo does tend to strip the natural oils which results in the scalp overcompensating and producing more oil. This means you’ll need to wash it more just to remove the build-up.
This can become a cycle.
The more you wash your hair, the more you strip the oils, which can actually result in the rest of the hair becoming dry and brittle.
ACV provides a gentler way of cleaning the hair while retaining your natural oils and leaving it with a healthy shine.
It might not lather up like typical shampoo, but it doesn’t need to because it still cleans the hair very effectively.
What About Sulphate-free Shampoo?
You might be wondering, ‘is sulphate-free shampoo a better alternative?’ but the answer isn’t too simple.
Sulphate-free shampoos can definitely provide a thorough clean for your hair and scalp, and they may be suitable for certain hair types.
They are, however, not the best for people following The Curly Girl Method.
When sulphates are removed from a shampoo product, they will often be replaced with other ingredients to create the lather that so many customers look for.
The problem here is that some of these ingredients can be just as harmful as ordinary sulphate shampoo, so it might not actually benefit curly hair at all.
It’s for this reason that an ACV rinse is recommended when following The Curly Girl Method.
Benefits Of Apple Cider Vinegar For Curly Hair
ACV is a clarifying method that removes stubborn product build-up, dirt, and oil.
Many clarifying shampoos on the market contain sulphates which can dry out the hair and leave it prone to a dry scalp and brittle ends. ACV is much gentler and actually aids in moisturizing hair.
These are some of the main benefits to using Apple Cider vinegar for curly hair:
1 Balance pH levels
Many shampoos on the market are too alkaline which can disrupt the scalp’s natural pH levels.
This, in turn, can affect oil levels and make the scalp susceptible to bad bacteria and skin conditions.
This can also have a disastrous impact on natural curls, making them appear dull and dry.
ACV works differently from shampoo. It balances out pH levels and it cleans off residue and dead skin cells. A lower pH means leads to less frizzing and softer, more manageable curls.
2 Removes Product Build-up
One of the main benefits to an ACV rinse is that it removes significant product build-up, leaving the scalp and hair feeling refreshed and clean.
Its acidity is responsible for getting deep in the pores and removing anything that may be clogged up.
Grease, bacteria, and oil are rinsed away and the scalp is left feeling thoroughly clean after an ACV rinse.
3 Fights Fungal and Bacteria Growth
As ACV is anti-inflammatory, it works by preventing and controlling bacteria growth on the scalp, which reduces the risk of common scalp conditions.
ACV contains beneficial bacteria and enzymes that work together to combat bad pathogens and bacteria that can disrupt the pH.
4 Reduces Dandruff And Prevents Itchy Scalp
Did you know dandruff and itchy scalp is commonly caused by an unbalanced pH?
As ACV helps to balance the oils and the pH level of the scalp, it can clear up dandruff and itchiness.
Its natural anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties are effective at treating common scalp problems caused by excessive bacteria and oil sitting on the scalp.
Further benefits of using Apple Cider vinegar:
- Rich in vitamins
- Prevents Split ends
- Reduces frizz
- Promotes hair growth
- Detangles Curly Hair
Apple Cider Vinegar Rinse Recipe (That Works!)
Here’s an easy recipe for an apple cider vinegar rinse that will help cleanse your curly hair without harsh chemicals:
- 2-4 tablespoons of Apple Cider vinegar
- 1 cup of water
- 1-2 drops of essential oil
How To Use
Mix apple cider vinegar, water, and essential oil together in a bowl or a bottle.
Wet your hair and pour the solution all over your hair.
Carefully massage the scalp with the fingertips to remove any bacteria, oil, and product build-up.
Use a scalp massager like this one for max benefits.
Let it stay in your hair for a few minutes.
Thoroughly rinse the solution out of your hair with cool water.
Condition your hair with a silicone-free conditioner such as the Faith In Nature Coconut Conditioner to rinse out the remaining apple cider vinegar mixture.
How Often Should I Do An Apple Cider vinegar Rinse?
This would depend on the condition of your hair and how much styling product you usually use.
We recommend not doing an apple cider vinegar rinse on curly hair more than once every two weeks.
In between, you should co-wash with cleansers such as the As I Am Dry & Itchy Scalp Care Cowash or Aunt Jackie’s Purify Me Moisturizing Co-Wash Cleanser.
These are sulfate-free cleansers that are Curly Girl friendly.
Health Benefits Of ACV
Using a natural product like ACV isn’t likely to harm or irritate your skin like traditional shampoo, and it actually boasts many benefits.
It contains many vitamins which are beneficial to your hair and skin to keep it looking healthy and shiny.
It can also help scalp acne and reducing redness and itching, which is far more effective than many dandruff shampoos on the market.
Where To Buy Apple Cider Vinegar
You can buy ACV in most grocery stores, health food stores and online stores like Amazon.
To reap the full benefits, you should ensure that it is a natural, organic bottle of Apple Cider vinegar which contains the Mother.
We find Bragg’s apple cider vinegar to be of great value.
If it doesn’t contain the Mother, then it presents fewer health benefits.
Can Too Much Apple Cider Vinegar Damage My Curly Hair?
Everyone’s hair reacts differently so there is no clear answer regarding this question.
Firstly, it’s very important that the Apple Cider vinegar is diluted before it’s used on the hair due to its high acidity potentially damaging or irritating the scalp.
That’s why only a small amount of ACV is added to the water.
If you find that you need to cut down on the amount of ACV that you need then that is absolutely fine and it will not affect its abilities to clean the hair.
Disclaimer: This site is not intended to provide professional or medical advice. All of the content on LovedByCurls.com is for informational purposes only. All advice should be followed at your own discretion. Ingredients may change at any time so always check the product label before using. Check our full disclaimer policy here.
Coralle is an experienced beauty writer with a passion for wellness, women’s health, and sustainability.