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Apple Cider Vinegar & Your Hair: Separating Fact from Fiction

Just about every day, it seems that there’s some brand-new miracle product hitting the market that claims to be the secret to perfect hair. For proof, look no further than your local beauty supply store, where aisle after aisle is filled with countless hair products that boast incredible claims while sporting a similarly incredible price tag. However, what if I told you that the best hair care product is not only ten times cheaper than any shampoo at the store, but is likely sitting in your kitchen cabinet at this very moment, as well?

As you’ve probably gathered from the title, this miracle product is none other than apple cider vinegar! As implied by the name, apple cider vinegar (ACV for short) is a vinegar byproduct produced from fermented apple juice. ACV has been used for centuries in various food products like salad dressings, sauces, and marinades, as well as a natural remedy for just about every health condition under the sun. In recent years, ACV has carved out quite a name for itself in the hair care community, with many touting its use as the answer for perfect, runway-worthy hair that feels silky-smooth with insane shine. But before you go dumping ACV into your hair, read through our breakdown as we separate fact from fiction!

Claim: ACV=Shiny, Smooth Hair

Verdict: Fact

When it comes to ACV and its relationship to your hair, it all comes down to one thing: acidity. You see, our hair and scalp have a natural pH level of around 5, and it is at this optimal pH level where our cuticle layer stays closed and flattened. When the cuticle is closed and flattened, it is able to protect all of the moisture and hydration from seeping out of the hair strand, which keeps the hair strong, shiny, and smooth. However, if the hair and scalp become too alkaline and the pH raises far above that natural level of 5, the cuticle becomes opened and raised, allowing the hair’s moisture levels to become depleted and leading to incredibly dry, brittle hair. Oftentimes, this is due to using a shampoo that is far too harsh and alkaline than our hair prefers. Not only does this cause frizz and unmanageable, dull hair, but this can easily lead to severe breakage and scalp inflammation. Thankfully, ACV is extremely acidic (pH level of 3) and applying it to a disrupted pH environment can help to balance out the overall pH of the hair and scalp, sealing the cuticle and restoring the hair back to its smooth, shiny self!

Claim: You Can Replace Your Shampoo w/ ACV

Verdict: Fiction

Not only is ACV incredible at restoring the scalp’s pH level, but its acidity also makes it fantastic at clarifying and exfoliating the hair and scalp to remove dirt, oil, dead skin cells, and product buildup. However, ACV is almost too good at doing this, which means that using ACV every day or every other day as a shampoo will quickly dry out and damage your hair. Instead, opt to use ACV once, or at most twice, weekly as a clarifying shampoo. We must also note: YOU MUST DILUTE APPLE CIDER VINEGAR! ACV on its own is way too acidic and strong to use in your hair by itself, so make sure to dilute about a tablespoon of ACV in a cup of water prior to use!

Claim: ACV is a Remedy for Dandruff

Verdict: Fact

Dandruff is caused by an overgrowth of fungi and yeast which lead to the annoyingly itchy, flaky pieces of skin that fall from the head and land on our shoulders. Thankfully, ACV is a potent antifungal and antibacterial ingredient, making it an excellent product for not only treating active dandruff but also preventing further dandruff outbreaks. When using, make sure to really make sure the ACV works into your roots and directly into your scalp, ensuring it does its antifungal work!

Claim: ACV=Vinegar-Smelling Hair

Verdict: Fiction

No, ACV won’t make your hair smell like salad dressing. While the vinegar smell is quite pungent during use and application, once the ACV is rinsed out, all that is left is a natural, clean-smelling hair without any dirt or grime! Some specially-designed ACV rinses even include fragrance to enhance your post-wash hair smell.

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