Should I Put Apple Cider Vinegar on my Hair?


Kylie Ha, Staff Writer

This pungent-smelling and fermented juice has been a lifesaver to many beauty and wellness gurus. There is a lot of stuff apple cider vinegar (ACV) is used for: shots to aid digestion, watering it down to use as a toner, and more. But, more recently, when you search up these three words, you’ll find that it does more than serve as a salad dressing or fade dark spots. Apparently, ACV works like magic: it encourages hair growth, increases moisture, and gets rid of dandruff. 

The main benefits that ACV provides are its antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and acidic properties. The acidity of the ACV can “help adjust the natural pH of the scalp to its optimal levels and gently exfoliates the product buildup,” says Neil Sadick, MD, a dermatologist at Sadick Dermatology in New York City. 

On the other hand, make sure to remember that putting ACV on your hair is not the same thing as putting it on your scalp. Because it’s acidic, it’s not necessarily harmful but can dry out the hair, which can lead to breakage. While there are extreme benefits from this popular “secret” on Instagram, there is a downside to splashing your skin against it. As stated before, ACV is acidic, so a direct, undiluted application to the scalp could lead to mild burns. 

Ted Lain, MD, a dermatologist of Sanova Dermatology in Texas, recommends diluting two to four teaspoons of ACV in eight ounces of water to avoid burns and irritation. Before you try out any of these “miracle” recipes, many dermatologists recommend doing a small patch test on your skin prior to dousing your head to effectively rule out allergic reactions or hypersensitivity. Make sure to leave it on for no more than 30 seconds, then rinse your hair thoroughly. 

If used correctly, ACV isn’t dangerous or something scary. After all, products that do contain ACV often contain other hair-conditioning ingredients that help combat dryness and irritation. But, pure ACV with water is much different from the pre-packaged commercial shampoos. The concentration of ACV in commercial products is always diluted, which reduces the risks of experiencing burns. 

There are lots of recipes and mixtures that use ACV and swear that your hair will become healthier and longer, but seek professional help if your dry scalp condition persists or worsens after using ACV. Although Google provides us a plethora of resources, including “swear-by” recipes and products, you can’t always trust what you see on Google. If you’re unsure or skeptical about what you see, consult an expert before you go on to buying products. 

If dandruff or a dry scalp is your main concern, try popular, recommended dandruff shampoos or those made specifically for dry scalps, and save your nose from smelling the pungent substance by stepping away.