Apple Cider Vinegar Hair Rinse Recipe.

apple cider vinegar hair rinse recipe

This post was originally posted a couple years ago but it’s still one of my most popular posts of all time… AND it makes for a great quarantine activity! It’s incredible how effective a couple relatively inexpensive ingredients can be.

One thing I try to do at least a few times a month is a DIY apple cider vinegar hair rinse. It is such a wonderful hair care trick but it’s also incredibly inexpensive to make! Perfect for quarantine. This rinse has a lot of benefits but for me the two big ones are shiny hair and a cleaner scalp. It gets your scalp SO clean – the perfect way to cleanse and remove impurities without stripping your hair of its natural oils, and it’s great for all hair types… even oily hair and dry scalp. For a while I was using the one I featured in this post (which is GREAT, and I highly recommend buying it if you’re more of a buy vs. DIY person), but I quickly realized how easy it is to just make my own…!

PS – more on how to deep clean your scalp, and my favorite scalp treatment (it smells like thin mint cookies!)

Apple Cider Vinegar Hair Benefits

Apple Cider is kind of just this wonder product. Is there anything it doesn’t do? I included it as an ingredient in my DIY turmeric face mask (it’s great for pimples as it’s a natural astringent and has anti inflammatory properties), it can help cure a cold… it’s magical! It has a lot of amazing benefits to help achieve healthy hair.

It’s packed with nutrients.

These include B vitamins, vitamin C and potassium. Because it is slightly acidic, it also serves to restore the natural pH of the acid mantle. (Read more about the acid mantle here.)

Shiny, Frizz-free Hair that still has body.

Apple Cider Vinegar leaves your hair so shiny…. without weighing it down. So you get increased shine AND increased body which is a win-win as it actually will strengthen hair! The reason for this is that the ACV actually flattens the cuticle, resulting in hair that shines, “slides” easily, and is less prone to tangling or snagging. This means less frizzy hair, more shine, and if you have curls or waves they will be more defined. I swear by apple cider vinegar rinses and you will too, after making this!

A cleaner scalp

Dry shampoo addicts (hand raised), LISTEN UP! This is a great natural scalp detox. ACV contains natural AHAs (alpha-hydroxy acids) which gently exfoliate the scalp and hair. This helps to deep clean the scalp, removing excess product buildup, dead skin cells, etc.

Raw apple cider vinegar also contains natural alpha-hydroxy acid, which gently exfoliates the scalp and hair, allowing for removal of dead skin cells and build up that can occur from sweat and/or conventional hair products. This improves the appearance of the hair, reduces itchiness, and allows for better styling.

Anti-bacterial properties + helps with dandruff

ACV contains acetic acid which has antimicrobial properties which can kill bacteria + fungus (a common cause of dandruff and dry scalp). It’s great to help treat dandruff but also prevent it. You can read more about ACV for dandruff (and a special treatment for it) in this article!

Is Apple Cider Vinegar Safe For Color Treated Hair?

Yes! As long as you remember to dilute the ACV with water, your color-treated hair will maintain its vibrancy and shine.

Apple Cider Vinegar Hair Rinse Recipe

Here is an easy recipe I like.


  • Apple Cider Vinegar (use anywhere between half a tablespoon and 4 tablespoons) – I like to use 2 tablespoons.
  • Aloe Vera Gel (a heaping tablespoon). This isn’t necessary; honestly water + ACV would be fine, but I think the aloe vera just feels really good on my scalp + adds a little extra shine.
  • Water (8 oz)
  • Squeeze Bottle (this is actually really important as the squeeze bottle acts as your applicator. You could always just pour it onto your head but this allows for more precise application, directly to the scalp.


Decide how much ACV you want to use.

As mentioned above, you can use anywhere between 1/2 – 4 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar. If your hair is on the oily side, use more and if your hair is dry, use less. I have pretty dry hair and have found that two tablespoons is the magic number.

Combine all of the ingredients in a plastic squeeze bottle.

Shake the spray bottle vigorously (and each time you use it, shake it again – the aloe vera gel can settle at the bottom so you want to make sure it’s combined). You can even mix in a few drops of your favorite essential oils for a more neutral fragrance.

How To Use The ACV Hair Rinse

How often to do it

I like to do this at least twice a month. My ideal would be once a week. Sometimes I’ll get a really good blowout and make it last a whole week using dry shampoo. Doing an ACV rinse is mandatory after that, it deep cleans my scalp and gets off all that excess product.

How to apply the ACV hair rinse

I use my ACV rinse in place of shampoo but it can also be used after shampoo. Get in the shower and wet your hair like usual and then use the tip of the bottle to create mini parts within your hair (squeeze as you go to dispense the product. Continue this until you’ve applied the product to your whole scalp. Don’t forget to get the base of your head and behind your ears. Just be careful not to get it into your eyes as it will burn.

Leave it on for a while

It’s up to you how leave it on. This article suggests that 3 minutes is the time it takes for the ACV to break down product buildup. (I actually usually leave it on for 5 minutes to get my scalp good and clean). But I would say leave it on for at LEAST a minute, max 5-7 minutes. I also like to do a little scalp massage while it’s on. I think (hope) this helps remove additional product residue/buildup.

Rinse it out!

Rinsing your hair with cold water will lead to even more shine but that’s not mandatory. Skip conditioner. Rinse well.

As a reminder, of course you could always just buy the dpHUE apple cider vinegar rinse product (or this one from Pureology which I have not tried but love the brand), but this is so easy and inexpensive to make on your own that I don’t really see the point!


Leave a Comment

Leave a Comment


  1. Ooh, I’ve got to try this sometime. It sounds interesting! 🙂

    Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog

    8.28.18 Reply
  2. Love this GRace!! Gonna try it this weekend!


    8.28.18 Reply
  3. Gwendolyn Alfred:

    This sounds great I haven’t tried it yet but I am going to give it a try on my hair I drink ACV to lose belly fat and it’s good to so I’m going to give it a try on my hair.

    8.28.18 Reply
  4. Patricia Fowler:

    I remember using this rinse when I was young. I still do it once a month and I am now 67 yrs old. And the cold water rinse is great, I do it everytime I wash my hair

    8.28.18 Reply
    • I love that!!! It’s so good for your hair. Thanks for adding to the conversation, Patricia! xo

      8.28.18 Reply
  5. Laura:

    I love this idea, but does your hair smell vinegary afterward?

    8.28.18 Reply
  6. Carmen Rios:

    Losing my hair

    8.29.18 Reply
    • Justine Coates:

      What do you use to wash it Carmen? I know someone whom started receding and thinning at age 18 Andrew someone advised him to stop using shampoos and just use water to wash his hair. He did this and now at age 27 he still had a full head of hair. His brother (18 months younger than him) continued to use commercial shampoo and he now shave his head as he receded so much

      8.31.19 Reply
  7. T:

    I wash my hair with AVC and it works, now I add it to my bottle water.

    8.29.18 Reply
  8. Sharleen Hyde:

    ACV is a must have in my world. Since I have a severe scalp condition the only thing that really clears it is my ACV rinse. Even prescription medications don’t do as well. It’s a game changer. My ACV foot soak is another regular habit. As good if not better than a pedicure soak. Inexpensive and a life saver. Don’t ever hesitate to use it.

    8.29.18 Reply
  9. Katie:

    I started doing ACV rinses biweekly last year for a scalp condition and I am obsessed!! (my mom actually got me hooked- that’s all she has ever used since it was such a cheap alternative to shampoo/cond growing up poor). I typically do a 3:1 ratio in a bowl (water to vinegar, respectively) and use a turkey baster to apply it- a lazy way of not buying a squeeze bottle, HA! I like the suggestion of Aloe and the massage though so I need to try that this weekend!

    8.30.18 Reply
  10. Morgan:

    Hi grace! I would love to try this, but I have a Keratin treatment like you do….do you notice that this reduces the longevity of your treatment? Have you ever talked with your stylist about it? I’m so gentle with my hair because I love my treatment and don’t want to waste my $$$! Thanks (:

    8.31.18 Reply
    • Hi Morgan, I don’t think it does! I avoid any products with sulfates but that’s the only *special* thing I do to preserve mine.

      9.1.18 Reply
  11. Cynthia:

    Will try this out! I have very oily hair.

    9.6.18 Reply
  12. Christmas:

    I have been fan of ACV for so long – I just can’t believe I didn’t know about using it on my very long hair before! But I’m certainly glad to know now. I loved reading about it and am going to take my shower right now to try your recipe that I’m sure is excellent. Also want to use it on my skin! Thanks for sharing.

    2.18.19 Reply
  13. Definitely gonna try it, I have oily hair and I’m always using dry shampoo although I have been trying to use less of it but I still feel the need to find something that deep cleans it. I just have a question though, if we’re not supposed to put any more product in our hair like shampoo or conditioner after we use the acv, won’t it leave my hair smelling like vinegar?

    8.16.19 Reply
    • A little. Just rinse it really well. And too be honest, I still use a little conditioner!

      8.16.19 Reply
  14. Megan:

    Just added this to my weekend agenda! Sounds like some great self care mixed in with a long bath! Thanks to Grace for being my new and improved alternative to magazines!

    8.16.19 Reply
  15. Justine Coates:

    Thanks for this. I use just ACV and filtered water to condition my hair once a week. I only wash my hair with water and occasionally (less than once a month) with bicarbonate if soda and water. I have been doing no-poo since 2014 and as I wasn’t always very good at brushing my long, very easily tangled, lots of it hair twice daily to distribute the natural oils, it started to form dreadlocks. So when I noticed this, I just Kent my hair do it’s own thing.

    I will give your recipe a go, I have an aloe plant, so will use the aloe fmkre that. Thanks again 🙂

    8.31.19 Reply
  16. Robinn:

    My hairdresser says 1:10 vinegar:water. My hair is very oily but not while using this. I can now go five days now without degreasing it. It used to be 2 1/2 days.
    It is also a great detangler. Best ever! I wish I had hair to about 6 inches below my waist!

    4.29.20 Reply
  17. Karina:

    I’ll definitely have to try this. I stumbled upon your scalp cleaning post couple months ago and I tried baking soda mixed with my shampoo. I think (fingers crossed) it’s helped my scalp but will definitely have to try ACV. I have had so many problems with my scalp over the years and have tried so many different things and none of them have worked. I’m always on the search for easy (read cheaper) ways that will help.


    5.29.20 Reply
  18. Laura:

    Wow! I really want to try the ACV rinse this weekend. I’m going to try and make my own recipe. Thanks for reposting (new follower here)!

    5.29.20 Reply
  19. Sabrina:

    I will have to try this! I’m a bit nervous about doing no conditioner tho….

    I am a big fan of oatmeal and egg showers as well. Mixing raw eggs into dry oatmeal and using it as a hair mask

    5.29.20 Reply
  20. Md Shaheen Alam:

    I benefited from reading it. It was good. Go through all the good articles like this. I hope you will say something simple and easy to make at home.

    8.27.20 Reply
  21. Kelsey:

    Do you put it all over your hair or just your scalp?

    9.16.20 Reply
  22. Elaine:

    I’ve actually been doing this for the past month and find that my hair feels much silkier and I never use conditioner anymore. I have very dry hair that is quite fine but the apple cider vinegar seems to provide more body and bounce.

    6.14.21 Reply
  23. Love this recipe, especially since I was able to use aloe from my own plant! I would DEFINITELY recommend washing your hair before using if it’s greasy. I was on maybe 3 of no washing + medium dry shampoo buildup and tried this without shampooing first.

    My boyfriend said my hair smelled like apples but I had a mild grease helmet remaining Will definitely try again as it did feel really good on my scalp in the shower and noticed the shine on the rest of my hair!

    1.23.22 Reply
  24. Phyllis:

    Does it matter if I’m 60 yrs. old,my race is black American with Indian to use this on my blackish without a detangler product or hair conditioner?

    9.27.22 Reply