On Point or Over-Hyped: Apple Cider Vinegar

As I mentioned in a previous post, I hit Vitamin Shoppe recently. Along with my Aloe Vera Gel purchase, I also bought some Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) to see what all the hoopla is about.

The interwebs tout that ACV is a miracle in a bottle, and it can help you kill lice, dandruff, grow hair, improve your credit score, pH balance hair, re-elect Obama, smooth hair, bring down gas prices, and fight frizz...and the list goes on. I could understand how ACV as an anti-bacterial agent can eliminate dandruff and promote a clean scalp for hair growth. What's trickier to understand is the claim of pH balancing and cuticle closing. Would an ACV rinse really smooth out my hair?

I began my search at The Natural Haven Bloom. Jc is usually my starting point for scientific inquiry -- I have mad respect for her work. I'll spare you the major details, but grab ahold of these points:
  • The pH scale: 0- 6.9 = Acidic. 7 = Neutral. 7.1 - 14 = Alkaline (Basic)
  • Hair is acidic, with a pH range of 4.5 - 5.5
  • Between the pH of 4 and 9, hair remains largely unchanged. The cuticle lifts when products on the hair are at a pH of 9 and above
  • When hair cuticles are lifted, hair (under a microscope) appears jagged, can feel rough, and is generally weaker, more porous (translation: difficulty retaining moisture), and more prone to breakage
If you are interested in Jc's work around pH and hair, check out the following links:
Investigation: Does pH Affect Your Hair Cuticle?
pH and Your Hair
Does Hair Really Not React in the pH Range 4-9?

So what about Apple Cider Vinegar? Undiluted, the pH of ACV ranges from 4.25 to 5 -- which is close to the pH of hair. Theoretically, if you frequently utilize products that are alkaline in nature, an ACV rinse could be beneficial in terms of restoring your hair to it's natural and optimum pH. When your hair is in it's natural pH range, the cuticles are considered closed, and lie flat against eachother. Consequently, moisture is better retained in closed cuticles, and hair is at its strongest. If you are more pH conscious about your hair products, ACV is probably one of those things you don't particularly need. However, if you regularly use more alkaline products, an ACV rinse may be what you need to bring your hair to its peak. To check Jc's research on product pH, visit:
pH of Shampoos
pH of Conditioners
pH of Styling Aids

My experience with ACV has been "take it or leave it" thus far. Post-wash and deep conditioning, I experienced shiny, smooth hair...but that is usually the case (unless I test a clusterfudge of a product). I think next time, I'll do a side-by-side for ACV and non rinses. Also, I hope to acquire litmus test strips soon, so I can get to testing my beloved products.

FYI: To make an ACV rinse, add 3 teaspoons of ACV (organic, raw/unfiltered, with mother is always best) to water. 

Have you tried Apple Cider Vinegar? Has it helped, hurt, or made no difference at all?


  1. Funny and imformative..always a plus..Im all for anything that can lower gas prices!