Dry Hair? Apple Cider Vinegar Can Help

When it comes to my hair, I’m in a bit of a pickle. Many hair experts caution against washing your hair every day due to the increased risk of drying and breakage. That’s great and all, but I have extremely oily hair. My dad had it, too. Unless I’m curling it, going a day without washing my hair is pure torture.

So, you probably guessed it: my hair is pretty dry from all that over-washing. Fortunately, there’s a hair hack I’ve been having some luck with – apple cider vinegar. 

Today, I’m going to explain the benefits of apple cider vinegar and how it can help combat dry, brittle hair like mine (and possibly yours!) 

What Causes Dry Hair? 

acv for dry brittle hair

Overwashing is a big catalyst for dry, brittle hair. However, it’s not the only one. Before diving into how apple cider vinegar can help combat dry hair, it’s important to know what causes it. In doing so, you may be able to adjust your routine and experience the same benefits of apple cider vinegar. 

Dry hair has many causes. These factors include but are not limited to the aforementioned overwashing, hormonal imbalances, medical conditions such as hypothyroidism, and the weather. For those living in drier climates such as Arizona, Nevada, and California, dry hair is just a product of the environment. This is because hair loses moisture in drier climates. Hair needs moisture to look good and maintain its elasticity to uphold different styles. 

Mount Sinai confirms this, stating that “Dry hair is hair that does not have enough moisture and oil to maintain its normal sheen and texture.”  

Luckily, there is a secret weapon: Apple cider vinegar. Apple cider vinegar (ACV) can replenish moisture, making dull, dry hair feel soft and smooth again. 

How Does Apple Cider Vinegar Repair Dry Hair? 

acv for dry hair

Apple cider vinegar repairs dry hair in a few different ways. The big one has to do with buildup. 

Buildup can be caused by several different things, but most notably, the types of hair products that you’re using. For example, any shampoos or conditioners that contain silicone in them, are known for causing a lot of buildup. 

While on the one hand, the buildup can make your hair and scalp feel greasy, it also pulls your hair down. As briefly mentioned above, dry hair isn’t as elastic or pliable. Getting rid of the buildup that drags the hair down breathes new life into it. A lot of this buildup removal is due to one of apple cider vinegar’s primary ingredients: acetic acid. 

Remember earlier I mentioned that climate can affect your hair’s dryness level? Well, what I failed to mention was that hard water can also have an effect. Hard water contains a lot of calcium. In Florida, where I live, this hard water is caused by a lot of limestone.

The problem with hard water is that it doesn’t always clean as thoroughly as it should. So, if you are using the wrong product for your hair and mixing it with poor weather climates and hard water, your hair is going to be dry. These are things ACV can help with. 

ACV combats these things by restoring shine and breaking down mineral buildup. Simply put, ACV has been linked to restoring shine, opening hair follicles, and combatting frizzy and dry hair. If you want to repair your hair, using either ACV or a product infused with it is a great way to start. 

How to Apply ACV to Your Dry Hair

The golden rule: never apply apple cider vinegar directly to your hair and scalp. Instead, you’re going to want to dilute it. Add 2 tablespoons of ACV to an 8-ounce glass of water, then stir. Since apple cider vinegar is a detoxing agent, it should be put on after you shampoo and condition your hair. 

Massage it into your scalp and let it sit for approximately five minutes. Then rinse with cool water. Cool water can help seal your hair cuticles, extending the benefits of the ACV detox. 

Don’t Want to Use Straight ACV In Your Hair? Try These Products

Sure, ACV has lots of benefits. However, one downside is that it still smells like vinegar. It’s understandable if you don’t want your hair to smell like vinegar for days on end

Fortunately, many hair products on the market contain ACV but with other fragrances so it’s not so pungent. I recommend the Apple Cider Vinegar Shampoo by Majestic Pure, available on Amazon for less than $15. This apple-scented shampoo has decent ratings and is specifically designed for dry hair. 

If you want something a bit more professional-grade, go with OUAI. It’s a bit pricey, with a 10-ounce bottle costing $32, but it will leave your hair feeling very refreshed. It’s designed to treat all hair types, including those that are chemically treated, like mine. In addition to genetics, my hair is also pretty dry due to having dyed it a lot. OUAI Detox Shampoo helps restore the moisture that the hair dye has ripped out. 

It’s worth noting that if you’re planning on using OUAI, you have to do so sparingly. The brand recommends only using it one to two times per week. So, if you have oily dry hair like me, then you might want to try upping your tolerance for not washing your hair for a few days before using this. 

My Experience Using Apple Cider Vinegar in My Hair 

how to apply apple cider vinegar to your dry hair

My experience using apple cider vinegar in my hair has been overwhelmingly positive. First, let’s talk about the highlights: 

  • It has helped reduce dandruff caused by oil
  • My scalp feels cleaner 
  • My hair seems less frizzy, especially since moving to a humid, more tropical climate
  • It’s easy to make and cost-effective (I only spend about $2 on a 16-ounce bottle from Target)

The drawbacks: 

  • It does make my hair smell like vinegar (no amount of apples can drown out the scent of vinegar)
  • It sometimes leaves my hair just as dry 

Though apple cider vinegar is designed for all hair types and beneficial for combatting dry hair, too much of anything can backfire. Just like with any hair clarifying detox, this has to be used sparingly, and I’ve found that any more than once a week can leave my hair feeling gross.

Experts even recommend avoiding an ACV detox more than two times a week. If your hair is really thin, like mine, stick with it once a week. However, if you do want to use it twice a week, just use a leave-in conditioner to help retain moisture. 

I don’t hate using apple cider vinegar in my hair as a quick measure, but if I can avoid the DIY method, I do. I think it’s better to use a shampoo/conditioner with ACV properties in it for a few reasons. First, it smells better. And two, I don’t have to worry about using too much and causing irritation or too little and not gleaning the benefits. 

Though I recommend the products above, feel free to experiment and find one that works for you. There are so many products for dry hair on the market, and sometimes it takes a while to find what works for you. 

Have you tried using apple cider vinegar for your dry hair? What were your thoughts? 

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