Apple cider vinegar for hair: the £1.15 kitchen ingredient that can transform your locks

black and white image of a woman with glossy hair - apple cider vinegar for hair
(Image credit: Getty Images)

So here's the thing, it's typically used to create salad dressings but Apple Cider Vinegar is suddenly the household ingredient for wellness and beauty buffs. Taken on an empty stomach in the morning, it's said to boost your immune system, help with bloating and lower your blood sugar. Victoria Beckham swears by it. And the latest trend? Using apple cider vinegar on hair.

This might sound odd, but hear us out. This ingredient is great at clarifying an unhappy scalp that is riddled with product buildup. This makes it a really good alternative to scalp scrubs if you're not keen on the texture. It's also an excellent treatment for super shine. In a nutshell, this purse-friendly

Benefits of using apple cider vinegar on hair

Boosts shine

Non-shiny hair is the result of open hair cuticles that stop the hair from looking smooth and reflecting light. This is often caused by an off-kilter pH level on the scalp. The acidity of the apple cider vinegar will balance the levels on your scalp, resulting in healthier, smoother and shinier strands.

Preserves and protects your colour

In the same way that your hair looks shinier because your cuticles are closed, your colour will look more vibrant too. By skipping your shampoo once a week in favour of an apple cider vinegar rinse, you are also not stripping the hair.

Helps get rid of dandruff

If you were wondering how to treat dandruff, you probably weren't thinking this. Because it's naturally antibacterial and antifungal, it actually fights dandruff on the scalp. According to Healthline, it reduces fungal growth (which is essentially the yeast that causes dandruff). Although not as effective as your standard dandruff treatment, it's gentle on the scalp so ideal if your skin is more on the sensitive side.

Removes product buildup

The clear signs of product buildup are a texture to the roots even after you've just washed your hair, greasiness all the time and limp roots. There's a naturally occurring AHA in apple cider vinegar, which gently exfoliates the scalp. We recommend two or three rinses with apple cider vinegar to fully clarify the scalp.

Soothes the scalp

As well as antibacterial and antifungal, apple cider vinegar is also anti-inflammatory. This means that if you have a particularly itchy scalp (because of dandruff or product buildup) this will ease by introducing this into your haircare routine.

How to use apple cider vinegar on the hair

You have a few options - you could quite literally go into your kitchen cupboard and take that into the shower with you. Always, always dilute if you're going to take it straight from the kitchen. We recommend around one part apple cider vinegar and five parts water. Instead of shampooing, apply your diluted solution to the scalp and massage in and down the lengths. Allow it to sit for a minute or so and then rinse out and follow up with conditioner.


Sainsbury's Cider Vinegar, £1.15
You can't go wrong with this price. Add it to your weekly online shop.

from £3.29 | Holland & Barrett

Holland & Barrett Organic Apple Cider Vinegar, from £3.29 | Holland & Barrett
Made from organic apples and can be drunk, used in your kitchen or on your hair.

Alternatively, if you don't trust your own at-home hair salon skills, then there are products that do the job for you. You apply them exactly the same, but both brands recommend leaving in for 1-3 minutes.

£27.50 | Net-A-Porter

Acid Wash: ACV Cleansing Rinse, £27.50 | Net-A-Porter
Product buildup is one of those things that once you start thinking about, it can give you the ick. But most of us who colour, care and style our hair are at risk of getting it. R+Co's Cleansing Rinse balances the pH levels of your hair and scalp and helps deeply cleanse without stripping.

£32 | Cult Beauty

dpHUE ACV Hair Rinse, £32 | Cult Beauty
Created as an alternative to over-shampooing. This shampoo substitute prevents colour stripping and allows the colour that you spent a lot of money on to shine and look its best.

Apple cider vinegar works on all hair types, but those with colour-treated and greasy hair will see the benefit faster.

If you're concerned that your hair will smell like the counter of a chip shop, don't worry your hair won't hang on to that vinegary smell. Be sure to rinse well.

Katie Thomas

Katie Thomas is the Senior Beauty Editor at Marie Claire UK. With over 10 years of experience on women's luxury lifestyle titles, she covers everything from the best beauty looks from the red carpet and stand out trends from the catwalk, to colonic irrigation and to the best mascaras on the market. She started her career on fashion desks across the industry - from The Telegraph to Brides - but found her calling in the Tatler beauty department. From there she moved to Instyle, before joining the Marie Claire digital team in 2018. She’s made it her own personal mission to find the best concealer in the world to cover her tenacious dark circles. She’s obsessed with skincare that makes her skin bouncy and glowy, low-maintenance hair that doesn’t require brushing and a cracking good manicure. Oh and she wears more jewellery than the Queen.