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8 Reasons Why Apple Cider Vinegar Is Good For Your Hair

30 mins

Radhika Bhatia

Is ACV good for your hair? Does apple cider vinegar help with hair growth? Find out all about the effects of Apple Cider Vinegar on your hair!

Newsflash: Your kitchen cabinet has an important product that will transform your hair.

Picture this: light, bouncy full-body hair - the type that you’ve always dreamt of. Your hair feels so soft and silky, you can’t stop touching it. It falls perfectly from your roots, tangle-free and ready to go. 

You run your fingers through your hair and turn around, catching a glimpse of it in the mirror. Each and every one of your strands is shiny and vibrant: your hair has never looked so strong and healthy. 

It’s irresistibly smooth and you can’t resist running your fingers through your hair one more just to make sure it’s not a dream. 

It’s not a dream. 

You smile at your reflection in the mirror, satisfied. 

If your hair could talk, it would be thanking you for its new best friend. You continue on with your day, with an extra glow of happiness and that extra bounce in your step - the type that only comes with true confidence. 

It’s not the type of confidence that comes and goes either. It’s the type of full-body confidence you feel from head-to-toe when you finally hit that challenging goal. 

preventing split ends, healthy hair, apple cider vinegar hair benefits

Hair care isn’t easy, and you know it. It’s a daily commitment - you’ve envisioned this hair, this day, this look, for months. 

You’ve worked for this, trying different routines, and following endless hair care tips. You finally have your dream hair. 

You deserve to be proud of yourself: the reason you feel your best right now is because you’ve worked for it. 

Here’s the thing - almost everyone overlooks this game-changer because they don’t realize the many benefits it has and the many ways it can be used.

Chances are, you have a bottle of vinegar laying around in your kitchen cabinet at home. If you love cooking, you might even have different types of vinegar like balsamic vinegar and white vinegar. 

If you’re adventurous, you may even have red wine vinegar, white wine vinegar, or gourmet vinegars. 

Kitchen cabinet with vinegars inside it *or just condiments*

However, the real must-have is apple cider vinegar. Apple cider vinegar has been long raved about for the numerous beauty, hair care, and health benefits it touts. 

In fact, when you Google “apple cider vinegar,” roughly 110 billion results will pop up - that speaks to how well-loved this is. 

But yikes — talk about information overload! 

That’s why we’ve done the research and gathered all the information you need to know about this beloved cult product. 

Here’s everything you need to know about apple cider vinegar compiled in a handy go-to guide.

Table of Contents: 

  • Viral Beginnings: The “31 Pound Weight Loss” Exposed
  • An Early Cure For Colds: Origins & History
  • What Is Apple Cider Vinegar?
  • Two Categories of Apple Cider Vinegar
  • Refined ACV
  • Raw, Unfiltered & Unrefined ACV
  • How Apple Cider Vinegar Is Made
  • The “Mother” You Need To Know Before Buying ACV Products
  • ACV Shopping Tip - Make Sure You Get The Good Stuff
  • 8 Benefits Of Apple Cider Vinegar For Your Hair
  • 1. Balances the pH of Your Hair & Scalp
  • What is pH & Why Does It Matter?
  • A Scientific “How-To” On Hairstyle Management
  • How Apple Cider Vinegar Balances Your pH
  • What Shampoo Manufacturers Don’t Want You To Know
  • 2. Restores Life To Dull, Limp Hair
  • What Happens When Your Hair Follicles Are Clogged?
  • How Does Apple Cider Vinegar Unclog Your Follicles?
  • 3. Treats Dandruff By Killing Harmful Fungi & Bacteria
  • What Really Causes Dandruff, Revealed
  • How To Treat Your Dandruff with ACV
  • 4. Reduces Your Hair Loss & Stimulates Hair Growth
  • The Importance of Blood Circulation For Healthy Hair
  • Three Phases of Hair Growth
  • Targets Free Radicals To Reverse Cell Aging
  • 5. Keeps Your Hair Shiny & Lustrous
  • What Actually Makes Your Hair Shiny?
  • How ACV Gives You Enviously Shiny Hair 
  • 6. Packed With Nutrients That Keep Your Hair Strong & Healthy
  • The Powerful Nutrients In ACV
  • Biotin - The #1 Hair Protein
  • Vitamin B6 - The Hidden Benefits
  • Niacin - Tiny But Mighty
  • 7. Improves Thinning Hair
  • Three Factors Of Hair Loss
  • What Is DHT?
  • How DHT Damages Your Hair Follicles
  • How Apple Cider Vinegar Fights DHT
  • 8. Prevents Split Ends & Breakage
  • Hair Care 101 - Split Ends  
  • What Causes Split Ends?
  • How Does Apple Cider Vinegar Prevents Split Ends?
  • 3 Essential Tips To Prevent Split Ends
  • Types of Apple Cider Vinegar
  • Precautions
  • Final Thoughts

Viral Beginnings: The “31 Pound Weight Loss” Exposed

In April of 2017, an apple cider vinegar product went viral on the internet as a “magical” diet product. A college student claimed to have lost 31 pounds in a single month entirely from drinking apple cider vinegar.

obese, waist measurements, measuring waist

The story went viral. 

Sounds too good to be true, right?

Well, you’re right, it is. Go-to urban legends reference, Snopes, published an exposé fact-checking this story. 

Here’s a summary of their research.

Although it was reported as genuine news and published on various sites, the media source behind this used a fabricated interview and an unrelated photo, falsely claiming that apple cider vinegar was used as a “diet hack” to lose 31 lbs. in a single month. 

The photograph used wasn’t actually of the student in question. To add insult to injury, they falsified an interview with CNN, and linked to a site where consumers could purchase the product. 

But like all internet phenomena, there’s still truth and science behind this viral myth. 

An Early Cure For Colds: Origins & History

It’s no secret that apple cider vinegar has scientifically proven health benefits. In fact, it’s been known since the time of Hippocrates, Father of Western Medicine, in 400 B.C — 2408 years ago.

Historically, apple cider vinegar has typically been used for beauty and health benefits: from detoxifying the liver, purifying blood, boosting immunity, and even mixed with honey to cure coughs and cold - by Hippocrates, the father of medicine himself. 

Later on in the 17th century, Europeans began noticing the potent effects of vinegar. They noticed its strong antibacterial properties and began using it in medicine. They prepared it in syrups and antiseptics, as a precursor to modern cough medicine - using it as a gargle to kill off germs.

Over the years, vinegar slowly became a multipurpose household item. Today, apple cider vinegar is once again rising in popularity, gaining recognition for its potent health promoting properties - people around the world use it as a natural remedy to treat a variety of ailments and conditions.

Let’s take a deeper look at apple cider vinegar. 

What Is Apple Cider Vinegar?

Also known as “ACV”, apple cider vinegar is an amber colored type of vinegar often used for various health benefits. These range from treating dandruff, to stimulating hair growth, to keeping your hair strong and healthy

Here’s the 4-1-1 on all things apple cider vinegar. 

Two Categories of Apple Cider Vinegar

There are two main categories of apple cider vinegar: all apple cider vinegars are either pasteurized, or unrefined and unfiltered.

Refined ACV

These typically appear clear as a result of purification. They don’t leave any residue or remnants afterwards, which is why they’re often used in cleaning. 

refined apple cider vinegar, refined ACV

Wine vinegar, or white vinegars, are distilled are often used in cooking, baking, and meat preservations.

Raw, Unfiltered & Unrefined ACV

This version of apple cider vinegar tends to be amber in color and looks murky in appearance. These vinegars still contain the culture of bacteria that converts apple cider into vinegar - no worries here, that’s the good bacteria.

unfiltered apple cider vinegar, unfiltered ACV

The form your apple cider vinegar comes in will affect the benefits it boasts. The difference literally comes from a one-step difference in the production process. Crazy, right?

How Apple Cider Vinegar Is Made

If you can remember all the way back to high school biology class, alcohol goes through a process called “fermentation” to become vinegar.

Here’s a quick crash course on how that works:

Apple cider vinegar is made from freshly pressed and unrefined apple juice or cider. From there, bacteria and yeast is added to start the process of alcoholic fermentation that all vinegars go through. 

ACV

To break this down even more, fermentation exposes non-distilled (a fancy term for unprocessed) alcohol in apple cider to the air. 

A group of bacteria known as “acetobacter aceti” converts the ethanol alcohols inside apple cider into acetic acid. This process is called fermentation; and carbohydrates go through something similar. 

As you might guess, acetic acid is highly concentrated in acid. Most vinegars contain 3-9% acetic acid by volume. As one of the primary components of vinegar, acetic acid is what gives vinegar its distinctive sour taste and pungent smell.

Vinegars are often processed and pasteurized after being fermented. During this process, they’re removed of the “Mother” and contain significantly less nutrients - these are the vinegars that look crystal clear.

If your apple cider vinegar contains the “Mother”, then it has significantly more health, skincare, and hair care benefits for you - and here’s why.

The “Mother” You Need To Know Before Buying ACV Products

That’s right - you may already have a mother, but this mother will help and care for you just like your own. 

But what exactly is this “Mother” of apple cider vinegar everyone talks about?

The “Mother” of apple cider vinegar is the culture of bacteria we mentioned earlier. This is made up of strands of proteins, enzymes, and friendly bacteria that gives off a distinctive, cloudy appearance.

microscope

If you see this, don’t worry - that means this is the good stuff! Your apple cider vinegar hasn’t turned sour or gone bad even one bit. 

The “Mother” is packed with antioxidants and probiotics, nutrients that promote your health by helping new cells and healthy bacteria grow. 

apple cider vinegar benefits, what is good for hair

ACV Shopping Tip - Make Sure You Get The Good Stuff

Most manufacturers will distill vinegars to remove the “Mother” because its murkiness can turn away consumers. But in this case, you’ll want it as unprocessed as possible. 

Like all good things, the more processed a food is, the less nutrition it will have. 

And here’s a bonus: you can use the “Mother” in the store-bought apple cider vinegar to make your own at home! 

It’s a complicated process, but many DIY-savvy beauty and wellness lovers swear by making their personal ACV.

8 Benefits Of Apple Cider Vinegar For Your Hair

Real talk for a minute - you’re probably tired of hearing mumbo-jumbo on the internet. Nowadays, just about every product is some “magic” multitasker that promises you the world but rarely delivers. 

Trust us, we get it. Nothing is more frustrating than being excited about a new product only to realize that it was all hype. 

Apple cider vinegar is truly scientifically proven to help reduce hair loss and improve hair growth

We know talk is cheap, so we’ve gathered the sources to back us up.  

So let’s get into the benefits of apple cider vinegar and break down the science behind why it works.

1. Balances the pH of Your Hair & Scalp

If you use any type of hair care product, or put your hair through any treatments, odds are that the delicate pH balance of your hair and scalp has been thrown off.

What is pH & Why Does It Matter?

The potential of hydrogen, or pH, is a logarithmic scale that measures how acidic a substance is. Coming in with a pH between 4.5 and 5.5, the human hair and sebum (scalp oil) is naturally slightly acidic to keep your hair and scalp healthy. 

Our bodies work to maintain a delicate balance between acidity and alkalinity, especially when each part of the human body has a different optimal pH range. 

For example, the pH of our bowels, stomach, and skin is more acidic to fight off the bacteria we come in daily contact with. On the other hand, the pH of our saliva is more alkaline to prevent tooth decay. 

That means our bodies are constantly hard at work to keep us healthy, adjusting for recurring processes that affect our body’s overall pH levels such as cellular breakdown, respiration, and metabolism.

Following this line of thought, when your scalp and hair becomes too alkali (weak in acidity), it strips away the naturally acidic sebum that fights fungi and bacteria on your scalp. This means issues like dry, itchy flakes (dandruff) or dull limp hair. 

dandruff

When you expose your hair cuticles to soapy, alkaline solutions, it causes them to swell up and become more rough. This often causes mineral build-up in your hair. 

When calcium and magnesium build up in your hair, they dissolve and crystallize on your hair, creating a film on your hair. 

This scaly, impenetrable film clogs your hair cuticles, prevents moisture from entering your hair, and makes it brittle and prone to breakage - all of this means dull, dry, and coarse hair. 

dull hair, greasy hair, oily hair, oily scalp

And it gets worse - when calcium salts accumulate on your scalp, it causes dandruff. In more severe cases, the build-up will fully clog a hair cuticle and cause hair to break off and fall off. 

Let’s Do Some Simple Addition:

Don’t worry, you don’t need to be a calculus whiz to keep up with this next part.

Split ends + hair loss + no new hair growth (clogged pores, remember?) = not fun

Hmm…

What if we could rearrange the equation so that it becomes:

“Healthy scalp + essential nutrients= longer, stronger, and healthier hair”? 

I bet that caught your interest. 

A Scientific “How-To” On Hairstyle Management

If you have dyed hair or if your hair has gone through any treatment, your hair cuticle has already been affected by chemicals - that’s an unavoidable truth. 

A highly alkaline substance was used to open and change your hair cuticle, followed by an acidic substance to “flatten” it. 

As a result, you need acidic hair products to keep your hair cuticle flat, otherwise your hairstyle will be ruined. 

 woman dying her hair

We all know how frustrating it is to spend hours styling your hair for those perfect beachy waves, or pin-straight layers, only for it to be ruined two hours into your day. 

Now lastly, if you have curly hair, your cuticle is already partially open - that’s why curly hair tends to be naturally dry. 

If you use an alkaline product, it’ll dry your hair out even more and make it hard to manage. That’s because alkaline products increase the negative electrical charge of the hair fiber surface, according to The International Journal of Trichology. 

curly hair

If you have curly hair, you know the struggle - tangled hair and untamable frizz is literally your nightmare.

Scary right? 

Who knew so much science went into managing your hair...

But here comes apple cider vinegar to the rescue!

How Apple Cider Vinegar Balances Your pH

Apple cider vinegar and apple cider vinegar shampoos are highly acidic in nature due to its high concentration of acetic acid. Since it naturally has a similar pH to healthy hair, its lower pH allows it to balance your scalp and hair to the ideal acidity. 

After you use it to care for your hair, a simple and thorough rinse with water will remove the acidic substance entirely from your hair - leaving you with just the benefits.

 

ACV, buywow, apple cider vinegar shampoo

 

The slight acidity of apple cider vinegar allows it to restore the natural pH of the acid mantle that binds to your hair cuticle. It hardens the outer layer of the cuticle and flattens it - that means shiny, velvet-smooth hair for you.

shiny hair, smooth hair

Apple cider vinegar gives you less frizz and more shine. When the pH levels of your scalp is balanced and your hair cuticles are closed, that makes your hair a lot easier to untangle and manage - which makes a world of difference to all you curly haired beauties out there. 

The acetic acid in the “Mother” will also lower your hair’s pH to combat the dry frizziness that leaves your hair prone to hair breakage and hair fall.

What Shampoo Manufacturers Don’t Want You To Know

By now, you probably realized how important pH balanced products are for your hair. Yet most brands don’t mention “pH balanced” on their products… weird, right? 

Well, that’s because only 38% of shampoos have a pH level higher than 5.0 - that means the product you’re using is probably less acidic than your scalp! Unless you’re using an expensive, salon-priced shampoo, that is.

As a consumer, that means you need to be extra careful of the products you’re using in your hair care routine. Make sure you’re investing in the good stuff: that means pH balanced and free of harsh, hormone-altering chemicals. 

Your hair deserves nothing but the best.

2. Restores Life To Dull, Limp Hair

Whether it’s serums, gels, masks, or pomades - scalp build-up is a common occurrence for anyone who styles their hair. 

It’s no secret that apple cider vinegar is an effective way to get rid of sticky residue, product build-up, or sebum and dead skin in your hair.

What Happens When Your Hair Follicles Are Clogged?

When build-up accumulates on your scalp, your hair follicles become clogged. Your hair follicles are the little “sacs” in your scalp that anchor your hair to your skin. 

In healthy hair, groups of cells attach to the sebaceous gland - the gland that produces oils such as sebum to keep your hair soft and smooth - and muscle fibers. 

This causes your hair to grow slightly away from your scalp, which is what gives you the volume and full-body feeling you love.

clogged hair follicle

 
When your hair looks limp and dead, odds are that your hair follicles are clogged with excess build-up, debris, and oils. Clogged hair follicles weight down your hair. And in more severe cases, can even cause chronic acne and hair loss.

Most generic shampoos and conditioners that add volume and body to your hair contain moisturizers - they’re only a temporary solution to your hair care problems. These moisturizers will accumulate over time and clog your hair follicles. 

How Does Apple Cider Vinegar Unclog Your Follicles?

Here’s where apple cider vinegar comes in. It’s a natural cleansing agent that gently removes build-up from your scalp and hair without stripping away natural oils that keep your hair healthy.

It contains a healthy natural dose of alpha-hydroxy acid and acetic acid. These two powerhouses work together and break down build-up. 

Once you’re done washing your hair, just thoroughly rinse and all the residue will wash out of your hair and into your shower drain. And apple cider vinegar is “non comedogenic”, which is just the derm’s fancy way of saying that it’s formulated in a way where it can’t block your hair follicles. 

To use apple cider vinegar for your hair, either invest in a clarifying apple cider vinegar shampoo (a shampoo that doesn’t contain conditioner) or apply apple cider vinegar to your hair and let it sit for a few minutes before rinsing thoroughly with water. 

Apple cider vinegar has properties that will leave your hair feeling smooth, full, and soft. It closes the cuticles of your hair to help your hair reflect light - this is what makes your hair shiny. And as a bonus, no need for conditioner!

3. Treats Dandruff By Killing Harmful Fungi & Bacteria

Nothing feels worse than a dry and itchy scalp… Until you see gross, flakey skin fall after scratching it. And if you have dark hair or if you’re wearing black clothing… eek

Sounds familiar? You’re not alone. 

One in five people are affected by dandruff. In fact, people often try to treat it incorrectly - this actually makes the condition worse. 

What Really Causes Dandruff, Revealed

Contrary to popular belief, over-shampooing your hair won’t cause dandruff - that’s just a common myth.

Dandruff is actually caused by a yeast-like fungus by the name of “pityrosporum ovale”. This fungus is natural on every person’s scalp. It usually doesn’t cause any problems. 

But when your scalp produces too much oil, bacteria builds up and causes dandruff. You’ll know when this happens because it’s usually accompanied by severe itching, an odor, or even bleeding. It'll feel dry, flakey, and very itchy as well. 

itchy scalp, scratching scalp

Apple cider vinegar has powerful anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory, and anti-microbial properties. Various medical studies have proven the powerful, acidic effect that apple cider vinegar has on bacteria and funguses. 

That makes it the perfect cure for treating a pesky case of dandruff - and it’s free of harsh chemicals!

How To Treat Your Dandruff with ACV

For mild dandruff, a weekly rinse with apple cider vinegar shampoo, or a diluted mixture of equal parts water and apple cider vinegar will help you manage your scalp. 

For moderate dandruff, or a regularly recurring case, use an apple cider vinegar shampoo daily to fight the fungus and protect your scalp against dandruff.

For severe cases of dandruff, massage apple cider vinegar directly into your scalp every other day for a week or until the dandruff goes away.

severe dandruff

Always gently massage the product into your hair and remember to thoroughly rinse. Repeat at the directed interval until the dandruff clears. Your hair will be back and better than ever in no time.

And as a friendly reminder, take extra care if you have any open sores present on your scalp, otherwise you may feel slight burning on your scalp. 

Apple cider vinegar is a friendly and natural way to manage dandruff and other scalp conditions without using harsh chemicals. It’s a simple and affordable health staple you can incorporate into your hair care routine. 

Get creative and experiment!

4. Reduces Your Hair Loss & Stimulates Hair Growth

Yes, you’re hearing this right. Apple cider vinegar is scientifically proven to help reduce hair loss and improve hair growth. 

Here’s how.

The Importance of Blood Circulation For Healthy Hair

An important factor for longer, stronger, and healthier hair is blood circulation. Each and every single hair on our body is made out of a strong, fibrous protein called keratin. Each hair is anchored into the skin of our scalp by a hair follicle that attaches to a base - the hair bulb. 

The hair bulb is where the magic happens: living cells divide and grow to build the hair shaft with keratin

Blood circulation is one of the most crucial factors in this process - our blood vessels are what brings vital nourishment to hair follicle cells in the hair bulb. 

That means your hair root needs a healthy supply of blood, lymph, oxygen, and nutrients to stay strong and healthy - the more effective the circulation, the more nutrients reach these follicles.

Taking a step back, earlier we discussed how apple cider vinegar removes build-up. This is major when it comes to hair growth.

Three Phases of Hair Growth

Hair growth occurs in a cycle made up of three different phases: anagen, catagen, and telogen. These phases last for different times, varying from person to person depending on factors such as hair color, follicle shape, nutrition, and lifestyle.

long hair, ginger hair

Telogen is the resting phase of your hair follicles. In telogen, old hair detaches from the hair follicle and becomes dead and fully keratinized. It’s a natural part of the hair growth cycle, but if your body becomes too stressed, your hair can naturally enter the telogen phase and start falling out. This is a condition called telogen effluvium. So remember to take care of mental and emotional health to keep your body strong and your hair healthy. 

As your hair transitions from telogen to the growth phase - anagen - new hair starts growing, which pushes the old hair out. This is the active growth phase of your hair follicles: the roots of your hair start rapidly dividing. 

During this phase, hair will grow at a rate of roughly 1 centimeter every month. That’s why you often experience hair fall all at once - no worries, your follicles are hard at growth to give you beautiful hair. It’s common to lose 50 to 100 hairs from a normal scalp

At the end of the anagen phase, your hair follicles enter catagen, a short transitional phase that signals the end of the hair growth cycle. During this phase, your hair follicle fully attaches to the hair shaft, cutting the hair off from its blood supply and protein cells. This prevents new hair growth and forms club hairs. 

Club hairs form at the end of the hair growth cycle. These are hairs that have a small bulb of the keratin protein at the root tips of each strand. This protein bulb keeps your hair in its follicles until your hair is ready to be shed in telogen when the growth cycle starts over again. 

When this happens, it’s important that your hair follicles are clean and free of build-up for your new hair to grow as effectively as possible. When your hair follicles are clogged, it makes it hard to be “out with the old, and in with the new.”

Targets Free Radicals To Reverse Cell Aging

If you keep up with all things beauty and skincare, “free radicals” are a term you’ve heard a lot. As it turns out, free radicals also affect your hair. Here’s how.

Free radicals are atoms that are present pretty much everywhere. Our body produces them as a natural byproduct of processes like metabolism. They’re a highly reactive and uncharged molecule that has an unpaired valence electron. This missing electron gives them a short lifespan - they have to steal an electron from other cells to complete their outer shell or else they’ll deteriorate. Think of them as waste products that harm the cells of our body when built up.

That means free radicals have to be talented scavengers. Think a cell version of the Hunger Games - it’s survival of the fittest: every cell for themselves, steal an electron, or suffer death. 

Unfortunately, their scavenging abilities lead to the degradation of healthy skin and hair cells through a process called oxidation. When your hair cells deteriorate, this damages DNA, proteins, and hair cell membranes. That speeds up the aging process and damages your hair, causing weaker hair. In some cases, it even causes hair loss.

antioxidants

Lucky for us, there’s a ‘yin’ that balances out the ‘yang’ of free radicals: antioxidants. Antioxidants are exactly as their name sounds, “anti-oxidants” - they inhibit oxidative damage and counter the degradation of cells. 

Think of them as highly effective policemen that arrest free radicals to prevent them from running around and stealing from healthy cells. Our body naturally produces some antioxidants, but it doesn’t produce enough. Through our diet, we get the remaining antioxidants that our body needs. 

Apple cider vinegar contains an important antioxidant called citric acid. Citric acid neutralizes free radicals by donating one of their own electrons to end the electron-stealing reaction. And citric acid itself won’t become a free radical by donating an electron. That’s because it’s stable in either form, valence electron shell is still stable after the electron reduction.

So to recap, the combination of a balanced scalp, build-up removal, improved blood circulation, and free radical neutralization works together to keep your scalp healthy. And, of course, the foundation to beautiful locks is a healthy scalp. So, make sure you keep your scalp clean by doing regular conditioner-free rinses with apple cider vinegar to clean out your pores!

5. Keeps Your Hair Shiny & Lustrous

Centuries ago, people discovered that vinegar makes your hair look shiny and feel velvet smooth. 

You probably already know this, but the hair is made up of a complex combination of follicles and hair shafts. 

Your hair follicles are located below the skin’s surface, and they play a crucial role in keeping your hair shiny and healthy: they have glands that produce and secrete oils that keep your hair shiny and healthy.

 

ACV

 

What Actually Makes Your Hair Shiny?

If you look under a microscope, you’ll see tiny overlapping scales that make up your hair strands. These scales are made out of a strong fibrous protein called keratin. When your hair is healthy, these protein scales lay flat. This flatness is what creates shiny, smooth hair.

human hair under microscope

When your hair isn’t healthy, like when your hair follicles are clogged, or when it is stripped of its natural oils, the scales that make up your hair also become disrupted. And when these scales are disrupted, they no longer lay flat on your head. This causes weak, dry, or limp hair. That means split ends, or thin hair prone to breakage. 

Yikes, right?

How ACV Gives You Enviously Shiny Hair

So far, we’ve talked about how it balances the hair and scalp’s pH by bringing it back to optimal levels. It rejuvenates your hair with powerful clarifying properties to get rid of any and all build-up. 

When apple cider vinegar dissolves root build-up, that means shiny, smooth hair for you - all without stripping your hair’s natural oils. Not to mention, this cult-fave smooths and closes the cuticles of your hair. This makes light reflect off of it.

shiny hair

All of these benefits work together to give each and every single one of your hairs that natural healthy shine. The citric acid in apple cider vinegar has potent antifungal properties. 

You can think of it as a crazy-effective multitasking ninja: it destroys follicle-clogging bacteria, while polishing each and every hair strand. 

Serious ninja skills, right?

Smooth, bouncy hair has never been so easy...

That’s why apple cider vinegar is the high shine treatment your hair has been waiting for. So if you have dull, limp, or dry hair, don’t be afraid to give apple cider vinegar shampoo a try like, A-S-A-P.

6. Packed With Nutrients That Keep Your Hair Strong & Healthy

For those of you who are linguistic savvy, you already know that the word “vinegar” comes from two Latin words. For the rest of us, that’s ‘vinum’, meaning wine, and ‘acer’, meaning sour.  

And apple cider vinegar is exactly that: sour wine. A large amount of the benefits your hair receives from apple cider vinegar is because of how acidic it is. 

Let’s get deeper into this.

The Powerful Nutrients In ACV

Most of its hair care benefits are a result of its high concentrations of acetic acid and citric acid. ACV is fermented from crushed apples. So just like apple juice, it contains nutrients like vitamin B1, B2, B6, biotin, folic acid, niacin, pantothenic acid, vitamin C, as well as calcium, iron, and magnesium. 

apples

Biotin, folic acid, niacin, pantothenic acid, and of course, vitamins B1, B2, and B6 are all a part of the vitamin B family. The B-complex family of vitamins create proteins that are used to build new tissues and cells, including your hair. 

Some of these vitamins play more important roles in hair health and hair growth than the rest. These vitamins would be biotin, niacin, and vitamin B6. 

Biotin - The #1 Hair Protein

Unless you’re new to the hair care scene, you probably already know about biotin. Biotin is key to hair growth - it reacts with cell enzymes to produce amino acids. 

Amino acids are the building blocks of keratin, the important protein that makes up your hair. Biotin also increases elasticity to prevent breakage and hair loss by carrying oxygen to the cells in your scalp and hair follicles.

Odds are, you probably receive the daily recommended amount of biotin from the foods you’re eating. But if you’d like to increase your intake, you can incorporate foods like egg yolk, nuts, soybeans, whole grains, bananas, and mushrooms into your diet. 

biotin

If you want to up your dosage without changing up your diet, you can get biotin supplements over the counter in either capsule or tablet form. 

As a quick reminder, consult your doctor before taking any supplements if you’re on any medication, and always follow dosage information on the supplement label.

Vitamin B6 - The Hidden Benefits

This small but mighty vitamin plays an essential role in protein metabolism. It acts as a catalyst, meaning that it actives enzymes and chemical reactions in hair follicles that start the metabolism of hair proteins like keratin and melanin. 

Keratin is what makes up your hair, and melanin is what keeps the color of your hair strong and vibrant. Getting enough keratin and melanin boosts your hair growth and keeps it looking young and healthy. 

Very few people know about this hidden benefit of vitamin B6: its role in hormonal regulation. 

You might be thinking, “What do my hormones possible have to do with my hair?” 

Well, here’s what you need to know. 

There’s a component of vitamin B6 called Pyridoxal 5-Phosphate (PLP). This regulates sex hormones (androgens) like testosterone and estrogen. These androgens actually affect hair growth. 

Testosterone causes the production of dihydrotestosterone (DHT). This hormone harms hair growth and causes hair loss since it decreases the length of anagen - the hair growth phase - which decreases the size of your hair follicles. 

Decreased length of anagen + decrease in the size of your hair follicles = less hair growth and thinner, shorter, and weaker hairs.

weak hair

PLP corrects this by binding to testosterone receptors.  This stops the formation of DHT and restores the natural hair growth cycle. And beyond this, several medical studies have found that injections of vitamin B6 prevents hair loss and hair thinning in women.

Foods such as fish, chickpeas, roasted chicken breast, nuts, and lentils are rich in vitamin B6. And just like biotin, you can take vitamin B6 supplements in capsule or tablet form as well.

hair biotin, hair vitamins


Niacin - Tiny But Mighty

Imagine if there was a highly effective yet little-known protein that works 24/7 behind the scenes to help your hair grow…

This little powerhouse is niacin, also known as vitamin B3 - the vitamin that doesn’t get enough love when it comes to all things hair care. 

Niacin plays a big role in the growth of healthy hair - it helps your body convert carbohydrates from food into energy. Even more specifically, niacin maintains the structure of blood cells and improves blood circulation. 

By bringing more blood flow to the scalp, niacin makes sure hair follicles receive enough oxygen and nutrients to stay strong and healthy. This means thicker, longer hair!

Turkey, chicken breast, peanuts, mushroom, and tuna are all niacin rich foods. You can also take niacin (vitamin B3) supplements in capsule or tablet form.

niacin, b3

7. Improves Thinning Hair

In the last time we talked about a decrease in the size of hair follicles. We’ll be getting deep into the juicy science behind that in this benefit. The medical term for this “miniaturization” which describes a progressive thinning of hair.

It’s actually a genetic condition - you may have even heard of it, it’s called “androgenic alopecia”, aka, pattern hair thinning. 

alopecia

And according to the Foundation of Hair Restoration, androgenic alopecia is responsible for 95 percent of all hair loss cases. 

Even if you don’t suffer from androgenic alopecia, hair loss and thinning of hair naturally occurs with age. So keep reading to learn how you can use science to keep your hair healthy and strong as long as possible.

Three Factors Of Hair Loss

There’s three factors that affect the onset of hair follicle miniaturization. The first two are out of our control, but the third factor can be influenced, so you can bet we’ll take full advantage of that. 

The first factor is genetic predisposition. Miniaturization of hair is genetic, meaning it’s genes from both sides of your family will affect you.  

The second factor is age: it’s simple - the older you are, the more likely you’ll experience this. Just because you age however, doesn’t mean you need to suffer from the full effects of aging. You can take extra care to combat its effects. 

The third factor is the presence of DHT, also known as dihydrotestosterone.

What Is DHT?

DHT is the primary hormone associated with the miniaturization of hair follicles. 

Let’s break down the process. 

DHT, dihydrotestosterone is a sex steroid and hormone produced from testosterone through an enzyme called 5-alpha-reductase that synthesizes DHT in hair follicles. 

DHT plays a crucial role in helping your body grow and regulate itself. It’s an agonist of the androgen receptor (AR) which means that it binds to the androgen receptor and activates it to produce a biological response. 

The response produced inhibits and reduces the growth of hair follicles through “miniaturization” of the hair follicle - this disrupts the hair growth cycle.

How DHT Damages Your Hair Follicles

As you know by now, miniaturization creates lighter, finer hairs. DHT attaches itself to dermal papillas - the root part of hair follicles made up of receptor cells. This restricts the blood flow to hair follicles, causing poor oxygen circulation. 

This is crucial: poor oxygen circulation means less nutrients and less waste and build-up removed. 

DHT causes hair follicles to shrink, shortening the anagen phase of hair growth, and lengthening the resting telogen phase. And eventually, the anagen phase becomes so short that new hairs don’t even reach the surface of your skin. Hairs resting in the telogen phase become less anchored to the scalp - making them more prone to falling out. 

As this continues, hair follicles become smaller and smaller, and the hair shaft becomes thinner and thinner and eventually, they’re reduced to vellus hairs - soft, light infant-like hairs. 

How Apple Cider Vinegar Fights DHT

Nothing can 100 percent prevent androgenic alopecia, but there are a few things that can delay the onset of hair loss or reduce its severity. Scientists and medical experts are still studying the potency of apple cider vinegar (with and without the “mother) on inhibiting DHT receptors. 

Here’s what we do know.

DHT harms hair growth by starving hair follicles of much-needed nutrition. To combat this, apple cider vinegar improves blood circulation and ensures that your hair follicles receive the nutrients they need to stay healthy. This stimulates the telogen phase of hair growth to get your follicles back on track. 

Unfortunately, the synthesis of DHT from testosterone is irreversible So once DHT is produced, it can’t be reversed. This means that we’re looking for a way to prevent DHT from forming. 

This is where vitamin B6 comes in once again. ACV contains vitamin B6. Vitamin B6 has a little something called Pyridoxal 5-Phosphate (PLP) - this coenzyme binds to testosterone receptors and interrupts the production of DHT. DHT doesn’t get to form, which restores your natural hair growth cycle. 

Boom.

Additionally, though it’s not a direct cause of hair loss, dandruff often causes hair thinning. Dandruff is caused by fungal irritation of the scalp. This often causes itching. Scratching your scalp may relieve the itch, but this stresses your hair and hair follicles. 

By getting rid of malassezia, the fungus responsible for dandruff, apple cider vinegar has a powerful two-fold effect on improving thinning hair.

8. Prevents Split Ends & Breakage

Trichoptilosis may sound a bit like Greek to you - that’s because it is! 

This scary sounding scientific term for split ends, describes the splitting or fraying of the hair shaft. 

This hair damage typically begins near the ends of your hair but can occur anywhere on the length of your hair - even the middle of a hair strand can have a split “end.”

split ends

Let’s be real for a minute: there are few things more frustrating than combing through your hair just to see a bunch of split ends!

And if you have colored hair or heat-treated hair, you especially understand the paranoia of “frying” your hair with the chemicals needed to create your hairstyle. Maintaining gorgeous hair is really a lot of work sometimes.

Hair Care 101 - Split Ends

Here’s the thing… our hair naturally begins to fray and split every 3-4 months as a part of the hair growth cycle. Unfortunately, you can’t fully avoid it. Once you develop split ends, there’s no way to make them “disappear”. 

Ultimately, you need to do damage control: trim off the split ends before they spread and contaminate the rest of the healthy hair strand.

The age-old proverb still holds true even today: prevention is the best cure. 

The best remedy for split ends is to prevent them from even happening in the first place. And to do that, we’re about to get in on the nitty gritty details of what causes split ends.

What Causes Split Ends?

There are four common causes of split ends: physical stress, environmental stress, your diet, and how you manage and treat your hair. 

Time to dig deeper.

The first is stress. Physical or mechanical stress like improper detangling (when you just don’t have the patience to slowly comb through knots and tangles), brushing wet hair, or excessive blow drying all cause split ends. 

blow drying hair

The second, is environmental stress. An example would be dry, hot summer weather that damages your hair. This is why you may have noticed your hair acting up more during the summer months. 

On the other end of the spectrum, cold and windy weather will also suck the moisture out of your hair, leaving it weak and more prone to damage. Although the weather of your environment is out of your control, how you take care of your hair is not. 

If you live in a place that has weather extremes, make sure you take extra care to keep your hair moisturized and protected from moisture-sucking heat or wind. 

split ends

The third factor is your diet. You may not realize it, but the strength of your hair strands can also be related to your diet. Common nutritional and dietary causes include an excess or deficiency in vitamins, minerals, or hormones that play a role in healthy hair growth. 

The fourth factor is one of the most common causes in women: doing too much to your hair. And of course, typical causes like excessive use of heat styling tools, overuse of chemical treatments, cheap styling tools that rip or snag hair, over-washing your hair, and excessive usage of styling products.

If you’re due for a trim, ask your stylist for what’s called a “dusting”. This lets you remove the snaggy, ravaged split ends without changing up your hairstyle, or losing any length. It’s a great way to stay up to date on your hair care while growing your hair out to the length.

How Does Apple Cider Vinegar Prevents Split Ends?

Apple cider vinegar seals in your hair cuticle - this maintains the natural oils of your hair to keep your scalp and hair moist. It reduces split ends and breakage by flattening the hair cuticle, hardening its outer layer, and closing the cuticle. 

When your hair cuticle is closed and flattened, it becomes more smooth. This prevents split ends and breakage, giving you dreamy, easy-to-manage hair. 

healthy hair ends

And like we mentioned earlier, it improves blood circulation to make sure your hair has everything it needs to stay strong and healthy, on top of the essential nutrients it contains and delivers to your hair cells. 

Of course, apple cider vinegar does wonders for your hair. But it’s not the only method you should be using to prevent split ends - the best prevention plan has several components to make sure all your bases are covered. 

Here are a few simple changes that will make a world of difference for your hair.

3 Essential Tips To Prevent Split Ends

1. Detangle Using A Wide Tooth Comb

You need the right tool to do each part of your makeup routine, whether it’s a makeup sponge or specific makeup brushes, the same way you need to use the right styling tools to maintain your hair. 

Avoid using styling tools that rip or snag your hair - that means cheap, synthetic brushes or combs. Never detangle your hair when it’s wet - wet hair is weaker and more susceptible to breakage, damage, and hair fall. 

And always, always, always detangle only with a wide-tooth comb. This is the most effective way to detangle hair without causing a lot of hair loss. Normal combs use more friction and effort to separate knots and tangles - this is why a bunch of hair always ends up collecting in the comb. 

wide tooth comb

The wider space between the teeth is also more gentle on your hair - this prevents unnecessary breakage and split ends. It also feels better on your scalp. That’s because wide-tooth combs can be used to massage your scalp - this improves blood circulation and soothes a tired scalp. 

When choosing a wide-tooth comb, make sure it’s made out of wood or naturally hard material - not plastic. 

These will do wonders for your scalp and hair - that’s a promise.

2. Do Less & Go Natural

Give your hair a break and let loose on the chemical services every once in a while, whether it’s coloring, perming, or heat treatments. 

natural hair

Each time your hair goes through a treatment, your hair is weakened. Hydrogen bonds between keratin molecules have to be broken to temporarily straighten hair. 

And to perm hair, disulfide bonds between cysteine amino acids have to be broken and reformed to create the desired shape.

3. Maintain A Healthy, Balanced Diet

There’s a few essential vitamins and minerals crucial to maintaining strong and durable hair strands. Here are five of the most important nutrients, along with some foods you can incorporate in your diet to get enough of them. 

balanced diet

Zinc: The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that 31% of people worldwide are deficient in zinc. Zinc is an essential cofactor (non-chemical protein compound) for many enzymes involved in important functions in the hair follicle. Foods rich in zinc include whole grains, eggs, pecans, chickpeas, and walnuts.

Iron: Iron produces hemoglobin, the protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen to hair follicle cells for growth and repair. Low iron levels typically result in hair fall and hair thinning. Parsley, spinach, tomatoes, seafood, and red meats are all foods high in iron.

Vitamin E: This vitamin is fat-soluble, meaning it seals in natural hair oils and supports lipid membranes - this keeps your hair strands from drying out and breaking off into split ends. For delicious foods high in vitamin E, look for sunflower seeds, olives, almonds, and avocados. 

Types of Apple Cider Vinegar

There’s several types of ACV. It can get confusion and overwhelming sometimes, so here’s a quick breakdown on what the different types actually mean.

apple cider vinegar

Organic Apple Cider Vinegar

This type of apple cider vinegar is free of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and chemical additives. Just look for a “certified organic” label.

Raw Apple Cider Vinegar

Raw apple cider vinegar still has the “mother” intact because it’s unheated and unprocessed. Often removed during processing, the “mother” is a culture of beneficial proteins, enzymes, and bacteria that boost your health - just a quick refresher.

Unfiltered Apple Cider Vinegar

To get the most bang for your buck, you should always pick organic, raw, and unfiltered apple cider vinegar. Unfiltered apple cider vinegar is murky in color - none of that clear, amber stuff, because it still contains the “mother” and other beneficial sediments. This is the best type of vinegar to get if you’re looking to enjoy maximum benefits of apple cider vinegar.

Precautions

Though apple cider vinegar has numerous benefits for your hair and health, it’s still a highly acidic solution. That means you shouldn’t consume large amounts. Doing so can erode your tooth enamel (high acidity levels, remember?) and decrease the levels of potassium in your body.

And of course, although it boasts many benefits, it still shouldn’t be considered an alternative to seeing your doctor if you experience any serious hair problems. Apple cider vinegar is an effective solution that needs to be paired with a nutritious diet and healthy lifestyle to truly see long term results.

Final Thoughts

Here’s a quick recap of the apple cider benefits we learned about today.

Balances the pH of Your Hair & Scalp

Apple cider vinegar is naturally in the same pH range as healthy hair. Its acidity restores the pH levels of your hair and scalp back to an optimal level - this keeps your hair and scalp healthy and easier to manage.

Restores Life to Dull, Limp Hair

When your hair follicles are clogged, the resulting build-up weighs your hair down, causing it to look limp and dead. ACV is a natural cleansing agent that will break down the build-up with its natural acidic nature. And as a bonus, it leaves your hair smooth and soft with its natural nourishments - it doesn’t contain any chemical moisturizers. This means that it’s not a “temporary” solution that will clog your hair follicles over time.

Treats Dandruff By Killing Harmful Fungi & Bacteria

Dry, itchy, flakey dandruff is everyone’s nightmare. Thankfully, apple cider vinegar has strong antifungal and antibacterial properties that help you kill the dandruff-causing fungus. It’s natural - it doesn’t use any harsh chemicals - and it’s easy and affordable.

Reduces Your Hair Loss & Stimulates Hair Growth

Your hair needs effective blood circulation to receive enough nutrients. Apple cider vinegar improves blood circulation to make sure that your hair gets all the oxygen and rich nutrients your hair follicles need to grow and stay strong and healthy.

Keeps Your Hair Shiny & Lustrous

Healthy hair means beautiful hair, there’s no way around it. ACV keeps your hair and scalp healthy by balancing your pH, clearing build-up, and encouraging hair growth.

Is Packed With Nutrients That Keeps Your Hair Strong & Healthy

Apple cider vinegar has over a dozen powerful nutrients crucial to the hair growth and regulation process such as biotin, folic acid, niacin, pantothenic acid, and vitamins B1, B2, and B6. Biotin produces the amino acids that make up keratin, the building blocks of your hair, and increases oxygen circulation to increase elasticity and minimize breakage and hair loss. Vitamin B6 inhibits the production of a hormone that disrupts the hair growth cycle. Niacin increases blood flow to the scalp, making sure that your hair follicles get the oxygen and nutrients it needs.

Improves Thinning Hair

A hormone called DHT steals nutrients from your hair follicles. Nutrient deficiency means weak, thin hairs. ACV contains a coenzyme called PLP. This coenzyme protects your hair growth and keeps your hair follicles healthy by interrupting the production of DHT. Boom.

Prevents Split Ends & Breakage

ACV seals, flattens, and hardens your hair cuticle to make it smoother and stronger. This effectively prevents split ends and breakage. Additionally, it also improves blood circulation, so your tresses receive the nutrients it needs to stay strong.

Looking over all of this, it’s clear that apple cider vinegar has tremendous benefits for our scalp - benefits that are proven by medical science. So for all of us wanting healthy and beautiful hair, apple cider vinegar is about to become our new best friend!

Don’t wait, go and grab a bottle of apple cider vinegar shampoo for your hair right now. Get ready for the gorgeous locks of your dreams!

Explore the WOW website for more natural hair care products

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Radhika Bhatia

I'm a content writer, copywriter, and blogger with a background in marketing, planning, and eCommerce. I specialize in beauty writing, including skincare, cosmetics, wellness, aesthetics, and health. Classically trained and idea-savvy, I love living in the present.

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