I’m a big believer in cutting back on as many chemicals as possible when it comes to what we put in and on our bodies. Home remedies have almost always proven more successful for me than solutions sold by big companies. Dry, itchy, flaky scalps are something many people suffer from…especially if you have to live through cold, dry winters. Since colder weather is on it’s way, I thought this would be a good time to mention Apple Cider Vinegar as a solution (or ACV for short).
You may have read our article on using eggs for your hair and scalp since they’re full of vitamins and fatty acids to help with a dry scalp. Between an egg mask and using ACV, it may be the solution you’ve been looking for. I gave a natural hair regime a try for a week, using baking soda for shampoo and ACV for “conditioner” but it just didn’t cut if for my long, thick, coarse, color treated hair (you can read about my review here). It may work for some but if your hair is on the coarser side and you pay to have it colored, we would suggest using a high quality shampoo and conditioner line (Kevin Murphy is our absolute favorite). However, ACV works well for a rinse once every week or two to clarify your strands and get rid of build up both on your scalp and your hair.
I’m not going to lie, the stuff stinks 😛 If you’re using it as a straight up conditioner, it will probably be a bit more noticeable once you step out of the shower (you won’t smell up a room but if you put your hair under someone’s nose or whip your hair back and forth like Willow, people will probably notice) but if you’re using it as a rinse, at the beginning of your shower you should be okay.
The way I personally use it is before I shampoo and condition. I step into the shower, wet my hair and pour the ACV onto my scalp, concentrating on any areas that are dry or itchy. It will run down your strands, but if you like, you can apply more to the ends. Depending on the severity of your scalp condition, you may want to leave it on for a few minutes while you shave your legs and then shampoo and condition as usual (you’ll notice your shampoo will suds up a little more than usual). A couple notes about using ACV:
- I would suggest you try a water/ACV solution to start to dilute it a bit and be sure it’s not too acidic for your scalp or hair. Start with 1/4, 1/3 or 1/2 of the solution being ACV and working your way up to a more concentrated formula if it suits you.
- Once you’ve tested it out, you can begin to dilute your ACV less (I use ACV straight up, not watered down, aside from my hair being soaking wet when I apply it) and even increase the frequency of use. I go for once every 2 weeks but some people use it every couple days – it really depends on your hair type.
- You may also find ACV helps with other conditions such as psoriasis and acne (use it as a rinse on your body in the shower or apply with a cotton pad to your face once out)
- Organic, unfiltered is the way to go when it comes to ACV to be sure you’re getting all its benefits – health food stores or the organic section of your grocery store should have it
- Store it in the fridge and the cold rinse will feel extra soothing to an itchy scalp
- It may work as a shampoo/conditioner for you (but not for me as I mentioned here) but if your hair is color treated, we suggest you test this method out before fully committing to it. I bleach my hair which tends to start looking brassy several weeks after coloring but I honestly don’t notice the ACV makes it better or worse – I do use it sparingly though and probably only a total of 4 times between colorings.
Ever since I’ve cut out drug store brand shampoo and conditioners though, I haven’t had a problem with my scalp. I would suggest you give this a try as well if you’re suffering with some scalp issues. I believe my scalp condition was more due to a sensitivity, which may be the same for you. I have to be really careful of the washes, toners, creams, sunscreens, makeup, etc that I use on my face or I’ll end up with dry, flaky, oily, red skin (it’s such a lovely combination) so why would the skin on my scalp be any different?
I guess I shouldn’t say ALL drugstore products are bad. I actually use a shampoo that I pick up at Save-On that is organic. But when it comes to other hair products, I stick to Kevin Murphy, and even then I’m careful how I use them. I do my best to apply conditioner, protecting sprays and styling products to the strands only. I tend to shy away from anything that needs to be applied directly on the scalp.
Another benefit you might find from using ACV is that your scalp becomes less oily because it doesn’t strip your natural oils away like harsh shampoos do. I’ve found this to be true when treating my oily skin as well; using harsh, drying chemicals to wash or treat my skin, only made it worse. I thought it was absolutely crazy to use oil to wash my face but I swear it works (I’ll post about this soon). If you strip your skin of their protective oils, it’s only going to go into overdrive to put those oils back in place.
I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again….and probably again and again….you have to find what works for you. I’ve read reviews from people with coarse, curly hair who swear by Apple Cider Vinegar as a conditioning treatment. As I mentioned, it’s not a fit for me but I love it as a rinse. Although I don’t notice a smell after shampooing and conditioning, some people stated they have to shampoo twice after the rinse to get the smell out. The only way to see if this method works for you and if you like it, is to give it a try!
Let us know how you like it in the comments!