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Apple cider vinegar isn't just an ingredient in your favorite salad dressing. Its supposed health benefits include regulating blood sugar and boosting gut health, to name a few. But, it turns out that along with incorporating ACV into your diet, using it on your head can make your hair shinier, too.
"Because apple cider vinegar is acidic, it can help restore pH of the hair and scalp as many hair products are alkaline and raise pH," explains Dr. Sejal Shah, board-certified dermatologist and founder of Smarter Skin Dermatology in New York City. "By restoring pH it can close the hair shaft's cuticle, making the hair appear smoother, shinier, and easier to manage. This is also why some people recommend using it after having your hair dyed because it may extend the life of your color by resealing the cuticle."
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Aesthetics aside, Dr. Shah says that ACV can also help improve scalp health. "Apple cider vinegar is also an exfoliant so it can remove dead skin cells and build up on the scalp as well as reduce oiliness," she explains. "Lastly, it also has some anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties which may be beneficial for some scalp conditions."
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Before reaching for the bottle of ACV in your kitchen cabinet, know that there are a few potential adverse effects. Dr. Shah says that over-using it can make your hair more dry and brittle, and if you have dark hair, the acid could bring out unwanted brassy tones. Generally, using ACV on your hair one to two times a week is a safe bet for most hair types. But use it once a week or even less frequently if you have dry hair.
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If you've been looking for a more natural remedy for lackluster hair or need to give your scalp some extra attention, use a diluted ACV solution. If you can't stand its strong smell, there are a ton of products formulated with the ingredient that have recently popped up on the market.
Ahead, some of our favorite ACV-infused treatments and styling products to try for shinier, healthier hair.
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AG Hair Remedy Apple Cider Vinegar Leave On Mist
With over 98% plant-based and naturally derived ingredients (including ACV), this leave-on mist reduces frizz, boosts shine, and balances the pH level of your hair.
$28; ulta.com © Provided by Instyle AG Hair Remedy Apple Cider Vinegar Leave-On Mist
Fekkai Apple Cider Detox Scrub
This pre-wash scrub gently removes buildup at the roots from products, hard water, and more. Along with clarifying apple cider vinegar, the formula includes ginger extract for scalp stimulation and a blend of vitamin B5, rice protein, and edelweiss flower extract to prevent damage from heat styling and pollution.
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$30; ulta.com © Provided by Instyle Apple Cider Vinegar Haircare Products
R+Co Acid Wash
R+Co's rinse may look like pure apple cider vinegar, but it doesn't have the same acidic smell. In addition to its pleasant lemon and earthy fragrance, it gets rid of excess buildup in hair without stripping it of any moisture. Aloe vera and tamanu seed oil round out the formula for added shine.
$32; dermstore.com © Provided by Instyle R+Co Acid Wash: ACV Cleansing Rinse
DpHue Apple Cider Vinegar Dry Shampoo
This dry shampoo goes beyond soaking up the excess oil your hair's accumulated since your last shampoo. Apple cider vinegar cleanses the scalp to get rid of bacteria.
$24; sephora.com © Provided by Instyle Apple Cider Vinegar Hair Products
Ouai Detox Shampoo
Unlike many clarifying shampoos, this one doesn't overly strip your hair. The apple cider vinegar and keratin ensure your hair will feel soft and look shiny post-shower.
$30; sephora.com © Provided by Instyle Apple Cider Vinegar Haircare Products
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