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If you think vinegar's only purpose is to be mixed with oil and drizzled on a salad, guess again. This household staple has been a savvy girl's beauty secret since ancient Roman times — and for good reason. Whether in its white distilled or raw, unfiltered apple cider form, vinegar helps to remove product buildup from hair and amp up shine, restoring brilliance to otherwise lackluster blonde locks.
How Vinegar Affects Hair
The cuticle, or outermost layer of the hair shaft, is made up of overlapping scales, which protect the strands from outside elements. When the cuticle is healthy and lying flat, the result is shiny, smooth, tangle-free tresses; while a raised, damaged cuticle absorbs light, rather than reflecting it, making for dull, dry or frizzy locks and an undoubtedly bad hair day. Luckily, vinegar removes product buildup and deposits from the hair and closes the cuticle, producing shinier, more manageable strands.
Either vinegar type — white distilled or raw, unfiltered apple cider — can get the job done, but the unfiltered versions are more popular for their added natural benefits. Raw vinegar contains the "mother" of vinegar, which are enzymes of connected protein molecules that are rich in probiotics, as well as minerals that other vinegars may lack due to a greater amount of processing and filtration in their production.
Vinegar Hair Solution Recipe
Fill a clean squirt top bottle, like an empty water bottle, with 1 cup of warm water and 1/2 tbsp. of vinegar. A few drops of an herbal essential oil, such as marigold or chamomile — both of which are natural hair lighteners — can be added to the solution if desired. Shampoo and rinse hair as usual, then saturate strands with the vinegar solution. Be sure to avoid the delicate eye area when using a vinegar solution containing any essential oil.
Use and Tips
The vinegar solution can either be immediately rinsed out or not. When left on the hair, vinegar restores natural pH to the scalp, keeping flakes at bay for those who are dandruff-prone, as well as prevents tangles in long hair. No matter whether you choose to rinse or not, any residual vinegar odor will disappear once hair is fully dry. Vinegar hair rinses are best used once or twice a week, as they can be a bit drying if used too often.