Make Your Own Natural Vinegar Hair Rinse


Although some companies claim that we only recommend an apple cider vinegar (ACV) rinse to "fix" the damage done by a soap-based shampoo bar, that's simply not true. An apple cider vinegar-based rinse can help restore life to your hair and scalp no matter what type of shampoo products you use. 

While it is true that these rinses are especially helpful for those new to shampoo bars an ACV hair rinse is a great addition to any hair care regimen.

Raw apple cider vinegar (ACV), packed with nutrients, can help with tangles and frizzy hair, bring back body and shine, decrease residue and clarify, stimulate the scalp, decrease dandruff, and unclog hair follicles which may help with excess shedding or hair loss. 

The use of vinegar with a variety of plants, herbs, and essential oils for cosmetic purposes can be traced back to the Romans and was fashionable during the nineteenth century as "vinegar de toilette."

Hair can become dull and limp due to the buildup of residue from shampoo, conditioner, and other hair styling products.

Raw apple cider vinegar (ACV) is packed with nutrients and can . . .Organic Raw Apple Cider Vinegar Rinse

  • help with tangles and frizzy hair

  • bring back body and shine

  • decrease residue

  • clarify, stimulate the scalp

  • decrease dandruff

  • clean and unclog hair follicles which may help with excess shedding or hair loss

  • be especially helpful for those new to natural shampoo bars

Organic Apple Cider Vinegar Hair Rinse


While a simple ACV rinse is easy to make and we have included many recipes below, many of our customers with their very busy lives have asked us to add them to our product line.

We infuse our organic apple cider vinegar rinses with certified organic herbs and organic essential oils that are great for the hair and scalp.

So you can CLICK HERE to purchase Chagrin Valley’s certified organic Apple Cider Vinegar Rinses or continue reading to learn more and create your own.


Why Apple Cider Vinegar?

Organic Apple Cider Vinegar RinsesAlthough plain white vinegar may work, Apple Cider Vinegar seems to be the favorite hair care vinegar. Some say that wine vinegar may be less drying for those with dry scalp conditions.

The process for making apple cider vinegar begins with the juice of fresh apples. Bacteria and yeast added to the juice begin the fermentation process which breaks down fructose, the naturally occurring fruit sugar, into alcohol. The alcohol is converted to vinegar (which means “sour wine” in French) by acetic acid-forming bacteria.

The natural raw non-pasteurized vinegar is packed with nutrients. It appears cloudy with stringy stuff and sediment on the bottom due to the "mother" which contains the natural bacteria and enzymes that make this product so wonderful.

I recommend and use raw apple cider vinegar with "mother." The difference between raw apple cider vinegar and commercial clear vinegar is that the commercial vinegar is heated, distilled, and clarified. This processing removes much of the naturally occurring bacteria, nutrients, and living enzymes, thus stripping away the natural benefits.


How To Make & Use Vinegar Rinses

Simple Vinegar Rinse Recipe

Apple Cider Vinegar Hair Rinse

  • NEVER use undiluted ACV on your hair. It will burn your scalp.

  • Recipes generally advise mixing 1/2 to 4 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar (ACV) with 8 ounces (1 cup) of water. 
    **While you may need to experiment to find a dilution that works best for your hair type (dry scalp likes less ACV and oily scalp likes more), I suggest you begin with 1/2 tablespoon of ACV to 8 ounces of water in order to judge how your hair and scalp will feel. I find that using 4 tablespoons (1/4 cup) ACV to 8 ounces (1 cup) of water is too concentrated for most. 

  • Place the diluted ACV in a plastic squeeze bottle, spray bottle, or another container

If you want some variation, create a vinegar rinse tailored to your hair by adding herbs and/or natural essential oils. I have included an herb and vinegar rinse and an essential oil vinegar rinse that I use below.


How Do I Use The Vinegar Hair Rinse?

After shampooing apply the ACV rinse. Pour, squirt or spray the rinse onto wet hair. Massage into hair and scalp and pay special attention to the ends. Let sit for a couple of minutes.

Now you have a few choices. You may rinse it all out if you want, or leave the rinse on your hair. I rinse a little--one quick spray of water. Leaving the vinegar rinse on your hair helps prevent tangles in long hair. Since the vinegar restores natural pH it also helps prevent an itchy scalp. As your hair is drying you will smell vinegar, but once your hair dries, no smell. I was skeptical at first--but this really works!


How Often Can I Use The Vinegar Hair Rinse?

Since everyone's hair is unique you should use your own judgment on this. You will need to experiment to find a dilution that works best for your hair type. Remember--dry hair likes less vinegar and oily hair likes more.

Some say that vinegar rinses may be drying if used every day and it is best to restrict use to two times per week. I used a vinegar rinse every other day for the first few weeks when I switched to natural shampoo bars--until my hair adjusted to the new shampoo--now once or twice a month keeps my hair healthy and shiny. Many customers have found this regimen to work, but do some experimenting!


Some Helpful Hints

Organic Apple Cider Vinegar Hair RinseWhile you can use any container to make your vinegar rinse, I like a plastic squirt top bottle.

It is easier to squirt it all over my scalp and then massage it through, rather than pouring it all over my head from a cup. Recycle any clean plastic bottle with a squirt top.

Pouring a cold rinse on your hair may be a more invigorating experience than you would like. (Although if you're feeling brave, the cold water will give your hair added shine.)

If you would like a warmer rinse, make it just before you step in the shower using very warm tap water.



More Vinegar Rinse Recipes

Herbs & Vinegar Hair RinseApple Cider Vinegar Rinses With Herbs

Rinsing your hair with vinegar after shampooing leaves it shining. Certain herbs can highlight or enhance your hair color, as well as condition it. For example:

  • rosemary and parsley are good for dark hair
  • sage may help darken graying hair
  • chamomile, mullein, and marigold can highlight blonde or light brown hair
  • calendula conditions
  • lavender, thyme, witch hazel, and yarrow will help with oily hair
  • lavender and lemon verbena add fragrance
  • linden is good for frequently shampooed hair
  • nettles will control dandruff
  • horsetails help with brittleness


These rinses are made from the herbs themselves, not essential oils. You can use either fresh or dried herbs.Organic Hair Tea Rinses  If you have a rosemary bush handy, use a sprig or two-- each about 5 inches long. For dried rosemary use about a tablespoon. Rosemary is one of the best herbs for hair.

Fresh lavender is also nice to use. Most of the herbs you can grow in your garden will probably be useful in some way or another.

Fresh herbs are wonderful to use, but remember to rinse them if they have been sprayed with anything. Cut fresh herbs in the morning after the dew has dried. Just note that the water content in fresh herbs may cause problems with mold growth even in vinegar.

If using dried herbs, you can use them either loose, tied up in cheesecloth or muslin fabric, or in tea bag form (like one chamomile tea bag). If using loose herbs, you will need to strain your "tea" prior to use (I use a coffee filter)--you don't want to have bits of herb caught in your hair afterward!

Note: If you using dried herbs or botanicals to make a concentrated herbal-infused vinegar (no water yet) I find that I get a better extraction if I gently warm the vinegar (just a little) first.

Although there is no need to sterilize equipment, since this is not going to be a food product, clean all equipment thoroughly before starting. Wash in hot, soapy water and rinse well in hot water.


Herbs & Vinegar Hair Rinse Recipe #1:  Quick Recipe For One Application

Ingredients:Natural Herbal Vinegar Rinse


  1. Boil the water only in a small saucepan.
  2. Add the herbs. Cover and allow the "tea" to steep for at least 15 minutes. If you want a stronger herbal infusion, add more herbs, cover, and simmer on the stove for 15 minutes. Then turn off the heat and allow to steep for 30 minutes.
  3. Allow your infusion to cool. Then add the vinegar.
  4. It should be used that day or refrigerated for later use. You may also double or triple the recipe. Just be sure to refrigerate the unused portion.
  5. When you have finished rinsing the shampoo out of your hair, pour the rinse on your hair and massage your scalp. If you have very long hair, as I do, you can dip your hair into the jug before pouring its contents over your head. Make sure the temperature of your rinse is just right for you
  6. Avoid getting the rinse in your eyes, particularly if you have used essential oils. 
  7. Rinse it out with clean water or, for extra conditioning benefits, just leave it in and towel dry your hair. The vinegar scent will disappear as your hair dries.
  8. Make sure you rinse out the shower afterward, as some herbs can leave it looking slightly tea-stained; similarly, watch out for your towels. The staining is only temporary and washes out very easily; it is more likely to occur with extra strong infusions.


Herb & Vinegar Hair Rinse Recipe #2:  Recipe For Larger Batch Concentrate


  • 2 cups of apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup chopped herbs of choice**


  1. Place approximately 1 cup of chopped herbs in a glass jar.
  2. Cover with 2 cups of vinegar.
  3. "Steep" this mixture in a tightly closed jar or bottle in the refrigerator or in a dark, cool place for two weeks.
  4. Strain steeped vinegar from herbs through cheesecloth or a coffee filter into a fresh, clean bottle.
  5. The infused vinegar (without water) will keep for 6 months to a year if made with dried herbs and stored properly in a cool and dry area. (I always leave about a week's worth in my shower!)
  6. Tip: If you don't want to wait two weeks, speed up infusion by gently heating the vinegar before pouring over herbs. "Steep" for a few days! Be aware that if you are using natural raw non-pasteurized apple cider vinegar heating may kill natural enzymes and reduce its natural health benefits.
  7. When ready to use: dilute 1 to 2 tablespoon of the herbal vinegar in 1 cup of water. Rinse through wet hair after shampooing. Rinse it out with fresh water or, for extra conditioning benefits, just leave it in and towel dry your hair. The vinegar scent will disappear as your hair dries.
  8. **Visit our "Herbs For Hair Care" page to help find herbs for your hair type.


Essential Oil & Vinegar Hair Rinse

There are many wonderful essential oils for hair care. Essential oils can be diluted in water, vinegar or added to an herbal vinegar recipe shown above.

Some words of CAUTION:

  • Essential oils are very strong and many can be skin irritants if not used correctly. Lavender is one of the very few essential oils that can be used directly on the skin, others will irritate the skin if used at full strength.

  • Some essential oils are stronger than others. You must be knowledgeable about the amount of essential oil to use in your dilution.

  • Essential oils are expensive. But do NOT use the cheaper fragrance oils or "nature identical" oils. These are synthetic, can cause skin irritation and provide none of the benefits of natural botanical essential oils.


Essential Oil & Vinegar Hair Rinse Recipe


  • 2 cups of apple cider vinegar (herb-infused or plain)
  • 5 to 10 drops of essential oil**


  1. Mix vinegar and essential oils.
  2. This mixture should be stored in a glass bottle since the essential oils may react with plastic.
  3. The mixture can be used right away, but if you allow it to sit for a day or two the "flavors" will blend.
  4. When ready to use: dilute 1 to 2 tablespoon of the vinegar/essential oil mixture in 1 cup of water.
  5. Rinse through wet hair after shampooing. Rinse it out with fresh water or, for extra conditioning benefits, just leave it in and towel dry your hair.
  6. **Visit our information on Essential Oils for Hair Care for more recipes using essential oils