Au Naturale Eye Essentials Kit

My Love Affair With Vinegar

Vinegar is one of my favorite products. I've talked about how distilled white vinegar is one of my favorite household products with which to clean. I mix lemons, baking soda and the vinegar and that is my go to cleaner for so many surfaces in my house.

I have also made a skin toner for oily skin with apple cider vinegar, distilled water, lavender hydrosol and strawberry leaves. In very small, diluted amounts, ACV can work well on oily skin.
I emphasize DILUTED. Apple Cider Vinegar is very acidic. It will hurt paper cuts like a lemon will. I wouldn't, for example, ever use it on freshly shaved or broken skin either.

One of my favorite uses for vinegar is as a hair rinse. My new Herbal Infusion Rinse is made with unfiltered, raw organic apple cider vinegar, dried herbs and essential oils and will be available Monday in my Etsy shop. You can buy my rinse when it is for sale, or you can make a simplified version without steeping herbs for 5 days first today at home.

#1, you can use plain old apple cider vinegar like you may already have in your pantry. You do not have to buy the raw, unfiltered, organic kind. Both will work well, but the latter is better for a couple of different reasons.

The raw, unfiltered kind doesn't look the same your usual Apple Cider Vinegar. It looks cloudy and has little pieces of what is known as the "mother" in it. The "mother" is all of the goodness of the vinegar before it is filtered out and contains an abundance of calcium, iron, potassium, magnesium and phosphorous. Your hair needs these, particularly iron and potassium to be in tip top condition. This is why I choose the raw, unfiltered kind...even if it looks a bit cloudy.

Why would you use Apple Cider Vinegar in your hair?

I have used ACV as a rinse for a long time. Sometimes I only use a bit of shea butter as a bit of a natural texture balm in my hair...but more often than not, I use styling aids from the salon or drugstore. When I had a pixie, it was one thing. I have a layered bob and lots of texture and I need styling aids most days. I may not need to heat style it much at all these days thanks to being sulfate-free, but I won't give up my styling aids. The drawback is that most leave a build up. You can get a build up in your hair from environmental factors...from too many oils and many different things. You can get a look of lifelessness and dullness from your shampoo as well.

Apple Cider Vinegar has a low pH. This is really something you need to "balance" your hair and scalp after using natural shampoos or shampoo bars. Because these bars and liquid shampoos from nature are generally much more alkaline than your chemical-rich bottles of shampoo from the drugstore, you might find it helpful to restore the pH with an ACV rinse.

Almost everyone can benefit from an ACV rinse. It will remove styling product residue, restore lustre and shine, take away any dulling film, and leave your hair with lots of bounce.

For your basic rinse, I like to make it with 1 part ACV to 8 parts water. I have seen some recipe call for 50/50 blends and that, in my opinion, is way too much vinegar.

Mix that together in a large drinking cup, bottle or bowl and it's ready! I wash my hair with my beer shampoo. I then follow with an ACV rinse and leave it on my hair while I finish my shower--anywhere from 5 to 15 minutes in my hair. Then I rinse with cool water.

I like to start slow with the ACV. If you don't have lots of buildup or if your hair is very dry, use it once a week.

I happen to use it 2-3 days a week. When I am swimming, using lots of styling aids, or it's humid and my hair just feels not at its best, I find I feel best using it more often. The same is true when I started transitioning from chemical-filled, silicone-rich products over a year ago--that's when I used the rinse the most. ACV alone cannot get rid of silicone buildup, though. This is when I recommend going out and buying the cheapest bottle of clarifying shampoo you can find. Think Suave. Use it. Lather up with those sulfates and try to rub away the 'cones. This will be the only time you hear me saying to run out and lather up with a sulfate-rich shampoo :)

After you've gotten rid of that buildup, start using a great shampoo free of SLS and other hard to pronounce chemicals. You do not need them! Use a gentle, natural shampoo, follow with ACV, a bit of conditioner every now and then, and in a couple weeks, you will love the results.

Weeks, you say?

Although I am sure there are some people who notice great changes in their hair immediately, most of us mere mortals are not so lucky. You will most likely say your hair feels a little coated or greasy or dirty...the shampoo is thin, there's not a nice lather, etc... It is OK. Stick with it. Use the ACV right off the bat. I promise...if you stick with it and get all the crapola out of your hair, you will be happy and your hair will look great!

I always find it amazing when you get such good results from using such an easily accessible, affordable household item. Like my yogurt cleanser or strawberry mask, an easy apple cider vinegar rince can really make your hair shine and look fresh and healthy.

One thing I am asked is if I use a separate conditioner--the answer is very rarely. When starting out with an ACV rinse, I would use a light silicone-free conditioner and then follow with an ACV rinse. You can find several silicone free conditioners at the drugstore.

If you love fragrance and want to support a great etailer, go over to Crater Lake Company and buy some of Sharonn's fantastic True Lustre Conditioner, which is both silicone and paraben-free. May I recommend Coconut Bavarois? It is divine!

I personally just use a bit of Monoi de Tahiti oil on the ends at night as my treatment for any dryness. If you have plain coconut oil, take some out and apply a very small amount on your ends and it'll be great!

Something else I am always asked is about the smell. Yes, apple cider vinegar smells. When it is diluted, it'll smell when you're using it on your hair. It'll still smell when it is wet. I find that the scent is gone by the time my hair is dry. By then, however, it has a yummy smelling hair mist in it anyway.

So if you're looking for something to do at home this weekend to pamper yourself on a budget, try the ACV rinse. Let me know how it works for you!