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How to Use Apple Cider Vinegar for Healthier Skin and Hair

Elizabeth Renter
April 4th, 2013
Updated 05/08/2014 at 11:52 am
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applecider 263x164 How to Use Apple Cider Vinegar for Healthier Skin and HairThe skin and hair care industries are behemoths, making stacks upon stacks of money by promising healthier hair and brighter skin. They often use clever marketing to play off our insecurities, telling us if we were just less freckly, more even-toned, tanner, lighter, or brighter, we would be beautiful. They follow that up with offering a solution in the form of a cream, serum, oil, or face wash. But, you don’t need these products. You can save your money and get healthy, happy skin with products found in any grocery store. Today’s grocery store beauty solution: apple cider vinegar.

Apple cider vinegar (ACV) can be used on everything from warts to dandruff, but it also has a place on the vanity of someone with the occasional blemish or dry hair. (And beyond skin and hair health, apple cider vinegar uses are nearly endless.) ACV is an all natural product made from apples; unpasteurized or organic apple cider vinegar contains the mother, making it look slightly foggy or sedimentary – this is the type of ACV you want to use on your skin and hair.

For Your Skin

There are two ways to reap the benefits of ACV for your skin: by taking it internally or applying it topically. Internally, you can heal your skin from the inside-out by taking a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar each day. Be warned, you may not enjoy the taste so much. But whether or not you do enjoy it, ACV should be diluted in some water. Add some optional honey if you need it to be more palatable.

Topically, you can apply ACV diluted with water to tone your skin, reduce blemishes and promote a more balanced complexion. Because it can be harsh for sensitive skin, start by diluting ACV with water at a 1:4 ratio. You can increase the water by a quarter every week as your skin adjusts.

For a lone pimple, apply the ACV directly (without diluting) with a cotton swab.

For Your Hair

Used on the hair, apple cider vinegar can smooth the cuticle, making your hair appear smoother and shinier. It does this by balancing pH levels unlike commercial shampoos that strip the hair and leave it looking rough, dry or dull. It also removes buildup and can help with dandruff and an itchy scalp.

Simply use ACV as a rinse. Dilute it with equal parts water and dump over your head while in the shower. Give it a moment to sink in before rinsing.

For other hair health tips, check out this diet for healthy hair.

A Note on the Smell

One of the biggest hang-ups people have about using ACV is the smell. Yes, this is a vinegar so it does smell a little like a salad or pickles. But that smell quickly dissipates. If you use it on your face, for instance, the smell is gone as soon as the ACV dries. You won’t smell like a salad bar all day and your skin and hair will thank you for the gentle and natural treatment.

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  • Dez

    my husband had pain in his one ear from sinus and i warmed up the ACV and pour it into his ear
    3 time, morning, evening and night just that one day. the next day he awoke with no pain, which mean no doctor bill. i also use ACV on my hair and it makes it so shiney and thick.

  • Ryan

    I soaked my hair in pure white vinegar for 10-15 minutes twice once a weekend for two weeks. My wife noticed my hair a little darker. Like using it to get rid of the mineral deposits spots in the shower… curtain and faucets, I think it got rid of the white mineral deposits from my hair showing the real color.

  • Peter N

    thanks for the information. I will get some when I am at the store later today

  • Patricia

    Thank you for this article that further confirms what I already know about ACV. Gayelord Hauser recommended this ACV skin toner in his book "New Treasury of Secrets" (Fawcett Publications, Greenwich, Conn.; ISBN 449-02864-195)

  • RC


    You can use coconut vinegar on your skin, but it’s milder & a lot more expensive than AVC. I’d keep the coconut vinegar for salads/foods & use ACV topically. Make sure your cider vinegar is organic & unfiltered — it should be cloudy, not clear. Look for a cobweb-like sediment (‘the Mother’) in the bottom of the bottle.

  • pidrus

    Good Day,

    Is Natural Coconut Vinegar also good for my skin & hair!?


  • joe

    I wasn’t aware of the benefits of ACV, Amazing to say the least. Thank You

  • Patrick Moore

    Apple Cider vinegar diluted and used on the face makes an excellent, alpha-hydroxy skin treatment that removes dead cells and promotes a fresh, facial appearance. A lot cheaper than going to a fancy spa or buying expensive cosmetics and enzyme treatments. This has even been used in the Florence facial cream. Have also used the vinegar hair treatment to eliminate dandruff. Dandruff is mostly caused by a fungus and the acetic acid in apple cider vinegar rids the scalp of the fungus. In fact, I have even used Braggs Apple Cider Vinegar in an ICU unit on my mother when she was hospitalized and being fed by a stomach tube. The vinegar helped promote a more alkaline balance and helped cleanse her body internally and improved circulation. Patrick Moore, N.D.

  • inger morgan

    I drink a glass of apple cider vinegar, diluted with water, every morning with breakfast!

  • PeaceAndLove

    Thanks for this, apple cider vinegar is amazing and has many many uses including for your dogs skin.
    It relieves the symptoms of many kinds of skin conditions like mange, seborrheic dermatitis, mites, itchy red skin etc.
    Dilute the ACV 1 part to 8 parts water, soak/spray the fur/skin, towel dry excess moisture and allow to dry naturally. The smell disappears when dry and leaves the fur nice and shiny as well. Repeat this process daily for as long as needed. A fresh batch is needed daily as it won't keep once diluted so work out how much you need for a daily 'dose'.
    I work with dogs and have used this method on many different kinds of skin conditions and while it may not be a cure or replacement to vet advice, it certainly leaves doggies feeling much better and I have always noticed a clear improvement.
    Lots more info here: