Dandruff is the condition of an itchy and flaky scalp without inflammation (1). Though the exact reason behind it is not known, the risk factors include stress, weather extremes, obesity, use of lotions containing alcohol, etc. (2). If you are suffering from the problem, then you may notice symptoms like mild redness, hair fall, scales on the scalp, and more. There are many products that exploit in the name of treating the disease. But, you don’t have to spend an exorbitant amount of money on these chemical-based products when you can simply use apple cider vinegar to get rid of the problem.
Everybody knows the numerous uses of apple cider vinegar, including those for the hair but, is it really effective for dandruff too? If yes, then what are the properties that endow these qualities to ACV? Let’s have a look.
Is It Effective for Dandruff?
For removing dandruff, it is essential that the overall quality of our hair is maintained. One must provide all the nutrients that make them healthy. Apple cider vinegar improves the total quality and texture of the hair by removing residue build-up (3).
The vinegar is acidic in nature, and hence, it helps clear the head thoroughly. It also closes raised cuticles and locks in the moisture in the scalp (4). Therefore, using vinegar on the head can control the disorder to a great extent.
To make your mane free from dandruff, it is essential that the scalp has the right pH level. The cider vinegar also maintains the pH level of the skin of our head (5). Therefore, it serves as an alkalizer for the hair (6).
So, it is enriched with many therapeutic qualities, which can prevent and cure dandruff totally. Let’s have a look at the methods to use it for getting dandruff free scalp and hair.
How to Use Apple Cider Vinegar for Dandruff?
1. Apple Cider Vinegar with Water
Apple cider vinegar is a wonderful natural remedy that is recommended for removing dandruff (7). To make apple cider vinegar rinse for dandruff, mix equal amounts of water and vinegar in a spray bottle. Sprinkle it thoroughly on your roots and strands and cover your head with a towel. Remove the towel after 30 minutes and rinse off with plain water. Repeat it for not more than twice a week for best results.
- Alternatively, you can pour a solution on your tresses after having a bath. This solution can be prepared by adding 1/3 cup of ACV (raw) in 1 liter of water.
- Or else, if you prefer lesser concentration, then mix 1 tsp of ACV with 2 cups of water. Make sure that the pH of the solution is 4 and spritz it in the same manner.
2. Raw Apple Cider Vinegar
If the situation has become worse with excessive dandruff piling up on your scalp, then you should use apple cider vinegar directly on your head. It has antifungal properties that eliminate the dandruff and prevent the dryness of the scalp (8) (9).
Firstly, apply the vinegar on your scalp using a cotton ball and massage gently for a couple of minutes. Then, soak a towel in warm water, squeeze out the excess, and wrap it around your head. This will open up the pores and will let the vinegar reach deep in the roots. Wash off with regular water after 1 hour.
- Apart from that, you can also prepare hot ACV rinse for the problem. Slightly heat 1 or 2 cups (lukewarm) of ACV (depending upon the length of your hair), and pour it on your hair. Cover your head with a towel, and leave it for about an hour. Wash off with a shampoo or water, afterwards.
3. Apple Cider Vinegar with Essential Oils
Essential oils are used to solve many problems and diseases these days. The vinegar is known to make tresses tangle-free and close cuticles (10).
For this method, mix apple cider vinegar and water in the ratio of 2:1. Add 2-3 drops of either rosemary, lavender, or lemongrass oil to it. Clean your hair and apply the prepared solution to them. Massage slowly with fingertips for some time and remove it with water, later on. You can repeat this daily to improve the condition.
Note: If you are allergic to any of the essential oil, refrain from using it. You can perform a patch test before using it on your scalp.
4. Apple Cider Vinegar, Cornmeal, and Grape Seed Oil
It is a known fact that when your scalp is dry or dehydrated, it becomes scaly and flaky. It needs proper moisture to remain healthy. Grape seed oil is a great hair conditioner (as it is used in many commercial conditioners) and cornmeal works as an exfoliant to remove the dead skin from the scalp (11, 12).
To prepare this remedy, mix 1 part of apple cider vinegar with 2 parts of cornmeal, and add ½ a cup of grapeseed oil to it in order to form a paste. Wear the mask on your head, covering each and every strand. Massage for some time, and let the mix stay for not more than 1 hour. Use a mild shampoo to remove it off, later on.
5. Apple Cider Vinegar, Peppermint Leaves, and Water Rinse
Peppermint provides a cooling sensation and the oil found in these leaves is antiseptic and antibacterial in nature (13).
To prepare this rinse with these leaves, boil about 1 cup of water and add 1 cup of ACV, alongwith 5-6 peppermint leaves to it. Let it remain immersed for about 2 hours before straining. Spray it evenly on your follicles and wash off after some time.
6. ACV with Witch Hazel and Rosemary
Combine a few drops of witch hazel, 1 tbsp of rosemary oil, and 1 cup of ACV together. Wet your hair with lukewarm water and pour the mixture on it. Massage gently for some time and then comb the hair. Rinse well after 20-25 minutes.
7. Apple Cider Vinegar and Herbs
Herbs have been widely used for the treatment of several maladies for decades due to their therapeutic qualities and the presence of various nutrients. You can use the mixture of herbs and cider vinegar to get rid of dandruff, as well. Thyme, when mixed with rosemary, helps get rid of dandruff (16).
The other ingredients keep a check on the overall health of the tresses.
For this, take ¼ cup of the mixture of herbs (dried) like chamomile, sage, thyme, lavender, rosemary, and calendula. Put 2 cups of ACV on heat and let it boil. Once done, add the herbs to it, let it steep for a couple of hours, and strain. Now, for 1/8 cup of the prepared solution, add 1 cup of water and use it to soak the hair. After some time, wash your hair thoroughly with shampoo.
8. Fenugreek Seeds and Apple Cider Vinegar Mix
Fenugreek seeds have been used for long as a medicinal product to cure several problems (17). In a study, it was observed that the fenugreek seeds possess strong anti-dandruff properties that help eliminate dandruff from the root (18).
To use apple cider vinegar for dandruff treatment, take some amount of fenugreek seeds and grind them properly. Add a few drops of apple cider vinegar to obtain a fine and smooth paste. Apply this paste on your tresses and make a bun to avoid a mess. Let it sit for some time and clear off the paste with plain water.
Note: Some people may be allergic to fenugreek seeds (as reported in studies). So, you must do a patch test before using the remedy (19).
9. Apple Cider Vinegar and Lemon Juice with Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil has been used widely to treat dandruff. It is incorporated in many shampoos that cure the condition (20). Lemon is also a wonderful ingredient that provides a lot of nutrients to our hair.
For this, you will need ¼ cup of vinegar, 5 drops of tea tree oil, juice of ½ a lemon, ½ tsp olive oil, and 1 cup of water (preferably distilled). Mix them in a spray bottle and shake well. Spritz it on to your scalp and wrap a towel for 30-60 minutes. Rinse well, afterwards.
- Or else, Mix ½ cup each of water and ACV and add 5 drops of tea tree oil to it. Apply in the same manner as above.
10. Apple Cider Vinegar and Yogurt
Yogurt is used to treat many problems of the hair, including dandruff (21). It has many components that make it useful for these ailments. Blending it with the dandruff-removing properties of ACV makes this a perfect mask for the hair.
You will only need 1 tsp of cider vinegar and ½ cup of plain yogurt. Just mix them well and massage into your scalp and tresses for 5 minutes. Leave it for another 15-20 minutes so that the minerals reach deep into the roots. This mask will not only eliminate the problem of dandruff but will also reduce hair fall. Wash off thoroughly, afterwards. You can use it once in a week for satisfactory results.
11. ACV with Honey
To prepare this mixture, combine 3 tbsp of honey, 1/3 cup of ACV, and ½ cup of warm water. Coat your roots and hair with this and make a bun. Wear a shower cap and leave it for 15 minutes before rinsing.
Tips and Cautions
- Do not scratch the scalp, as it may worsen the condition.
- Natural oils in the hair are quite important, as they keep the scalp moisturized and free from dandruff. Washing hair every other day may eliminate these oils. Thus, it is recommended by experts to wash your tresses 3 to 4 times a week (23).
- Use organic ACV for the best results. Try to buy the vinegar that contains “mother” (a substance that is filled with beneficial enzymes and bacteria).