Apple Cider Vinegar is not just your average vinegar. It is also a favorite when it comes to DIY skincare. Ever since I found a bottle of pure glycerin at my local grocery store, I’ve been slowly accumulating stuff for DIY skincare like jojoba oil, pure aloe vera gel and shea butter. While I was looking for a DIY toner, I came across numerous articles touting the benefit of Apple Cider Vinegar. It is different from apple juice and apple cider in that it was fermented with yeast and alcohol added along the way, which helps to produce the acid and all the good for you stuff.
Please note that most health benefits mentioned by studies and articles are about raw apple cider vinegar. Organic, unfiltered apple cider vinegar (like Bragg’s) also contains “mother,” strands of proteins, enzymes and friendly bacteria that give the product a murky, cobweb-like appearance. So if you’d like to try ACV for any of the benefit mentioned, look for organic and raw ACV and don’t be alarmed by the slightly cloudy stuff on the bottom.
The main uses/benefit seems to be as a drink, as hair rinse and as toner. It can also be used as household cleaner to help deodorize and it is anti-bacterial, but I’m mostly focusing on the beauty aspect. Supposedly you can also apply it to sunburned skin or use it as aftershave, but the idea of using a vinegar/acid on possibly irritated skin is not something I would like to experiment with. It supposedly can also help with cleaning brushes, but I’m not quite willing to take the risk and try it since my brushes are kind of expensive. So for today, I’ll just focus on the three main beauty uses, as a drink, hair rinse and toner.
ACV for drinking, why?
Apple cider vinegar have various health benefits. One Japanese study shows that it may have a mild effect on weight loss. The researchers suggest that vinegar may turn on certain genes involved in breaking down fats. It may also help lower blood sugar levels and digestion. However! The effects are very mild, so it’s more of a supplement to a healthy diet/lifestyle rather than a replacement for one. It is also good for heart health and cancer prevention, but the scientific evidence/support for it is rather weak. While it is anti-bacterial and thus helps with plaque and bacteria for sore throat, drinking it without diluting it may harm your tooth enamel and your esophagus.
My take: I did a teaspoon of ACV in one bottle of water (16.9 fl oz) with some honey and the taste was quite strong/obvious. I drink it occasionally instead of soft drinks when I’m eating greasy food to help cut down on the oily/greasy taste. I didn’t see any obvious effect on weight altho it does kind of decrease appetite. However, after drinking it for consecutive days, I think it’s too acidic for my stomache. I’ve also tried it for sore throat but again, it was too acidic and end up irritating my throat. I’d much prefer to just use it as a vinegar in food (salad dressing, soup, dipping sauce etc) instead of as a drink. If you don’t have sensitive throat or stomache, you might be ok drinking it (diluted!).
ACV for hair, why?
The shampoo we use may leave the scalp dry, itchy, oily and irritated. Apple cider vinegar have anti-bacterial properties and helps to balance the pH, thus a good solution for dry, itchy and dandruff filled scalp. The acid also helps to dissolve/remove build up and unclog hair follicles, thus encourage hair growth. It also works as a natural detangler. When used regularly in your natural hair care routine, apple cider vinegar can revitalize your hair, leaving it soft and smooth. The vinegar also works by closing the cuticle of the hair, which makes light reflect off of it.
My take: I have oily, itchy scalp with lots of build up even though I don’t put any products in it. I’ve been looking into natural remedy for hair shedding and the two main DIY are either a mixture of oil (jojoba, tea tree etc) for hair loss due to brittle/dryness, or ACV for hair loss due to irritated and oily scalp with product build up. I tried the oil and while it helps with the itchy scalp, it didn’t do anything else. But the ACV works!!! I diluted it as 25% ACV and 75% water, put it in a spray bottle. I spray/rub the solution into scalp after rinsing off the shampoo (make sure it does not get in your eyes!). After leaving it on for 5-10 minutes, I rinse it off. The diluted formula I use rinsed off easily leaving no scent behind, and my hair feels sooo smooth but not dry at all. My scalp was not irritated and while it does get oily after a few days, I noticed a significant decrease in product build up. I’ve been using it 1-2 times a week for a month, it…may have helped with hair loss? I don’t know, but I do know my scalp feels less itchy with less oily build up for sure.
ACV as toner, why?
Apple cider vinegar contains powerful alpha hydroxy acids to help remove dead skin cells and reveal a fresher and healthier complexion underneath them. The malic acid in it also have antibacterial, anti-fungal and antiviral properties which help prevent acne and skin infections. Because the acid also helps to unclog pores and balance the pH levels instead of just remove excess oil, it is supposedly very effective in treating acne and balancing oily skin. It can be used as spot treatment undiluted, but there is a possibility of reaction and it is recommended that you dilute it before use.
My take: I used 1 part ACV to 4 part water as a toner. The scent does linger a bit until you apply serum/moisturizer. While my skin felt no irritation at all when I was applying it, my skin was a bit pink afterward. After a few use, my skin adjusted and was no longer pink. The skin feels clean, soft and not dried out. Back when I used lemon juice in face product DIY, a few drops is enough to give my skin a mild stinging sensation but this doesn’t feel as harsh. It’s anti-bacterial/cleansing without drying. While I still prefer a good store-bought toner, this does work for me when diluted and I would use it again in a pinch.
Worth it? In terms of food, it’s a nice substitute and probably have a bit more health benefit than other types of vinegar, but I will not be drinking it. I was surprised at how well it worked for my oily and itchy scalp and will continue using it. As a toner, I will use it in a pinch if I ran out of toner, otherwise I’m too pampered by my favorite Dior toner to try anything else.
Some sources I referenced for health benefits: