It took a little trial and error, but this amazing hair hack really works—and it costs practically nothing at all.
If you have fine hair like me, you’re probably very familiar with the feeling that your strands constantly feel weighed down and limp—even after a good wash. Worse, if you have fine hair and live in a place with soft water (meaning it has a low mineral content—great for taste, not so great for hair), it feels like there’s not enough rinsing time in the world to make your hair feel clean.
Resigned, I accepted that living in New York City meant that my fine, naturally curly hair would always look lifeless and never feel rid of product. I experienced a noticeable difference in my hair’s volume when I traveled to cities with harder water (about 85 percent of the country, by most estimates). But then a fellow fine-haired friend turned me on to a DIY using an ingredient I already had in my kitchen: apple cider vinegar.
I created an apple cider vinegar hair rinse with two ingredients (vinegar and water) and it has made my hair shinier, fuller, and less tangled. Even if you don’t live in a place with soft water (this is handy map can help you determine if you have hard or soft water), but struggle with tangles or product buildup, ACV might help you, too.
After a little trial and error (too much ACV made my hair as dry as straw, but everyone is different), I settled on the perfect formula: one part apple cider vinegar to four parts water, mixed together in a spray bottle. I use the unfiltered kind of ACV: Both Bragg’s ($4, amazon.com) and Trader Joe’s have done the trick. Two or three times a week after shampooing and conditioning, I spritz the mixture on my head and massage it for about 30 seconds onto my scalp and rinse so the formula coats my strands.
Yes, your shower will smell faintly of vinegar. I swear it goes away when the rinse goes down the drain, and I’ve never noticed the smell when my hair is dry.
And if you don’t want to go the DIY route, which costs me less than a $1 each time I refill my spray bottle, there are a few ACV products on the market. R+Co Acid Wash ACV Cleansing Rinse ($32, nordstrom.com) contains apple cider vinegar extract, plus tamanu seed oil and aloe vera leaf juice for moisture. dpHue’s Apple Cider Vinegar Leave-In Hair Therapy ($30, sephora.com) is used after showering and before styling to detangle and even protect your hair from heat.