RELAXED HAIR AND APPLE CIDER VINEGAR
Apple cider vinegar (also known as ACV) is a natural product made from cider or freshly pressed apple juice. It is amber colored and can range from pale or slightly darker amber. Unpasteurized or organic apple cider vinegar is recommended for better results.It may appear congealed or look cobwebby (this thick substance is called the ‘mother’) but this is completely normal and does not affect the quality of the product.
As well as being used to flavor and dress food, apple cider vinegar has many other uses. Natural health advocates the world over recommend using ACV as a chemical free product that can be used to: aid weight loss, clean the home, balance the body’s pH level, treat stomach ailments, clean stained teeth, treat skin and improve your hair.
In this article, we will explore the many ways that Apple Cider Vinegar can be used to produce great results for your relaxed hair.
Hair relaxer formulations drastically alter the pH level of hair and scalp, whether we use a lye or no-lye relaxer. The pH is a scientific measure used to determine the acidity and alkalinity of substances. Levels of pH are represented by numbers ranging from 0 to 14. Number 7 on the scale is neutral. Numbers higher than 7 on the pH scale are more alkaline and less than 7 more acidic.
The natural pH of hair ranges between 4.5 – 5.5. Lye relaxers range from 12 – 14 and no-lye relaxers from 9 – 11.
Although using an acid-balanced neutralizing shampoo will ensure that you remove all traces of chemical residue and restore the hair to its resting pH level of 4.5, the hair can still retain traces of relaxing agents, especially in the weeks following a fresh relaxer. As well as causing possible hair loss, this can make the relaxed hair appear dull and lifeless. The scalp can also become excessively dry or irritated as the chemicals from relaxers will also affect it’s own pH balance.
The pH of Apple Cider vinegar is around 3 and it can further reduce the pH of hair strands to make it slightly more acidic. This will help to balance the pH of relaxed hair, closing and smoothing the hair cuticle so that hair appears shinier, softer and smoother. Smooth hair makes detangling easier as well as improving the elasticity of hair strands reducing breaking and tangling. The high pH of Apple cider vinegar makes it an ideal anti bacterial agent, further promoting the health of your hair.
The best way to get all these benefits is by using an apple cider vinegar rinse.
To make an Apple Cider Vinegar rinse:
- Mix one part apple cider vinegar to one part water, as needed ( ie. If you use 10 ounces ACV, mix with 10 ounces water).
- Use filtered water, if possible. Cool is best.
After shampooing hair, rinse with the mixture, pouring the mixture all over the hair. For futher conditioning, allow it to sit for a while and then use the rest of the mixture to completely rinse. This is great for removing product buildup from the hair. It can also be used after co-washing (washing hair with conditioner only).
For smooth, shiny relaxed hair use an ACV rinse after neutralizing hair after a relaxer, for the first few washes after a fresh relaxer and then at least once a month, or fortnightly if you use heavy styling products. Always follow up with a good deep conditioner.
Apple cider vinegar can also soothe an itchy, flaking or sore post relaxer scalp. If you suffer from an itchy scalp, try using an apple cider rinse a week before getting a relaxer. This will soothe your scalp and you are less likely to scratch, which can create small cuts and lead to burns if relaxer touches your scalp.
Try not to overuse ACV and keep to the concentration of one part ACV to one part water. Pay attention to how your hair reacts to ACV- you may need to reduce the concentration of ACV and add more water if you notice increased dryness or hair feeling too hard.
Please note that Apple Cider Vinegar has a smell that some may find strong. This smell will disappear once it dries. Apple cider vinegar can be purchased in good health stores and there are also a myriad of online sellers of this product. Check for good reviews before buying. Remember organic and unpasteurized is better is it contains more raw nutrients.
Store your apple cider vinegar in your refrigerator or a cool, dry place to keep it fresh and retain it’s active ingredients.