I had heard about apple cider vinegar rinses here and there, and while I wanted to try it, I always thought the ingredients needed were very complex. You know, like, when you want to try a new recipe and folks want you to get everything from cayenne pepper to cassava, to the single hair of a rare mountaintop billy goat. But in my sudden obsession to really cleanse my hair this past weekend after sweating profusely at the gym, I thought, if I’m going to wash it, I might as well really wash it.
To my surprise, the only thing I really needed to have was apple cider vinegar, baking soda and hot water. Lemon and sea salt are the other components people reach for to get an extra kick (but I only had lime and table salt…so yeah). After watching some YouTube videos and going to numerous Pinterest and blog pages for assistance, I did a 3/4 cup of the apple cider vinegar (the raw, unfiltered, organic kind from Bragg), and 1/4 cup of pure baking soda from Arm & Hammer. I was told that these particular measurements would balance out the PH levels when using both products. I poured both into a sink full of hot water (because I didn’t have time to measure nobody’s gallons of nothin’). After they had a quick reaction together–an instantaneous bubbling that would make Bill Nye proud–I put my head in the water for about 15 minutes. The front of my head, the sides of my head, and the back. In no time flat, I could see the water change colors and the chemicals interacting with my locs. Every little piece of lint started to dangle from the ends, and the gook I used to see deep and hidden in a few locs was washed away. After pulling my hair out, this is what was looking back at me.
Yuck! A muddy, murky sea of water. I decided that I wanted to try it again, with a fresh batch of water, vinegar, and baking soda. If the sink picked up that much mess the first time around, I wanted to make sure I got all of it out. The second time around, I played about four songs, and when each ended, I would change the position of my head to let a different part of my hair be cleansed in my concoction, doing footwork to keep my back and neck from hurting. And just like that, the water was brown again. Not as dark brown, but still, dirty.
But as for my hair, after rinsing it over and over with water to get the ACV rinse out, I was amazed by what I saw. Even during my best attempts at shampooing and scrubbing my hair, I could never seem to get my scalp to appear as clear as it did that afternoon. No flakes, no residue from my products–nothing. It was like Christmas.
Reading that my hair could dry out from the rinse, I immediately hopped in the shower and conditioned my locs. Shea Moisture’s Raw Shea Butter Deep Treatment Masque was my conditioner of choice. After waiting a while and letting that product sink in, I rinsed it out, did a hot oil treatment and retwisted the front before getting under my hair dryer. And after two hours, and getting my hair dried about 70 percent (*deep sigh*), I moisturized the hell out of my strands. Lush’s R&B Hair Moisturizer and Cantu Beauty’s Moisturizing Twist & Lock Gel actually penetrate my thick locs, so I applied them generously.
In the end, I was so happy with the results of my rinse, I can’t say enough about it. I often hate washing my hair because I always feel like it ends up dry, and I can’t truly get my scalp as spotless as I want. But the rinse really got in there, without me scrubbing, and pulled out the gunk, leaving my scalp clean and clear. We’re talking almost four years worth of grime I couldn’t reach during my regular washes. As someone with bad dandruff, that meant a lot to me. And I would be remiss if I forgot to add that my locs felt the softest they have since I first started locking my hair, back in the two-strand twist early days. My hair feels absolutely amazing, and I definitely plan to integrate an apple cider vinegar rinse into my regimen at least twice a year (the products are a bit too strong for me to do it for every wash). You should too, because an ACV rinse seems to work wonders on all hair types.