In a previous article on natural shampoo, I spoke about rinsing your hair with vinegar. This acts like a conditioner but without all the surfactants and coatings of commercial products. We have all been conditioned (excuse the pun) to think of hair conditioners as thick, slippery and creamy, so using vinegar instead seems distinctly odd.
Think of your hair shafts as very thin strips of roof with shingles on them. These shingles are called cuticles and when they lay flat, make your hair appear and feel smooth, soft and shiny. When they lift up, your hair looks frizzy and dull. Apple cider vinegar contains ascetic acid which has a pH that is very close to the natural pH of hair. It helps to flatten those cuticles along the shaft, thereby ‘conditioning’ the hair and mending split ends. This also helps to retain colour by closing the hair shaft.
Some people find that a vinegar rinse is drying – which is great if you have greasy hair but not so marvellous if your hair is dry to begin with. If that’s the case, you need to use less vinegar and more water.
Another option is to use kombucha vinegar. If you make your own kombucha, there inevitably comes a time when you have left it too long to be drinkable. Never fear, kombucha vinegar has so many different uses, not the least of which is as a hair conditioner. It is loaded with live enzymes, amino acids and a mild solution of acetic acid.
Best of all, you can take some herbs like basil, rosemary (normal hair) lavender, calendula (dry hair) and lemon balm, lemongrass and nettle (oily hair) and add them to your kombucha vinegar. Steep for a couple of weeks, strain and use as a hair rinse or tonic.