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Detox Your Hair With This Apple Cider Vinegar Scalp Scrub

Spring is one of those times that just begs for a detox. While most of us think of a detox as a great way to reset our bodies and maybe even lose a couple pounds (and it totally is!), your insides aren’t the only thing in need of a cleanse this winter. Your scalp is practically begging for a little TLC as well—and what better way to do that than with an apple cider vinegar scalp scrub

Much like the pores on your skin, hair follicles can become clogged with oil, dirt and product build-up, leaving you with lackluster strands and flat, limp hair. But this apple cider vinegar scalp scrub helps detox the scalp and get rid of impurities known to cause dandruff, hair fall, and oily locks.

This detoxifying apple cider vinegar scrub uses finely ground pink Himalayan salt to slough away dead skin and deep clean hair follicles.

Benefits of an Apple Cider Vinegar Scalp Scrub

If you use commercial hair products, chances are your shampoo is loaded with parabens, sulfates and other chemicals that may linger in your scalp and build up over time. I’m a total sucker for the shampoo and conditioner my hairdresser sells (ohh, that shine) but after a while it feels like my fave products just aren’t cutting it. My hair looks limp and lifeless and I notice a little more grease than usual. That’s when I know it’s time for a detox.

This detoxifying apple cider vinegar scrub uses finely ground pink Himalayan salt to slough away dead skin and deep clean hair follicles.

This detoxifying apple cider vinegar scrub uses finely ground pink Himalayan salt to slough away dead skin and deep clean hair follicles.

This apple cider vinegar scalp scrub naturally sloughs off product build-up and removes dead skin cells that might be weighing your hair down. Scalp scrubs are easy to make and by getting rid of the impurities that can block hair follicles you can help promote blood circulation, encourage hair growth and get rid of stubborn bacteria.

Although the science supporting most ACV detox claims is limited, many of its properties (such as being high in both acetic acid and malic acid) are thought to be good for the skin and hair. We’ve used apple cider vinegar in everything shampoo and hair rinses. When applied topically, apple cider vinegar may help:

  • Exfoliate skin – Apple cider vinegar is loaded with malic acid, which gently exfoliates skin cells and leaves you with a clean, healthier scalp. 
  • Balance skin pH – ACV has long been used to help balance skin pH, which in turn keeps the scalp functioning as it should—ie. producing the right amount of oil and fighting dandruff-causing bacteria.
  • Clear clogged pores – Apple cider vinegar also has antibacterial benefits, which can keep things like redness and flakes at bay and help clear clogged pores. 

And especially when combined with other clarifying ingredients, like pink Himalayan sea salt, coconut oil and nourishing essential oils, a good old fashioned detox scrub can do wonders for you hair. Sea salt is loaded with vitamins and minerals that help boost skin health and nourish hair starting at the root. And coconut and essential oils replenish moisture that may get stripped by the vinegar.

But your choice of ingredients aren’t limited to just the ones I use. Feel free to tweak your scrub by adding any of the following: 

  • Aloe vera
  • Ground herbs and botanicals, like rosemary, thyme and flower petals
  • Lemon or lime zest
  • Bentonite clay
  • Ground ginger
  • Oatmeal
  • Probiotics

The exact ratio of ingredients isn’t too important since it only sits on your scalp for a minute or two. Jut play around with your recipe until you find one that works for you and your hair (or see below for 3 different recipes you can make depending on your hair’s needs.)

So if you’re ready to refresh your locks and show your scalp some TLC, here’s how to make your own ACV scrub.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R5JPYWLi-s8]

ACV Scalp Scrub 3 Ways

Everyone’s scalp is different. Based on feedback from readers, we found that the original recipe could be a little strong for some people, so we put together 2 additional detox scrubs to give you all the benefits without the tingle or greasy after-effects.

The Original Apple Cider Vinegar Scalp Scrub

Dry Scalp Scrub

Squeaky Clean Scalp Scrub

DIY Scalp Oil 10

DIY Scalp Oil 10

How to Use an Apple Cider Vinegar Scalp Scrub

  1. Hop in the shower and lightly wet your hair and scalp. Squeeze out any excess water.
  2. Using your fingertips, scoop one to two tablespoons scrub from the jar and rub it between your hands.
  3. Starting at your hairline and working toward the back of the head, gently massage the scrub into your scalp. Don’t expect your scrub to foam up like shampoo. The coconut oil will melt some, making your scrub a little less solid, but since there’s no soap it won’t get foamy. 
  4. Once you’ve reached the back of your head, work your way back toward the hairline.
  5. If you have longer hair, try flipping your head over in the shower in order to reach the back of the head and the crown.
  6. Let sit for a minute or two before rinsing thoroughly and following up with shampoo and conditioner. It doesn’t hurt to shampoo a second time if you have fine or naturally oily hair. 

Note: Apple cider vinegar is strong enough to cause burns, so it should always be diluted with water either before or just after applying it to the skin. I usually apply a handful of scrub to my hair and then make sure to dilute the mixture with a little bit of water once it’s on my scalp. Diluting also it makes it less drying, so it’s safer for naturally dry and/or color treated hair,

FAQs

How often should I do an apple cider vinegar scalp scrub?

How often you need to exfoliate will depend on how much product you use and what you’re using. Most people will only need to exfoliate about once a month. Overdoing it on the ACV can make hair brassy or upset the pH balance of the scalp.

Can I substitute other honey in place of Manuka honey?

Yes! Any honey will work, but raw honey is best because it has vitamins and minerals you won’t find in the processed stuff. It doesn’t have to be manuka honey.

This scrub makes my scalp burn. What gives?

Like the skin of the face, the skin on your scalp can be sensitive to certain ingredients. Apple cider vinegar is acidic and can make skin tingle or even burn slightly. If you run into this problem, take a handful of scrub and add about 2 tablespoons water before applying to your scalp. The more you dilute the scrub, the less it will irritate your skin.

Should I follow up with shampoo and conditioner after using this scrub?

I do because I have naturally fine hair that looks better when it’s squeaky clean. But you don’t have to. It really just depends on your hair and how it responds to leaving product in. You might find that shampooing your hair helps to get the salt out after you’re done scrubbing.

ACV Hair Detox 4

ACV Hair Detox 4

Can I use an apple cider vinegar scalp scrub on color treated hair?

Salt and vinegar both tend to strip or change hair color, so either try it on a small patch or skip it altogether. To make it less harsh, you can always replace the salt with sugar and water down the ACV with 1-2 tablespoons of water.

What’s the shelf life?

I recommend storing it in the fridge and using it within a week.

Can I substitute extra virgin olive oil (or any other kind of oil, for that matter)?

Yep! You can use any oil you like.

Can I use table salt in place of Himalayan Sea Salt?

Sure! You might miss out on a few of the minerals in sea salt, but it should still leave you with a clean scalp.

Can I use sugar in place of salt if I have a dry scalp?

Of course. Try raw organic sugar instead.

Psst. Looking for more ways to nourish your hair at home? Why not try our 10 favorite ways to make your hair grow faster or this growth-stimulating DIY scalp oil.

ACV Hair Detox 2

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4.3 from 17 votes

Apple Cider Vinegar Scalp Scrub

This detoxifying apple cider vinegar scrub uses finely ground pink Himalayan salt to slough away dead skin and deep clean hair follicles.

Active Time10 mins

Total Time10 mins

Course: At Home Hair Treatment

Keyword: apple cider vinegar, hair, salt scrub

Yield: 2 applications

Author: Stephanie Pollard

Cost: $4

Instructions

  • If you can only find coarse sea salt, grind about 1/3 cup salt in a clean coffee grinder until you have a semi-fine texture (a few coarse pieces are okay).

  • Combine everything in a small bowl and stir. Transfer to an airtight container.

  • To use, lightly wet your hair and gently scrub a tablespoon sized amount into your scalp using your fingertips (don’t expect the scrub to foam like soap). Let it sit for 5-10 minutes before rinsing with warm water. Follow up with shampoo and conditioner as usual.

Video

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R5JPYWLi-s8?version=3&rel=1&fs=1&autohide=2&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&wmode=transparent&w=720&h=405]

Notes

Store remaining scrub in the refrigerator and use within a week. Apple cider vinegar is a strong acid, so it should always be diluted with water either before or just after applying it to the skin. I usually apply a handful of scrub to my hair and then make sure to dilute the mixture with a little bit of water once it’s on my scalp. Diluting also it makes it less drying, so it’s safer for naturally dry and/or color treated hair. Recipe Variations: Dry Scalp Scrub

  • ¼ cup sugar (sucanat or coconut sugar would be great for this)
  • 1/2 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 tablespoon water
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil melted
  • 1 teaspoon Manuka honey 
  • 15 drops lavender essential oil or other oil of your choosing

  Squeaky Clean Scalp Scrub

  • ¼ cup Himalayan pink salt lightly ground
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon shampoo
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 tablespoon coconut oil melted
  • 1 teaspoon Manuka honey
  • 15 drops grapefruit essential oil or other oil of your choosing

This post was medically reviewed by Dr. Jennifer Haley, a board-certified dermatologist with extensive experience in medical, cosmetic and surgical dermatology. Learn more about Hello Glow’s medical review board here. As always, this is not personal medical advice and we recommend that you talk with your doctor.

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