Should You Use Vinegar Hair Rinse for Gray Hair? [Facts, Pros, Cons, Risks and More]

Certified Senior Advisor (CSA)®
Assistive Technology Professional
Updated:

Indeed, everything old is new again, and a tried-and-true home remedy for shinier hair is back: vinegar. Vinegar rinses are gaining precedence once more. Here's a guide on how to use vinegar as a gray hair rinse.

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Income Disclosure: Product recommendations are based on my personal experience working with seniors. I may earn a commission on items purchased from affiliate links in this guide. Learn More.

Out with the new, in with the old. It’s a frequent adage these days, as people turn to alternative remedies to stay healthy in an increasingly toxic society. From cosmetic products to medicine and food, people are looking back to the past for toxin-free, natural remedies to problems of the 21st century.

The Nitty-Gritty

Incorporating vinegar into your hair care routine can help remove brassiness, balance your hair’s pH, and reduce build-up and dandruff. It appears to be safe to use as long as you have no allergies to vinegars or sulfites, no sensitivity to acidic substances on your head, or have naturally dry hair.

No Shades of Gray: Vinegar for Gray Hair Explained

If you’ve been experimenting with natural products in your beauty routines, you’ve probably tried a variety of hair products. It doesn’t matter if it’s avocado, mayonnaise, or eggs. Well, we bring you yet another natural guru: Vinegar.

Because of its sour taste and fragrance, you may not have thought of pouring this item all over your head! However, you should not be put off by this. Using vinegar on your hair will make your hair grow longer, stronger, and healthier, as well as help you avoid dandruff and split ends! Apple cider vinegar can also help reduce fungal and bacterial growth on the scalp and hair, all of which improve hair health.

If you have gray hair, it’s particularly worth incorporating vinegar into your hair care routine to help maintain your silver strands lustrous and silky. Vinegar is considered one of the simplest and most effective ways to restore melanin pigment to hair and achieve a smooth, shiny, and thick texture.

But, Does It Work?

Yes, it does. Vinegar for hair works is because it regulates the pH of your hair and scalp. By lowering the PH of your scalp, vinegar also helps to close the cuticle of your hair shafts, reversing the effect of open cuticles: rough and frizzy hair.

Why Use Apple Cider Vinegar on Gray Hair?

Here are 4 key benefits of of using a vinegar hair rinse on gray hair.

Benefit #1: It Helps Refine Hair Color

Vinegar can help lighten and improve hair color when applied to gray hair. Gray hair normally looks brassy because of its light tint, which shows stains and poor hair health easily. With vinegar rinses, however, many have found that they can eliminate the dull, yellowed tint that comes with gray hair.

The result? – great hair color, removal of excess oil and debris, as well as shut hair cuticles. It also helps refine hair color by reducing the effect of environmental damage, such as UV discoloration.

Benefit #2: Deep Cleansing and Rebalancing the pH

If you’re using color-correcting products or severe conditioning treatments, it’s critical to wash and rebalance the pH of your hair. Vinegar, which is a natural acidic formula, can aid with this. It’s a great cleanser, so it’s ideal to use in between washes, just as a rinse or even lighten gray hair, which can be difficult to manage.

Benefit #3: A Natural Remedy For Hair Loss

Apple cider vinegar is effective at removing any buildup in the hair. From shampoos and conditioners for gray hair to styling products to dead skin, dirt, and sebum, removing build-up opens up space for hair growth.

Though this is not scientifically proven, aesthetically speaking, when all of these toxins have been removed, apple cider vinegar can make your hair appear aesthetically fuller, which has led to it being billed as the next great hair loss remedy.

Benefit #4: It Helps with Scalp Issues Like Dandruff

Vinegar is antibacterial and acidic, making it an excellent addition to any hair care regimen. As the acidic components of apple cider vinegar operate, the antimicrobial advantages help reduce the number of germs and yeast on the scalp and hair, potentially leading to fewer scalp concerns and shinier, frizz-free hair according to Healthline.com.

Are There Any Risks or Drawbacks of Using Vinegar Hair Rinse for Gray Hair?

Before using any new product on your body, you should also understand any risks associated with its use. Here are some potential risks of using vinegar on your hair:

Risk 1: Allergic Reaction

Even though vinegar is not one of the eight primary allergens responsible for the majority of allergic reactions, your body can become allergic to anything. If you’ve ever had an adverse response to vinegar-containing foods, don’t use it on your hair.

Risk 2: Scalp Irritation

Though this may not be a problem if your skin is healthy and intact, the acid in the vinegar will cause agony if you have acne or any wounds or scratches on your head.

Risk 3: Hair Damage

Vinegar is a drying agent. If your hair is naturally dry, has been colored, or is brittle, vinegar will dry it out and increase the likelihood of breaking. A vinegar rinse could also damage thin, fine hair. As such, if you must use it, use enough water to dilute the solution and rinse it out as soon as you can.

Risk 4: Sulfite Reactions

Sulfites are chemical compounds found naturally in vinegar and other sour foods. They’re also used by food manufacturers to lengthen the shelf life of their products. If you have asthma and are using a steroid-based medicine, are over 50 years of age, or if you have a high level of respiratory sensitivity, the sulfites in vinegar may cause an allergic reaction.

How To Use Apple Cider Vinegar On Gray Hair

There are a few methods to use vinegar on hair, but the simplest and most efficient one is to make a hair rinse. Simply combine 1 to 3 tablespoons of white vinegar or ACV with half a liter of water, stir, and pour into a spray bottle.

Soak your hair completely and, if required, brush your scalp. Leave for 5 minutes before applying a conditioner. Those with dry hair should use less vinegar, while those with excessive oil should use more if necessary. This spray is most commonly used once a week, although it can be used less frequently to avoid drying out the scalp or causing damage.

Gray Hair: Time to Own It!

So what if you don’t want to color your hair? Own it! Vinegar can help you look trendy and smart by bringing out the best in your silver mane.

Use a vinegar rinse to make gray hair shine and to remove a yellow hue induced by sun and perspiration. As a pro tip, get a good cut; it’s what really makes gray hair an eye-catcher! It even helps make you look younger despite your gray hair!

Certified Senior Advisor (CSA)®
Assistive Technology Professional

Scott Grant has spent more than 20 years serving seniors and the elderly in the home medical equipment industry. He has worked as a manufacturer's rep for the top medical equipment companies and a custom wheelchair specialist at a durable medical equipment (DME) provider in WV. He is father to 4 beautiful daughters and has three terrific grandkids. When not promoting better living for older adults, he enjoys outdoor activities including hiking and kayaking and early morning runs.

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