To give you confidence in applying this apple cider vinegar hair rinse to your head, it’s important you know a few basics about how the hairs on your head come into being. What we typically think of as “hair” is actually a two-part structure consisting of a follicle, which is a tunnel-like segment located in the skin, and a shaft, which is the visible structure that grows above the skin.
Just below the surface of the skin are sebaceous glands, which secrete sebum through the hair follicle. This oil lubricates hair and skin, and is part of the acid mantle – a very fine, slightly acidic film that maintains and protects the overall health of the hair and skin.
The acid mantle is also critical to our hair’s appearance, which – let’s be honest, is what we all really care about. The outer layer of the shaft, also known as the cuticle, is comprised of tightly packed overlapping scales. The acid mantle is instrumental in making cuticle scales lie flat, which gives hair a shiny, smooth appearance, and protects from moisture loss.
Unfortunately, this system can be easily disrupted, which is the primary cause of the ever-popular bad hair day. The acid mantle typically has a pH of around 5, which means it is slightly acidic. Many hair care products, treatments, and some shampoos are more alkaline (have a pH above 7), which can contaminate or remove the acid mantle.
To start my vinegar excursion, I headed out to my local supermarket to pick up my key ingredient. After spending less than $3 on this bad boy, I went home to wash my face like a bombshell actress.
Being that my complexion is more temperamental than my 16-year-old self, I like washing my face once before bedtime with lukewarm water. Eager to kick start the experiment with ease, I splashed some water onto my face as usual. However, once I substituted my foam cleanser for apple cider vinegar, all hell broke loose.
When you wash your face with straight up vinegar, it feels like a bit like one of those chemistry disasters that safety video warned you about in high school. Aside from the vinegar stinging my eyes more than once, the horrendous facial burn temporarily felt like that sunburn I once had after substituting sunscreen for olive oil. Yikes!
Although the burning sensation eventually subsided, I was totally tempted to dump the rest of the vinegar down the drain. Willing to keep trying the experiment though, I vowed to be much careful come tomorrow’s nightly wash.