How to Wash Your Hair with Vinegar

I wrote a guest post for The Greenbacks Gal on the natural, money-saving method of washing my hair that I have been using for the past nine years! This is an updated version of my vinegar hairwashing article from a few years ago, with some new tips…and a photo of me. I decided it makes sense that people considering whether to wash their hair the way I do would want to know how my hair looks.

Washing my hair with vinegar makes it possible for me to wash less often, have silky texture and nice waves and less frizz without (usually) applying anything extra to my hair, spend less money on hair care, and avoid applying weird chemicals to my skin or rinsing them into the water supply.

To read all about it–or if you are a longtime reader who has been frustrated that there are no pictures of me anywhere on this site and you really want to know what I look like–click on over to The Greenbacks Gal!

P.S. I wrote this entire post using my friends’ wifi while on their porch waiting to find out when they are coming home. Technology may not be allowing me to reach them instantly, but it’s still pretty amazing, giving me the ability to speak to the entire world using a two-pound device I was carrying in my bookbag and some convenient invisible waves! And if I get too hungry to keep waiting, this device converts into a combination atlas and phone book that will show me exactly where to find the nearest restaurant! This is awesome. Except there are some mosquitoes here–is there an app for that yet?

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3 thoughts on “How to Wash Your Hair with Vinegar

  1. Pingback: 6 Unnecessary Types of Cell Phone Call | The Earthling's Handbook

  2. I love this article and started using vinegar the moment I read it! However, I’ve got a couple of questions that seem to be lingering since starting this towards the end of June.

    I went cold-turkey and switched from poo to vinegar in one day. I have tried several variations to figure out what works best for me and have decided to start over from scratch. I’m wondering if you still use soap to wash your hair on a regular basis or are you only using vinegar? You mentioned that if you’re hair gets greasy or you get stuff under your fingernails, to wash with soap and I was doing that. Each time I washed with soap, my hair would be squeaky clean but then it would be icky again after only two days. I am like you, having not used any hair products, color, or even leave-in conditioner for at least a year (new mom). So I don’t think that’s the issue, but wanted to get your opinion.

    Second, what kind of soap do you use? I’m using a lye-based soap with very few additives. (Purchased from local soap makers.) Is it possible that the ingredients in my soap could be adding to the greasy issues with my hair?

    As I said earlier, I’ve decided to start over from scratch to see if I can work myself up to washing only 2-3 days with vinegar. Therefore, I’m now washing daily with vinegar (even switched from distilled white to apple cider to see if there was a difference) to see if I can break past this greasy, somewhat icky stage. My hair is super thick and wavy, again seemingly similar to your texture. Maybe I just need to get used to my hair being somewhat shiny/oily?

    I’ve also recently switched to washing my face using an oil cleansing method, which would probably contribute to the oily issues around my face. But just not sure of the rest of my hair.

    Anyway, would love to get some direction, if possible. Thanks much!

    • I never washed my hair with soap (well, at least not routinely, only in emergencies) but with shampoo. When I switched to vinegar, I alternated vinegar washings with shampoo washings for about 5 months; early in that time I was able to switch from the conventional shampoo I had been using (Suave for oily hair) to my partner’s plant-based shampoo (Nature’s Gate) which previously had not been able to get my hair clean. I switched mainly because I was pregnant and the chemical fragrance in Suave made me feel queasy! But after those few months I was off shampoo almost entirely. I now use it about once a year if my hair seems really stubbornly dirty after vinegar washing.

      I did mention washing with soap around my hairline to control oil there. That is Dr. Bronner’s liquid castile soap, which is the soap I use on the rest of my body.

      I think you misunderstood this part of the article:

      Vinegar-washed hair feels a little different from shampoo-washed hair both when it’s clean and when it’s dirty, so it takes practice to learn when to wash it again. Here are some signs that your hair needs washing:
      • Hair feels sticky and gummy. It gets difficult to brush and style.
      • Hair won’t lie down. It frizzes, or pieces keep sticking out straight at odd angles.
      • Hair feels wiry instead of silky.
      • If you scratch your head, you get gray stuff under your nails.
      You’ll also need to wash your hair if you’ve been swimming in a chlorinated pool.

      I’m talking there about when it’s time to wash your hair WITH VINEGAR. These are not signs that you need to wash with soap/shampoo instead.

      Washing daily with vinegar may be too harsh. It’s a pretty strong acid. See if you can stick to every 2-3 days right away and go longer later. The goal is NOT to strip all oil out of your hair but to keep some of the oil to control frizz. If your hair feels too oily now, it might help to pull it back from your face with barrettes, braiding, ponytail, etc.

      Good luck! I’m glad you liked the article. Feel free to ask more questions.

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