Many of you know I am not a product junkie and if you are, no judgments here, do what works for you but I tend to stay loyal to my Love Potion #9 concoction and Vo5 Tea Therapy Conditioner to wash my hair, but within the past few months I have decided to add another addition to my hair regimen, organic raw apple cider vinegar.
For those of you who know us well, Nikisha loves apple cider vinegar and uses Bragg Organic Raw Apple Cider Vinegar since it contains the “Mother” because only “raw organic apple cider vinegar has the “mother of vinegar” that makes the vinegar so beneficial, the “mother” is made up living nutrients and bacteria”. Now Nikisha uses Organic Raw Apple Cider Vinegar at least once a month due to weekly washing sessions. I on the other hand wash my hair once a month and have decided to implement raw organic apple cider vinegar into my weekly regimen.
After implementing acv (apple cider vinegar) into my regimen, right away I noticed a difference…less shedding. As I previously mentioned I only wash my hair once a month, yes once a month and the reason for this besides saving time and no problems with dandruff (which causes skin cells to mature and shed in 2–7 days, as opposed to around a month in people without dandruff), my hair responds better with monthly washing cycles. The reason for this may be many shampoos and soaps are alkaline. Naturally the potential hydrogen or ph balance of our hair is acidic. Ph is simply the measure of how alkali or acidic a substance is through a scale of 0-14. Substances between 0-6.9 are acidic, 7 neutral and 7.1-14 is alkaline. Which means the sebum (natural oils) and hair is “healthiest” when acidic. Our hair and sebum naturally has a ph balance between 4.5 and 5.5.
You may be wondering why is it so important to maintain an acidic balance, well a ph balance of 4.5-5.5 hinders bacteria and fungus as well as ensuring the cuticle is contracted or sealed versus opened. A closed cuticle not only protects the layers of the cuticles themselves but locks in moisture and protects the cortex which in return protects the strand from breakage. Now with many shampoos and soaps being alkaline in nature this severely affects the acidic balance of our hair, causing a shift in the healthy acidic balance of the strands and sebum due to the product stripping away your natural oils that combat bacteria, quickly leading to dry, brittle hair, prone to breakage from opened cuticles. Also when I refer to “opened cuticles” I mean cuticles that are opened too far, curly hair naturally has raised cuticles which causes more difficulty in maintaining a 4.5-5.5 balance and this is why it is extremely important for all of us curlies to avoid alkaline products since it is harder for us to retain the natural acidic ph balance.
Due to the antibacterial and antibiotic of organic raw apple cider vinegar (with the mother in it), acv is a natural clarifier which is great for our scalp and hair and has a natural ph balance of 3.
How I use Apple Cider Vinegar
• I have been incorporating the acv into My 7 Step Weekly Hair Routine: Part 2 (after step 4) which I leave on the scalp.
• Make sure to dilute the acv. (A good way to test the ph balance in substances is through ph paper test strips which you can purchase 100 strips through amazon for 5.95).
• I use about 15 ml which is about 3 teaspoons which I dilute with ½ cup of water then place in a spray bottle and focus on the scalp area of each section of hair.
*Since I use a small amount of raw apple cider vinegar the smell dissipates quickly but apple cider vinegar is not the only option in keeping your hair ph balance acidic. Below are some other alternatives
-Check the labels of older products. If the ph balance is not mentioned then use the test strips. If the product does not test between the levels of 4-7 then discontinue use of product.
-Wash your hair with ph balanced conditioners and shampoos (the Vo5 Tea Therapy Conditioner I use has a ph level of 6)
As always there are exceptions. Find what works best for you, but the more you know the more you will be able to find a regimen that works best.