Part of doing what I do here involves making myself into a guinea pig. I’m willing to try just about any hair or beauty treatment out there so I can review the best of the best for you. But sometimes it isn’t about the next new thing. Sometimes the best solution is the most back to basics option.

Take for example, vinegar.

Vinegar for Hair

You may already know that there are some amazing beauty-related uses for the liquid you also use to dress a salad or to mop a hardwood floor. I use vinegar internally, externally, and around the home in many ways. It’s one of those must-have home staples that’s a multiple use beauty essential – like coarse brown sugar, honey, and baking soda!

First things first: what is vinegar, anyway? Tell us, Wikipedia!

Vinegar is an acidic liquid produced from the fermentation of ethanol in a process that yields its key ingredient, acetic acid (ethanoic acid). It also may come in a diluted form. The pH of table vinegar ranges from 2.4 to 3.4 (higher if diluted). The acetic acid concentration typically ranges from 4% to 8% by volume for table vinegar and up to 18% for pickling vinegar. Natural vinegars also contain small amounts of tartaric acid, citric acid, and other acids. Vinegar has been used since ancient times and is an important element in European, Asian, and other cuisines.

The word “vinegar” derives from the Old French word “vinaigre” meaning “sour wine.”

Well hey now.

So how do I use vinegar to enhance my beauty? I’ll tell you now!

Vinegar for Acne

I’ve managed to figure it out when it comes to my face…but real talk, I continue to have a struggle with backne. I’ve tried all kinds of fancy washes and lotions. The ONE thing that’s truly worked to effectively kill the outbreaks of ginormous zits on my back and shoulders as they emerge? Apple cider vinegar. Now I’m not saying it’s completely cured my backne…but whenever I get a new breakout, I spray it with the ACV I keep in a spray bottle, and it dries out the zit within a day or so. I’m using tea tree oil to deal with the scars left behind.
Don’t believe me? Check out this thread devoted to vinegar as a topical acne treatment, and this one about vinegar for acne on your back (aka backne).

Vinegar for Hair

Most naturalistas are well versed in the benefits of ACV on natural hair, but if you’re not – allow me to fill you in. Vinegar is a great clarifier, and it makes for clean, shiny hair. This simple recipe from Natural Review lets you know what to do, and this vintage BGLH post breaks down exactly why. I usually just rinse my hair at the end with a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar (Braggs is a popular brand for that), and also using vinegar on my scalp once a month has helped me deal with flakes in the past.

Vinegar For The Bane of My Existence

I don’t know how I manage to do it…but whenever I detangle my hair or shave my legs or…just take a freakin shower, sometimes…I manage to clog the drain up. I guess it’s a hazard of being a product junkie. And clearly it’s me, because my husband shaves his head.

Chemical drain decloggers can be expensive, and it seems like I can go through a bottle of that stuff and barely make a difference in the draining power of my shower. Save yourself the $7 to $10 bucks, and make a vinegar bomb to declog your drain! All you need is baking soda, white vinegar, and boiling hot water. Baking soda + vinegar = crazy foam oozing out of your shower drain like a thing outta Ghostbusters, so click here for a step-by-step guide on doing it right. Repeat as necessary.

Those are some of the ways vinegar helps to make my life more beautiful (in an affordable way!). There’s always more to learn; how do you use vinegar for hair, for acne, or for your beauty regimen?


Linda says:
May 27, 2011, 11:31 am
tried clicking on the two links for using vinegar on the hair and got a 404 error. thanks
b. says:
May 27, 2011, 11:54 am
Thanks for bringing this up! I have one word for clogged drains: ZIPS. Get thee to a big box hardware store (or a good local one) and pick up a few. Yes, it's pretty disgusting when you use it, but you get the offending mess OUT of your drain, versus pushing it farther into it and messing up the pipes in the long term. Also, a plastic hair catcher works just as well (if not better) on our curly/coily hair. I found mine at the grocery store.
Roxanne says:
May 27, 2011, 12:28 pm
Vinegar is a great natural remedy! I recently read the same thing about vinegar and its benefits for acne/blemishes. I dabbed some ACV on my skin after cleansing then used Anti-Blemish cream and it worked wonders. Thanks for this info!
bella says:
May 27, 2011, 12:28 pm
fixed! Thanks for letting me know, it was the program I wrote the HTML in!
AnnellaBella says:
May 27, 2011, 12:37 pm
White vinegar also keeps ants away when sprayed on window sills and doorways or any points of entry! I love everything all-natural!
Tasha says:
May 27, 2011, 12:47 pm
I use a vinegar rinse to freshen up "down there" in the hoo-ha parts. Dilute with water and splish splash. I also use regular vinegar to mop the kitchen floor.
zenzele says:
May 27, 2011, 1:35 pm
I just did my first vinegar rinse last week, and I loved it! I have locs, and I hate washing them, because they get heavy when wet, and no matter how many times I repeat the shampooing, they didn't seem to get clean. I followed someone's Youtube video, wet my hair with vinegar, scrubbed in some baking soda, left it in for about 20 minutes, and shampooed twice. Squeakly clean! I've been doing the vinegar bombs for the drain for years! Much safer than the commercial stuff, and won't damage the pipes.
zenzele says:
May 27, 2011, 1:49 pm
Hey, never heard of those! Since I have frequent slow drains, I'm gonna pick up a few of these myself. Thank you!
zenzele says:
May 27, 2011, 1:49 pm
Hey, never heard of Zips! Since I have frequent slow drains, I'm gonna pick up a few of these myself. Thank you!
candiew says:
May 27, 2011, 1:50 pm
Never have used vinegar for beauty, but have used it to de-clog drains and for pickling (which I did yesterday in fact, made some amazing carrot/jalapeno pickles) Will try ACV for the back issues. I'm very curious about how tea tree oil works on scar...does it work?
Kimmoy says:
May 27, 2011, 7:10 pm
I actually drink Apple Cider Vinegar daily with water to help with cramps/fibroids.
bella says:
May 27, 2011, 10:10 pm
YES!!! Totally buying zips next! Thanks for the tip!
Tasha says:
May 27, 2011, 10:36 pm
I'm going to try this. I suffer from fibroids and cysts.
Natalie says:
May 28, 2011, 12:27 pm
Thanks! I am going to try this today! By the way, I think someone copied your blog post verbatim on another site: - I found this in the comments post on this site (
Green Afro Diva says:
May 28, 2011, 2:06 pm
I use white vinegar for my face. I've tried a vinegar rinse on my hair a few times, but I will eventually go back to using it. I'd rather use white vinegar than ACV since it's not as strong as ACV
Faith@ahead says:
May 28, 2011, 9:27 pm
i don't really like vinegar, it's odor, it's taste... but maybe it's time I get acquainted with it...
Orange Señorita says:
May 28, 2011, 10:59 pm
and maybe i might just try vinegar too! i don't like it either, esp apple cider...
bella says:
May 29, 2011, 2:00 pm
Oooooh that's a great tip!! I had NO idea!
LaTosha Johnson says:
May 29, 2011, 2:01 pm
I love Apple cider vinegar! I suffer from Eczema and out of all the remedies that I have tried, rubbing Apple cider vinegar into my scalp has completely gotten rid of the itchiness I used to experience. Love it!
Karen says:
May 30, 2011, 7:58 am
Thank you for posting this. I've arrived to a place where I no longer purchase lotions and hair products (sorry to the indies who make the sweet-smelling natural products.) The ACV has cleared up my skin and now my monthly breakouts have lessoned quite a bit. I only use organic olive oil on my skin. My toddler no longer has eczema because of it. There are recipes online for homemade laundry detergent, dish washing detergent and the like. Cheap, natural and they work. Keep bringing the great articles!!!
Mishara says:
May 30, 2011, 11:51 am
I second candidew's question. I use the ACV on back and chest acne. But what helps fade the scars from the healed breakouts? I can't keep using my expensive concealer a bunch of non-facial spots :)
DallasUCMR says:
May 31, 2011, 10:12 am
Georgia says:
May 31, 2011, 10:36 am
Will be giving this a try. Always looking for cheap natural ways to keep my skin healthy.
sprinkles says:
June 1, 2011, 1:42 pm
Please be careful drinking ACV. The acidity can erode the irreplaceable enamel on your teeth making your teeth more sensitive to hot and cold foods (and sweets). Plus it can also damage your esophagus. I used to drink ACV and water daily and though it's an "acquired" taste, once you're used to it, you love it and it helps you lose weight. But my dentist warned me about continued drinking so I stopped. Just passing on the knowledge.
TJ says:
June 7, 2011, 4:08 am
I use ACV as part of my hair care regimen monthly. I suffer from bad dandruff and my scalp is very sensitive to chemicals and ceratin products. ACV has helped immensely with my dandruff.
sam says:
June 12, 2011, 2:47 pm
that is totally disgusting and too much information..
Lisa says:
June 12, 2011, 3:57 pm
WTF is so disgusting about a woman's natural parts and keeping them fresh? If you can't take it GO AWAY!
Lily says:
June 30, 2011, 1:38 am
I agree with you Lisa. Nothing disgusting about us women sharing info and tips with each other on staying clean and fresh. Thanks Tasha!
Sapphireblu says:
July 12, 2011, 9:26 am
Acv is very healthy in small doses, it can help with diabetes, high blood pressure, and low energy Use a straw when drinking to avoid enamal damage
sapphireblu says:
July 12, 2011, 9:29 am
ACV is great in small doses, it helps with diabetes,(pre) and after, High Blood Pressure, Use a straw when drinking to help with enamel damage.
Sheena says:
July 20, 2011, 7:02 pm
Wonderful post! I love giving my daughter Apple Cider Vinegar rinse on her natural curly hair. It leaves her hair so soft, shiny, and manageable. Its the cheapest, detangler I have every bought.
Nicole says:
July 29, 2011, 9:53 pm
I've used apple cider vinegar for years and I love it. I normally add a teaspoon of it to my morning water and it really helps improve my digestion and acne. Great post.
Shantel Johnson says:
October 21, 2011, 1:01 pm
I also use vinegar the apple kind. and it works!
Taylor says:
April 3, 2012, 11:55 pm
when using vinegar on acne, will it leave scars?? thanks for the tips! totally gonna use this on my hair :)
dnice says:
July 6, 2012, 2:46 pm
so do u use white or apple cider vinegar on the hair which is best
Steph says:
August 16, 2012, 2:07 pm
That's great! Saving yourself a few bucks and without the extra chemicals they put in douches like summers eve. I been meaning to do this as well. Helps with infections and keeping them at bay.
bonjoiedevivre says:
August 25, 2012, 9:45 pm
great for weight loss. your dentist is corret. ACV is now available in pills , you can buy from bonjoidevivre.
Lee says:
January 9, 2013, 6:07 am
Has no one ever used vinegar for sunburn? If I get badly sunburnt, I pour a cold bath and add two or three cups of vinegar and it works like a charm. Moisturize afterwards and you'll feel good as new
Marie Swan says:
January 27, 2013, 4:27 pm
Does white vinegar work for dry acne prone skin?
vampiress13 says:
February 11, 2013, 8:30 am
Apple cider vinegar is also good for heart burn.
Amanda says:
February 18, 2013, 11:31 pm
Yes vinegar works great on sunburns not the greatest smelling bath but really makes a difference on the burn. Also vinegar helps with toenail fungus just 1 part vinegar 2 parts warm water and soak daily for 20 min then after you dry top your nails off with tea tree oil.
Anonymous says:
December 25, 2013, 11:25 pm
I found white vinegar diluted in the bath tub also helps with sore muscles after working out too. Added bonus is that it's helping with skin, hair while removing calcium deposits on tub and then keeps the drain cleared too. It's good for everything that needs balance.
Crystal says:
May 21, 2014, 12:13 pm
I absolutely love ACV and have been using it for years, initially when i used it topically for acne i couldn't stand the smell and started ingesting a little bit each day with great results! Apple Cider Vinegar has so many holistic benefits it works both externally and internally! Here are some more details about it's skin care benefits and a recipe for incorporating it into your diet! http://clearskinthenaturalway....
Kitty Cather says:
February 26, 2016, 2:10 pm
I have sprayed white vinegar on my hair and body after shampooing. Then rinsed off then conditioner on my hair. White vinegar is good for your hair and skin. It dissolves warts!
Juliack Leonardo says:
September 6, 2018, 8:57 am
I can't say for sure if ACV has had any effect on my hair itself (it probably has) but since I've started using it my dandruff has disappeared completely. None of the 5+ dandruff shampoos I tried could do that!
Pearl says:
September 19, 2019, 11:45 am
Wow! Thank you so much for the comprehensive post. I have always heard that apple cider vinegar can help my hair health in many ways but I kept doubting it because I can't ex[lain how. So I decided to do some searches. And it was really worth it. You have just made everything simple to me, Now, I can consider adding it to my hair routine treatment. Thank you so much.