How To Use Apple Cider Vinegar To Cure Dandruff: Benefits + Side Effects

Medically reviewed by Vd. Naveen Sharma, Ayurveda Physician
by Anjali Sayee

Dandruff is probably one of the most common hair problems, affecting close to 50% of the world’s general population (1). There are many anti-dandruff products you can buy at a store. But these products may contain chemicals that could damage your hair. A study showed that apple cider vinegar could reduce dandruff, among other hair issues (2). In this article, we have compiled a list of 9 apple cider vinegar remedies that can help reduce dandruff.

Benefits Of Using Apple Cider Vinegar For Dandruff

Apple cider vinegar is made from fermenting the liquid obtained by crushing apples and squeezing out the juice. Here are some of its benefits:

  • A Palestinian study showed that apple vinegar helped reduce many hair issues like dandruff, head lice, scalp acne, alopecia areata, baldness, and hair loss and rejuvenated hair endings (2).
  • Product build-up is another factor that leads to dandruff. Apple cider vinegar helps remove product build-up and cleanses your scalp and hair. The above study showed that apple cider vinegar also worked as a hair cleanser, which might help reduce dandruff (2).
  • According to a study, when the pH of hair turns alkaline, it may lead to cuticle damage and hair breakage (3). ACV contains acetic acid that could help lower the pH level of hair.
  • Apple cider vinegar has antimicrobial properties (4). It also has antifungal and antibacterial properties (5). These may help maintain the health of your scalp and reduce dandruff.
  • Anecdotal evidence suggests that ACV aids hair growth and reduces hair issues, though there is not much scientific backing to support this.

How To Use Apple Cider Vinegar For Dandruff

1. Apple Cider Vinegar Massage

Massaging ACV into your scalp will help it penetrate your follicles, removing any build-up, and also balance pH and oil production. This is one of the most efficient ways to maintain scalp health and ensure that it is squeaky clean.

You Will Need

3 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar

Prep Time

2 minutes

Processing Time

10 minutes

Process
  1. Gently massage apple cider vinegar into your scalp.
  2. Leave it on for about 10 minutes and then wash your hair with a mild shampoo.
  3. Finish with conditioner.
How Often?

You can do this 1-2 times a week.

2. Apple Cider Vinegar And Tea Tree Oil Massage

Tea tree oil is a natural antiseptic that can help in dealing with dandruff (6). Apple cider vinegar mixed with tea tree oil is the perfect combination to help curb flakes.

You Will Need
  • 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 3 drops tea tree oil
Prep Time

2 minutes

Processing Time

10 minutes

Process
  1. Combine three tablespoons of ACV and three drops of tea tree oil in a bowl.
  2. Gently massage the mixture into your scalp.
  3. Leave it on for about 10 minutes and then wash your hair with a mild shampoo.
  4. Finish with conditioner.
How Often?

Once a week or once every two weeks.

3. Apple Cider Vinegar Rinse

This rinse helps remove build-up, add shine, and maintain the pH balance of your scalp. It helps resolve issues like follicle-clogging from product build-up and also acts as a deep cleanser for your hair.

You Will Need
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup water
Prep Time

2 minutes

Processing Time

5 minutes

Process
  1. Dilute two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar with a cup of water in a jug.
  2. Set this aside and proceed to wash and condition your hair.
  3. Once you have rinsed the conditioner out of your hair, pour the diluted ACV through it as a final rinse.
  4. Do not rinse your hair any further. 
How Often?

Once every two weeks.

4. Chamomile Tea And Vinegar Rinse

Chamomile tea helps add a healthy golden glow to your hair while conditioning it (2). It also helps soothe your scalp, relieving itching. It can also help fight dandruff.

You Will Need
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup freshly brewed chamomile tea
Prep Time

10 minutes

Processing Time

5 minutes

Process
  1. Brew a cup of chamomile tea and add a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar to it.
  2. Set the solution aside in a jug and proceed to wash and condition your hair.
  3. Once you have rinsed out the conditioner, pour the chamomile-vinegar solution through your hair as a final rinse.
  4. Do not rinse your hair any further and let it air-dry. 
How Often?

Once every two weeks.

5. Apple Cider Vinegar And Aspirin Rinse

Aspirin contains salicylic acid, which is an active ingredient used in most anti-dandruff shampoos (7). This can give you immediate relief from the problem.

You Will Need
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 3 crushed tablets of aspirin
Prep Time

2 minutes

Processing Time

5 minutes

Process
  1. Mix one cup of apple cider vinegar with three crushed tablets of aspirin in a bowl.
  2. Keep it aside and proceed to shampoo your hair.
  3. After you have rinsed the shampoo out of your hair, pour the vinegar-aspirin solution through it, massaging your scalp as you pour.
  4. Leave the solution on for about 5 minutes and then rinse your hair thoroughly.
  5. Finish with a conditioner and let your hair air-dry.
How Often?

Once every two weeks.

6. Baking Soda And Apple Cider Vinegar For Dandruff

Baking soda is an excellent cleansing agent. Using it as a scrub will help exfoliate the flakes and dead skin that are a result of dandruff. It helps balance the pH of the scalp without being extremely harsh and stripping away the natural oils (2).

You Will Need
  • 2 tablespoons baking soda
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
Prep Time

2 minutes

Processing Time

5 minutes

Process
  1. Combine two tablespoons each of baking soda and apple cider vinegar until you get a thick paste.
  2. Apply this mixture to your scalp and rub gently to scrub away dead skin and build-up.
  3. After about 5 minutes of massaging, rinse your hair with cool water.
How Often?

Do this 2 times a week.

7. Lemon And Apple Cider Vinegar For Dandruff

Lemon’s antifungal properties and rich content of vitamin C can prove to be helpful in treating dandruff (2). It is also an excellent cleansing agent that soothes itching and reduces irritation.

You Will Need
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 5 drops tea tree oil
  • Juice from half a lemon
  • 1 cup water
  • Spray bottle
Prep Time

5 minutes

Processing Time

30 minutes

Process
  1. Pour all the ingredients in a spray bottle and shake well to combine.
  2. Section your hair and spritz the solution onto your scalp and hair.
  3. Once your scalp is saturated in the solution, wrap your hair with a towel and wait for 30 minutes.
  4. Finish with shampoo.
How Often?

Do this 2 times a week.

8. Aloe Vera And Apple Cider Vinegar For Dandruff

Aloe vera helps heal your scalp and boosts healthy cell growth, preventing flaking (8). It also helps moisturize and get rid of any dead skin cells, bacteria, and any other deposits that are clogging your follicles. Not only does this treatment help curb dandruff, but it also moisturizes your hair, making it manageable and adding shine.

You Will Need
  • 5 tablespoons coconut milk
  • 6 tablespoons aloe vera gel
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup water
Prep Time

5 minutes

Processing Time

10 minutes

Process
  1. Combine coconut milk and aloe vera gel in a bowl to get a smooth mixture.
  2. Dampen your hair and start massaging this mixture into your scalp.
  3. Once your scalp is covered, work the mixture through the rest of your hair.
  4. Leave it on for 5 minutes and then rinse it out with water.
  5. Dilute a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar with a cup of water and use this as a final rinse.
  6. Do not rinse your hair any further.
How Often?

You can do this 2 times a week.

9. Apple Cider Vinegar And Honey For Dandruff

Honey is a humectant that helps lock moisture into the hair shaft and the cells in your scalp, keeping them hydrated. It also helps balance pH and speeds up healing with its antifungal, antiviral, and anti-inflammatory properties (9).

You Will Need
  • 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons raw honey
  • Spray bottle
  • Shower cap
Prep Time

5 minutes

Processing Time

15 minutes

Process
  1. Pour the ingredients into a spray bottle and shake well to combine.
  2. Section and spritz your hair and scalp until they are completely saturated in the solution.
  3. Cover your hair with a shower cap and leave the solution on for about 15 minutes.
  4. Rinse the solution out with cool water and shampoo.
How Often?

Once a week.

Side Effects Of Apple Cider Vinegar

  • If you use it in excess, apple cider vinegar can strip away your scalp’s natural oils. If you feel your scalp getting too dry, it would be a good idea to space out your ACV treatments.
  • If you do not oil your hair regularly while using ACV treatments, it might become brittle and prone to breakage. Use ACV in small quantities as too much acetic acid can cause hair breakage and dryness. One way of avoiding this would be to use ACV in a conditioning hair pack.

Those were the different ways to use apple cider vinegar to reduce dandruff. Dandruff can seem frustrating, but a few ingredients from your kitchen can help curb the problem. The next time you spot flakes, give any of these combinations a try.

9 sources

Stylecraze has strict sourcing guidelines and relies on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations. We avoid using tertiary references. You can learn more about how we ensure our content is accurate and current by reading our editorial policy.

Recommended Articles

Was this article helpful?
The following two tabs change content below.

Latest posts by Anjali Sayee (see all)

Anjali Sayee

Anjali Sayee is a writer and an introvert. From studying Aeronautical Engineering and wanting to design her own airplane to writing articles on hairstyles, she has been on quite a journey. She believes that hair is one of the key factors that define a woman’s personality. To quote her, “What’s the first thing they do in the movies to show a personality change? Change the hair – because it has a life of its own.” She’s here to help you find the hairstyle you need. This bookworm is a self-professed Wholocker, a talented drummer, and an amateur photographer.
scorecardresearch