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Most people have a bottle of apple cider vinegar sitting in their pantry, but few realize what a gold mine this ubiquitous (and oh-so-cheap!) ingredient is. ACV (essentially just the byproduct of fermented apples) has a plethora of home, beauty, and health uses stemming from the potassium, pectin, malic acid, calcium, enzymes, proteins, and good bacteria in it.
Apple cider vinegar tastes slightly sweeter than white vinegar, but don’t get me wrong—it’s definitely still vinegar. If you can get past the tang (personally, I love it), ACV can also be very versatile in the kitchen. Splash some on veggies or use it in homemade dressings or sauces.
Whether you’re using ACV internally or topically, make sure you buy the raw, unfiltered, organic kind that includes the stringy (and admittedly gross-looking) “mother” culture. This indicates that the beneficial proteins, enzymes, and more diverse bacterial cultures—“the good guys”—are in the bottle [source].
I like Bragg’s and Trader Joe’s versions for this reason. And while ACV is used in so many ways in the kitchen, it’s a good idea to keep your consumption under 2–3 tablespoons per day as it can cause side effects such as irritation of the esophagus and stomach [source].
16 Ways To Use Apple Cider Vinegar for Your Skin & Hair
Apple cider vinegar is antimicrobial, antibacterial, and antiseptic, and it helps balance pH, thus, it’s been noted as a remedy for acne, dandruff, and other skin and hair issues.
1. Skin-Boosting Peel
Apples are a naturally potent source of malic acid, which boosts immunity, detoxifies metals from our bodies, and contributes to overall healthy skin. Using these acids in a facial peel is particularly helpful for evening out complexions, especially if you have age spots or sun damage.
2. DIY Deodorant
Apple cider vinegar is great for neutralizing odors—including your own. Simply swipe some on your armpits to combat bacteria as a deodorant or when you don’t have time to wash. (Don’t worry, the vinegar smell will soon dissipate.)
3. Sunburn Soother
Add a cup of ACV to your bath water for an easy remedy to soothe a sunburn.
4. Face Toner
Dilute ACV with anywhere from 1 to 4 parts water (depending on how sensitive or oily your skin is), and dab or swipe it on with a cotton ball for an easy toner to treat irritated or acne-prone skin. It combats oil without drying out your skin, and can even help fade scars and sun spots.
5. Face Mask
Fight acne and improve your complexion by using an ACV-based bentonite clay and charcoal face mask when your skin feels greasy.
6. Hair Rinse
Apple cider vinegar can give your hair a major boost. Vinegar smoothes the hair cuticle, creating lots of shine, and it balances the pH of your scalp and hair. If you have dandruff, an itchy scalp, or are going “no-‘poo,” try this herb-infused vinegar hair rinse.
For fuller, dandruff-free hair, try making your own apple cider vinegar shampoo. Antimicrobial and rich in vitamins and minerals, ACV helps keep bacteria and fungi at bay [source], while at the same time gently exfoliating the scalp.
8. Banish Razor Bumps
Apply ACV to the skin after shaving to prevent those unpleasant razor bumps. Its exfoliating properties remove dead skin cells, which are the cause of unsightly ingrown hairs.
9. Detox + Improve Digestion
Apple cider vinegar supports your digestive and detoxification systems, which in turn, help give your skin that healthy glow!
Taking apple cider vinegar before you eat will help your stomach break down food and reduce acid reflux afterward. ACV diluted in water can also help with an upset tummy or bloating. You can even drink it in more pleasant forms and still reap all the benefits. Try this Spicy Apple Cider Vinegar Lemonade skin-clearing elixir.
10. Treat Acne
Raw apple cider vinegar is loaded with probiotics, minerals, and vitamins, as well as acetic acid, which helps unclog pores and remove dead skin cells. This power combo is ideal against acne, whether you decide to use ACV as a toner, face wash, or spot treatment.
11. Deodorize Feet
If your feet are giving you trouble in the warmer months, take advantage of ACV’s antiseptic and antifungal properties. Soak your feet in a mix of one part ACV to four parts water. If your available time doesn’t allow for that, quickly wipe your feet with paper towels soaked in apple cider vinegar.
12. Soothing Bath
Adding ACV to your next bath might be just what you were missing! A long soak in the tub with apple cider vinegar soothes inflammation, relieves eczema and other common skin issues, restores the skin’s pH balance, and eases muscle and joint pain.
13. Scalp Scrub
The acetic and malic acids found in ACV make it a prime ingredient in hair care products. Use it in a scrub to detox and clear your scalp from product buildup and dandruff.
14. Treat Blackheads
Blackheads appear for many reasons, including an unbalanced skin pH. Make your own slightly acidic tonic, and use it on those blackhead-prone areas by mixing ¼ cup raw apple cider vinegar with ½ cup water. Apply using a cotton ball twice a day.
15. Whiten Teeth
The acidic component of ACV can help whiten your teeth and remove enamel stains. You can use one part ACV to two parts water and gargle for a minute, then rinse. Your breath will be fresher, too!
16. Strengthen Nails
Mix one part ACV to one part water and soak your fingers for a few minutes, then gently push the cuticles down. This daily treatment should help brittle nails grow stronger.
This article was reviewed by Dr. Gina Jansheski, a professional medical reviewer and a licensed, board-certified pediatrician who has been practicing for more than 20 years. Learn more about Hello Glow’s medical review board here. As always, this is not personal medical advice, and we recommend that you talk with your doctor.