Lately it feels like our vanities are beginning to resemble our kitchen cabinets, and, honestly, we’re here for it. We’ve been swapping our regular beauty picks—filled with toxins, parabens, and other red flags—with some more refreshing, natural takes: think aloe vera, chamomile, and… apple cider vinegar.
Yes, you read the right. The aroma of ACV might be hard on the nose, but it’s surprisingly gentle—and beneficial—for your hair and skin. It’s been around for ages as a niche product in the beauty community, but has been on the mainstream come-up as of recently for its ability to transform dull skin and damaged tresses. Apple cider vinegar is basically a godsend for its versatility to tackle any of your beauty woes.
Not convinced yet? Then hear what our experts have to say about apple cider vinegar, below.
What Is Apple Cider Vinegar?
“Raw, it is apples and water that has not been pasteurized,” says celebrity esthetician Joanna Vargas. Victoria Fu and Gloria Lu, the cosmetic chemists behind Chemist Confessions, also say that apple cider vinegar is created by adding acetic acid-forming bacteria to fermented apple juice, creating a vinegar. This concoction creates apple cider vinegar in its rawest, unfiltered form, which can be found in your local drugstore or grocery. Make sure you incorporate “raw” apple cider vinegar into your routine over a filtered version, since it contains all the nourishing benefits your skin craves, according to our experts.
While it’s known for its powerhouse of health benefits, raw apple cider vinegar been recently embraced in beauty for its potent concentration of good bacteria, enzymes, and proteins, according to Vargas.
What Are The Benefits Of Apple Cider Vinegar?
According to Vargas, apple cider vinegar is one of those few natural treasures that can cure a whole variety of skincare woes. ”Raw apple cider vinegar is one of those amazing cures for all kinds of skin troubles,” she says. “You can use it to dab on breakouts for an overnight cure—it also exfoliates and balances the skin and helps calm breakouts and heal them quickly. I would apply it with a piece of cotton like you would a toner. It’s not acidic, it’s very gentle. Leave it on the skin as an overnight treatment and it will make your skin look better in the morning. For an overnight spot treatment you can dot the apple cider vinegar straight onto a breakout and see it improve by morning. For every other use, you want to take three tablespoons per one cup of water.”
The power of good ol’ ACV isn’t limited just to your face. Another one of her favorite tricks is to use apple cider vinegar to clear your scalp of any flakes. ”Wintertime brings in a lot of dryness to the skin, and I always see clients struggle with dry flaky patches on their scalp,” she says. “The more you touch it the worse it gets. I tell people to leave some raw apple cider vinegar in the shower and use it as a rinse after you wash your hair. It instantly soothes the raw, inflamed feeling on the scalp and when you use it regularly, it will help the skin heal and renew. I recommend using it after every wash all winter.”
While Vargas wholeheartedly believes in the power of ACV, the Chemist Confessions duo is a bit more skeptical. “There’s not a lot of data to support that there is any benefit [of apple cider vinegar],” the pair says. “In history it has been used as an antibacterial and antifungal, although there is no reason to believe that it is comparable to current antibacterial/antifungal ingredients on the market.”
But overall, if you’re looking to give your skin a natural version of an antibacterial or antifungal, Vargas says apple cider vinegar is a great place to start.
Who can use Apple Cider Vinegar?
According to Vargas, apple cider vinegar is great for any skin type—yes, even sensitive skin—but is especially essential for those of you who tend to break out.
“It’s a great tool because it will help to keep oil production in check while being antibacterial and anti-inflammatory,” she says. “If you are breaking out or if you have acne, anti-inflammatory ingredients are almost even more important than just eliminating bacteria. For normal to dry skin, apple cider vinegar is great because it helps to exfoliate the skin in a gentle way so you look more glowing and fresh after rubbing your skin’s surface with a cotton ball soaked in it.”
While sensitive skin types can use apple cider vinegar, Vargas recommends diluting it with water before applying it onto your skin so it doesn’t feel as intense. Fu and Lu also advise patch-testing it on your skin to check for irritation before incorporating it into your routine.
Want to give apple cider vinegar a try? Check out our favorite products, below!
Volition Apple Cider Vinegar Resurfacing Peel Pads
Is your skin in desperate need of a refreshing wake-up call? Then grab these peel pads, ASAP. They’re formulated with the powerhouse trio of apple cider vinegar, glycolic acid, and witch hazel to give your skin the refining moment it desires.
R+Co ACID WASH
If your scalp is in need of some mid-winter clarity, then rid it of any flaking and irritation with this invigorating rinse. Apple cider vinegar works to exfoliate the scalp and add shine, while aloe vera soothes and relaxes your scalp.
Biologique Recherche Lotion P50
This cult-favorite is used by the skincare geniuses over at Rescue Spa, so you already know it’s good. Formulated with a cocktail of apple cider vinegar, salicylic acid, and lactic acid, this chemical exfoliant will slough away all of the dirt and grime sitting on your face to reveal brighter, tighter skin.
IGK Trust Issues Instant Scalp Rebalancing Treatment
Don’t have time to hop in the shower? Then give your scalp a quick relieving treatment with this ACV-infused spray. Just spray onto your scalp, brush it out, and you’re ready to take on the day with a just-cleaned feel (even if you skipped the shower).
Bragg Organic Raw Apple Cider Vinegar
If you’re a purist with your beauty regimen, then go straight for a bottle of 100%-pure apple cider vinegar. This is pick is unfiltered and contains all of those nurturing goodies that your skin, scalp, and hair will drink right up. Use it as a toner, in the shower as a clarifying scalp wash, a spot treatment—the choice is yours to make.