Home Hair How To Use Apple Cider Vinegar To Lighten Hair

How To Use Apple Cider Vinegar To Lighten Hair

by Gabbi

Apple cider vinegar is a household product that is known to be a multi-use item, with countless benefits for various aspects of daily life.

Most recently, it has become a popular hair care ingredient that can be found in a variety of products, ranging from shampoos, to masks, to deep cleansing treatments.

Apple cider vinegar is not limited to only being including in other formulas either but has recently been praised for being able to be used on its own as part of your hair care routine.

Not only does the product have deep cleaning properties, but it also strengthens and reinvigorates the scalp to help promote hair growth.

It is a product that is ideal for every hair type and texture and is even safe for color treated hair if it is not overused. In fact, apple cider vinegar can even help enhance hair color, especially lightened or highlighted strands, to achieve lighter results.

So, how do you use apple cider vinegar to lighten hair? Apple cider vinegar is a great, natural alternative to lightening your hair. You’ll have to let it sit on your hair for 15-30 minutes, and while it will not give you platinum results, the hair may be lifted a few shades.

Below we discuss all the benefits of using apple cider vinegar in your hair care routine, how to use it to lighten your hair, and the best way to maintain the results after they have been achieved. 

What Is Apple Cider Vinegar?

Apple cider vinegar (ACV) is made from a process of fermenting apples. The sugars from the apples convert to juice, which turns to alcohol, and then will distill into vinegar. The process produces a fermented cider that includes apples, sugar, and yeast.

ACV has many uses for home, health, and beauty care, and is frequently incorporated as a main ingredient into many different products.

The fermented cider is enriched with live cultures, minerals, and acids, which have positive properties to help aid in various ways. The main acids that are found in apple cider vinegar are acetic acid, lactic, citrus, and malic acids.

Can Apple Cider Vinegar Lighten Hair?

Apple cider vinegar is a great way to lighten your hair naturally. It is an alternative method to lightening your hair that does not involve any bleach or harsh chemical treatments.

Because of ACV’s acetic acid and alcohol content, it will work to lighten the hair up to two shades lighter than your existing color.

However, the results will not be immediate and will require consistent use to see the results you are after. Apple cider vinegar as a hair lightener also works well if the hair is already lightened, especially with highlights, as it can have more effective results.

How To Lighten Hair With Apple Cider Vinegar

The best way to lighten the hair with ACV is to ensure you have a consistent application routine. To create the mixture, it is best to mix equal parts ACV and water together in a spray bottle for an easy and seamless application.

With the mixture, you want to make sure you thoroughly coat the hair to completely saturate the strands for an even application.

Once the ACV and water mixture has been applied, allow the product to sit on the hair for anywhere between 15 and 30 minutes. It can also be helpful to sit in the sunshine while the mixture is on the hair for the allotted time to help boost the lightening process. 

Rinse the hair after the correct amount of time has passed. The ACV mixture can be applied up to two times a week consistently until you achieve your desired results.

If you want to upgrade the ACV and water mixture, you can also add in honey or baking soda to the solution, as they are both ingredients known to have lightening properties.

Other Hair Uses For Apple Cider Vinegar

There is a wide variety of uses for apple cider vinegar in your hair care routine, including balancing the pH levels and strengthening the scalp.

It is a product that is anti-bacterial and anti-fungal, which helps to keep the scalp healthy. It is an ideal product to help detoxify the scalp from any product or oil buildup that can occur over time.

ACV helps to eliminate and reduce the appearance of dandruff, and can also deep clean the scalp and hair. When used as part of your hair care routine, ACV can work to relieve any itchiness or discomfort that comes from buildup on the scalp or dryness.

For color treated hair, it can help to protect and extend the color’s vibrancy by sealing the cuticle to reduce color fading.

By sealing the cuticle, ACV also reduces the appearance of frizz, by helping the hair appear softer and smoother. By softening the hair, it can also perform as a detangler to be able to easily work through any mats or knots.

Apple cider vinegar also balances the scalps pH, which can have many positive benefits, including a reduction in hair loss. With a healthy scalp and the removal of any excess product or dandruff build up, the hair follicles are strengthened, leading to less loss of hair.

Best Hair Types To Use Apple Cider Vinegar

Unlike some hair care products, apple cider vinegar is a product that can work on all hair types to produce countless benefits. However, how you use ACV on your hair can vary based on your hair type. Depending on the type of product you are using as well, will also determine the concentration of ACV for your hair.

For color treated hair, it is safe to use without the risk of stripping the color. However, overusing the product may result in your color lightening or fading. With its ability to reduce the appearance of frizz, ACV can be especially beneficial for curly hair as it works to smooth the unruly strands.

If you struggle with having an oilier scalp, apple cider vinegar also works well for your hair type, as it will eliminate any dandruff buildup that can occur more often for oily hair types.

Although it is a vinegar, dry hair can also benefit from using the product, however you want to be careful of the concentration level. Too much vinegar can be drying for the hair, so it is best to dilute the ACV with water.

Side Effects of Using Apple Cider Vinegar in Your Hair

If you are using apple cider vinegar to lighten your hair, the results will not be immediate, and they may take a few weeks to begin to show up. The results also are not permanent and will need to be maintained with the ACV and water mixture as well.

If you are using ACV on your hair as part of your routine without lightening your strands, you want to be mindful of how much and how often you are using the product.

Too much ACV applied on the hair can dry out the strands, which can lead to damage. It is best to use the ACV mixed with water to help dilute the solution to still provide the positive benefits without the risk of potential damage.

Although apple cider vinegar is safe for color treated hair, and it used as a natural lightening alternative, using too much of the product can cause brassiness to occur.

While it does work to lighten the hair color, if you are noticing the strands are pulling warmer, brassy, or orange than is desired, you can follow up with a color toning shampoo or conditioner to eliminate the unwanted shades.

If you have sensitive skin, or a sensitive scalp, using apple cider vinegar too often can cause irritation or itchiness to occur.


Overall, apple cider vinegar is an ingredient that has enough uses for the home, body, and hair, that it should become a household staple if it is not already. While it has many uses that are not beauty related, the effects that is has on the hair are important to be noted and celebrated.

Not only does apple cider vinegar help to deeply clean the hair from excess product and oil buildup, it helps to reduce the appearance of dandruff, minimize itchiness, and help fight against hair loss by strengthening the hair follicle as well as the scalp.

If you find you have the desire to lighten your hair, but do not want to damage your strands with any harsh chemicals or want to avoid a trip to the salon, apple cider vinegar has proven that it is an ideal natural alternative.

While you strands may not reach the lightest blonde shade, ACV can help to lift your natural color up to two shades, providing you with a brightened appearance. Using apple cider vinegar to lighten your hair is an easy, mess-free, and convenient way to achieve lifted locks, without any bleach or ammonia.

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