Conditioning Herbal Vinegar Hair Rinse

Conditioning Herbal Vinegar Hair Rinse

A few months ago I shared with you my love for washing my hair with homemade shampoo bars! Today I want to follow up that post with my conditioning herbal vinegar rinse in order to round out my family’s natural hair care routine and hopfully give you a little inspiration.

Simply put…we use vinegar and herbs to condition our hair.

Using vinegar as part of your natural hair care routine will restore it’s natural shine and leave the hair follicle full of life! Here’s how it works…the acidity from the vinegar removes build-up, residue, and all of the nasty gunk left on our hair from commercially-prepared conditioners. Vinegar closes the cuticle of the hair — which opens when we shampoo — and when the cuticle is tightly closed off, light is easily reflected making your hair shine.

Vinegar also acts to improve circulation in the smallest capillaries of the bloodstream — this helps bring the blood supply, along with all of the nutrients and oxygen, to the scalp.

Rosemary is an excellent hair cleanser and stimulates hair growth. Likewise, peppermint aids against thinning of the hair.

The Recipe

Gather the ingredients:
-1 part organic apple cider vinegar
-3 parts water
-a handful of fresh rosemary (use dried if that’s what you have)
-5 drops essential oils of rosemary (per 8 ounces of rinse)
-5 drops essential oils of peppermint (per 8 ounces of rinse)


Conditioning Herbal Vinegar Hair Rinse

1. Coarsely chop fresh rosemary.

Conditioning Herbal Vinegar Hair Rinse

2. Bring water to boil and add rosemary.
3. Reduce heat to low and steep rosemary for 45 minutes. Be sure the pot is covered so as not to loose any of the vital properties of the herb in the steam.

Conditioning Herbal Vinegar Hair Rinse

4. Strain infusion through a fine mesh sieve.
5. Allow to cool.

Conditioning Herbal Vinegar Hair Rinse

6. Add vinegar and essential oils to the infusion.
7. Stir well to combine.

Conditioning Herbal Vinegar Hair Rinse

8. Load into spray bottles.
9. I have always kept this in the shower without ill effect.

How to use this Conditioning Herbal Vinegar Hair Rinse

  • After shampooing and rinsing your hair, spray the herbal rinse on your hair and massage into your scalp.
  • Avoid the eyes!
  • Rinse the rinse or…
  • To extract the maximum conditioning benefits, just leave it in and towel dry the hair.
  • Don’t worry, the smell of vinegar dissipates as your hair dries.


-I follow this hair care routine — i.e. shampoo and conditioning rinse — once every 2 or 3 days. I do not wash my hair everyday. This routine has proven to restore my hair’s natural vitality.

-This vinegar rinse is not recommended for color-treated or processed hair.

-Rosemary and mint are excellent for darker hair.

-Variations include:

  • Chamomile-infused water and essential oils of lemongrass and grapefruit to bring out the natural highlights in lighter colored hair.
  • An infusion of nettle leaf and essential oils of lavender to treat problems of the scalp.

What does your natural hair care routine look like?


  1. This is so interesting! I am new to the whole “natural products” thing and I have never heard of using natural hair care products let alone homemade! So interesting, thanks for sharing! I am “pinning” this for future reference. I can’t wait to read more on your blog, this is my first time here. I’m off to discover more natural things I didn’t know existed 😉

  2. I’ve read that rosemary is good for dandruff, so I’m sure it would be a healthy addition to a hair rinse, even for those without dandruff! I imagine the scent would be relaxing too :0)

  3. Thank you so much for this rinse. I think I really need to use it as I have a lot of build-up and my hair feels very sticky. But I have color treated hair – (Using most natural color treated I can buy.) Why should you not use this rinse on color treated hair?
    Thanks so much!

    • Well…let me just be honest Linda:) I have read conflicting reports about using the vinegar rinse on colored hair. Most people say that it is okay to use the acv rinse on colored-treated and some say that over prolonged use the vinegar may dull the color? I just wanted to err on the side of caution 🙂 I don’t want to be responsible for anyone’s hair color fading!

      • I’m going to try it. Just love your site and all the info! Thanks!!!

      • I had dyed my hair dark brown, close to my original color, to cover up highlights. Shortly after I started using acv to condition and I noticed after a few weeks the dark brown dye had come out and the highlights were brighter than ever…so if you want to maintain any color dye in your hair you will probably want to look into another conditioner. The acv rinse i was using was fairly strong. My boyfriend hates the vinegar smell so I quit using it but I reallly want to go back so I think I will use a more diluted solution…I am trying to go back to my natural color anyway so I didnt mind the color fading so much.

        Hope this helps!

        • Eep, your boyfriend’s poor nose! ACV is certainly odoriferous. If you do go back to using vinegar wash, perhaps try timing to see how long your hair takes to dry afterward? That should give you an idea of how long the smell might linger. Apple Cider Vinegar, like other vinegars, shouldn’t give off any smell at all once it’s dried.

          I have shoulder-length hair and use about 2 or 3 tablespoons of AC vinegar in 8oz of water as my rinse. I rinse the “rinse” out with shower water, and usually the vinegar smell has disappeared within fifteen minutes, well before my hair has dried. 🙂
          Then again, i also use baking soda to shampoo, so the chemical reaction of that with the ACV might be what’s reducing my ‘stink-time’.

      • Hi!! I have colour treated and processed hair and ave been using ACV to rinse for about 6 months. Have not noticed any quicker colour loss…in fact I think my hair is healthier!! I started using baking soda to wash and vinegar as a follow up rinse but can’t wait to try your recipe! Thanks for all your great ideas!

  4. I use something very similar in an old plastic cup, but never thought about using the spray bottles. Where did you find those nice bottles?

    • I order them online from Specialty Bottle. I think they have the best selection and prices 🙂

    • Pam Stallworth says:

      Carolyn, don’t use essential oils in plastic, the plastic chemicals leak into the oils and u r much worse off. use an old coffee cup, not plastic or use stainless steel container

    • Check at the vitamin shoppe as well 🙂 They have similar bottles, and free shipping with a $25 purchase. Not as big of variety though.

  5. Thank you for this recipe. I have been washing my long, thick, white hair using a paste of baking soda and rinsing with apple cider vinegar mixed with water. My hair does not get yellow from the well water, nor do I have any dandruff. It’s quite easy and I believe uses less water.

  6. I know this is probably a terrible question, but what if you’re one of those prolonging the aging process and color your hair? Can you use the shampoo bars and what about conditioner? I try to only color every 3 months at this point…and that’s beginning to stretch it…..but I try to be as natural as possible in every other area of my life. Just curious if you knew what I could do.

    • It’s not terrible 🙂 Yes you can use the shampoo bars. As as said to Linda in a previous comment…I have read conflicting reports about using the vinegar rinse on colored hair. Most people say that it is okay to use the acv rinse on colored-treated and some say that over prolonged use the vinegar may dull the color (just like most commerical products do)? In the post, I simply wanted to err on the side of caution 🙂 I don’t want to be responsible for anyone’s hair color fading! That said, I do know people who use this rinse without any trouble. You could always spot test it.

      • Thanks so much!! I appreciate your help and completely understand your caution…Nobody wants to walk around with orange hair. 🙂

  7. I use Henna ( to cover up the grey in my hair. Do you think the rinse will fade the henna? I wash my hair 2-3 times a week.

    • That is a great question Kathy! I need to do a bit more research on that…

      • I contacted and this was their response (can’t believe how quickly they responded!!)
        Hi Kathy,

        Thanks for writing to Lush!

        Anything acidic will likely cause the henna in your hair to fade a bit. How much henna is stripped will vary: depending on your hair type, how much vinegar you use, how long the vinegar is in your hair, and so on. So basically, the vinegar will speed up the fading of your hair colour, but it will probably do so gradually.

        So, if you want to keep your hennaed hair as bold hair, I’d suggest using a vinegar rinse only occasionally!

        If you have anymore questions, just let me know!

        Kind regards,


        • Wow! That was quick!

          That’s exactly what I have read about using vinegar rinse on color-treated hair…so it’s good to know that they say the same:) Thank you very much for posting that for us!

          • To clarify for all of you…I’m a dyer and hand spinner. Human hair is a protein fiber much like that of wool, mohair, silk, alpaca, angora, cashmere etc. When you use a synthetic protein acid dye (most hair dyes in a box even the crazy colors) you should always use vinegar to help the bond between dye and hair. protein fibers are acid loving by nature. When you dye with chamomile, henna, coreopsis etc you are beter off with something less acidic and a more on the neutral side. this is true of many plant dyes as the ph of these dyes shifts the color either more to reds or blues and at times yellows. it’s a bit more complicated than this but this will help. juli

  8. Jennifer W says:

    Yes!!! Where did you find those bottles?

  9. I haven’t used any herbs, but we’ve been using just ACV with water and it detangles like a pro! Way better than any commercial product I’ve ever bought, and I’ve tried ’em all! Time to go a little deeper and try the herbs too!

  10. Lisa Perry says:

    Do you have any suggestions/recipes for color-treated hair?

    • If you were to use this rinse only a few times a week, I think it would be okay. But as for recipes specifically for color-treated hair…I need to do a bit more research 🙂

  11. Enjoying your blog and looking forward to trying some of your recipes for natural products!

    Is it important to use organic acv? I already have non-organic, is that okay to use?


  12. We have 5 in our family with mid back to waist length hair! My twins are 13, one is 12, and the other is 10. We have been using the baking soda wash but not as a paste. We mix with enough water to make more of a slurry and add a little more water as we wash. I tried some homemade soap we bought off ebay but didn’t care for the results. We also use ACV rinse. I’d love to try the herbs and essential oils in our rinse. Seems like I remember that rosemary releases some oil. If so, that would be good for dry hair. I have one who has a dandruff problem in the winter. Do you make your soap hot process? I finally bought lye and need to get my oils. I really don’t want to do cold process because of the cure time. That crock pot method looks worth trying! Thanks for the informative post.

  13. I am going to try this! I had been doing a baking soda wash and an ACV rinse, but then it came around to my time of the month and my hair became extremely greasy and I couldn’t get rid of it! Have you heard of this happening? Perhaps using the right type of herbs will help this? Any suggestions?

  14. Love this..I will be trying this herbal conditioner out.

  15. Great post! I have been going back and forth on make soaps at home. I can’t wait to try this! Have you posted on or have seen any sources for homemade no-tears baby shampoo/body wash?

    • None yet!

    • Kathy, I make a scrub that I use in the shower that I’m sure would be gentle for a baby. I’m not really a measurer, but its about 1 cup coconut oil, 1/4 c almond oil, 1/4 c olive oil, 1 c brown sugar, 1/2 cup sea salt. I mix it in my kitchen aid mixer just like im making cookies and its a nice creamy consistency. All organic ingredients and you can scent it with almost anything, I’ve used vanilla extract, cinnamon, lavender, or any other essential oil you like. It’s edible, non toxic (as long as you don’t use a non edible essential oil. Olive oil is anti microbial and sea salt is cleansing. I make it every week or so and keep the jar in the shower. It’s super moisturizing too.

  16. I follow a very similar hair care routine. I shampoo with either my bar soap that I make or a homemade shampoo and then do an herbal vinegar rinse. I play around with the herbs depending on what I have on hand. As someone who always had hair that was very prone to tangle – I’ve been pleasantly surprised with the rinse’s ability to detangle my hair.

  17. This is a fantastic DIY recipe. Thank you 🙂 🙂 You said that a vinegar rinse is not recommended for color-treated hair. Why? My hair is color-treated but with a natural dye from Whole Foods, called Naturtint. It’s spendy, but fabulous!!!

    I’ve never tried shampoo bars, but I’m trying a combination of the “no shampoo” method and natural shampoo..oh, that’s pure vanity, because I would be mortified if I walked into church with a greasy head of hair 😉 🙂 It seems to be working great…and I”ve noticed that my hair is doing better, ieven with this 50-50 method 🙂 🙂

    Apple cider vinegar and water has been the BEST detangler on my hair…for sure 🙂
    Love and hugs from the ocean shores of California, Heather 🙂

  18. I use the acv also but have been rinsing it out I never thought to leave it in I’ll have to try that. I use 1 T acv to 1 cup water in an old contact solution bottle. I have thought about doing a peppermint tea for the water but will have to try the fresh herbs steeped. Thanks for the ideas.

  19. Do you have any recipes for color treated hair??

    • Not specifically at this time. I have read and heard from others who have color-treated hair that use a vinegar rinse 2-3 times per week without any ill effects.

  20. Should i keep them in the refrigerator or they can stay outside? how long can it stay good for? I am about to try it this weekend = )

  21. Hi Andrea! I love your site and am learning so much, which I greatly appreciate. Thank you! I’m curious about what size the bottles are?

  22. So I tried the vinegar rinse this morning along with the shampoo bar and my hair feels really heavy. Could this be due to old build up? I also have really thick so I am not sure that just spritzing the vinegar on my hair was enough. Do you have any advice?

  23. Hi fellow eco-hippies (phrase coined by my super supportive hubby)! Here’s my hair care routine:
    I make a paste with baking soda and water, massage into my scalp and then rinse. I do this every 5 or 6 days (more often if I get really sweaty from gardening), but that’s it! My hair is nearly to my waist, and I never have to use conditioner or anything else. I just comb it and let it air dry.. My hair feels a thousand times better than it ever did using commercial products! (Ditch the ‘poo!)

  24. Connie Childs says:

    any notes or suggestions about grey hair? I’m too cheap & too lazy to color – lol!

  25. I see alot of articles about using vinegar and baking soda for hair spray build up. I use alot of hairspray and wash my hair every other day even after I wash it when I use the curling iron it feels almost crunchy.Its awful ! does the baking soda and vinegar strip your color out? Should I mix the baking soda w/warm water or w/shampoo, I’ve read both opinions., and if I use baking soda do I use vinegar the same day? (at the same time? Please help.

  26. Stefanie says:

    What is the shelf life of this rinse? I am assuming it probably would get used up before you reach that date anyway? Thanks! I made this rinse this past weekend and started using it on my daughter’s hair. I am waiting to run out of my old shampoo and conditioner, and then I am making the switch also!

  27. will the vinegar smell come back if you sweat?

    • Great question! I’ve never experienced that…anyone else know about this?

      • I have very long, fine hair and I have experienced the vinegar smell coming back. I adjusted the amount of vinegar to water ratio – 1 part vinegar to 4 parts water. I also add about 20 drops of lavender essential oil to 2 cups of this rinse. My hair, which use to tangle easily, combs out without tangles and stays that way. It is very shiny too. I also have psoriasis, scalp and body, this helps my scalp a lot.

  28. Danielle says:

    Yes, I have and my children as well. It has been very hot here in NYC and we have smelled like vinegar the day or two after…

  29. Hi, so I’ve been wanting to try this and everyone keeps talking about it fading your hair color – but what if you haven’t actually dyed your hair? My hair is naturally a light brown – will using the vinegar rinse dull my natural hair color?

  30. Hi, I’m at the process of going natural, but I’m also beginning to gray. I’m too young and I’m not ready to go gray. So I use black rinse whenever I shampoo. I was getting excited about the Conditioning Herbal Vinegar Hair Rinse, until I read to the bottom “not recommended for colored-treated hair.” What would you suggest is a good natural rinse or (homemade) to use for graying hair? And what other kind of homemade rinse would you suggest for colored-treated hair?

    Special request: Please have more blog tropics on “graying hair”. lol! thanks.

  31. Enid Mejias says:

    I treat my hair against humidity the ” Brazilian treatment twice a year maybe once. Will this natural rinse or shampoo affect it? I don’t have thick hair but I love the straight look even though my hair is not curly but with humidity it does frizz.

  32. Hi…I have fresh mint so can I add the rosemary & mint together & is it ok to add tea tree oil to this recipe…my grandaughter has scabby scalp & I thought the tea tree oil might combat this irksome problem ????

  33. I have been ‘poo-free for the past 2-1/3 years. I use an old sport water bottle–put baking soda at the bottom, fill with water, and squirt all over my wet hair in the shower. Then I scrub it in, rinse it out, and follow with the baking soda and AVC rinse. To make my hair smell spicy, I infuse the gallon jugs of organic raw ACV I get from my food co-op with pumpkin pie spice and cinnamon–just dump a bunch into the jub and let them sit. For the rinse I use a small bucket in the shower, and pour several glugs of spiced ACV into the bucket, mostly fill with water, and sluice all over my head and bod. I have found that the spice scent seems to adequately mask the ACV scent on hot days, but then again I don’t mind the sweet ACV scent so maybe it’s more noticeable than I think!

    I am wondering what you might suggest I do to moisturize my waist-length, over 50, never died, very curly, reddish-light brownish (once blonde) hair? It can get so frizzy at times! Sometimes, rarely, I have broken down and oiled it with hemp, jojoba, or coconut oil, but then it looks extremely greasy and I have had to actually use a little shampoo to get the extra oil out once or twice. I’d love to find a moisturizing conditioner that could help my hair be less dried out and frizzy.

    • Having tried many alternative and natural help to hair beauty, the best ever, to pep up color treated hair, was with over ripe bananas. With a fork, mash two over ripe bananas. Add, if you want, desert spoon Rum, teaspoon coconut oil and maybe drops of essential oil for nice smell. Use a teaspoon to scoop onto hair. And work it into the roots too. Rinse after an hour. Gently dry and be patient to remove all banana. The results,especially after the first shampoo, is stunning. lasting for weeks on end too.

  34. Hi guys !! What would be a good one for colored and processed hair ? My hair has been falling for some months and its becoming very dry… please HELP !!

  35. does your shampoo have so in it?

  36. Jaime in Medellin says:

    When it states 1 part organic apple cider vinegar to 3 parts water exactly what is the measurement? Is it a cup of ACV to 3 cups water or is it something else? I see you have 5 bottles to be filled. How much did it take ti fill them with ACV and water?

  37. If the PH of your shampoo is is between 4.5-6. The cuticle of your hair shaft does not open when washing your Hair.if you’re using alkaline shampoos, it will open. It needs to be acid based shampoo.

  38. Andrea- have you had any feedback about how the bars and the rinse work on african american hair?

  39. Hi there, wondering if any other oils can be added to this mix to help the fragrance? :o)

    – Katie

  40. Just made my second batch – two quarts…..used fresh rosemary liberally… the way it detangles my horse hair….

  41. Pam Stallworth says:

    wow, great info on this page, looking for your shampoo bar recipe

  42. Melissa A. says:

    What about permed hair? It won’t make my curl fall out will it? Also can you replace peppermint with spearmint?

  43. I am only 26 years old, but I had 3 kids very close together and I have noticed with each child that my hair has become limp, lifeless and very thin. My hair has always been super baby fine, but now I can’t style it at all because there’s just not enough there to make any sort of style happen. I just bought some rosemary essential oil and ACV, but I’m unsure of how to go about a treatment. I am recently divorced and disabled and my only source of income is disability, so with 3 young kids, I’m on a very limited budget. I’ve been researching natural hair loss remedies for a couple of months now, and recently came up with a solution that would best suit me. But I have found that essential oils are very expensive. I want to try a natural herbal hair loss solution, but money is an issue for me. I figured I could buy the items I need until I have everything for my solution before using any of them, but it’s been nearly 3 years now since my last child was born and my hair is only getting thinner. Any ideas? Thanks so much!

  44. It’s really a nice and helpful piece of information. I am glad that you shared this helpful info with us. Please keep us informed like this. Thank you for sharing.

  45. Hello! I have my hair “foiled” to be as blonde as was as a kid! I only do this about 2X a yr b/c it’s expensive! A few months ago I read about cleansing your hair/head/scalp with baking soda and rinsing it with Apple Cider Vinegar…so i decided to give it a try! I tweaked the cleansing a bit by adding some honey… and I now rinse with straight ACV instead of mixing it with water. My hair color actually lasts Much Much longer!!! I do not have the “fading & outgrowth” at my roots like I used to get using regular shampoo!!! I do use a bit of natural oil blend on the ends after I towel dry it… but I am thrilled with the results and will stick with this natural path from here on!!!! =)

  46. Sandra Kennedy says:

    I have baby fine, thin, graying hair. I just received my order last week. The shampoo bar is great and freshness my bathroom odors as well as cleans my hair and body. The vinegar rinse finishes off my shampoo treatment. My hair looks fuller and cleaner for 2-4 days between shampoos. It does Not make the gray hair yellow either, in fact it looks whiter ( I like that). Thank you for great products.

  47. Jan Scott says:

    OK So what is a good Natural rince to use if you have color treated your hair? And what about Natural Coloring Processes ? I assume by Processed Hair you mean Perms etc

  48. Carly Seiden-Brown says:

    So, you shampoo like regular, and use this in place of conditioner?

  49. I’ve been using apple cider vinegar rinses for the past few months (1 part vinegar to 8 parts water) and it washed out all my hair dye completely. I have curly thick dark brown hair naturally, which was dyed black and blue before i begun using apple cider vinegar and within a relatively short amount of time (compared to what i’ve been used to when using store-bought shampoo/conditionners) it has totally removed the color .. my hair is now back to my natural brown with just blonde streaks (where the blue was). Don’t get me wrong, I love using ACV as a conditionner, it makes my hair soft and shiny, but beware if you have colored hair, it may remove or fade the dye. That’s just my experience. This being said, I’ve been trying to find a natural home-made recipe for conditioner which works well for dyed hair. If anyone knows of such thing or has any helpful advice, please let me know. Thank you.

  50. I love this! Thanks for sharing the tutorial. I was wondering if I could substitute coconut oil for the rosemary and peppermint essential oils.

  51. This looks mahvelous! I will definitely have to try this. I currently add a capful of ACV to a take-out soup container full of water and a few drops of sweet orange essential oil or grapefruit eo or lemon eo. I rinse my hair and leave it in. Works GREAT!!

    Thanks for sharing! =)

  52. Probably the only drawback is that this is stingy on the scalp (which is good) but can be too much for your eyes. You rightly say avoid getting it into the eyes and I believe the same applies if you have any scratches. This is especially true if you suffer from dandruff and scratch your head energetically. Do you have any recommendations like a starting dose until you get used to this on your scalp? Or did you dose it like this from day one?

  53. I have everything I need to make this except the rosemary EO. Would you think it would be okay to leave that out?

  54. Victoria Derby says:

    Hi love your page! I like the idea of your Rosemary/Peppermint Vinigar Hair Rinse, but have read that Rosemary tends to darken your hair as well as stimulating growth. My long dark Brown/Black hair is now a natural very heavy “Salt n Pepper”, that I really love. But due to Thyroid issues it is also thinning which I do not love!!! I was hoping this rinse would help, but really don’t want to loose the Grey. I find all kinds of info for blond, red, brown & black hair but not for Grey…Can you help? Thanks & hope you a great day.

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