Make your own hair rinse – vintage style

Make your own hair rinse – vintage style

Isn’t it just amazing when you find a vintage recipe that is perfect as-is?

I just love that.  When something that our great-great grandmothers used is still amazing, and works for us today! (Makes my job a lot easier too, not having to adapt the recipes!)

Don’t worry, I’m not talking about using a vacuum cleaner as a hairdryer, like the lady in the picture.  That top tip is best left in the past!

But you can make a really great hair rinse and conditioner in a few minutes.  It’s customized to your hair type, leaves your hair soft and shiny, and has been used by women for generations.  What is this wonder hair conditioner?  Cider vinegar.

Now, stay with me here.

Cider vinegar is used in tons of home remedies.  You might remember we made a refreshing sports drink with cider vinegar.  We also made lovely skin toner.  Elsewhere in internet land, googling “cider vinegar cures” gets you hundreds of miracle cures just using this simple ingredient.  Cider vinegar is where it’s at for home remedies.

I can’t attest to all of those cures … but cider vinegar is a wicked hair rinse – definitely one to try the next time you get a DIY beauty urge!

The Big Question – is my hair going to smell like vinegar?

You might not believe me – but no, your hair will not smell like vinegar.  It might smell slightly while damp, but when your hair is dry it will smell clean and slightly herby (depending on the herbs you use in your rinse).  You just have to try this yourself.  It really works!

How do I make a vinegar hair rinse?

All we need to do is infuse herbs in cider vinegar, or alternatively, add a few essential oils to the cider vinegar (or both!).

  • To make your hair rinse, put a few handfuls of fresh herbs (see below for which herbs) in a jar, and top with cider vinegar.  Let it sit for 3 weeks, shaking occasionally.  Strain out the herbs.
  • If you want, add a few drops of essential oils to the strained vinegar.
  • Put in a bottle, and you’re ready to rinse!

How do I customize a vinegar hair rinse for my hair type?

The secret to the vinegar hair rinse is all about the herbs.

You can choose herbs and essential oils to match your hair type.  Make a combination of herbs that appeals to you!

Although it’s better if you find them locally, you can buy bulk dried herbs online here.

Here are some suggestions:

  • Rosemary – encourages hair growth, good for all hair types
  • Sage – supposed to darken the hair, great for brunettes
  • Chamomile – encourages golden highlights, good for blondes
  • Peppermint – promotes hair growth, invigorating
  • Rose – soothes an irritated scalp
  • Lavender – good for all hair types, treats itchiness and dandruff

How do I use a vinegar hair rinse?

To use your vinegar hair rinse, you need to dilute it with water.  Normally I use about 1-2 TB of vinegar to 1 cup of water.

The easiest way to do this is to mark a container with a line for vinegar, and one for water.  Leave the container in the shower.  Then just pour in the right amount of vinegar, and top with water from the shower.  Easy!

After shampooing like normal, pour the diluted vinegar rinse through your hair.  Massage it through.  Now rinse it out quickly with warm water and finish with a burst of cold water (if you can!).  Just like Grandma always said, finishing your hair with a cold water rinse makes it extra shiny!

Personally, I don’t rinse my hair very well, I like to leave some of the vinegar in it.  Experiment and see what works best for you.


Have you tried a vinegar hair rinse? What are your favorite herb combinations? How did it work for you?

About the author

Amanda Cook is an author, entrepreneur, and alchemist. She helps successful women create lives of meaning & magic by connecting with the seasons. Her work has appeared on BBC Radio 4, The Sunday Telegraph, Natural Health UK Magazine, and more. Learn more at

Amanda Cook is an author, entrepreneur, and alchemist. She helps successful women create lives of meaning & magic by connecting with the seasons. Her work has appeared on BBC Radio 4, The Sunday Telegraph, Natural Health UK Magazine, and more. Learn more at

Loved this? Spread the word

You might also enjoy...

Thai Butterfly Pea Shampoo
Thanaka Wood the Burmese Beauty Secret
Foraging for Beauty
  1. Nice post. Very helpful. Apple cider vinegar also used in No shampoo method. This vinegar can be used with baking soda for washing scalp. Also works great for conditioning your hair. You can use henna for conditioning your hair. Henna is one of the natural herb that helps hair in coloring and conditioning hair.

  2. I have had this make my hair very dry tooo… and then gummy when dry……. and my hair smelled of vinegar a lot no hard water I live in town… we have a new water treatment plant with reverse osmosis filters……. I know I used to much vinegar I will try again…..and I did use the cheap vinegar in the store with no mother

  3. Do I need to purchase herbs or can I plant my own and just snip them and soak them? Can I soak the stems too or just use the flowers (as in lavender)? I have not yet worked with fresh herbs in homemade recipes. This sounds like a nice addition to my plain ACV rinse!

  4. I did this and it made my hair very dry and hard to comb I doing something wrong. I mixed 1Tbsp acv with 1 cup of water.

    1. Hi Stacy, do you have very hard water? I’ve found that sometimes if you have hard water, it makes your hair difficult to comb. An option is to boil the water and then use it after it’s cooled. Or what if you don’t rinse out the ACV and water, just pour it through your hair and allow it to dry naturally. We have hard water and I don’t have problems with tangles using the ACV rinse (although I do with the baking soda shampoo method…)

  5. Gr8!!! I have locs and I make an ACV infused herbal rinse for my bi-weekly natural loc washes. I use Chamomile and Peppermint teas and my loc’d are supple and strong! 🙂 Most of all, I’m all natural and have found better results than any conventional products found on store shelves. If your hair dries out some while experimenting, then reduce the amount of ACV you add…good luck!

  6. Can the rinse be done 3-4 times a week( to replace conditioner) Or is this a once a week/once a month process? Is it ok to use after washing my hair with baking soda?

    1. Laurie, I have been doing this since August after washing with baking soda 2-3 times a week. It is wonderful I infuse my vinegar with fresh rosemary or just straight. It is wonderful. My hair used to be frizzy and dry, now it is soft and shiny just make sure to rinse with cool to cold water and rinse well. Occasionally I don’t rinse as well and when my hair gets wet again you can smell a hint of vinegar. And I live in Seattle so there are alot of chances of my hair getting wet between washings.

  7. Just a word of warning about cinnamon. I soaked a cinnamon stick in my baking soda solution, smelt gorgeous, but my forehead and edges of my face started stinging and went bright red like they’d been burnt. My scalp felt fine. Be careful, cinnamon burns!

  8. I used to know a girl who did this and just kept a spray bottle of vinegar in her shower: while still damp she’d just spritz her hair and face with it (cider vinegar is a good skin toner, too.)

  9. i have super thick hair and when i pour the acv on in the shower, all that effort runs right down the drain. i started using a small spray bottle, it holds about 2 cups of liquid, and i’ve not only been able to saturate all of my hair but also can stretch the contents of the bottle to 3-4 applications now 🙂 i like to add a drop of tea tree oil to the mix, because my hair seems to build up a lot of oils after a rinse & the tea tree seems to help clarify.

  10. Do you have to use fresh herbs for an infusion? It’s not quite fresh herb season here but I have some dried herbs tucked away.

    1. Hi Brittany, yes you could definitely use dried herbs, just try using a couple Tablespoons of dried herbs to a cup of ACV, let it infuse and make sure to strain it well! I’m going to do this with Sage this winter when I need another batch!

  11. I’ve been using apple cider vinegar as a hair rinse for a while now, but I never thought to infuse it with herbs. Thanks for the wonderful idea.

  12. From my experience rosemary also darkens light brunette hair.
    Cinn will help lighten hair.
    I usually let my vinegar soak for 3-5 minutes to let it penetrate my butt-length hair. if you have shorter hair it might not take as long to soak in.

  13. I’m actually doing this at the moment, only with spices: cloves and vanilla and cinnamon. Cloves is supposed to darken and bring out red highlights, and vanilla and cinnamon just smell so delicious!

    1. Lissa, great idea! I haven’t tried using cloves or other spices, but that would be a perfect option during the winter when it’s harder to find fresh herbs! Thanks for the tip.

  14. I love lavender and lemon.
    Or rosemary and coconut oil.
    How about green tea and peppermint?

    My sister and I are loving your blog. You have beautifully covered some very important topics to us. Well done!

    1. Thanks Sherry! Love the idea of adding some coconut oil, I’ll have to play with that … you melt it first I guess?

  15. Could you skip the herbs and just use oil? Or do you recommend herbs?

    Also, does this help with tangles and such?

    1. I use straight ACV frequently, no herbs or EOs, and as a final rinse step when dying my hair with henna – keeps it from staining my towels. My hair is short, so I don’t know about tangles, but it does brush out very nicely once it dries and no lingering smell.

    2. Hi Laurie, yes just adding a few drops of essential oil is great too. Or as Steffie says, just use straight ACV. Let me know how it works for you!

Comments are closed.

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}