DIY Apple Cider Vinegar + Rooibos Tea Clarifying Hair Rinse

I've mentioned struggling with buildup several times before, so I'm happy to report that I think I've finally found a fantastic, long term solution that works better than any clarifying shampoo or other store bought option I've tried.  Not only does this work, it's also inexpensive and incredibly easy to make.

The scalp - like the rest of our skin - has a natural pH of 4.5 - 5.5 and is protected by an acid mantle that provides a natural defense against harmful bacteria, viruses, and environmental hazards.  Soaps and shampoos - which often have a very basic pH - can disrupt this acid mantle, leaving your scalp more vulnerable.  Because of vinegar's acidity, vinegar rinses can help to bring your scalp back to a healthy pH and restore the acid mantle.  They're also great for killing bacteria and fungus, smoothing the hair cuticle, and reducing dandruff.

I add rooibos (or African redbush) mainly to temper the strong vinegar smell, but the tea also brings a whole host of other benefits.  Rooibos is high in Vitamin C and antioxidants, which help prevent free radical damage.  It's also high in flavonoids, which have been shown to have anti-inflammatory effects and to reduce allergic responses and histamine release, making it excellent for anyone with scalp irritation or sensitivity.

The two combined make a versatile rinse that you can use every time you wash your hair or as a more occasional clarifying treatment.  I notice the best results when I use it occasionally - once every few weeks - and when I really saturate the hair and scalp with about 1/2 of this recipe each time.  I also follow with a conditioner, but you may or may not need that step, as the vinegar's conditioning and detangling properties may be sufficient for some people.

I haven't found any accounts of rooibos dying hair and I haven't noticed any change in my own hair color, but if you have light hair and want to err on the side of caution, I recommend replacing the rooibos with with a lighter colored tea like chamomile.

Now, on to the (super simple) recipe!

1 teaspoon rooibos tea leaves 
1 cup boiling water
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar 

Steep tea in boiling water for at least 10 minutes.  Let cool and strain.  Add in apple cider vinegar and mix well to combine.  

To use, shampoo hair normally, then apply rinse, making sure to really work it into the scalp.  Let sit on hair for at least 5 minutes, then rinse out.  Follow with conditioner, as needed.  

Store any leftover rinse in the fridge for up to two weeks.

Have you tried ACV hair rinses before?


  1. This sounds lovely! I've heard of apple cider hair rinses but this is the first I've heard of using it with rooibis tea. Together they seem to make quite an effective product. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Thanks! They do work really well together :)

  2. I hate the smell of vinegar but I've heard so many good things about it that I'll maybe try it..we'll see :) So happy you mentioned that the tea can stain your hair, I'll go for chamomile tea instead :)) xx

    1. The tea actually does a pretty good job covering up the vinegar smell. It doesn't totally get rid of it, but it's MUCH less strong than if you just dilute the vinegar with water :)

      I don't know that the rooibos would stain blonde hair, but chamomile is probably a safer bet, just in case!

  3. Great post! I think I'll have to try this but may change for chamomile like Jan a said :-) xx

    1. Thanks Rachel! I haven't noticed the rooibos staining/dying my hair, but chamomile is probably safer for lighter hair like yours, just in case! :)