The Humble Pantry Ingredient People Are Calling The Perfect Olaplex Dupe
Even though indulging in lush hair products does fall under our definition of ‘self care,’ frequent trips to the salon in the name of saving our tresses can add up, which is why we we’re ever so grateful when a fun (read: cheap) little hair hack comes along to make our life easier.
So, naturally, when we stumbled upon a humble kitchen ingredient delivering results that have been likened to Olaplex, one of the best hair repair treatments on the market, we knew we had to investigate. The ingredient in question? Apple cider vinegar.
Loved and used by Miranda Kerr and Kourtney Kardashian, the pantry staple has been garnering significant praise as a post-shampoo rinse before conditioning for its ability to make the hair incredibly soft, detangled, shiny and seem generally ‘repaired’. Of course, we’ve all learnt to become wary of things that seem too good to be true, so we’ve called upon an expert to find out whether apple cider vinegar is all it’s cracked up to be.
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How exactly does apple cider vinegar work on the hair?
In order to figure out whether apple cider vinegar is a treament worth trying, we consulted leading Sydney hairstylist Anthony Nader of Raw Salon.
“For those dealing with hair issues such as itchy scalp or hair breakage, apple cider vinegar can be a great natural remedy to explore if you can’t get to the salon on time to restock your Olaplex treatment,” Nader explained.
As for reason behind apple cider vinegar’s positive reputation? It has to do with its effect on the pH of hair. Without getting too lab-coatish about it, maintaining the correct pH value of the hair and natural oils that come from the scalp is vital for the overall health of the hair.
A normal pH level is between 4.5 and 5.5, however most hair products have a high alkaline pH, which wreaks havoc with the hair’s cuticles and the scalp’s condition. Consequently, this leads to frizzy strands, a dry, irritated or flaky scalp and cuticle damage, which is precisely where apple cider vinegar comes in.
“Hair that looks dull, brittle, or frizzy tends to be more alkaline, or higher on the pH scale. The idea is that an acidic substance like apple cider vinegar can help lower the pH level and bring hair health back into balance,” Nader tells ELLE.
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What should people know before trying apple cider vinegar in their hair?
Tempting as it is to think that apple cider vinegar can completely overhaul your regular Olaplex routine, Nader emphasises it’s more of a fast ‘in between’ solution to your hair woes and that it’s best suited to a few particular hair types.
“I think that this method is a quick fix for giving your most prized possession (that’s your mane, of course) a bit of lovin’ before you can get in to the salon again,” explains Nader.
“I’ve experienced and used this kitsch method previously, and I’d say the best results are found with hair types with less colour damage, and more on the natural side.
“Does it promote shine? Yes. Does this help frizziness? Yes, but only for those of you with ‘tame frizz’ and not lioness-esque! It’s not to be taken as a new religion, especially if your hair strands are craving hydration and also those of you who are slaves to having balayage.”
If you’re interested in adding apple cinder vinegar to your hair care routine, Nader recommends the following:
- Mix a couple of tablespoons of apple cider vinegar (look for the unfiltered version with ‘the mother’ bacteria at the bottom) with water (approximately one-and-a-half to two cups).
- After shampooing and conditioning, pour the mixture over your hair evenly, working into your scalp.
- Let it sit for a couple of minutes.
- Rinse it out and style as you would normally.
Due to its acidic nature, it is important not to overuse it and make sure you test with a small amount to see how your scalp tolerates it. As for how often you should incorporate it into your routine? It very much depends from scalp to scalp. Those with dry or thin hair would be best to off trying it once or twice a month. For the most part, adding it to one hair wash a week is a good place to start.