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We sometimes forget that not everyone can tolerate the ingredients that come in our favorite hair products. Some are allergic to soy, nuts, and gluten, but what about apple cider vinegar? Apple cider vinegar (largely known in our community as ACV) is the natural product of fermenting crushed apples that has been around for thousands of years. It has several beauty uses and for naturals it has become a staple for natural methods of caring for your hair, but not everyone can tolerate it.  

Even though CaseyLSwain from our Curly Q&A is allergic to ACV, she still wants the benefits. Here is her question.


Can I use white distilled vinegar instead of apple cider vinegar?  I'm allergic to some of the ingredients in apple cider vinegar. Would it be okay to use white distilled vinegar instead? Does it work the same?  I'm transitioning and really trying not to do a big chop just yet. So I really need some advice. - CaseyLSwain, Type 3b/3c


Yes, you can still utilize the amazing benefits of vinegar by using distilled white vinegar. Distilled white vinegar is made from sun-ripened grains and clear water. If you are not allergic to grains then you are in the clear.

Both vinegars have beneficial attributes. ACV is slightly higher in vitamins and minerals and more often used in hair recipes, but that does not mean distilled white vinegar is not effective.

In most hair recipes that calls for ACV you can replace it with distilled white vinegar, as it will work just fine. The pH level is slightly more acidic than apple cider vinegar so you may need to dilute it with more water. This rinse will help to smooth the hair’s cuticle for enhanced shine. Also many women prefer ACV to distilled white vinegar, (DWV) as the smell is less intense, but if the smell still too pungent simply add a favorite essential oil to help mask the smell or use more water in your hair recipe for a heavier dilution.

Read more about pH: Why Your Moisturizer Doesn't Work

DWV is perfect for preserving hair color. Just mix ¼ cup of distilled white vinegar with ½ of filtered water and pour over your hair. Simply rinse with cool water and you are done. Trial and error will be your guide to find the correct measurement, tolerance, and happiness for you and your hair. Always consult with a medical professional about potential allergies or adverse reactions to anything.

Happy mixing!

Do you have a question about your curls? Post it here on our Curly Q&A board so that other curlies and our editors can weigh in.