Does Apple Cider Vinegar Affect Hair Color?

Apple cider vinegar (ACV) is often touted as a versatile home remedy with a plethora of purported benefits, ranging from improved digestion to skin care. Among its many applications, using apple cider vinegar on hair has gained popularity as a natural hair treatment. 

However, many individuals with colored hair may wonder whether ACV can potentially affect their hair color. In this article, we will explore the impact of apple cider vinegar on hair color and address some common concerns related to its use.

How to Use Apple Cider Vinegar on Hair

Before delving into the effects of apple cider vinegar on hair color, let’s discuss how to use it effectively. Apple cider vinegar can be incorporated into your hair care routine in the following steps:


Apple Cider Vinegar. Ensure you use organic, unfiltered, and raw apple cider vinegar for the best results.

Water. It’s essential to dilute the vinegar with water to prevent any harsh effects on your hair and scalp.

A Spray Bottle. This will help you apply the mixture evenly.


Dilute the Vinegar. Mix one part apple cider vinegar with two to three parts water, depending on your hair’s sensitivity. A good starting point is one tablespoon of ACV to three tablespoons of water.

Shampoo Your Hair. Begin with your regular shampooing routine. Make sure your hair is clean and free of any styling products.

Apply the ACV Mixture. Use a spray bottle to evenly distribute the diluted ACV mixture throughout your hair, ensuring it reaches your scalp. Gently massage it into your scalp.

Leave it on. Allow the mixture to sit on your hair and scalp for a few minutes. If you have a sensitive scalp, you can start with a shorter duration.

Rinse Thoroughly. Rinse your hair with cold water to seal the cuticles and enhance shine. You can follow up with a conditioner if desired.

Will Apple Cider Vinegar Damage Colored Hair?

One of the primary concerns when using apple cider vinegar on colored hair is the potential for damage. Colored hair is often more vulnerable to factors that can strip away color, such as harsh chemicals and excessive washing.

Apple cider vinegar is slightly acidic, with a pH level that falls between 2.5 and 3.5. This acidity is milder compared to many commercial hair products, making it less likely to strip away hair dye. In fact, the gentle acidity, like that found in double-process hair color treatments, can help seal the hair cuticles, promoting shine and reducing frizz, which is especially beneficial for colored hair that may be more porous due to the coloring process.

Does Apple Cider Vinegar Lighten Hair Color?

Some people use apple cider vinegar with the hope of lightening their hair color, either to achieve natural highlights or to fade unwanted dyes. While ACV does have a reputation for clarifying hair and removing mineral buildup.

Apple cider vinegar may help to enhance the natural highlights in your hair and improve its overall appearance, but it will not drastically lighten or bleach your hair. If you are looking for a more substantial change in your hair color, you would need to consider other, more specialized hair-lightening techniques or products.

Effect of Apple Cider Vinegar on Hair Color

Effect of Apple Cider Vinegar on Hair ColorDescription
LighteningApple cider vinegar may slightly lighten hair over time, especially for those with lighter hair colors. It can help remove mineral buildup, enhancing natural highlights.
ClarifyingACV can clarify the hair by removing product buildup and residue, which might make hair color appear more vibrant and natural.
DarkeningIn some cases, apple cider vinegar can slightly darken hair, particularly for individuals with very light hair. It may enhance natural pigments.
FadingUsing ACV excessively or for prolonged periods might lead to color fading, especially in chemically treated or dyed hair.
MaintenanceRegular use of apple cider vinegar can help maintain the longevity of hair color by promoting healthy hair and reducing damage.

How Long Should I Leave Apple Cider Vinegar in My Hair?

The duration for which you should leave apple cider vinegar in your hair can vary depending on your hair type and your specific needs. As a general guideline:

For normal to oily hair, leaving the mixture on for 1-2 minutes is often sufficient. If you have a dry or sensitive scalp, you may want to limit the application to 30 seconds to 1 minute to avoid potential irritation. The key is to experiment and find the right duration that works best for your hair.

What Will Vinegar Do to Dyed Hair?

The effect of vinegar is relatively mild. The slight acidity of apple cider vinegar can help seal the hair cuticles and promote shine. This can be especially beneficial for maintaining the vibrancy and longevity of hair color. It can also assist in removing mineral buildup from hard water, which can dull the appearance of dyed hair.

It is important to emphasize that vinegar will not significantly alter the color of your hair. It won’t fade or strip away the dye in the same way that some harsh shampoos or treatments might. Therefore, using apple cider vinegar on dyed hair can be a safe and beneficial addition to your hair care routine.

Can You Put Apple Cider Vinegar on Orange Hair?

If you have orange hair due to a dye job or natural color and are concerned about using apple cider vinegar, you can rest assured that it should not make your hair more orange. ACV has a slightly acidic nature, which can neutralize some unwanted brassy tones in hair, often associated with orange or yellow hues. 


This can be particularly useful for those with blonde or light-colored hair who want to maintain a cooler, ashier tone. Using apple cider vinegar on orange hair, when diluted appropriately, can help balance out the color and enhance its overall appearance.

Does Apple Cider Vinegar Lighten Grey Hair?

If you have grey or silver hair and are wondering whether apple cider vinegar can lighten it, the answer is similar to its effect on colored hair. ACV is not a strong hair lightener and will not significantly alter the color of your grey hair. 

It can enhance the shine and manageability of grey hair, which can be beneficial for maintaining its overall look and feel. For grey hair, you can use apple cider vinegar just as you would on any other hair type, ensuring proper dilution and a suitable duration of application.

Does Apple Cider Vinegar Tone Blonde Hair?

Blonde hair can sometimes develop brassy or yellow undertones, especially if exposed to hard water or other environmental factors. Apple cider vinegar can be beneficial in toning blonde hair and reducing these unwanted tones. The mild acidity of ACV can help neutralize the brassy shades, restoring a cooler, more natural blonde color.

To tone blonde hair with apple cider vinegar, you can use it as part of your regular hair care routine, following the previously mentioned steps for application. This can help maintain the desired blonde shade and prevent it from turning overly warm or yellow.

Washing Hair with Apple Cider Vinegar Side Effects

While apple cider vinegar can offer several benefits for hair, it’s essential to be aware of potential side effects, especially if used incorrectly. Some side effects may include:

Scalp Irritation

ACV is acidic, and using it undiluted or leaving it on for too long can cause scalp irritation, redness, or a burning sensation.


Overuse of ACV may lead to dryness and frizz, particularly for those with already dry hair.


ACV has a distinctive smell, which can linger in your hair until it’s thoroughly rinsed out. Some people find the odor unpleasant.

Color Fading

While ACV is generally safe for colored hair, excessive use may contribute to fading in the long run. Moderation is key.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does apple cider vinegar change hair color?

No, apple cider vinegar does not change your hair color. It may enhance the natural shine of your hair, but it won’t alter its color.

Can apple cider vinegar lighten hair?

Apple cider vinegar is not a hair-lightening agent. It may help remove some product buildup, which could make the hair appear slightly brighter, but it won’t significantly lighten your hair.

Will apple cider vinegar affect dyed hair?

Apple cider vinegar can strip hair dye if used in excess. It’s best to avoid using it on dyed hair or use it sparingly to prevent color fading.

Does apple cider vinegar help with hair health?

Yes, apple cider vinegar can promote hair health by balancing the scalp’s pH, reducing dandruff, and enhancing overall hair shine and manageability.

How should I use apple cider vinegar on my hair?

To use apple cider vinegar on your hair, mix it with water (usually one part vinegar to one or two parts water) and use it as a hair rinse after shampooing. Rinse it out after a few minutes to avoid a lingering vinegar smell.


Apple cider vinegar can have various beneficial effects on your hair, including improved shine, reduced frizz, and a balanced pH level. When used appropriately, it should not significantly affect your hair color, whether it’s colored, grey, or naturally blonde.

Moderation is crucial when using apple cider vinegar on your hair and always dilute it properly to avoid potential side effects. If you have any concerns about the impact of ACV on your hair color, consider consulting a professional hairstylist for personalized advice.

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