TKC: (ACV) Apple Cider Vinegar, Hibiscus & Honey Rinse Preserve

By Kelly

I don’t know about you, but I love my ACV rinse.  It leaves my hair feeling so soft and, well, the texture it should be.  The thing about ACV rinsing is that it takes care of what most commercial hair products don’t.

Nadia makes good points about ACV in her blog, but I will re-iterate for the cause…


What does pH mean to hair?

pH stands for potential hydrogen, or the acidity or alkalinity of a product. 7 is the neutral spot for pH but anything between 6.5 to 7.5 is considered to be a neutral range. Anything above 7 is alkaline and anything below 7 is acid.

Hair is on the mildly acidic side of the pH scale and has an ideal pH of 4.0 to 5.5, which is close to that of an apple cider vinegar rinse (pH 2.9.)

The surface of a strand of hair is covered with overlapping sheets, somewhat like the scales on a fish, or the shingles on a house. This surface is called the cuticle.


Alkaline solutions raise these scales, so they stand up. This makes the hair rougher, makes it look dull, and makes the hair shafts stick together due to the rough texture.  Many of the hair care products we use, such as soap-based shampoos, bleaches, hair colours, and permanents are strongly alkaline.

The shampoos that are made slightly acidic, keep the cuticle smooth and lying flat on the hair shaft. Ingredients like citric acid are added to acidify the shampoo.  However, to make a shampoo pH balanced manufacturers often put chemical acid called triethanolamine (TEA), which may be contaminated with nitrosamines that have been known to cause cancer.

Also, as shampoo mixes with the water in the shower or bath, or mixes with dirt on the hair, it can become less acidic as the acids mix with alkaline water or dirt. A compound (usually sodium citrate) that releases more acidifying ions when the acidity gets low, or absorbs acid when the acidity gets too high, is called a buffer.

The question is, how many acidifying ions in the shampoo will remain to release acidifying ions after applying and rinsing off conditioners and other treatments if the shampoo was only slightly acidic to being with?  Is shampooing with a slightly acidic shampoo enough for your hair?


How does ACV Help?

For the pH level of the hair to remain at or near 4.0, it’s best for it to be the last or near the last process to avoid dilution. For this reason, I use my ACV rinse AFTER all my shampoo and conditioning treatments.  Otherwise, adding ACV to your Leave-in conditioner, Deep Conditioner or Spritz is recommended.  Whatever you choose, you now know that the pH balance is an essential part of keeping your hair in good health

Rinsing with Apple Cider Vinegar will bring the pH level of your hair to approx. 4.0 which is just what the hair needs. Rinsing will close the numerous cuticle scales which cover and protect the surface of each hair shaft. This imparts a smoother surface which reflects more light and as a result leaves your hair shinier, smoother and easier to manage.



The ACV mix is made as a concentrate and stored in the fridge.  The honey contained serves as so it’s ok to keep for about 1 month. 




500ml Water

500ml Apple Cider Vinegar – contains more than 30 nutrients. From pectin to minerals like potassium, magnesium and calcium, apple cider vinegar is a rich natural source of vitamins. Its antiseptic properties arrests growth of harmful germs that cause myriad infections

5 Tbsp. Hibiscus (Sorrel to the West Indians) – Prevents hair loss, Enhances growth of hair, Discourages split ends, Thickens hair, Prevents premature greying of hair, Prevent dandruff, Gives a soapy quality to Shikakai.

3 Tbsp. Honey  – Serves as preservative which would enable the mixture to keep for about a month in the fridge.  It is also a humectant which naturally attracts and promotes retention of moisture.



1. Bring water to the boil and add Hibiscus.  Simmer for 20 mins.  Allow to cool.

2. Sieve out Hibiscus and add ACV and honey.

3. Pour into an airtight container and keep in fridge



When needed, pour out only 200ml and dilute with water up to 1 litre.


It takes the hassle out of my treatments.

As mentioned before, I prefer to pour over my hair when I have finished my other treatments and processes.  I pour over my hair, leave for 5 mins and rinse off.

I would then use my leave-in, seal and protective style as usual.


Did you try it?  Let me know how you get on…can’t wait..

10 thoughts on “TKC: (ACV) Apple Cider Vinegar, Hibiscus & Honey Rinse Preserve

  1. So my question is, hibiscus has hair straightening capabilities too, which I don’t want to do coz of my natural curls – can I either avoid using it, replace it with something else or not worry as I’m not using it neat, or a significant volume to have the straightening impact?

    Thats a lot of questions! Sorry and tanks 🙂

    • Hey Princess,

      Hibiscus does have straightening qualities, but it’s a diluted rinse, so the impact would be greatly reduced. You don’t have to use the hibiscus at all. I added for it’s qualities and so it can be removed for it’s qualities. There are many recipes that address different aspects of hair, that’s the beauty of the natural world. Try it and if you don’t like it, don’t use it. Nadia has a post on just ACV rinsing, check it out.

  2. Love it!!! Very detailed post. Will defo be trying this out!!!

    I know that other herbs have great conditioning and strengthening benefits such as:
    Burdock Root, Marshmallow Root, Nettle Leaf Herb, Blue Malva Herb, Chamomile Flower, Irish Moss, Coltsfoot and Horsetail.

    So there’s plenty to choose from if you don’t particularly wish to use hibiscus. Read up on the benefits of the herbs and then decide which one is best for you.

    Keep up the good work Kells.

  3. Hmmm… I like this recipe. I have some hibiscus powder I was planning on adding to my moisturizing spritz but I like this idea as well. Playing kitchen chemist is so fun. The possibilities are endless! I have Irish moss too that I planned on using for my son’s skin problems… Didn’t know I could use it for hair too.

  4. Hey Nads,

    Totally right, that’s just one recipe, there are plenty of other ingredients to use and plenty more recipes to come…

    • Hi Tessa,

      You have a few options: You can buy a stanards brand from Holland and Barrett or you can do the Organic, Raw, Unfiltered kind. There will obviously a price difference. I would say to do the best that you can and as the pH balance is the main cause for using it, I would check that you are getting the level of 4, that you want no matter which brand you go for.

      Hope that helps. x

  5. Hi Tessa,

    As Kelly says you can get it from any health food shop (especially the raw, unfiltered organic kind). I also get one from Tesco when i can’t get to the health shop. Aspall Organic Cyder Vinegar is the brand and it’s found with all the other vinegars. It has the right pH and does the job just fine. If you buy groceries online then check out they stock EVERYTHING. It’s the biggest online health store in the UK (i think). Whatever you can’t find in the shops you can find there.

  6. I just used this and my hair feels great. Is this something I can use everytime I wash? Is it providing moisture or protein? I have a hard time keeping my hair balanced between the two. Do you have any advice about what I can do with the solids leftover from straining the hibiscus powder? Thanks!

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