Apple Cider Vinegar Rinse for Greasy Hair

I love to rinse my hair with diluted apple cider vinegar after I’ve shampooed—it helps balance the pH and smooth out my hair. I’m not alone in this; apple cider vinegar rinses are very popular in the natural haircare community. Anyhow, I got to thinking about how awesome the rinses are, and how I could probably make them more awesome with some added essential oils. Plus, Courtney asked me for solutions for greasy hair, so I thought I’d try and lend a hand.


I read up on essential oils that are said to help with greasy hair, and I settled on rosemary and tea tree essential oils. You could also try sage, mint, lemon balm, thyme, parsley, spearmint, cedarwood, burdock, lemon, cypress, ylang-ylang and/or lavender, according to the internet. I just happen to quite like rosemary and tea tree, and I had them on hand.


All you need beyond the essential oils, water, and apple cider vinegar is solubilizer, though even that’s optional (you will just need to do quite a bit of shaking before each use and work quickly).


Apple Cider Vinegar Rinse for Greasy Hair

20 drops solubilizer
10 drops tea tree essential oil
10 drops rosemary essential oil
½ cup apple cider vinegar
1½ cups water

Pour the solubilizer and essential oils into the bottom of a 500mL squeeze bottle. Shake to mix together.

Add a bit of water and shake to combine. Top off with the rest of the water and the vinegar, and shake.

To use, pour ~½ cup cup of the rinse over your hair after shampooing. Rinse your hair with water, and continue as usual.

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30 Responses to Apple Cider Vinegar Rinse for Greasy Hair

  1. Heather C. says:

    Can you please elaborate on the purposes of solubilizer and the effects it has on the hair when combined with the water/ACV mixture? I use the water/ACV rinse on my hair and and curious how a solubilizer affects the mixture. Please and thank you in advance.

    -Heather C.

    • Marie says:

      Heather—The solubilizer helps emulsify the essential oils with the water and vinegar, helping distribute them evenly throughout. If you don’t use it, you’ll find that you just have little droplets of essential oils floating in the rinse, and it’s pretty hard to get them to come out evenly. But, since the solubilizer is just for the essential oils, you won’t need it if you don’t add them.

  2. nadine says:

    i ve been looking for that receipe a long time…thank you

  3. Leah says:

    Could you substitute lethecin for the solubilizer?

    • Marie says:

      Leah—I’ve never used lethecin before, so I can’t really say. Give it a go and see what happens? If you’ve successfully used lethecin to emulsify small amounts of EOs or oils in water before, it should work. Let me know, I’m curious!

  4. Patricia Miller says:

    I use ACV rinse after every shampoo, Just a water and ACV mixture, no essential oils, but I don’t rinse it out. My hair is colored and holds the color longer with this rinse. Great stuff.

  5. Helen says:

    A friend of mine introduced me to the apple cider vinegar rinse and i have never gone back. But I really like this idea of adding the essential oils (tea tree! yum!!) Thank you! I love your web site! 😀

    • Marie says:

      Enjoy it! I just did an ACV rinse with grapefruit and tea tree—I’m interested to see if it will help me further stretch out my washes.

  6. margaret says:

    What is solublizer? where do you get it?

  7. Shauna says:

    Ive been rinsing with acv for over 2 months now since going no poo, but I have a question. Do you use the acv on your roots also? I’ve read conflicting info on whether or not to because it may make fine hair greasy looking on top. Any suggestions?

    • Marie says:

      I do use the ACV rinse on my roots, and I have quite fine hair (though a lot of it). I haven’t found it makes my hair look greasy, and I’ll even use it before washes as a sort of half-shampoo, and I find it quite helps with the greasies (for a day, at least).

    • Marie says:

      Shauna! I’ve been thinking about what you said about an ACV making roots look greasy, so I decided to experiment with it… and lo & behold, avoiding my roots with the rinse adds another day (easily!) to my wash cycle! Thanks so much for the recommendation/question :) This tip will be going in my next natural hair care update :)

      • Shauna says:

        Glad you tested it out, Marie! I think it helps all of our hair as well to not put it on our roots. Again, I want to thank you for the article you posted about using baking soda as a shampoo. I’ve recently purchased and have started using homemade shampoo bars. My 2 girls and I love, love them!! After shampooing, we use a homemade lavender rosemary acv rinse that smells wonderful!

        • Marie says:

          I’m thrilled to hear it, Shauna! I just tried out a new homemade soap/shampoo bar today—the beer ones :) I am just such a sucker for lather that I was never able to convince myself to dry the baking soda thing 😛

  8. Alayna says:

    Since the shampoo I made contains castile soap and I have hard water I need the acv rinse to help keep it from being sticky. I’ve actually added it to the shampoo and I’ll do a rinse. I’ve also noticed to longer I wait between washes the better my hair looks, almost like after washing it I’ve got to work build up out of it. I’m waiting until this batch is done then I’m going to try a shampoo without the castile soap. Kind of leaning towards using coconut milk based soap.

    • Marie says:

      Hmm… interesting. I’ve never heard of castile being particularly sticky, so I’m wondering if it might work better if you use less and rinse more? I’ve got very hard water as well, and the only time my hair feels sticky is when I haven’t washed all the soap/shampoo out of it, or when I haven’t washed the full length of my hair. I’ve got a lot of hair and when I first started using shampoo bars I discovered I was a bit of a lazy shampooer from years of using super strong detergent like shampoos. I had to re-learn to shampoo my hair, paying attention to the full length and thickness of my hair, not just the scalp and the surface. So… yeah. Maybe give those two things a try? Make sure you’re washing all of your hair (easy not to do if you’ve got lots) and rinsing it really well, until it squeaks a bit if you pinch it. Just a thought!

      If you’ve never made soap from scratch before I’d recommend doing a batch with a base of water before diving into the coconut milk base just so you get a feel for how things go :)

  9. Michelle says:

    So I am a bit confused here. If you have greasy hair are you supposed to rinse the roots with Apple Cider Vinegar or NOT rinse your roots with it?

    Also, I would love to add something the the ACV rinse or my shampoo that would either lighten my hair a bit or darken it. (I am naturally a dark brunette but I would love to be able to go a little bit in either direction – lighter or darker) any suggestions??


  10. Kay says:

    Hi Marie,
    I’m new to your site, loving all these amazing recipes! My hair seems to get build up very quickly, so I’m very interested in a rinse, however, I’m concerned because I have color-treated hair. Do you think that apple cider vinegar is color safe? Thank you so much :)

    • Marie says:

      Hi Kay! From everything I’ve read an ACV rinse should be fine for colour-treated hair as it helps smooth the hair back down, helping to seal the colour in. But, that is just from reading, I can’t speak from experience. Try it on a less visible part of your hair for a wash or two and see?

  11. Brittney says:

    I’m wondering if I could use vegetable glycerin as a Solubilizer of sorts. Since it is water soluble? I want to make this and don’t have a Solubilizer, plus since New Direction Aromatics now has a minimum order of $100, its not easy to buy from them anymore :(

    • Marie says:

      Hi Brittney! Glycerin, while water soluble, is not going to work as an emulsifier here. You can just leave the solubilizer out and shake the bottle vigorously before using :)

      • Brittney says:

        Thanks! Do you have any other suggestions for where to buy the solubilizer? Or anything that would work the same? I have heard that vodka works? I don’t think my girls will be good at the shaking!! 😉

  12. Christine says:

    10g of both the essential oils? That’s a whole little bottle ( In my country, we have a little bottle from a mark named solaris ) and I think it’s way too much. 7-10 drops will do just fine. I use a mix of apple cider vinegar, water, tea tree oil and mint oil. It gives such a cooling feeling :3 but PLEASE don’t put a whole bottle it would be way too much and it might burn your scalp or dry out your hair. PLEASE TAKE CARE

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