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Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Apple Cider Vinegar for Beautiful Skin and Hair, Back to Basics Beauty


When it comes to natural beauty there are basics that come to mind as favorites: honey, lemons, rosewater, aloe vera gel and apple cider vinegar. Here we are going to focus on the benefits of using vinegar for beautiful hair and skin. Apple cider vinegar can be used to fight blemishes, revive a dull complexion, and help eliminate a funky scalp.

Harsh soaps and shampoos can strip hair and skin of its natural oils, resulting in an imbalance of skin pH and sebum production, thus depending on skin type can mean overly dry skin/hair or annoyingly oily skin/hair. Vinegar is naturally acidic, so as skin pH is put back in balance, skin remains at the optimum level between oily and dry.

It is best to use raw vinegar such as Bragg vinegar. Bragg Organic Raw Apple Cider Vinegar is unfiltered, unheated, unpasteurized and 5% acidity
(acetic acid) and have a pH of about 2.4 - 2.9. It contains the amazing Mother of Vinegar which occurs naturally as strand-like enzymes of connected protein molecules. Raw vinegars don't go through the processing and distilling of the typical clear vinegars, therefore raw vinegar still contains the living nutrients and beneficial bacteria of the "mother".

Good quality raw vinegars restore the natural acid balance of the skin, leaving it soft and smooth.
By promoting circulation in the small capillaries that irrigate the skin, vinegar becomes a tonic for the complexion. When dabbed or sprayed on the face, vinegar creates a light layer on the skin, locking in moisture. Straight vinegar is okay for spot treating blemishes, but otherwise it is best to use it diluted with water or as part of a facial toner blend.

Vinegar acts as an antiseptic, meaning it prevents proliferation of bacteria, viruses and yeast that could trigger infection. The natural pH of the skin is what keeps bacteria levels in check. The acid mantle of your skin, created by oil and sweat mostly, is a protective barrier that fights bacteria. Disruption of the skin's pH can be detrimental to your skin, because p.acnes (bacteria) thrive in an environment only a little more alkaline than your skin's natural acidity. Once bacteria thrives it can lead to inflammation and generating more clogged pores.

As a facial toner, vinegar removes oily residue as it dissolves fatty deposits at the surface of the skin. Raw apple cider vinegar is a good remedy for blocked pores because it contains malic acid, a natural acid that loosens the outer layer of dead skin cells and prevents inflammation.

People use the terms toner and astringent interchangeable because they are similar, yet there are differences.

Toners are usually more gentle in that they contain floral waters, vinegar, witch hazel but little to no alcohol such as vodka as a main ingredient. Toners are used to clean and remove any dirt or soap residues after cleansing.
Astringents are used for that purpose too, but often containing alcohol, they are used to close pores and tighten up skin, better for people with oily skin. For people who have dry or sensitive skin, alcohol based astringents may be too harsh and dry things out further and interrupt the pH and cause problems.

Below, we have three toners using herbal vinegars. All are nice, it is personal preference. 

Blemish spot treatment
This herbal vinegar contains the healing and nourishing qualities of apple cider vinegar, soothing witch hazel, and various infused herbs such as lavender, chamomile, yarrow, calendula, roses, lemon balm and sage. Just apply to a cotton ball or cotton square and spot treat those blemishes. This blend has not been further diluted with distilled water, making it good for spot treatment of blemishes. To use as a daily toner, it may be best to add an ounce of distilled water to this 4 ounce blend. Due to the variety of herbs used for this blend, pregnant women may want to check with their physician before using or just use one of the two below.

Elderflower n' Rose toner
Roses and elder flowers have long been used by women for gentle, effective home skin and beauty care.  This facial toner consists of an apple cider vinegar floral infusion, diluted in distilled water to be a bit more gentle than the above blemish treatment, and added aloe, witch hazel and glycerin, all bring balance to skin pH.

Chamomile, Calendula & Nettles toner
This herbal vinegar blend contains three favorites: Calendula, Chamomile and Nettles.
Nettles are high in sulphur, good for those with oily skin. Nutritionally, nettles are a powerhouse for optimal health which shows in the appearance of vibrant skin and hair. Any herbal tea blends for vitality usually always contain nettles.
Chamomile is known for use as a relief from irritated, inflamed skin conditions. A soothing, calming aid for skin eruptions due to chronic skin conditions, and frustrating blemishes.
Calendula is known as a wound herb. An anti-inflammatory as well, this herb helps prevent the formation of scar tissue from those breakouts.

Many of our hair care products are strongly alkaline and cause a dulling buildup on the hair shaft.
Healthy hair is on the mildly acidic side of the pH scale between 4.5 and 5.5. Apple cider vinegar has an acidic pH of 2.9. Apple cider vinegar rinses help to balance the pH and remove buildup, giving you a softer, shinier, easier to detangle head of hair. Rinsing will close the hair shafts resulting in a smoother surface. By closing the cuticles of the hair, light reflects off of it, which means shiny hair.

The way to use vinegar in hair care is as a vinegar rinse after shampooing.
Vinegar rinses can be used once or twice a week as needed but if your hair is dry to begin with take note how your hair responds and adjust the frequency.

1/2-1 Tbsp vinegar to 1 cup water for short hair
1-2 Tbsp vinegar to 2 cups water for long hair.
There are three choices for applying the vinegar:
Put the mixture into a spray bottle and spritz your hair throughout the layers. Massage it into your scalp, let it sit a few minutes and rinse (optional)
Pour the vinegar/water mixture onto your hair and scalp. Repeat this again if desired. Let sit a minute or so and rinse with lukewarm water (a blast of cold water will seal the cuticles of the hair). Some people don't bother with a final rinse to wash out the vinegar. Leaving it in does help with tangles but for some this proves irritating to their skin.
You can just pour a tablespoon or two of vinegar directly onto your scalp, let it sit on your hair a minute or so, and then rinse. Vinegar is rather strong so use your own judgement which method to use. Some people find this undiluted method too strong for their scalp.

Periodic apple cider vinegar hair rinses will also help prevent or get rid of a flaky or itchy scalp.
For help with dandruff it is recommended to use the direct application method. Massage the vinegar thoroughly onto the scalp and let sit for at least 15 minutes.
The acids and enzymes in the vinegar kill the "bottle bacillus", a bacteria that is one of the causes for many scalp and hair conditions. The bacteria clogs hair follicles allowing dry crusts to form that itch and flake.

Vinegar will not strip hair color the way chemical lighteners will so it shouldn't remove hair dye. The effect of vinegar is more subtle.

A wonderful option for your vinegar rinse is to use an herbal vinegar.
The addition of herbs to the vinegar allows the rinse to enhance hair color, help bring out desired highlights, and condition hair at the same time.


Vinegar rinse for lighter hair
Chamomile and Calendula have long been used for home hair rinses to condition and try to keep that lovely blonde color from turning what we know as "dirty blonde".
Nettles are full of minerals, chlorophyll and antifungal properties used to prevent and treat scalp funk. Nettle is also a stimulant used to enhance hair growth.
Lemongrass and grapefruit essential oils are additional antimicrobial aides as well as offering their fresh citrus aroma.

Vinegar rinse for darker hair
Sage and Rosemary are often used to help darken greying hair and bring out auburn tones.
Sage, rosemary and nettles are a tonic for dry hair and itchy, flaky scalp. It is also said that these invigorating herbs enhance hair growth.
Basil and lavender essential oils combine for an uplifting, refreshing aroma.

Vinegar rinse for all hair types

Lavender has been called the 'mother of all essences'. Just as its skin-reparative properties have earned it a well-deserved reputation with skin care, lavender can also contribute to a healthy, conditioned head of hair. Its use helps to degrease oily hair and is among the list of herbs said to stimulate hair growth and prevent hair loss.

If interested in the NoPoo method of cleansing your hair, go to this post. The NoPoo method doesn't use an actual shampoo. Baking soda is used followed by a vinegar rinse.