Homemade Hair Detangling Rinse

posted by on 11/15/2012 | 39 comments (leave one of your own)

I get a fair amount of emails from you guys. Number one email subject?


Number two? My hair.

While I am not an expert regarding either (LIES), I know what works for me. My hair and I live at 7,000 feet altitude and it is wicked dry. In the winter when we turn on the heat, my hair can turn into a tangled disaster faster than you can say squirrel.

You ever want a mean pile? load? mess? of dreadlocks, move to Colorado.

I have used the same shampoo and conditioner for years, sure, I’ve tried to switch it up, but I always go back to what has worked for me for the last 20 years.  I get partial highlights and a trim four times a year.  Since my hair is color treated, I thought I needed a leave in conditioner.  Everything I tried made my hair look weighted down, was expensive, and really didn’t help battle the tangles.

While researching DIY leave in conditioners that were mainly just a tablespoon of regular conditioner and water mixed together in a spray bottle (dumb), I ran across a comment from a chick that was all, “I’ve used apple cider vinegar on my hair for 15 years as a detangler, it is the only thing that works”.

I believe pretty much everything the internet tells me, so I gathered $2 worth of apple cider vinegar vinegar and a spray bottle from underneath my sink and I was in business.

Homemade Detangling Hair Rinse

Here’s the super complicated Homemade Detangling Hair Recipe:

Take one 8 oz. empty spray bottle.  Fill it up a third of the way with the ACV and the rest of the way up with distilled water.

You might need to print out the instructions and refer back to them if it is too many steps.

(I have tried this with unfiltered organic ACV and just regular ACV.  I noticed no difference in the detangling action and the unfiltered is $6 a bottle.)

I keep the mixture in the shower and after I rinse out the shampoo, I spray the mix all over my hair, working it all the way through from the roots to the ends.  My hair is long, so I use quite a bit.  Do not get this in your eyes, it burns like a mofo, believe that.  After I have saturated my hair completely, I twist up my hair and go about the rest of my shower business.

When I am ready to get out of the shower, I rinse my hair with cool water.  I don’t really try to get all the vinegar out of my hair, mostly because I am lazy and I think it works better this way.  Since starting the rinse, I only use conditioner on the ends of my hair once a week.

Hair science time: The apple cider vinegar works because when we use products or color treat our hair, it becomes weird and stricken with alkaline. Stricken, you guys.

When you rinse with ACV, you balance the hair pH, remove the buildup, and it closes the ratty ass cuticles on your hair.

See? Science.

After I lightly comb out my hair, I work a tiny amount of grapeseed oil into the ends. I use grapeseed oil as a body moisturizer, so when I say a tiny amount, I am using the leftover residual oil that is on my hands after I am through moisturizing.  What I am saying is apparently I use my hair as a towel.

Once my hair dries, I can no longer smell the ACV vinegar.

After I took the obligatory hair shot, I realized that it was dumb to just show you the front.  I mean for all you know, I could have one gigantic dreadlock going down my back.


I know I need my roots done and I probably hadn’t washed my hair in two days, but look! no tangles.

Taking photos of the back of your own head?  Not easy.


I think I got this half hair shot after SIXTY tries.


I decided to switch it up, wish I would have tried this dumbass angle when I was trying to show you the bathroom lights.


I’m probably going to leave my day job and become a full time hair photographer.  Revel in my talent.


Go forth and douse yourself in vinegar and send more squirrel emails, kthx.

  • Robin Jingjit

    I KNEW it was going to be vinegar! 😉
    Robin Jingjit recently posted..candy cane tearsMy Profile

  • xae

    So vinegar works on everything…I mean EVERYTHING?

    Sorry…ahem…I’m gonna try that when my hair grows out. Right now it’s shorter than Troy’s cos I shaved it off a month ago. Cue GASP! 😀
    xae recently posted..What Do You Think…Be HonestMy Profile

  • Leslie

    After my wedding I couldn’t wash/get a comb through my hair for 4 days. I wish I had thought of this.
    Leslie recently posted..Accepting Happiness.My Profile

    • Zakary

      I read that you can wipe your bathroom walls down with vinegar to remove hairspray.

      • Bridget

        Thank you so much! I have an allergy to glycerin and I remembered reading this a few years back its what the amish use. I can no longer use the chemicals and my hair is a tangled mess. Thanks for the post. I will try it using your suggestions. So much cheaper too!

  • thedoseofreality

    You know, you are kind of like the Pioneer Woman mixed with a hint of Oprah and then stirred up with awesome! Plus, I covet your hair. Yeah, yeah, I know, get in line.
    thedoseofreality recently posted..“SITS” Yourself Down!My Profile

    • Zakary

      You just wrote my next bio!

  • squirrelprancer

    Wait, you never divulged your shampoo and conditioner! I have super curly hair (read: people think i’m jewish or part black). I have had up to my armpits with expensive shit, and I’m a lemur hop away from going full-hippy with baking soda and ACV. Share.

    • Zakary

      Best user name ever.

  • Candice

    I think you should do another post about how you style that gorgeous mane. Your hair is the bees knees.

    • Zakary


  • KamiKaze

    I have to say that your hair is quite amazing! I think I may have to try this. I recently colored my hair for the first time chemically in over 12 years and 3 since the last henna job.

    I can’t stand how much the ends tangle now! Thankfully, I only ombre the tips, so eventually those suckers will be gone.

    • Zakary

      I want ombre hair. Jealous.

  • Issa

    You have awesome hair. This I know. 🙂

    Not sure how I feel about not using conditioner. My hair is so thick and it get oily and…
    Issa recently posted..25 things I miss from ChildhoodMy Profile

    • Zakary

      You do have super thick hair. I will let you borrow my ACV in Chicago. 🙂

  • tara

    Damn your hair is amazeballs! Seriously, I want to pet it.

    I am totes going to try the ACV because my hair gets all kind of frizzy. Also, I’m super curious about the grapeseed oil as a moisturizer! That works?

    Also, you’re hilarious.
    tara recently posted..a random conversation from last night that may or may not offend youMy Profile

    • Zakary

      Grapeseed Oil is legit. Troy and I have serious eczema in the winter and we have tried everything. We don’t buy lotion anymore, even Jeff is on board.

  • Ashley

    I’ve heard of this nifty trick recently but am hesitant to try it because I’m afraid I’ll smell like a walking bottle of vinegar. So tell me, does the smell linger at all?

    • Zakary

      I do not think it smells at all. I can’t even smell it when I go to the gym and workout and my head is sweaty.

  • Jennifer Jayhawk

    I went through a long period where my hair was falling out. Vinegar was highly recommended as a final rinse. YES, your hair smells like vinegar (I used the same water to vinegar ratio). If you live in a warmer climate and sweat or if you are working out in a gym you will carry a serious vinegar aroma with you.

    That being said is is $2:00 but I did give it up after being teased and I myself could’t stand the smell.
    Jennifer Jayhawk recently posted..Crate & Barrel Mushroom & Parmesan Dip!My Profile

    • Zakary

      I cannot smell it at all, even when I workout. I made Zoe smell my hair and I know she would be more than happy to tell me my hair smelled. 🙂

      Certain people can be sensitive to different scents. Certain scents of Wet Wipes make me gag.

  • Lindsay @ Hot Mess, Cool Day

    Can I please just HAVE your hair? I’m lazy. I promise to take good care of it though!

    My hair is hardly ever tangled because it’s super fine & just wavy, not curly. Will ACV moisturize it a bit as well or it just works as a detangler?
    Lindsay @ Hot Mess, Cool Day recently posted..Wardrobe SlumpMy Profile

  • JC

    Another beauty tip with vinegar: soak your horny, dried out, flaky and just plain disgusting feet in it 10 minutes a day for 10 days. Result: really presentable feet ( if you are of a mind to present them for anything). My nail girl, Elizabeth, told me about this and it works like a charm. I use a disposable flat container with a lid and stand in it while I do my makeup. You can reuse the vinegar many times over.

  • Ragini

    Gaaaah! Your hair is thick and beautiful and healthy! Where is this dryness you speak of? Doesnt look like you EVER had any tangly probs. I needs to gets me some of this ACV magic.

  • Meghan

    Ok. My reading comprehension is not good. Apparently. Do you use conditioner before? Or just shampoo thn the rinse.

    • Zakary

      I shampoo then use the rinse. I only condition once a week and use the rinse after that. Or sometimes together. I don’t think it matters. Apparently.

  • Tory

    I wish I knew about this before I spent $30 on a leave in conditioner yesterday! You have very pretty hair, how long did it take you to grow it out?

  • Heather

    Listen. If we were in the same city…I would find you and hug you. And I don’t like to touch strangers. I had NO IDEA altitude was doing this tangle action to my hair (I’ve lived at 5,100 ft for 3 yrs). I legit thought I was just lazy and not brushing my hair the right way (still totally possible). I’m doing this tomorrow. Or you know…when I get around to washing my hair again.

  • Christelly Belly

    I like legit never have tangle problems, but on the way not bright at all side, I DO have OMFG I need a haircut problems! But I don’t want to cut it because I like the length. Not that you really care, but everybody else was telling you about their hair so I thought I should too!

    Any-squirrel, your post gives me the belly laughs.
    Christelly Belly recently posted..My Freaking Back Ouch! and 5QF!My Profile

  • Megan

    You’re just plain awesome 🙂

  • Lonnie Marquardt

    Love reading all our posts!! I tried this in my hair this morning and it really works! I usually use shampoo, conditioner and a hair conditioner/detangler and my hair is always tangly and a mess. I just shampooed and did the vinegar and no tangles! I live in Albuquerque and it’s super dry here too. I’m going to the store and buying your shampoo and grape seed oil! 🙂

    • Zakary

      I’m so glad you liked it!

  • Angie P

    And then there was that time when your friend texted you a picture of a comb gnarled in her daughter’s hair and said, “What do I do about this?” Because we expect you to know all things hair. 🙂
    Angie P recently posted..Fire StationMy Profile

  • Melissa@Julia's Bookbag

    i feel like this might maybe change my life!! i have awful tangles and most conditioners weigh my hair down and then it is sad.
    Melissa@Julia’s Bookbag recently posted..Maui Whole ChildMy Profile

  • annie

    Well i just love you already, lady whose blog I’ve only read one page of! My darling daughter has mixed race hair thats a combo of curly dry and curly impossible and I’ve spent more money on making it manageable in her 8 yrs than I’ve spent on mine in my 33! And i think its safe to say that its at least 5x what I’ve spent on mine. I recently discovered vinegar, but have been using white. Wonder if there will be a big dif with ACV?

  • Melinda

    I want to like acv but my hair is so tangled after I use it. I use fourth cup of ac to 1 cup of water. What could be wrong?

  • LisaBeth

    My hair gets very tangly and the ONLY product that works for me is the Shielo Smoothing Conditioner – works very effectively to smooth and untangle my thin, color treated hair. Doesnt fade my hair color at all! Couldn’t ask for a better conditioner!

  • Nikki

    Just had to say I very much enjoyed your sassy writing voice! 🙂
    I’ve got a huge, terrorizing knotted matte at base of skull. I struggle with depression and ptsd. So nerve-wracking. Thx for making me LOL

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