I’ve only experimented with two hair rinses and ultimately didn’t incorporate either into my regimen for the long haul. However, many find benefit in them, so I thought it might be helpful to list the more common types and their purported benefits.
Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) Rinse: Closes cuticle due to acidic pH, helps hair retain moisture, gives hair shine, bounce and definition.
ACV should be diluted in water and not used full strength. Start with 2 tbsp. of ACV in 1 c. distilled water and adjust your ratios from there. The smell does bother some, but tends to dissipate once the hair dries. ACV rinses should not be overused as they can be drying to hair. You may want to begin by experimenting with a monthly rinse and then determine if a bi-weekly, weekly or bi-monthly regimen is more beneficial.
I tried a couple of ACV rinses around June of 2010. I did notice that my hair appeared curlier and bouncier, which were both results I desired. However, I just didn’t incorporate the step into my regimen as I didn’t feel like it! LOL!! I also noticed that my hair felt a little drier than normal, though I can’t attribute that to the ACV definitively.
Black or Green Tea Rinse: Caffeine in tea is thought to decrease shedding by blocking DHT, promote hair growth in those suffering from hair loss disorders, promote shine, darken hair, enhance natural highlights
A black or green tea rinse can be made by brewing 1 teabag in 1 cup of water. Wait for it to cool and apply prior to shampooing or after conditioning, prior to final rinse. In May of 2011, CurlyNikki.com recently featured an article, Everything You Need to Know About Tea Rinses. It discussed the potential benefits of caffeine as a topical application to hair, but also indicated that too much caffeine can actually stunt growth. It also indicated that there are no published scientific studies on caffeine and shedding.
When I first learned of black tea rinses in January 2011, I found quite a few anecdotal stories of black tea rinses reducing shedding, like this one on Her Best Hair. I used a rinse on my wash day for a couple of months, but didn’t notice any appreciable reduction in my shedding. That being said, I was also brewing heavy dose batches of black tea (4-6 bags in 2-3 cups of water) and allowed the teabags to sit in the water for hours. That may have been my problem!
Baking Soda – Clarifies hair. Dilute 1 tbsp. baking soda in 1 c. distilled water. Some shampoo with a baking soda paste. Baking soda is an alkali and has a normal pH of about 8.3-9. Hair is acidic by nature. Alkaline products lift the hair cuticle, hence why some use baking soda to wash and clarify hair of dirt, oils and other product build-up. I’d suggest that you check out this video by Kimmaytube, Structure of Hair Part 2 – pH Balance Basics, before experimenting with it. Click here for more info on baking soda for clarifying (see note at end of article about diluting heavily in water to make a rinse as an alternative for dry hair).
Flat Beer – Reduces frizz, adds shine and body. Apply one cup of flat, room-temperature beer to hair full-strength after conditioning. Allow it to sit for a few minutes, then rinse with cool water. Check out these posts on CurlyNikki for more info: Unconventional Frizz Tips and 5 Home Frizzy Hair Remedies.
Herbal Tea Rinses*: Benefits vary based upon type of tea.
Calendula – Brightens blonde hair, nourishes the skin, healing and anti-fungal. Brew 1/4 c. calendula petals in 1 c. water.
Hibiscus – Astringent qualities, releases darkish purple dye that can be used to color greying hair, deepen underlying color and/or enhance natural highlights, provides slip to aid in detangling. Click here for more info on the benefits and application of hibiscus tea rinses and infusions.
Chamomile Rinse – Brightens blonde hair and brings out blonde highlights on light brown hair, heals inflamed skin. LivingStrong posted this article about the potential, though not proven, benefits of chamomile in preventing hair loss. Click here for a “how to” recipe for making a chamomile tea rinse.
Lemongrass Rinse – Controls/eliminates dandruff. Click here for more info and a rinse recipe.
Catnip – Helps with split ends, conditions, helps with manageability (reduces frizzies), soothes dry scalp, anti-dandruff treatment, temporarily colors white hair pale blonde. brew strong cup of tea, massage into scalp after shampooing and rinse)Click here for more info and a rinse recipe.
Rosemary – Stimulates scalp, thought to help decrease hair loss and promote growth, treats oily hair.
Nettle – Prevent and treat dandruff, stimulate scalp, great for winter.
Burdock – Maintains and promotes healthy scalp, encourages hair growth, improves hair strength adds shine and body.
Neem – Repairs damaged hair, restores sheen, encourages hair growth.
Marshmallow Root – Relieves scalp irritations, provides moisture and slip which helps detangle hair.
You can buy packaged teas as your local grocery store and/or loose teas at many natural food stores and chains like Whole Foods and Wegmanns. You can also purchase pre-packaged tea rinses that include one or several of the teas listed above online like the ones available at Krrb.com here and AnitaGrant.com here.
(Disclaimer: I have not tried any of these herbal tea rinses, recipes or ordered from any of the tea suppliers. So, I can not review them. I am only providing links for informational purposes. If interested, research the benefits of the tea of your choice and check out reviews on the retailer.)
Although all of these rinses can be applied to the hair by pouring from a bowel or cup, using a dye applicator bottle or spray bottle are probably easier and neater options.
Have you tried or do you use hair rinses? If so, which one(s)? Have they been effective? What benefits have you experienced?