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Curly Nikki

A Comprehensive Look at Hair Rinses- Natural Hair Treatments

By January 27th, 202117 Comments
A Comprehensive Look at Hair Rinses- Natural Hair Treatments
by Shelli of Hairscapades

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.

Read On!>>>

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, 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 here and 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.)

Final Tip: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?


  • 'Mo says:

    I dont rinse my hibiscus tea fusion out of my hair.

  • Nina says:

    I'm pretty sure that on lhcf I read about a scientific study on the effects of caffeine. It showed that minute amounts were required to have the shedding-reduction effect.

  • Erika says:

    I personally love mixing baking soda in my conditioner to clean my hair without stripping, usually in order to restyle and get old product out of my hair. I also LOVE ACV rinses, definitely can tell the difference in shine and moisture.

  • hairscapades says:

    Anonymous and Vonna B, in regard to ACV, I've read people use it a various stages. Some apply it as a final step before styling, others rinse it out before styling, some use it after shampoo and before conditioning. I think you just have to figure out what works for you. As to ACV and rinsing it defeating the purpose, water is neutral and if rinsed with cool/cold water, I suspect the purpose of the ACV shutting the cuticle isn't defeated as both techniques help close the cuticle. At least, that's my understanding. Again though, I've read people use ACV at different steps in their process … trial and error, I guess.


  • Vonna B says:

    @Anonymous…that's a good point/question. I just re-read the article and it does not say anything about actually rinsing it out, although you would think you would because its called a "rinse". So why is everybody actually rinsing it out who commented?

  • Anonymous says:

    Why would you rinse out the ACV? The water would bring hair pH back up to an alkali state defeating the whole purpose of the rinse in the first place.

  • innocentsoulkiss says:

    I have used ACV after going swimming for years–even when I was a permed girl. It takes the chlorine away. If you use it before washing, it smells more like green apples as opposed to vinegar. I'm really interested in using the flat beer rinse. I'd like to see what effects I will get.

  • qubilah shabazz says:

    I have tried the ACV rinse and I love the way it defines my curls. I usually apply it after I have shampooed and detangled and deep conditioned my hair. Although the smell can be a little bothersome, once washed out it doesn't really bother me. I would definitely recommend that when doing an ACV you dilute it with water because that helps reduce the smell as well as the potency of the ACV itself.

  • freddy says:

    i love love love herbal rinses! I pick my herbs fresh from the garden and always add a bit of ACV. I did one last night, n used: rosemary peppermint, comfrey, hibiscus and sage. this morning when i took my hair out it was so nice and bouncy and defizzed.

  • Anonymous says:

    The love the way ACV works as a hair rinse. I dilute it with distilled water in a spray bottle and leave it on my hair for 5-10 minutes before rinsing out. It leaves my hair very soft and makes detangling easier.

  • sarah says:

    i've done some of these and can definitely vouch for the beer and green tea rinses. i use the beer rinse when i need a kick of protein and can def see the difference in my curl pattern. and i do green tea w/mint (my hair loves mint and rosemary) rinses every other week and it SO decreases shedding. i got lax with it for a month and notice i had been shedding more, got back on it and the shedding went down by at least half.

  • Erica S says:

    I've been trying to ACV rinse but after reading this article apparently I'm supposed to dilute it with water (oops!). lol I've also tried the black tea rinse and I am NOT a fan. It made my hair very tangled and dry. However I did do the rinse back in the beginning of my journey where I had bad shampoo habits and overall bad hair habits period. So maybe one day I'll try it again, who knows.

  • Nikki Aimee says:

    I was just researching this topic so this post is right on time. Thanks!

  • Berthia D. says:

    I'm really considering trying out the apple cider vinegar rinse. Every youtube personality I have watched has mentioned its benefits. And I figure my hair would look nicer shinier and more bouncy! lol

  • Anonymous says:

    One, not mentioned in the article, but has been used for years by many East Indian women is called Shikakai. It works to cleanse the scalp and hair. Ive used it on several occasions and love the way it makes my hair feel afterwards- clean without being stripped and very shiny. Id recommend adding to the list of rinses.

  • 12tnob says:

    i have used em in my spritz and love it.. make detangling my hair a breeze.. I also like the black tea rinse.. it seriously helps with shedding..

  • M says:

    I've done some herbal tea rinses like ones made of burdock, nettle, rosemary and things like that. I haven't used it enough to tell if it works or not though. I'm considering a black/green tea rinse for my next wash since I'm experiencing a lot of shedding.. We'll see!

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