Haircare Myth Buster - Do you need a vinegar rinse when switching to shampoo bars?

Haircare Myth Buster - Do you need a vinegar rinse when switching to shampoo bars?

What to do with left over soap, shampoo and conditioner pieces Reading Haircare Myth Buster - Do you need a vinegar rinse when switching to shampoo bars? 6 minutes Next Do shampoo bars cause hair loss?

Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) has long been touted as having extensive natural benefits for the haircare, personal care, beauty industries with some organic gardening enthusiasts also swearing absolute devotion. 

When it comes to shampoo bars, you’ll also often hear and read websites suggesting that you should absolutely use ACV to help combat the transition period your hair will experience when switching from liquid shampoo to shampoo bars. 

Luckily, the science, while not very extensive around this subject, is pretty clear. 

Vinegar is going to do more for your fish and chips than for your hair. Oh, and transition periods in this sense are also a myth!

pH Levels + Your Hair and Skin

Let’s start with pH. A lot of hair and beauty products have been talking about pH levels in their products, often using the phrase pH balanced. Sound familiar?  

But in reality, that doesn’t tell you anything other than the beauty or hair product has a pH level on the pH scale. That could mean it is anything between 1 - 14, 1 being highly acidic and 14 being highly alkaline. 

What they neglect to mention is that the optimum pH level for skin and hair products is actually between 4 - 5.5, the ideal pH level for hair being around 5-5.5.

Soap and Vinegar Rinses 

If you have ever been in a spot where you have had to wash your hair with actual soap, you may know your hair feels like it has been deep-fried into a matted, lifeless and dull creation of unhappiness that makes you and your hair feel miserable all day. That is because soap has a pH level of between 9-10 - making it very alkaline.  

The idea with vinegar rinses is that they claim to be able to counteract the harsh effects of soap on your gentle hair by restoring the acidic pH 

Soap-based solid haircare products have been known to leave a waxy residue on the hair after washing. The recommendation of a vinegar rinse, with its acidic pH properties, 2-3 on the pH scale, is that it will soothe the soap-strip-sorrow and remove the waxy residue. 

How? Because you are rinsing with something that is more acidic, you’re going to be taking the pH of the hair back down to its natural pH of around 4.5-5. This means that the cuticles around your hair shaft will lie flat and your hair will look smoother and shinier.  

So, this does help after using a soap-based shampoo, but it’s also important to keep in mind that it doesn’t do anything to prevent the damage, colour loss or dryness that occurs between shampooing and rinsing with vinegar. 

Fact: Science has proved that haircare products with a high pH level will damage your hair over time. 

Using an Ethique shampoo bar? Good news! Because all of our shampoo bars are soap-free and pH balanced, you can totally skip this step!  There’s no need to restore the pH balance to your hair as it was never disturbed in the first place! 

Long story short, it is a myth that you need to use a vinegar rinse with every shampoo bar. It all depends on whether it’s a soap-based shampoo bar or an actual shampoo bar.  

Using an Ethique shampoo bar 

Ethique shampoo bars are 100% soap-free, with a pH balance of between 4.5-5.5 - optimally balanced for hair and skin. We chose to eliminate the soap and unnecessary water  and produce a salon-quality product. One that will be gentle enough to bring out the best in your hair and skin - without a bottle of vinegar in sight.  

When you use our soap-free shampoo bars, you can have complete peace of mind knowing that there will be no product build-up or residue left behind. You also get to use a salon-quality hair product without any unnecessary water either. 

While some say that a vinegar rinse could help your hair in some way after using a soap-based shampoo bar, the damage will have already been done by the high alkaline soap product. 


So, if Ethique shampoo bars don’t contain soap, how do they clean our hair? 

Surfactants create the bubbles you know and love by emulsifying and lathering the water in your shower and the oil and dirt in your hair. Surfactants can be made from a wide variety of sources. At Ethique we choose only ethically sourced plant-based, vegan, cruelty-free and certified palm oil-free ingredients we get from our direct suppliers.

Ethique products are certified free from any and all palm oil. Our products have naturally sourced surfactants that are super gentle and plant-based- sodium cocoyl isethionate (made from coconut) and cocoyl methyl glucamide (derived from sugar). 

Meet our Favourite Surfactants 

Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate (SCI) 

SCI is a coconut derivative cleanser that is ultra-gentle. We love its luxurious creamy foam properties. This surfactant is effective for use in hard water and gentle enough for use on babies and sensitive skin areas. 

Cocoyl Methyl Glucamide 

Cocoyl Methyl Glucamide is a sugar-based surfactant with creamy foam conditioning properties. Suitable for the most sensitive skin and hair, it has sensory enhancing properties that form a rich, easy rinse and pampering lather. 


Using a Shampoo Bar 

We know that making the switch to a soap-free shampoo bar can feel intimidating. We have made it easy for you to leave the vinegar rinse behind and get started with a clever little haircare bar that is right for you.  

Browse our range of soap-free bars here. 


Vinegar Free Haircare 

Join our revolution and #giveupthebottle! Try one of our fabulous soap-free, vegan, cruelty-free shampoo bars - and you can save the vinegar for the salad dressing! 

Just one bar will replace 3 bottles of your standard liquid shampoo and won’t strip your salon colour or leave any residue build-up on your locks.  


The Ethique Guarantee 

What happens if you don't like your bar? You can return it to us for a full refund - anytime! Although we back our bars 100%, we know that switching to a solid shampoo bar can be daunting. We have created a range of super cute minis and min-collection packs so, you can have fun trying them all out.  

Discover the freedom of giving up the bottle! Shop the shampoo bar range here.