Mysteries of Life: Whatever happened to the post-shampoo vinegar rinse?

The question popped up in my (wet) head while I was rinsing out the shampoo.

Decades ago, we young ladies who occasionally glanced through magazines offering beauty advice learned about a trick for getting our hair ultra-shiny, glossy, soap-free, glittery, glisten-y — well, some of those qualities. What we did was a final rinse with some vinegar mixed with water.

Did my hair get ultra-shiny? I don’t know. My hair is fairly straight, ergo shiny on its own. But it now occurs to me one quality of being a young lady is being credulous. Tell me to stick my head in vinegar? Sure, why not? If it didn’t cost my paycheck, I’d do it.

At some point I stopped with the hair-vinegar business, although I’ve since segued into using vinegar mixed with water as a cheap window washer. (Some “formulas” for this home-made application suggest adding blue dye to the liquid, if it makes you feel more sanguine about its cleansing properties.)

So why isn’t vinegar recommended for sheen anymore? Or is it, and I don’t read magazines that advise it?

Maybe it’s because there are so many types of vinegar in my kitchen cupboard. Back in the shiny-hair days we had…a bottle of white vinegar. Now, my shelves are crammed with rice vinegar, champagne vinegar, sherry vinegar, balsamic vinegar, apple cider vinegar (with “The Mother”), Barbaresco vinegar — and who knows what is lurking in the back along with my exotic oils?

Oh, plain old white vinegar is back there. I use it in my cheese preserver and for making window cleaning fluid.

But which of these vinegars would I use in my hair, if I were so inclined to do that again?

That’s it. Now for something entirely different.


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