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Thread: Can anyone explain citric acid rinses?

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    Member emmadilemma's Avatar
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    Default Can anyone explain citric acid rinses?

    I understand the basic ratio of water to citric acid, but I dont really understand how to do it. every how-to i've read doesnt say how long to leave it on/if you rinse it after awhile or if you leave it in? Can someone explain in layman's terms the steps of a citric acid rinse?
    also does anyone know if citric acid coats the hair or if it penetrates it? what does it do?

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    Henna Ombré samanthaa's Avatar
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    Default Re: Can anyone explain citric acid rinses?

    When I've done them, I've generally used the rinse as the last step, after shampoo and conditioning, and left it to sit for anywhere from 1-3 minutes (I don't do them anymore).

    YMMV on the rinsing thing, I think. I've rinsed thoroughly, rinsed briefly, and not rinsed at all. Not rinsing at all worked fine with ACV (except the smell is unfortunately much stronger), but with citric acid, I found that if I didn't rinse well enough, my hair looked piecey after it dried.

    The point of an acid rinse is not that it coats the hair or penetrates the shaft. Rather, the acidity helps the cuticles to lie down flat after they've gotten roughed up, which in turn gives hair more slip since they'll slide more smoothly past each other, resulting in less tangles.

    ETA: CV has a good description: http://www.chagrinvalleysoapandsalve...gar-hair-rinse
    Last edited by samanthaa; May 25th, 2016 at 02:26 PM.
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    Default Re: Can anyone explain citric acid rinses?

    OK, to start with, there are a few functions for a citric acid rinse.

    (1) Flattens cuticles of hair, especially if you've used a wash step that is at all alkaline in pH.
    (2) Binds up some of the substances involved in making water hard, effectively leaving your hair a bit cleaner. Citric acid is more effective at this than, say, the acetic acid in vinegar.
    (3) Helps dissolve and wash away soap scum, which is relevant if you're washing with a soap-based cleanser like shampoo bars.


    How exactly you do it varies a lot from person to person. Generally you dissolve a small amount of citric acid crystals (like 1/4 tsp) in some warm water, then add a larger quantity of water to it (warm or cold, if you like a cold rinse). Rinse your hair with it. Leave it for a few moments. At this point, I'm known to rinse it out with "normal" water, and then do a second rinse with some left-over citric acid, which I do not rinse out. That's probably over-complicating things though. Try it both ways, rinsed out and not.

    It's easy to make a citric acid rinse too strong, by the way, and you don't want the final rinse to be all that acidic on your hair, especially if you're leaving it in. I believe you usually want to shoot for a pH around 5-6 for optimal hair health.
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    Mad Scientist mira-chan's Avatar
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    Default Re: Can anyone explain citric acid rinses?

    I make a weak citric acid rinse that I leave in, but I focus it on the scalp and let it run down the hair after. My scalp and our tap water are not friends and the rinse balances the skin pH and makes the scalp happy for me. We don't have hard water but we do have really old pipee and way too much chlorine in the water.

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    Default Re: Can anyone explain citric acid rinses?

    Is citric acid rinse better at something than acv rinse?

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    Henna Seeress Nightshade's Avatar
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    Default Re: Can anyone explain citric acid rinses?

    Quote Originally Posted by Priska View Post
    Is citric acid rinse better at something than acv rinse?
    I use a combination of citric acid, ascorbic acid, and honey(Alluvial) to get the hard water buildup off my hair. It works far better than ACV and my hair doesn't smell like sour apples every time it gets wet again XD

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    Default Re: Can anyone explain citric acid rinses?

    Thank you Nightshade!

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    Default Re: Can anyone explain citric acid rinses?

    I used to wash my hair with water with added citric acid before I got a shower filter. It helped to avoid getting hard water frizz.

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    Default Re: Can anyone explain citric acid rinses?

    Quote Originally Posted by Priska View Post
    Is citric acid rinse better at something than acv rinse?
    Quote Originally Posted by Nightshade View Post
    I use a combination of citric acid, ascorbic acid, and honey(Alluvial) to get the hard water buildup off my hair. It works far better than ACV and my hair doesn't smell like sour apples every time it gets wet again XD
    ACV made minerals build up a bit slower in my hair but could not remove it. Citric acid could, but I prefer NightBloomings Alluvial https://www.nightblooming.com/produc...crystal-rinse/

    While just using ACV my hair got dry and crunchy. My horror story from being a child and no one knew about mineral build up in my house. A combinating of a chlorinated pool and the hard water build up so bad on my hair, that it got hard and I could hold out pieces straigh as if they'd been drenched in hair spray

    I now use Alluvial after every wash and do a pre wash treatment a few times a year.


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