I Swapped My Shampoo For Apple Juice

With shampoo growing less popular, there is a new world of natural products that can keep your scalp and hair clean while promoting healthy, strong locks. One of the reasons I recently tried washing my hair with apple juice is due to the amazing hair growth benefits of apples I kept hearing about. I'll be honest: I've eaten an apple once in my life because it only took that single occasion to realize that I am quite allergic to this nutrient-packed fruit. While I may not be a fan of munching on apples for a snack, I am a fan of the idea of growing my hair as long as Rapunzel's... well, if Rapunzel had an afro. I didn't need any more encouragement after reading about apples being used in a study to promote hair growth in balding men. Basically, an apple a day in your hair could keep the Rogaine away!

According to sources at StyleCraze, apples contain vitamins A, B, and C, which are all things your scalp wants to be drinking up on the reg. Plus, all those antioxidants found in apples certainly ain't hurtin' either.

Though the raw stuff is no good on my end, cooked apples give me zero reaction, so I decided washing my hair with apple juice had very little risk — aside from the potential to dry out my hair. What can I say? I live dangerously. Still, though, if you have a tree-nut allergy you should not try an apple juice hair rinse without consulting your doctor and doing a test patch on your skin first.

Here's how it all went down for me, plus some tips I learned along the way.

1. Choose Your Apple Juice Wisely

It would've been too easy to be able to walk to my corner store and find an apple juice for three dollars and wash my hair worries away. But I wanted only the best for my hair. So, I purchased an apple juice that had a stamped Certified Organic label and promises of not adding any high fructose sugar — and I highly recommend you do the same. Pick an apple juice that has no sugar added and has stamps like "Non-GMO" or "Organic." Remember: The FDA doesn't regulate the term "natural," so you'll want to check the ingredients list for anything scary-sounding.

2. Do Not Store Your Apple Juice in The Fridge

After you open your apple juice, you may store it in a cold place to avoid spoiling your juice, but you'll want to take it out at least 30 minutes before you rinse. Shocking your scalp with something extremely cold isn't always the best idea. According to sources at Hair Care Manual, cold water can reduce the volume of your hair, which isn't always a bad thing depending on your hair type. Mainly, I just find ice cold liquids on my locks aren't super fun.

3. Get Your Hair Nice And Wet First

Before I rinse or condition my hair, I always run my locks under warm to hot running water for about 10 minutes. I find that doing this opens up my scalp and hair to the possibility of nutrients actually getting in there and it softens my brittle locks, which can also help them be more absorbant.

4. Pour Apple Juice From The Ends To The Roots

I like to start from the ends of my hair up to my roots because my ends are usually begging for attention with split ends, dryness, and adorable little knots. Be sure to massage the juice into your scalp since that's where the new hair growth starts.

5. Leave Apple Juice On for 10-15 Minutes

Letting a rinse sit in your hair allows the vitamins and nutrients to work their way into your scalp and hair shaft. This is similar to the amount of time you should deep condition for because you are inviting healthy food into your scalp and need to give it a chance to eat! I let the apple juice marinate on my scalp for about 15 minutes while I enjoyed a plate of baked ziti.

6. Rinse Out Your Apple Juice Thoroughly

Rinse your apple juice out with warm water until the scent of apples becomes faint. The smell is usually how I can tell my hair no longer has food in it, but depending on your hair thickness, a good five minutes of rinsing should usually do the trick. I noticed that my hair felt more coarse than it usually does with my old stand-by rinse, which kind of bummed me out. So, I ate more baked ziti, then followed up with my regular routine of conditioning, detangling, and styling my hair. After all that, my hair felt like its usual freshly-washed self.

7. Give Your Apple Juice a Boost

While my hair didn't turn into Rapunzel overnight, it also didn't feel dry or dirty — though I think that had a lot more to do with my conditioning routine than the apple juice. To be fair, rinses are for clarifying and cleansing the scalp and hair, not necessarily softening and conditioning. That being said, I would definitely use apple juice again, but this time I would add its cousin apple cider vinegar, a fresh cup of chamomile tea, and a few drops of tea tree oil. All those ingredients together are guaranteed to make sure I've completely rid my scalp of the scent of the NYC subway.

Image: Kristin Collins Jackson (7)