Simone and Nadia swim one day a week at an indoor swimming pool. Usually, I rinse the chlorine from their hair, put in a little conditioner, do a light detangle, and send them on their way. I’ve done this for four years without fail.
These last few weeks, though, their hair has been a matted mess. It seemed to have a mind of its own, a tendancy to form one huge dreadlock. I was concerned because that usually means a hair cut is in order. In their case, they would have been bald.
I quickly abandoned my rinse method and substituted it for a wash and condition. That helped but didn’t solve the problem. I’ve read all over the hair boards how women use a vinegar rinse to restore balance to the hair. Many say it closes down the cuticle. Some people swear by it, but if you don’t do it just right or do it too much it could cause hair fall, dryness, or other problems.
Maybe just maybe, I thought. One try won’t hurt, and I’ll keep the amount of vinegar to a minimum.
I filled two huge cups — the ones you get at athletic events or at the corner convenience store — with warm water. I added half a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar to each cup. This is where some people make a mistake. They add too much vinegar, and vinegar is an acid. More is not better. The cups I used are at least 20 ounces. I measured the vinegar and the mixture had no smell. I washed the girls hair and used the water and apple cider vinegar as a final rinse. Again, there was no smell. I conditioned as usual and their hair played along just like always.
I keep a jug of apple cider vinegar in the pantry. I use it for all kinds of things, mostly cleaning counter tops and floors. I’m glad I’ve found another use for it, but I hope I don’t need to rinse the girls’ hair too often.
The only problem with the rinse is that I had to explain everything to Simone and Nadia. They aren’t going to let me pour water and vinegar over their heads without knowing why. I may be their mother, but this is a new thing and they wanted to know more about it. I explained it best I could, and Simone, the teaching child in this family, made a lesson out of it and told Nadia just how it worked. Nadia nodded her head in agreement.
It made sense as we chatted about it that night. At the same time, I know what made sense last night may not make sense the next day at school. I hear all kinds of strange things from Simone and Nadia. You know, how a student taught them a new word that means this, and that he learned it from his mommy and daddy, and they said it over and over again on the playground. I started second-guessing my openness with Simone and Nadia. I mean, do I really want my kids sharing this knowledge with other kids? Here’s how I imagined the conversation would go down.
Friendly Child: What did you do last night?
My Child: I went swimming, and my mother rinsed my hair with vinegar.
Friendly Child: Vinegar?
My Child: Yeah, it closes down the cuticle and restores balance to hair.
Friendly Child: Oh.
Later, Friendly Child, talking to her mom.
Friendly Child: Simone’s mommy puts vinegar in her hair.
Friendly Child’s Parent: :-/
I guess I shouldn’t worry too much. Friendly Child’s mom may look at me a little strange next time I see her, but at least my girls won’t be sporting pixie cuts.