The Beauty of Vinegar

Before I moved to Canada, there was only one type of vinegar in my known world--a dark, pungent liquid that my mom kept in our cupboard--the Chinese vinegar. And so I grew up thinking that there was only one type of vinegar in this universe and was satisfied with just this one choice and happily stayed oblivious to the vast array of vinegars out there--until I walked into a Canadian grocery store and fainted at the sight of a whole shelf of different vinegars.

Apple cider, Japanese, white, sherry, red wine, balsamic...

The world has gone mad.

Slowly, I grew accustomed to the idea that vinegar had many different looks and tastes and learned to use vinegar not only in cooking, but in my beauty routine as well. That's when I discovered that vinegar, this humble kitchen sidekick, is pure genius.

I've been using apple cider vinegar as a hair rinse to treat a sudden bout of uncontrollable dandruff that seized my scalp this winter. My head felt so itchy and the flakes were so overwhelming that I was afraid to move my head too much as I tore my way through the store crowd and landed in front of the shampoo section. I looked closely at a few dandruff shampoo items. Head&Shoulders? Been there done that. I picked up another bottle that seemed promising and gagged in disbelief. coal tar? Then I gagged even more as my eyes shifted to the price tag. $14.99?!
Desperate for a solution to my flaking problem but feeling uneasy about putting coal tar on my hair, I turned to a store clerk for advice, who in turn informed me that apple cider vinegar was on sale for $0.99. Curious and fascinated by her description of the wonders of vinegar as a scalp treatment, I purchased a jar and hurried home.
I mixed 1 part vinegar and about 4 parts warm water and poured the mixture on my head in the shower. Instantly, the smell of vinegar exploded in my nose and filled my bathroom. I felt a stinging sensation on my scalp because I've been scratching my head so much that the skin was a little raw. After the initial sting subsided, I noticed that the itching has stopped and I continued to shampoo and condition as usual. It was so simple and effective that I started using this rinse every time I shampooed.

So why is vinegar a great solution to hair woes?
The acidity of vinegar exfoliates the scalp and removes the dead skin cells commonly known as dandruff. It also regulates the pH level on your scalp and strips buildup on your hair caused by different products.

The result? soft and shiny hair that looked and felt light. I noticed extra volume in the body of my hair, making the overall style fuller. Most importantly, the vinegar rinse relieved itching and delivered a HUGE improvement in the appearance of dandruff. 

I also use the vinegar rinse on my hands to keep them soft. Some people even dilute vinegar with water and use it as a toner on their faces, and I've done so in the past when I had oily type skin and it worked wonders on pimples and acne scars. It's a natural way to exfoliate and renew skin cells. It also faded unsightly tan lines around my face in record time! I must warn you however, that using a vinegar rinse on your face is tricky and the key is to use a little vinegar and a lot of water, NEVER the other way around.

Vinegar beverages are sprouting up everywhere in Asian countries. Sounds gross? These flavoured vinegar drinks are very popular among Asian women due to its natural detox effects and weight control benefits. I tried making my own vinegar drink at home by mixing 1 shotglass full of apple cider vinegar with 1 tablespoon of honey and a large cup of water. The taste was a little unkind at first, but nothing that a health fanatic like me can't handle. If I can drink a shot of wheatgrass or raw broccoli juice blended with beet, I can drink anything...

I remember blinking my curious eyes as a little child who first laid eyes on the different vinegars, each in its own unique bottles with its own interesting colour. Years later, I continue to be amazed by the almighty vinegar. Not only does it keeps my skin and hair soft, it  purifies my body inside and out.
My next goal? Experiment with and indulge in all kinds of vinegar and rediscover its beauty over and over again. Just imagine how horrible it would have been if there indeed was only one kind of vinegar in the world like I thought and we were all forced to embrace just one kind of beauty.


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