Vinegar, especially apple cider vinegar, is already a legend in homemade cosmetics. Apple cider vinegar is a multi-purpose product that is effective in everything you can think of. So many people love apple cider vinegar. Apple cider vinegar can be found in every home and is considered to be a fairly safe product for the skin as well. However, the scent of vinegar does not please everyone and therefore many people are looking for alternative product to vinegar.

I started to examine easy and natural alternatives to cosmetic acids. Surprisingly, I found plenty of natural and acidic raw materials suitable for cosmetics. This time I’m going to tell you about an incredibly antioxidant-rich hibiscus.

hibiskus-kosmetiikassa
Hibiscus is used to make a delicious drink called roselle.

Acidic ingredients are part of skin care

The skin’s natural acidity, known as pH -value, is acidic. Normally, the pH of the skin is between 5 and 6. If the skin is strained with soap or some other very alkaline ingredients, such as clay or baking soda, the skin may be irritated. It is then necessary to restore the skin’s pH back to normal. The easiest way to treat it is with home-made cider vinegar.

In commercially made cosmetics, other acids are used instead of apple cider vinegar. Vinegar gives the product a strong scent that many do not like at all. That is why the cosmetics industry uses highly processed cosmetic acids in their products. The most popular acids in skin care are fruit acids. Fruit acids, or alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs), are all plant-derived acids.

In industrial cosmetics, fruit-derived acids are used in purified and processed form. The same acids are available in online stores that sell ingredients for homemade cosmetics.

However, the use of cosmetic acids requires quite good skills and equipment. You need a good quality pH meter to ensure the safety of your product as well as information on the use of acids on the skin. Especially for beginners, the use of cosmetic acids can be very challenging.

Hibiscus aka Roselle brew is a safe alternative to homemade cosmetics.

Hibiscus, China rose or Roselle is a natural plant living in the Far East, which is imported to Europa as a houseplant. The INCI name of the hibiscus is Hibiscus Sabdariffa Flower Extract.

Hibiscus belongs to the mallow plants such as the marshmallow. Hibiscus has stunning, large, purple flowers. Flowers are by no means used for hibiscus infusion, but flower calyxes or flower bases. All hibiscus does not produce bright red flower bases. So, you should buy dried hibiscus from an herbalist or ethnic stores.

Hibiscus is used as an infusion in cosmetics. The dried flower beds are boiled in water for a while so that the plant releases its active ingredients. Hibiscus calyxes are very intensely red and sour. Hibiscus calyxes are rich in malic acid, an alpha-hydroxide acid (AHA). The pH of the hibiscus infusion depends on the strength of the infusion. The finished infusion can and usually should be diluted to get suitable pH.

The benefits of hibiscus in skincare

Hibiscus is very sour plant

Acids play an important role in cosmetics. Acids balance the pH of the skin. The acidity of the product can also affect the performance of preservatives and emulsifiers. Hibiscus broth of normal strength has the same acidity as apple cider vinegar. I recommend using pH strips to determine acidity. They give a sufficiently accurate result to determine the pH -value.

Hibiscus is a natural alternative to Botox

Botox is familiar to many, at least as a concept. The idea of Botox injections is to fade out facial imperfections and aging-related phenomena such as wrinkles. Taking Botox injections is not a very safe method although it is very effective. Why is hibiscus called a Botox plant? Hibiscus is a very effective herb to prevent the signs of skin aging. It has the ability to tighten up your skin and make the connective tissues firmer. Hibiscus is one of the most popular non-surgical products against skin aging. Of course, you can’t stop aging, but you can control the signs. Hibiscus is a very effective herb in controlling skin aging.

Hibiscus is rich in antioxidants.

The most important antioxidant in hibiscus is anthocyanins, the same antioxidants as in our super-healthy forest blueberries. Anthocyanins are particularly strong antioxidants that help fight free radicals that age the skin. Free radicals make the skin look lifeless, grey and tired. Anthocyanins also shrink pores, making the skin smoother. The astringent effect is, of course, only momentary.

Hibiscus is a moisturizing ingredient

Because hibiscus is a mallow plant, it is also very moisturizing. All mallows have moisturizing properties. That’s why you should try hibiscus toner for dry, tired and stressed skin. Hibiscus gives your face more moisture and a youthful glow.

Hibiscus contains a cleansing saponin.

Saponins are natural surfactants that deeply cleanse your skin. The saponins and malic acid in hibiscus work together to remove dead skin cells. Therefore, hibiscus is also particularly suitable for skin cleansing products such as shampoos and cleansers. Some people have also used hibiscus-infused oil in soap making. Hibiscus gives the soap a beautiful colour.

What can hibiscus infusion be used for?

Hibiscus is used as an infusion in homemade cosmetics. The active ingredients in hibiscus are water soluble   when dried flower calyxes are boiled.

Hibiscus is especially suitable for acid rinsing of dark hair. It slightly emphasizes the cold redness of the hair and at the same time gives a wonderful shine. For blond hair, I do not recommend hibiscus as it changes the colour of the hair. If you want to use hibiscus infusion for skin and hair care, the appropriate acidity is 5.5-7. Do not use too acidic hair rinse as it will dry your hair.

Also use hibiscus for toners and as an aqueous phase for lotions. Hibiscus is highly antioxidant and thus slows down the skin aging process. Measure the pH with appropriate acidity strips.

Hibiscus broth has a beautiful deep red colour. It is also used as a dye. If you want beautiful, reddish toner, try hibiscus.

Prepare a moisturizing, antioxidant-containing hibiscus spray this way

Hibiscus broth is suitable, for example, for hair rinses and lotions

You can use the diluted hibiscus infusion as a hair rinse. The acidity of the infusion is almost the same level as that of wine- or apple cider vinegar. Therefore, always dilute the broth before use. A suitable dosage for a hair rinse is 1 decilitre hibiscus broth and 1 litre of water. If necessary, measure the acidity with pH strips. The right acidity depends on your hair. For oily, thick hair, you can use a more acidic rinse. For thin, dry and brittle hair, an almost neutral rinse is enough. The hair rinse does not have to be very acidic to work. Slightly less than 7 is often quite appropriate acidity.

Diluted hibiscus broth is excellent for toners. It is just the right moisturizer to use under an anhydrous cream. A suitable acidity for toner is pH 5.5. Therefore, dilute the hibiscus broth with water or another neutral liquid suitable for toner. You can combine your favourite hydrolats with the hibiscus in your toner. A small amount of allantoin is also suitable for toner. Remember that aqueous toner always needs a reliable preservative. If the product contains water, it will only be preserved for a few days. Even then, it should be stored in the refrigerator.

Hibiscus is an easy and versatile cosmetic ingredient

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Hibiscus flower beds can be bought dried

Hibiscus is a tropical herb that is well suited for us living up North as well. Hibiscus has so many benefits in skin and hair care that it is definitely worth trying. That’s why I recommend you try if hibiscus works on your own skin. In the past, tea bags were sold under the name “rose hip”. They were by no means a drink made from rosehip but 100% hibiscus. I would think there are still hibiscus tea bags for sale. So, it is worth asking hibiscus health food stores.

Have you already tried hibiscus in cosmetics?

Today, vinegar has become one of the most popular raw material for DIY cosmetics. Vinegar is now being sold in large canisters when it was previously found in half a liter bottle. It tells us something about popularity of vinegar. The vinegar is multi-purpose product. It is used not only in skin care but also in hair care and for variety of minor health problem treatments. The same familiar vinegar is also suitable for cleaning and many other household needs. It would be easy to write a book about tips how to use vinegar.

What is vinegar

Traditional vinegar is prepared by oxidation of either wine or spirits to form acetic acid. Acetic acid also begins to form itself, for example, in an open wine bottle. The process needs oxygen. Distilled vinegar sold in shops contains added water to keep acetic acid content only 3-5%.

Vinegar can be prepared by fermenting all kinds of wines and spirits. The name of the finished product indicates the original wine that has been used. So, there are apple cider vinegar, white wine vinegar, cider vinegar, red wine vinegar, etc.

The active substance in vinegar is acetic acid, also called ethanoic acid. There is always acetic acid in all products wich are called vinegar. The apple cider vinegar also has this same acid. Acetic acid is one of the most important ingredients in the chemical industry. It is very multipurpose product and nontoxic.

Vinegar is a solvent

The fact that vinegar is a solvent is very important to remember. For skin and hair care, solvent should be used with caution. The vinegar dissolves in water like alcohol. Vinegar can therefore be diluted with water to the desired strength. Vinegar also dissolves inorganic salts and sugars. Again, this is a very good feature in stain removal but not so desirable in the treatment of skin and hair. When cleaning the bathroom, vinegar can dissolve well mineral deposits. Soap combines with minerals in tub water and cause alkaline soap. The mineral deposits are the accumulation of inorganic salts. If you use vinegar in skin or hair care, please take this vinegar characteristic into consideration. Skin sebum layer and minerals can be removed by using vinegar.

Beware of excessive vinegar acid hair rinse

The surface of your hair has a protective sebum layer, which consists of fats. Vinegar can dissolve this membrane from the surface of your hair. Therefore, acid rinse should be performed quickly with a dilute acetic liquid. For dry hair there is no suitable vinegar rinse. You should always use a very soft water to rinse your hair. Vinegar may react with minerals in the water and make the hair tips very tangled and fragile.

Herbal vinegars as raw material of DIY cosmetics

Herbal therapists take advantage of the vinegar’s dissolving ability by extracting different herbs with the vinegar. The extracts are usually made from white vinegar. These extracts can also be used to produce cosmetics.

Vinegar is an acid

Acids are very useful in skin care. You can obtain an excessively alkaline skin from the pH to normal, or 4,5 to 5, 5 readings by using acids. Acids are also used in hair care to close the capillaries opened by the washing. Many people keep vinegar rinses as the best treatment agent. They smoothen the hair and make them soft and easy to comb.

However, acids also have bad effects. Let me give you an example. Have you ever come across a recipe where the fish is cooked with lemon juice or vinegar? When the raw fish has been a moment in acidic broth, fish look like and tastes like it would be cooked. This is explained by the fact that the acids do denature the proteins. They change the composition of the proteins substantially so that the protein is like cooked. Unfortunately, the same kind of phenomenon can also occur on the skin and hair. If too strong vinegar or other acid is used, it can damage your skin or hair. Also, if you let acid stay too long on your skin or hair it may damage them.  Acids are very good ingredients in cosmetics, but you should be very careful. The effect times must not be long and the acid should not be too strong.

Vinegar is a preservative

Vinegar is commonly used in the preservation as it inhibits the growth of bacteria and other microbes. The anti-microbial properties of vinegar can be utilized in DIY cosmetics in many ways. Vinegar acts as an effective deodorant, preventing the work of armpit bacteria. Vinegar flushing can also be done on acne skin or on irritated scalp. Skin problems are relieving when skin becomes more acidic and the bacterial strain changes. The vinegar can also be used to lower the acidity of the product.

How to choose a suitable vinegar

How to use vinegar in DIY cosmetics

Raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar

You’ve probably heard about the raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar. Apple cider vinegar is for sale in a refined and unfiltered forms.  The unfiltered apple cider vinegar is cloudy and usually has a precipitate in the bottom.  Fermented parts of the fruit leftover from the oxidation process remain also in this type of apple cider vinegar. This way it leaves a lot of useful ingredients in the vinegar. Fermented parts are good for the body and the skin. It is because of these useful fermented ingredients; apple vinegar is the most popular vinegar in the skin and hair care. The best apple vinegar is also unpasteurized. In unpasteurized apple cider vinegar important enzymes remain in the operational condition. Unpasteurized apple cider vinegar has the membrane of acetic acid bacteria (mother vinegar) on surface.

Apple vinegar is sold in 4-5% strength, i.e. acetic acid content is 4-5% in apple cider vinegar. The raw apple cider vinegar should not be heated to more than 38 degrees. It contains a lot of valuable phytochemicals and enzymes, that are destroyed in hot.

Distilled vinegar

Distilled vinegar is the familiar preserving vinegar. Distilled vinegar is generally used for cleaning, but it is ideal also for cosmetics and herbal extracts. Distilled vinegar is a very versatile product. Especially if you are allergic or hypersensitive to apples or wine, you should choose a clean, clear distilled vinegar.

You can use distilled vinegar the same way as apple cider vinegar. It is equally strong, so no dosage adjustment is necessary. The odor of vinegar has been criticized. It is pungent and repulsive. However, the odor of vinegar changes and eventually disappears. On dry skin and dry hair, not most people cannot notify the odor of vinegar at all. If you mind the odor of vinegar just add essential oils to products. Please bear in mind that adding essential oils to your hair’s acid rinse changes the composition of the product. Essential oils are strong concentrates that contain powerful plant chemicals such as resins and terpenes. Strong plant chemicals may also damage the hair, if they are used as too strong dilutions.

Other Vinegars

White wine vinegar and cider vinegar work on skin and hair, such as non-refined apple vinegar. They are purified vinegars, so they have no femininized fruit involved. Because of their light color, they are suitable for many purposes.

Red wine vinegar is a similar product than white wine vinegar. However, it has not been very popular in cosmetics because of its strong color.

Rice vinegar and coconut vinegar are exotic products that can be used for acid rinses or for other cosmetics. You can use these vinegars like white wine vinegar. However, they are quite expensive products. Therefore, I would leave them solely for cooking.

How to use vinegar in DIY cosmetics

How to use vinegar in DIY cosmetics

Hair acid Rinse

One of the most popular use of vinegar in DIY cosmetics today is the acid rinse of the hair. Vinegar rinse is a widely accepted as a hair conditioner. This is due to the widespread use of the soap bar in the hair wash. Vinegar is not exactly a hair conditioner. There is no caring ingredient that will care the hair surface. Vinegar only closes capillaries after washing. This is based on the acidity of the vinegar. Vinegar at the same time restores the scalp’s pH to acid after alkaline washing.

 

Facial and skin rinses

You can also use vinegar to treat your skin with an acidic rinse to balance the pH. If you use an alkaline detergent in the shower, you can rinse the entire body with vinegar water. The skin do not feel overtighten after washing and there is no need to apply body lotion.

 

How to make herbal vinegar

If you want some active ingredients for your products, you can prepare herbal vinegar extracts. Herbal vinegar is a very useful product. Many phytochemicals of herbs are concentrated in herbal vinegar. An herbal vinegar extract can be used as a single ingredient for example in facials and deodorants. The vinegar extract is very strong, so add just a drop at a time. Better test first to avoid over adding.

Deodorants

The benefit of vinegar’s disinfectant feature should be used in deodorants. If you are afraid of strong smell of vinegar, you can add herbs or essential oils to the products.

Foot spa

An acidic foot bath is a way to disinfect your feet. If you have walked all day long and you feel your feet tired, try an herbal vinegar foot bath. At the end of the day, vinegar can also be sprayed into the shoes to disinfect them and remove the unpleasant odor.

Would you have thought of how  multipurpose product is vinegar? There are many other uses of vinegar, but they are not covered by this blog.

Did you find yourself new ways to use vinegar for skin and hair treatment?

fiSuomi