Cleopatra's beauty secret: ACV

Do you guys remember that Aztec Secret clay mask? I can still smell it mixed with apple cider vinegar and feel that cold slimy sensation of putting it on my face. And of course who can forget the botched-Botox tightness when it was dry!

For as awful as most of our childhood skincare routines were, we may have been on to something with that mask.

Apple cider vinegar (also known as the secret ingredient to making that Aztec Secret mask) has been used in skin care for thousands of years, going back to the Romans. In fact, some sources claim that Queen Cleopatra (yeah, that one) cleansed her face with apple cider vinegar because it was so gentle.

So what does ACV actually do for the skin anyway? One word: acid. ACV is loaded with two important acids for skin in the form of acetic acid and citric acid. 

Acetic acid is the pH balancer found in vinegar. It has antimicrobial and antifungal properties, making it a great addition to your acne care routine. A 2017 study by Gopal et. al found that apple cider vinegar contained “unequivocal antimicrobial activity” when delivered at full strength. Be careful, though, because acetic acid can be sensitizing to the skin. You always want to dilute ACV or isolated acetic acid before applying topically.

Citric acid is part of a group of compounds called alpha-hydroxy acids. Sound familiar? AHA has been a trending ingredient in the cosmetics world for a few years now, hailed as a master exfoliator that leaves behind glowing, fresh skin without harsh scrubbing. Now you could spend upwards of $80 for an AHA treatment at Sephora, or you could dilute some ACV and go to town. Pretty sure ACV costs like $3 at the grocery store.

Ready to DIY and save yourself some serious coinage? Try this recipe:

  • 1.5oz raw, unfiltered Apple Cider Vinegar - $5.89 at Target
  • 3oz Thayers Rose Petal Facial Toner - $3.99 at Target
  • 3-4 drops therapeutic grade essential oil (optional)
  • Plastic bottle (save yourself some extra $$$ and use a product empty!)

Just mix up the ingredients, pour into your bottle, and voila! Toner! Keep it chilled to keep the ACV fresh and shake before each use.