Wellness Encyclopedia: Apple Cider Vinegar for Your Skin + DIY Toner

My skin even stayed clear through PMS, which is saying something…

Over the past several months, I have been battling what I lovingly refer to as “city chin.” (JK not lovingly AT ALL.) No matter how clear the majority of my face appeared, this tiny galaxy of bumps scattered across my chin just never seemed to go away. Seemingly exacerbated by any encounter with NYC (putting the “city” in “city chin”), until recently I had tried nearly everything — from all natural and organic to products on the opposite end of the spectrum, I eliminated certain food groups, cut back on sugar and caffeine. Nothing worked. In fact, most of those products just seemed to make things worse. God forbid I even looked at dairy the wrong way. For the first time in my life, my teenage years far behind me, I found myself not only dealing with frequent breakouts, but the occasional cystic blemish, too. Blemishes are no fun to begin with, add the word cystic to that and things really take a turn for the worse. So, what changed? I looked in my pantry. Yup, the cure for city-borne blemishes was sitting right in front of me the entire time, and it cost about the same as a large coffee. Knowing how balancing and beneficial apple cider vinegar is internally, I decided to get over my aversion to the smell and see what it could do for my face. Just a few weeks in and the effects were profound. Like, I couldn’t stop staring at my face — read: my chin — in the mirror. Yes, jokes were made about salad dressing on my face (I follow up my vinegar routine with tamanu oil the laughs write themselves), but joking aside, after those three weeks of clear skin, I was hooked. My skin even stayed clear through PMS, which is saying something. ACV is now an integral part of my morning and evening facial care routine, applied just after washing and before serum or moisturizer. The combination of apple cider vinegar and water has kept my skin free and clear, and feeling softer than ever and today I’m sharing the benefits with you. Read on to learn about this unexpected cure-all!


What is it? Also known as ACV, apple cider vinegar is golden-hued vinegar made from apple cider, or apple must. In order to be converted to its vinegar counterpart, apple cider undergoes a double fermentation process. The process is begun by adding yeast and beneficial bacteria to the liquid squeezed from apples (cider/must), which converts the sugars within to alcohol. In the second fermentation process, acetobacter, or acetic acid-forming bacteria, is added to turn the alcohol to vinegar. Organic and unpasteurized ACV, which is the most beneficial, contains traces of the “mother of vinegar”, a substance composed of cellulose and acetic acid that appears as a web-like sediment at the bottom of the bottle. Similar in both appearance and benefit to the mother of kombucha, the mother of vinegar contains all the good stuff, like enzymes and probiotics, which is why you always want to choose an organic and unfiltered option, such as Braggs. And while ACV is great in a salad and in your morning tonic, ACV’s benefits for skin and hair are impressive in their own right.

What are the benefits? Apple cider vinegar’s benefits for skin all boils down to pH (potential of hydrogen). When our skin’s pH levels are out of whack, things can get real crazy real fast. Imbalances in pH can create a breeding ground for bacteria, making us prone to acne and breakouts; an off-kilter acid mantle can also cause skin to begin to produce too much sebum or not enough, resulting in oily or dry skin. The skin’s ideal pH is usually around 5.5, but common factors, such as pollution, stress, illness and poor diet can easily throw that ideal balance off. When applied to skin, apple cider vinegar, which has a pH of 3, brings skin back to its ideal pH window, allowing it to function at its optimal level. Applying ACV to skin, either as a wash or toner, kills bacteria, prevents breakouts, and regulates the production of sebum. Additionally, the alpha hydroxy acids present in ACV help to clear away dead skin cells, may help reduce the appearance of wrinkles and can help to lighten age spots and scars.

How do I use it? Incorporating apple cider vinegar into your skincare routine could not be easier. Use it as a face wash by dampening a clean washcloth with water and adding a splash of ACV before gently cleansing your face. This method is great for those who choose to go makeup free. If you’re like me and choose to wear makeup, I recommend using ACV as a toner after cleansing your face. ACV toner is incredibly easy to make yourself, and it’s a great way to balance skin and prevent breakouts before they even have a chance to begin — learn how to make your own apple cider vinegar toner below. You can also add a cup of apple cider vinegar to warm bath water to create a full-body soak.


ACV Facial Toner


Organic unfiltered apple cider vinegar (with the mother)

Filtered water

Resealable glass jar or bottle


Combine 1 part unfiltered apple cider vinegar with 1 part filtered water (you want a 50/50 ratio) in a resealable glass jar or bottle (I used a recycled glass vanilla extract bottle, Mason jars also work well). Some sediment may settle to the bottom of the bottle, if this occurs, give it a gentle shake before use. Store in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight.

To use: After cleansing your face and patting dry with a towel, dampen a cotton ball with ACV toner. Apply to T-zone and chin, avoiding the eye area. Allow to absorb before following up with serum and moisturizer.

Yes, you will smell like salad dressing for a hot second, but I promise as soon as you follow up with your daily serum, oil, or moisturizer the smell disappears. It’s a small price to pay for gorgeous, glowing skin.

*I recommend doing a patch test before applying new ingredients or products to skin, especially the face. To do this, use a cotton ball to apply a small square of ACV toner to the inside of your forearm and wait 24 hours. If no reaction, you should be good to go!

Follow Julie on Instagram + check out her blog.

This information is not intended to treat, diagnose or prevent any disease or issue. 
Please seek your doctor’s advice for any questions regarding a specific condition and before beginning any exercise, diet or health-related regimen.

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Apple cider vinegar for skincare? Never heard that before! What else can’t this amazing liquid do!

Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog

6 years ago

Something I do everyday as well! I swear by it, thanks for sharing Julie :)

6 years ago

I keep hearing wonderful things about ACV, I’m tempted to try it as a toner.

6 years ago

I have tried almost everything know to man to lose weight and nothing worked until I found “ACV”, or Apple Cider Vinegar. I have taken over the counter meds with no success. When I tried ACV it changed my life, I had to change my eating habits but it was so worth it. I now see more fat leaving my body every week and I am thrilled. Here is one source that helped me a lot in my quest to lose weight http://bit.ly/2ncB5xr . What ever you can do to lose weight, do it! It is so worth the effort and you are going to love your new live. I wish everyone success with their health endeavors and Apple Cider Vinegar will help change your life.

6 years ago

Always exciting to see more on how amazing ACV can be! It’s incredibly important to ensure that our skin maintains its pH and, therefore, its clarity. It would also be great for bug bites, sunburns, dandruff, and burns. And as for the whole-body soak you mentioned, it’s a great way to detoxify too! I’m glad you took the jump and found that ACV worked for you.

6 years ago

It’s really funny how ACV seems to be the cure for everything. I mostly use it in my beauty routine to cleanse my scalp, but I’ll have to try using it as a toner as well. Thanks for sharing these tips!


6 years ago

ACV is good for your skin when taken internally, but shouldn’t be applied topically to the skin. It’s too acidic, and therefore disturbs the pH balance of the skin. Leaving you with dry and oily patches, and irritated skin over time. As a skin care professional, I strongly recommend not taking the advice here. Stick to the tried and true ingredients found in professional products, and if you’re a DIY-er, honey, olive oil, and yogurt are the only things I’d recommend for the face.
Coconut oil another big no-no due to clogging the pores (sits like vaseline on top of the skin). Olive oil is much better because it absorbs in.

6 years ago

I never knew all this stuff about ACV, I just thought it was mainly for drinking and/or using it to cook some stuff with it. Really interesting facts!

Kayla Peart | Designer

Kaev Designs | Handmade Natural Gemstone Jewelry

6 years ago

Apple cider vinegar has antibacterial and antiseptic properties, most people have success with this toner because it balances out skin. I actually used this AVC toner for a few months and noticed that it did improve my acne.

6 years ago

Acv for loose kin plz help for loose skin acvas am patientplz help

6 years ago


6 years ago

Acv for loose kin plz help for loose skin acvas am patienthelp plz

gisele sterling
5 years ago

Yes! I agree. Apple Cider Vinegar is amazing!

I normally have oily skin, have large pores and am pimple prone. I was breaking out, had bad skin tone and was starting to develop fine lines. I bought the Made from Earths Apple Cider Vinegar Toner (its 100% organic) and have been using twice a day and my skin has improved substantially! I’m very impressed with how much smoother my skin has become. I now have NO PIMPLES. My skin was previously pink in complexion from the chronic inflammation. It’s actually calmed my skin now.