DIY Shampoo: The Baking Soda Experiment

by Clair Boone on 24 March 2010 68 comments
Photo: Claire Boone

Pop, fizz went the sound as the baking soda and vinegar mixed together to create a volcano-like effect. Most times this experiment is conducted in science classrooms across the country, but today the experiment was in the shower. More specifically: in my hair.

Baking soda and vinegar have long been touted to have great cleaning properties, but never did I think that they could clean hair. That was until my girlfriend attended a Mom's group where the speaker who'd had breast cancer at 30 years old clued the group to the cosmetic safety database.

Stunned by all the shampoos and conditioners with high toxicity, I decided to research the options. The problem was that the ones that scored low on the toxic index were high on the price index, and as a seasoned frugalite I had to believe there was an alternative.

Someone mentioned that they had used baking soda before, and so I decided to try it. All you need is 1/8 cup of baking soda mixed with warm water each time you wash your hair, and at $1 or less a box, the amount needed per time is in the pennies. Still, could it really remove all the dirt?

For a week I used it solely in place of my shampoo and conditioner. While I know that sometimes even something that doesn't feel clean is helping my hair, could rubbing something like sand into my hair really help? After more research I learned that you've got to give it at least a week to see results, so I kept plodding on, all the while unsure it was working and putting up with a weird dry feel. I've got to say that at the end of week two, I wasn't convinced. My hair felt like straw and didn't smell much better. I was tired of the no-sudsy feeling I was getting while washing that makes me feel like something is working, so I gave it up as a failed experiment. Until...

I was tempted to try it again for a blog experiment with lots of other people watching. This time I'd use 1/2 cup of vinegar, as well as the baking soda, as recommended by another reader. This is supposed to prevent dryness and was worth a shot for sure.

ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW

Well, gag me now if vinegar in the shower isn't the last thing I want to smell while relaxing, but it did help. I stunk at science, and I guess I just didn't realize the effects of the baking soda and vinegar, but I liked it a lot. Somehow all that fizzing and popping made me feel like it was working. Although it didn't smell sweet like shampoo, nor did it smell like vinegar once rinsed — and it certainly wasn't dry.

All in all, I much preferred washing with the vinegar, even though the stench was a little much. It's non-toxic, incredibly cheap, and my hair looks and feels the same as when using a regular shampoo. I can honestly say I liked the experiment and have a new love for one of the world's oldest cleaning ingredients. According to Wikipedia, even the ancient Egyptians loved it and used it as soap.

If you'd like to try it, here are the directions I used (there are two options):

  • Wash with baking soda regularly. Those who do this say they experience a short period of their hair feeling really dry and straw-like. You should give it at least 2 weeks.
     
  • Wash with baking soda a few times a month to get rid of shampoos, conditioners and stylers that build up. Honestly, this is probably what I'll be doing from now on. I do love the smell of my shampoo and am not sure I'm ready to give that up yet.

The Recipe

1. Mix this in small plastic container:

  • 1/2 cup baking soda
  • 3 cups of warm water

These two ingredients will make a lot of "shampoo" so just use a little each time and then after you've washed with the baking soda mix, rinse with 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar.

2. However often you wash your hair, wash it with the mixture.

3. It won't suds up and will feel a little weird to begin with — it will also fizz and pop.

4. Rinse and dry as normal.

Tell us what your experience with baking soda and/or vinegar shampoo was like.

This is a guest post by Clair Boone. She bought diapers for 20 cents a pack and earned the applause of the cashier checking her out. Over the past year, Clair's money-saving tips has helped thousands of people all over the U.S. save hundreds of dollars. Read more articles by Clair at her blog, Mummy Deals:

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Guest's picture
Emily

Claire, I've been using baking soda water to wash and a.c. vinegar water to rinse for about 8 months now, and I. will. never. go. back. My hair is so full and manageable. True, I don't have that silky sheen, but my guess is hair isn't supposed to. I'm also down to 2 haircuts avg per year, because I don't have the split ends, even with blow-drying. AND, I only wash my hair every other day. That's right, this former-oily-haired gal can get away with that now, since there's no more shampoo spurring the oil glands in my scalp!

The cherry on top is the cost, and the environmental factors (I guess that would make it "cherries"). I buy the giant box of baking soda because I use it so many other places (a paste of soda and water is awesome at cleaning my ceramic cooktop stove), so it's ridiculously cheap. And it makes me happy to know that I'm not schlepping more chemicals into the sewage system. :)

Guest's picture
Sabrina

Emily...I have been looking for a "green" & unchemically way to clean my ceramic stove..can you give me the recipe for what you use and how you use it?  I am sooooooooooo excited...thanks a bunch!!

Guest's picture
Guest

i do the baking soda and vinegar and agree on the dullness, however depending on your hair color, you can make a wash with certain fruits for that shine you miss. i condition with avacado or olive oil in a shower cap once every 2 weeks or so. i have naturally jet black hair so i rinse it with blackberries on the weeks i don't deep condition. it really brings out the shine. and after your hair is dried, you can rub some carrot oil or almond oil or mint oil in it to add shine and get the vinegar smell out and if you just get your hands a little oily and gently tossle it in, it won't get bogged down! if i can find the site with the fruit combos for hair colors i will have to post it.

Guest's picture
Sarah S

I tried it last year and gave it up. I have very fine hair and it just looked gross. Also my hairdresser made fun of me! (I didn't go back to them). I do want to give it another shot sometime.

On a related note, I've started using baking soda to wash my face. It's a cleanser and scrub in one. I use witch hazel for a toner, and follow it with pure rosehip oil as a moisturizer. I used to use moderate-to-very expensive cleansers (I've tried it all, from Clinique to Origins to expensive chemical peels to Cetaphil) and this works just fine.

Guest's picture
Guest

I use clinique too. I'll have to try this out. I don't use rosehip oil, but i use pure vitamine E oil. I have sensitive skin and the acne cleansers/creams do more harm than good to my face. The Vit. E clears up my face beautifully! it's expensive, but it lasts forever. i've had mine for almost 3 years.

Guest's picture
Kat

I have been using this for at least six months now and my hair feels great. Several tips:

1.DO NOT WASH your hair EVERY day. Even if you use regular shampoo - it is just stripping the natural oils from your scalp - which makes the scalp try to produce more oil to compensate. This one reason it takes some time - more like several weeks rather than one - to allow for the hair and scalp to adjust. RINSE it, if you like (my hair likes to be wetted down to look its best)

2. Why are you using strong smelling apple cider vinegar? For heavens sake, use the distilled white vinegar you ought to have on hand for cleaning anyway. The smell is not nearly so strong and it is just as effective!

3. This one is just personal preference. I make the baking soda and water into a loose paste and rub and massage it through my hair. When I feel like it is thoroughly worked through, I use the vinegar rinse - FOAM AWAY! BTW, and old soft-type (squeezy) water bottle is a great delivery mechanism for the vinegar!

My original source for this method is Green Upgrader: http://greenupgrader.com/8662/what-the-heck-is-no-poo-anyway/

Good luck all!

Guest's picture
johana

hey
Ive been doing this method for over 2 months now.
Im still struggling with the process. I started diluting the baking soda in boiling water since I have hard water. I also spray very little acv on my ends since my hair is oily but I still find my hair feels like straw and sometimes it stills feels greasy. You said that you wash with the baking soda and than use the vinegar to rinse it out???? sounds interesting although I dont know if using the acv on my scalp will make my hair oily. Please help, I was away this week and had to use shampoo and I miss it sooo much, I really want to stick with bs and acv but Im starting to feel like Im never going to get my hair to feel like everyone on their blogs claim.

thanks

Guest's picture
LizS

My hair is dyed. Any word on how this mixture would react to that?

Guest's picture
Guest

my hair is dyed as well, but i tried it anyways.
it definitly lightened my hair. but not enough to notice it alot. just a smidge.
so far, this has been fun!

fyi. as you go, you can wash your hair less and less til your down to only one time per week or less....its FANTASTIC! (:

Guest's picture
Kate

Very interesting article!

I agree with Kat that you should not wash your hair everyday. I have fairly long hair and keep my washes to twice a week unless I get REALLY sweating at the gym. I also avoid brushing it unless I have just washed it - split ends are at a minimum.

Great experiment that I just might have to try!

Guest's picture
gt0163c

I took a look at this web site and found it rather confusing. There is not a good description of how scores for are assigned. The site also does not describe (and this is my issue with many similar sites and groups) how the ingredients in these products affect the average consumer when the products are used in the manner in which they were meant to be used.

Yes, many personal care products will cause irritation if you get them in your eyes or mouth. Most people learned to keep their eyes closed when rinsing soap off their face or shampoo out of their hair at a relative young age. And, while many substances will cause problems if injested in large doses, this site does not seem to note if the "harmful" ingredients are truly harmful if they're just on your skin/hair at a short time.
In short, I won't change my usage habits for health reasons unless I can be convinced that a product contains substances that will cause me harm if I use and/or otherwise come into contact with the product in the way in which it was intended for me to use/come into contact with it and with a statistically relevant amount of risk. I'm all for being safe, but I want to see the science to back it the claims that people make about products being risky. Until then, I'm going to keep using my Nalgene bottle to drink tap water, take my sandwich to work in my ziploc bag (reused a few times) and eat Oreos in moderation.

Guest's picture
asrai

Search for a product, click on it. Each product is broken down into ingredients. If click onto any linked ingredient it takes you to another page, which lists how it's toxic and why. Including where the information came from.

this site does not seem to note if the "harmful" ingredients are truly harmful if they're just on your skin/hair at a short time.

These things probably linger on your skin even after they've been rinsed. They also leak into our waterways and harm the wildlife. Perhaps even short time exposure is detrimental.

A lot of these chemicals are not natural and we do not know how they affect us yet. They are too new. But many of them are banned in Europe.

You are welcome to keep using those items, so long as you and I and everyone else are doing so in an INFORMED manner. Not with hidden information and outright lies and lack of testing.

Guest's picture
Guest

Your skin is your body's largest organ. Anything you rub or spray on your body will be absorbed into you system. The affects are noticable like ingesting but the long-term consequences are.

Guest's picture
Christina

Thanks for the useful article. I use 1 part baking soda and 4 parts vinegar to wash my hair after swimming, both in the pool and in the ocean; no more clarifying shampoo for me! The vinegar also makes it quite shiny.

I've tried cornstarch and talcum powder as a quick dry shampoo for when my hair gets a little too oily between washings with some success. The oil disappears, but the powder is quite messy to comb out.

Guest's picture
Sarah

I read about the baking soda and vinegar alternative to shampoo several years ago and gave it a spin. I washed my hair this way for over a year (the only reason I stopped was because I started dying my hair--I'm not sure what the effects are, but I have a feeling vinegar isn't good for it). Hairdressers have always told me my hair was in fantastic shape and was very soft, so it seemed to work for me. I have very fine hair that gets oily very quickly. I found that this method kept my scalp in good shape and kept the oil from getting out of control.

The method that I used was to mix one tablespoon of baking soda into a paste in the palm of my hand, then rubbed that into my scalp and rinsed. Then, I would dilute 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar into 1 cup of water, applied to scalp, and rinsed. I think the key to avoiding a harsh smell if diluting the substances. Also, don't wash every day and give yourself a few weeks to let it work.

Guest's picture
mudnessa

I used baking soda and apple cider vinegar on my hair for over a year but had to abandon it because of my incredibly hard water and the resulting soap scum build up on my hair and scalp. I wish I could continue to use it but it just didn't work well with the water in my area. I did find a strong thyme tea did work well as a conditioning and clarifying rinse every once in a while. It just became too much for me. I did find a pretty simplistic shampoo to use and am pretty happy with it.

Guest's picture
Zelja

Boil the water before you add baking soda. Carefully do this, as it should fizz. Use once cooled enough. Let as little of your hard water touch your hair as possible, I don't even rinse mine. I pour vinegar or tea rinse in immediately after, and I turn the shower water off before even washing hair. This saved baking soda hair washing for me. :)

Fresh squeezed orange juice is my favorite conditioner, and any problems I've had with greasiness were fixed by simply washing my scalp better (for a while I was being over-careful).

Guest's picture
lemontree

I've been using baking soda as shampoo for quite some time now (1tsp mixed in a cup of warm water). I wash every two to three days. My hair has never looked or felt better! I used to rinse with AC vinegar (1 tsp in a cup of warm water), but quit because my family couldn't tolerate the smell. I switched to using lemon juice in the same way. There are no ill effects (no bleaching of my dark hair for example) and no smell.

Guest's picture
Mussakka

I use white vinegar as an occasional rinse. Usually whenever my scalp feels itchy and dry. It works wonders! Never thought of using BS/WV as shampoo, but might give it a try. My hair is only like an inch-and-half long at most (I'm a guy), so I don't have much to lose. I do wash my hair every day, though, since being so short it does get oily, plus I tend to get sore places if I don't.

Guest's picture
Laura

For several months now, I have used a bit of baking soda with a little water rubbed onto the scalp as shampoo. This has worked well for me - it allows the body to produce less oil over time, which is great for feeling less icky overall.

HOWEVER the vinegar rinse did NOT look good under florescent lighting. I gave it many weeks (too many for the sake of my appearance!), but it that was just the way it was. I now use a conditioner I like after the baking soda.

I use both every other day.

Guest's picture
Em

I put a tablespoon of BS in an empty 16oz. shampoo bottle, fill with warm water, and pour the whole solution over my head, concentrating on the crown and behind the ears. This deposits the BS more effectively than working a paste into my scalp.

Rub it in with fingertips, rinse out, then rinse with dilute vinegar solution to restore the scalp's acid mantle. I rinse out the vinegar, too.

Guest's picture
catastrophegirl

LizS, i've been using baking soda and vinegar on my hair only when dyeing it for over a decade now. i don't use it as a shampoo but the alkalinity of the baking soda opens the scales of the hair shaft [this is why it helps get rid of buildup]
then i dye it.
and rinse the dye out with water and then with vinegar - the acidity of the vinegar closes the scales of the hair shaft, trapping dye for a few more days of that just dyed brightness.
i have also used baking soda to get a hair dye out faster when i wanted to change it. a word of warning - it works to fade hair dye pretty well and depending on the base color of the dye this can go horribly wrong. think black hair fading to dark green.

Guest's picture

Yea, I've heard that baking soda can be used for just about anything. But this is the first time I've heard of it being used as shampoo.

Guest's picture
Guest

I use an empty shampoo bottle, drop in baking soda and water ...perfecto.

I guess the ratio is about 6 parts water, 1 part BS. (hahaha)

Personally, I feel like a sucker for all my years of commercial shampoo purchases.

Guest's picture
Guest

Why not add a drop of your favorite essential oil to the vinegar. Rosemary is particularly good for hair.

Guest's picture
KimC

I started using baking soda and vinegar on my very oily hair over a year ago, and now - for the first time since I was a small child - I can wash twice/week!
I chronicled the adjustment period on my blog, and I also learned the hard way how to do this with hard water. It's entirely different!
Having said that, I love the freedom I have now, and my hair has much more body. Not so silky, but better behaved and far more manageable. And my persistent dandruff has practically disappeared!

Guest's picture
J

In most cases, no, it is in fact chemically synthesized. But it's still a perfectly good substance to use (in moderation) on and in your body.

Rather than skip the shampoo entirely, some people might be happy with the results if they just used less shampoo. The amounts of detergents people use (toothpaste, shampoo, dishwasher, and clothes washer) are often far, far greater than what is actually needed for a good cleaning. (I've read of people washing clothes in plain water seven times using just the residual soap left clinging to the fabric.)

The effectiveness of modern detergents is partly to blame. Many people think there's no emulsification of oil going on unless they see suds, but this just isn't so. A little bit will do the trick.

Guest's picture
Lisa

Baking soda is very alkaline, which causes the hair's cuticle to swell creating that "dry" feeling. Vinegar is more acidic, thus neutralizing the mixture.
FYI - as a former haircolorist I used to prescribe baking soda for use to correct home color accidents and over deposit - baking soda with dish detergent gets most excess color out.
Then I'd have the client come in for much needed preconditioning before more color.

Guest's picture
Guest - cccquilter

Try rinsing with ACV - 1 Tbsp. in 1 c. warm water + 1 Tbsp. honey. Makes a great rinse; I add 1-3 drops of lavender oil.

Guest's picture
Guest

I have possibly a silly question. Do you use this rinse after rinsing the baking soda out as a final leave in?

Guest's picture
Guest

Come on. A bottle of Suave on sale costs about $.79. Do you really need to go through all of this nonsense.

Guest's picture
Guest

Suave sucks! It creates dandruff and stinks. The trouble is well worth the cleanliness and body. It's not about "saving", it's about the chemicals you put on your head that seep in your body.

Guest's picture
Guest

if you want to use petroleum by products... go ahead and use suave. There's a reason why it's only $0.79. And if petro chemicals don't bother you, well then, that's just your decision on submitting your biggest organ (skin) to toxicity. Our evolutionary process didn't design us humans to be eating (ie modern food production) and smearing (our modern hygiene market) in petroleum. Which is what we do, day in, day out. And then we wonder why people are dying of cancer.

Guest's picture
Michael Halstead

My wife made me a solution of baking soda and tapwater and put it in an old shampoo bottle. She also made a "conditioner" with apple cider vinegar with some drops of lavender and rosemary essential oil. She told me to always use the conditioner after the baking soda otherwise it wouldn't work. She also said it made more sense to wash my hair every other day rather than daily.

I won't be going back to shampoo. This totally works. I can barely smell the vinegar over the lavender and rosemary and the baking soda doesn't feel weird at all...it just feels like I'm pouring water over my head. There's no fizz or anything, although a slight tingle when I put on the conditioner. The results are always squeaky clean hair that feels very healthy.

I almost feel cheated that I've spent the last twenty-two years of my life paying for something that was probably toxic and damaging my hair.

Guest's picture
Sara

Where can you buy a pack of diapers for 20 cents? I would love to know, especially since I pay $14.00 for a small box of diapers.

Guest's picture
Guest

Get cloth daipers, they are spendy but its only a one time buy. Also wash them in vinigar. They last longer that way.

Guest's picture
Tara

I have perfectly straight, natural hair. It's always been a bit on the oily yet frizzy side, and my baking soda regimen has completely fixed it. About once a week, I dump some baking soda into a small plastic cup and wet it down from the tap. I pour it over my hair, making sure to get the bits over the ears and the back of the neck. I let it sit while I do everything else (shave, wash, so on), and then I rinse thoroughly. I do scrub at my scalp with my nails, and then at the end, I rinse with some cold water to close the cuticle. My hair is so lovely now, and I can't remember why I ever used commercial shampoo and conditioners.

Guest's picture
Kat

I just used the baking soda wash and vinegar rinse method for the first time, as I am forever on the search for all natural products to shampoo my hair with. I have to say my hair is naturally wavy/curly, kind of dry but a great tendancy to be oily at the crown, and fine. After using 1 tbsp baking soda into 2 cups of water to wash with, I rinsed with 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar into 2 cups of water to rinse with and my hair has never looked so shiny, felt so soft, or had so much volume. I havent gotten results this nice from many professional products. It is really quite amazing. Like I said this was my first time so I will continue to see the results.

Guest's picture
Guest

It 's worked for me! I still use a sulphate free shampoo every once in a while,but for the past year my primary mode of cleansing my hair has been with the baking soda and apple cider vinegar program. I gain a certain satisfaction from seeing the fizzy effect, and my hair has retained a good eight inches of length in the thirteen months I have used this. And baking soda is like some kind of miracle household product,because I use it for all manner of cleaning and cooking purposes. It shines the bath and kitchen,is leavening for baking,sanitizes my vegetables and fruits,exfoliates my face and freshens my mouth when added to toothpaste.Hey I am not spilling all the beans here. Go on and find out for yourselves.

Guest's picture
Guest

I use bar soap on my head (the sort without sodium laurel sulfate), followed by a vinegar rinse. I haven't figured out how much it costs compared to shampoo because I haven't yet figured out how long it takes me to go through products. It's pretty cheap though. A bar of soap can often be found for around a dollar, and lasts around a year. My skin hates detergents, so a natural soap is required, and bar soap smells pretty while baking soda doesn't. I'm just glad that it mostly fixed my flaky scalp problem (which dandruff shampoos made worse). I wash my hair once or twice a week, and try to take reasonably good care of it, because it is hip-length. When I was in the midwest, conditioner aside from vinegar was unnecessary. In the desert of SoCal, I cannot do without it.

Guest's picture
mandy

I just tried the baking soda way and my hair is kind of dry but that's what I was looking for.
My hair gets very oily very fast, especially when it's hot out. It dried my hair WITH OUT drying my hands out. I think I'm set with this way now.

Guest's picture
Guesty

I did some research on this, and I did try it. My objection is that baking soda actually has basic PH, which is opposite to the hair PH; therefore, using baking soda regularly probably damages the hair, even if you bring back the PH to acid with vinegar.
Some clarifications on that?

Guest's picture
Guest

I have been washing my hair with the baking soda mixture for almost 2 weeks now, I really like it! I didn't have the problem with my hair feeling dry because I have continued using conditioner afterward. I really like the baking soda better than shampoo, my hair seems less dry and frizzy. Also, no matter what shampoo I used, I generally had a sensitive scalp that would get itchy nearly every night. With the baking soda wash, I don't have that problem. Highly recommended!

Guest's picture
Renee

I've been using the baking soda and vinegar for awhile now and absolutely love it. I have a problem with psoriasis on my scalp, neck & back. Since using this, my scalp doesn't itch as bad and the scales on my dark clothes are nearly non-existant. Also, using baking soda instead of soap or bodywash has completely cleared up the huge patch on my neck and back. I'm not saying it will work for everyone with psoriasis, but it sure has mine and it's a whole lot cheaper than the prescription meds the doc wanted me to use!!

Also - my husband was using Head & Shoulders and his hair, normally very thick, had gotten so thin his scalp was showing through. He's been using the baking soda and vinegar and his hair is growing back thicker again.

Just a note, a few years ago I tried Pantene Pro Vitamin shampoo and it did the same thing to my hair, it was thinning out. Stopped and went to something else and it came back in thicker.

Guest's picture
Buffy

Is what you use on your back etc instead of soap the same dilution as for your hair? My husbd has what I think is psoriasis under his facial hair (which he has grown out to cover the red, scaly patches) and I'm wondering if his will help these patches of skin.

Guest's picture
kaylen

I've been washing by hair with baking soda and ACV for about 6 months, and with the research I've done, using ACV right after the baking soda so it fizzes is usually thought of as a big NO. Even if the chemical reaction doesn't damage your hair, your reducing or neutralizing the acidity of the ACV rinse, there by not helping your hair.

And usually a half tablespoon of baking soda dissolved in a cup of water, massaged into a dry scalp, is plenty. You usually get a few little foamy bubbles on your finger tips. Then rinse with water. Then use the ACV rinse, 1 tablespoon to a cup water, and rinse that out too.

And someone posted earlier that they avoid the water as much as possible because the quality sucks. A lot of people (on longhaircommunity.com) lug filtered water into the shower or buy distilled water from the store and use that as the only water that touches their hair or as a final rinse.

Guest's picture
Bethany

I started the baking soda routine about five days ago. As of now, my hair is in a hard to describe phase. It is both oily and dry, if that makes sense. The roots are very oily, the ends very dry. I have been doing the baking soda routine daily, just because of the excess oil (no way could I go two days with this..). I have also been using the diluted vinegar because my hair is fairly long and thick. I am still experiencing that my hair is very tangly and even falling out in the shower. I am really inspired to keep up with this, but I must admit that I am getting very discouraged by the current state of my hair. Any tips, suggestions, or encouragement??

Guest's picture
Rin

I'm feeling the same way. I just started a few days ago. My hair feels like when you get back from the beach and there is salt in it. I can't get my comb through it, and when I do, it pulls it out. I have pretty thick and long hair.

Let me know if anything has changed! Or if anyone has a clue, I'd be happy to hear it too :)

Guest's picture
Guest

From what i've heard, it takes at least a week, up to two or three for your hair to get used to not being stripped and move beyond the nasty oily stage. If you can make it through that, it seems to universally get better.

Guest's picture
Guest

I've heard that if you use a soft bristle brush it can help distribute the oil from the top of your head towards the ends. Hope that helps!

Guest's picture
Guest

Something that might help you with that is putting oil in you hair while its still wet. Not a lot obviously but just some on your finger tips and run I through your hair. I have really thick straight hair that can be hard to manage and it works wonders. I use karatin ( carrot) oil, or cocoanut oil.

Guest's picture
Guest

I have been using baking soda and apple cider vinegar exclusively for the past 4 months, and I will also never go back! My hair is so much happier now. It is fuller, stronger, silkier, shinier than it ever was with other products, bar none! My grey hairs are disappearing, my ends are resisting the splits, and I have never had such tangle free hair. I can brush it through when wet, if necessary, but I can also fall asleep on the couch with wet hair, and the ensuing rat's nest when I wake up comes out without any trouble at all.

I have long, fine hair, and I do not wash my hair every day. Of course, I also don't shower every day, unless I have been sweating more than usual. Because my hair is so fine, and so straight, I worried at first how the baking soda would work, but it actually feels as though my hair has become a little thicker. Crazy, I know, but everyone I know agrees with me. And I keep getting people to touch my hair because it is so very soft. I have converted my kids, and while my husband has tried it; his hair is longer than mine, but he has been unable to get the scalp massage just right, but he will keep trying. The kids have succeeded and have the softest hair they've had since the first ever-so-soft baby hairs.

I LOVE IT!!

Guest's picture
Guest

Hi Claire,

First, let me say I've been using baking soda to wash my hair and acv (apple cider vinegar) to condition for years!

First, I think your recipe uses way too much baking soda! You'll end up with dry hair, I'm afraid. I keep a plastic cup (er..actually, it's a brown hydrogen peroxide bottle I cut the top off...haha) in the shower. I keep a sugar bowl (with glass lid, and we have a tile floor, go figure) filled with baking soda on the windowsill to use as a face scrub/wash and I literally take a couple pinches from the bowl (probably 2-3 tsp worth), throw it in the cup, and then fill the cup almost full with warm shower water. I stir it up with my fingers, wet my hair, then pour on the baking soda solution. It's great for daily use, removing chlorine from swimming pools, and getting out hair products or gunk (I make my own milk-plastic hair glue). I massage it in, then I rinse. I follow with acv--about 1/4 cup in the same brown cup, fill with water, rinse. The vinegar itself closes the hair cuticle so therefore acts as a conditioner. Wonderful and cheap!

I caution your readers about your high ratio of baking soda to water mixture b/c on the occasions I did use more baking soda (2 T worth ) for a more "scrubby" experience, it actually dried my hair out terribly (like straw) and actually lightened it a little (undesirable, as i like my dark dark brown hair on most days). Too much baking soda will absolutely strip your hair of oils and dry it. I'd suggest your readers might try making it fresh, per use.

Finally, when I want extra conditioning, I rub a few drops of evoo (extra virgin olive oil) on my hands and then run my hands/fingers through my hair. Lovely. I also use the evoo as a face wash and a moisturizer before bed. The same baking soda and acv doubles as a face wash (pinch the soda into your palm, sprinkle on water, wash face) and an anti-aging toner (wet flannel or cotton ball with acv, and, closing your eyes, rub it all over your face. ACV contains natural AHA ((alpha-hydroxy acid)), which is a number-one ingredient in expensive face creams. Allow it to sit about 10 seconds, avoiding your eyes, and rinse completely..take care as vinegar is very strong and can hurt your eyes). Follow by applying evoo to your still-wet face for a wonderful nighttime cleansing that leaves your face youthful and glowing. Costs pennies, too!

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Savannah

This is by far the most helpful comment on the whole thread, in terms of quantities and experience. Thank you for replying!
I am going to embark on this experiment with my hair as soon as I finish up my current shampoo. I am excited to report once the first few weeks are over, and possibly convert a few commercial shampoo-using friends. It will also be interesting to see if anything awful happens to my curl perm because of it.
Thank you again for posting.

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Cyndy

Instead of olive oil, try the purest and most healthy oil out there, Grapeseed Oil, which is commonly used in OTC products for the face. It is wonderful; never sticky, healthy to use on your skin and much much healthier than any of the most extra virgin olive oil out there for cooking/eating.

Also, use sparkling (plain seltzer)water on your hair - awesome and if you have a pool, this clarifies your hair, rids you of chlorine, bromide, etc, and softens the water and your hair and leaves a shine no chemical product I have ever found can beat. I also color my hair and seltzer water does NO damage to it at all.

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Guest

Whoever told you shampoo is "toxic" is a moron. They probably said it was "full of chemicals" too I bet; completely ignoring the fact that everything is MADE of chemicals. Stop being so closed minded about science and start being skeptical about made up nonsense.

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Guest

i use baking soda as shampoo
and a sodium/paraban free conditioner.
i can't go product free because my hair is naturally curly, but i use less product, i feel.. and my hair looks great! shampoo's would dry the crap out of my hair.....it's finally building up oils which i had to add myself. thank goodness

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Guest

I just tried this for the first time. I was afraid to try it because I have VERY fine and thin hair, and I thought the abrasiveness of the baking soda might do alot of damage to my hair. I have to say that after one use of the baking soda followed by the vinegar I am sold on this. My hair is shinier, a little lighter, which I like, the light highlights my hair has naturally are more pronounced, and it feels FULLER. It was a little harder to comb out than it is with the gobs of pantene conditioner I usually use, but only a little. Thats one thing I was afraid of, but I didn't seem to pull more hair out while combing than I did with the Pantene, so that was good. I am definitely planning on continuing this.

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Guest

If you run a tiny bit of extra virgin olive oil through your hair it will condition you hair a little better and make it easier to brush. It will also keep it shiney without being greasy. Just don't use a lot. Just a few drops on your finger tips and run them from the middle of your hair to the ends.

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Guest

i have been doing this for a month a week now and my hairs steel feels dry and waxy. I'm ready to give up. I can't even run my fingers thru my hair.It is nasty!!

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Kaylen

Are you doing this as this person directed? Because the best results I've had was mixing 1/2 a tablespoon baking soda (you may need even less) in a cup of warm water then massage it into a dry scalp. Then I rinse with water, then put 2 cups of water with 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar over entire scalp and hair. Then rinse with water. If your hair is dry but not waxy, you can use unrefined coconut oil or jojoba oil or another water soluble oil (not extra virgin olive oil) or even aloe to moisturize.

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Guest

ok, this is how I do it.
one tbsp in to 8 oz of water(shampo)
one tbsp APCV into 8 oz of water (conditioner)
I wet my hair before I use the backing soda mix then appply to my roots wash it of with water and apply the APCV mix with really cold water.

my ends feel so waxy I can't run my fingers thru it. how do I get rid of that sebum/waxy feeling in my hair??

HELP!!!!

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KelKel

I started this method about six months ago. The ratios of bs:h20 and acv:h20 for shampooing and conditioning vary depending on the climate mostly, but also on how long between showers and what I put in my hair between washes. In the beginning I found my hair was having a waxy feel, and discovered that if I simply added a little shampoo to the hair after I poured the solution on, it got rid of it. If the hair still feels a little waxy or hard, I add a tiny bit more shampoo until the waxy goes away. I usually include this shampoo into the retiming every other hair wash, and I usually need it more after using hair spray or lots of hair oil. I have LONG hair, so I use a few tablespoons in a 8oz glass of water, and just pour until it has clean feeling. I was every few days, never daily anymore, and my hair is soft like a puppy's bottom. It also holds shape better and doesn't get all tangled crimped when I sleep. Every shower is like an experiment in what my hair needs, so I never follow the same recipe twice. The best idea is to try many different ratios and pay close attention to how it feels. I can easily tell now in the shower what my hair will look like when dry, just by feeling it while it is still wet.

The vinegar procedure is the same. **i ALWAYS rinse out the baking soda first. My head is not a volcano in the science fair and I do not need it erupting and snapping. Shiver me timbers. Anyway, I pour four ounces in a glass and fill the rest with water, then split my hair into two parts and tip the ends in the mixture for a few seconds on each side before I dilute the remaining a bit more and pour it overr my hair part and the back of my head. By now, the hair usually feels very smooth in my hands instead of rough, but if there are any spots tht feel tangly then I grab my squirt bottle of acv and hold that section of hair under both running water and a thin stream of acv. When my hair has not been trimmed in a long time, I also put some conditioner on the ends afterwards.

I've had a few vacations lately where I decided to use regular shampoo. It was horrible. Im on trip three right now in a city in south America where it took me three weeks of being here before I actually found sodium bicarbonate in the PHARMACY. My hair has been so unruly for the last week that I've had to wash it nearly every day, blow dry it, put hair oil on it, and then use a curler to straighten it out and keep it from being snarly and crazy. I was convinced I needed to just cut it off, then I found making soda. I just left the shower, blew my hair dry, and I'm leaving the house with soft, bouncy, non frizzy hair. No products, no ironing, no oiling. Is my hair just addicted to baking soda or something? Gotta say, the withdrawal symptoms from going to baking soda are nothing compared to going back to shampoo. Blach,

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Guest

LOL, to: soft like a puppy's bottom :) Thanks for that!

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Debra

Ok so I started this just this Monday and so far I love it! However I do have one question...I have extremely oily hair to the point where I have to wash it daily. I sweat a lot at night so I can wash my hair at night and STILL have to wash it the next morning...Since I am just starting out should I continue to wash it with the BS daily or should I do BS every other day and ACV every even day? So far when I get up in the mornings it looks oily and greasy like I need to wash it, but that goes away with the BS wash. I just don't want to OVER wash my hair. Any suggestions would be great!

Thanks,
Debra

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kaylen

The ACV isn't conditioning and you should do an acidic rinse every time after you do a baking soda wash. Sometimes ACV does leave people's hair feeling weird and they find replacing it with white vinegar or lemon or lime juice helps a lot. You just use the same ratios. And I know of someone on no-poo.livejournal.com that has to was their hair daily which was a step up from multiple times a day. Just experiment, as long as you don't use extreme amounts you shouldn't hurt anything. Everyone's hair and scalp are different.

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leigh

I can't believe I've converted but I have. I won't go back. Shampoo is so full of kak. I'm trying to convince my husband that I deserve a new handbag for all the money I'm saving us!

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Guest

I've been using the bs shampoo and the acv conditioner (1 Tbl bs to 8 oz water and 1 Tbl acv to 8 oz water) for one week now. I will never go back. I wet my hair in the shower, squirt on the bs shampoo in several place, massage in thoroughly and then rinse thoroughly off under the shower head. Then I apply the acv conditioner by squirting over areas of my head and massaging in thoroughly. Then, I continue with my shower and as the last step I rinse my hair under the shower head. btw, I placed both mixtures in their own water bottle right now with "BS" written on the top of the lid on one and ACV on the top of the lid of the other.

My hair is shoulder length, full but fine in texture and very flat. This regiment does the trick. My hair is full like using a volumizing shampoo and is very "squeaky" clean. You know how your hair feels when you squeeze it and it squeaks. I am wondering though if anyone has thought about how we can make the mixtures into jell. Like can we use surejell or some other product to make it thicker so it goes further with less waste. Also, do you think can mix the bs shampoo and acv conditioner together and do it in one step. Thus, just having one bottle in the shower. And finally, I notice I have to constantly shake the bs shampoo to keep them mixed. Will it stay dissolved if I boil the bs shampoo mixture before filling the bottle?