DIY Shampoo: The Baking Soda Experiment
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.
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.
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: