Saturday, February 27, 2010

The Baking Soda Hair-Washing Experiment Update

*I am no expert and am only relaying my own experience with this process. Please do your own research before deciding to use this method. It works great long-term for some, but I do have a reader that had her hair start to fall out after using this method for several months and could possibly be due to dry-out from the baking soda. I do currently use the method with no issues, but I take a break and use shampoo a couple times a year for a few weeks. Also, I use less baking soda than is mentioned in this post - read the 8/11 Part 2 Update for the current measurements I use.

**For more recent info (8/11), check out Part 1 of my baking soda/ACV hair update!

Well that title is a mouthful!  I mentioned last week that I was joining up with my friend Claire from Mummy Deals to try using baking soda instead of shampoo for a week.  We were trying it because it doesn't have the toxic chemicals that are in most shampoos and it's super frugal!  I decided to add apple cider vinegar rinsing as needed because it smooths and conditions the hair.

I thought you'd like to hear how it went and see a couple hair pics.  Now, I don't wash my hair every day - I do every other day.  I used to have to do it every day because it would get greasy.  But when my hair was longer I started wearing a pony tail the second day and not washing it and my hair seemed to adjust - now it gets greasy the third day!

So in a week I washed it with baking soda 4 times.  Here's what I did:

~  I mixed 1 tablespoon baking soda with 1 cup warm water in a squeeze bottle.  I shook it before using it every time.  I still have some left!

~  I squeezed the solution all around my scalp and hair, worked it into my scalp, and rubbed it into my hair; then rinsed thoroughly.

~  I mixed 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar with 1 cup water in a small spray bottle.  I swirled it around before using each time.

~  2 of the 4 times I followed the wash with spraying all my hair with the apple cider vinegar mixture, working it in slightly, then rinsing out.

Here are pics of my hair after the week:


Watch out - I am obviously hypnotized in the above pic - there's no telling what I might do!

See?  My hair doesn't look like I haven't used shampoo!  I didn't use any styling products either other than some hairspray.  I did blowdry and use a big barrel curling iron to smooth a little and curve the ends under a bit.

My thoughts:

So far I'm happy with the whole idea.  My hair is not much different than with shampoo though I have seem to have more volume and thickness when I use just the baking soda.  In the pics, I had used apple cider vinegar too.  I also stopped using any styling products other than some hairspray during this time as I wanted to see what my hair condition was without those products.

Once your hair adjusts completely, you shouldn't have to wash as often - maybe 2-3 times a week with baking soda.  When I don't use the apple cider vinegar, I do notice less greasiness even the third day, so will try stretching it further.  If I use the apple cider vinegar, then it does get greasy by the third day.

I'm going to keep going with it!  I see no reason to stop.  I may need to make some slight adjustments to the amounts, but so far I'm happy.  I have heard that your hair is fully adjusted after about a month, so I want to see if I notice a difference in that amount of time.

If you think you want to try it, I suggest you read the following links for more detailed info - very helpful!

What are your thoughts?

I'm linking this to Your Life, Your Blog at Real Life!  Link up your favorite post from last week!

Have a wonderful weekend friends!


  1. Well my friend,I may have to give this a try. The organic shampoo I used to use left my hair stringy and lifeless so I stopped using it and went back to traditional shampoo. But your hair looks great so I may have to give this a go.

    Big not greasy till the 3rd day is A OK with me size hugs to you!

    Have a great weekend.

  2. What a neat post. I often will use baking soda to help remove hairspray buildup - I just add a handful to my shampoo and lather, lather, lather. It makes a wonderful exfoliating scrub too - just mix a little with bath wash and rub on face, arms, legs, etc.


  3. Wow!!! You had me at "more volume and thickness!"

  4. Your hair looks great, Lisa! Will this routine damage color-treated hair?

  5. Everytime I washed my hair, after reading your initial post on this challenge, I have thought of you. I am very tempted. Especially with my boys - why not!

    I will continue to follow to see how the month goes!

  6. I'm all for more volume and thickness! You're just the cutest! Your hair looks nice and clean.

  7. I still think that mine would break and fall off!

  8. Thanks everybody - it's been a fun experiment!

    Kate - as far as I know it will not damage color-treated hair. My hair has highlights and lowlights and I haven't noticed any problem. I also read that baking soda will slightly strip color, but no more than shampoo does. The best thing to do is to not wash your hair daily. I also think you should use no more baking soda than I tried. That's all I know!

  9. Thanks - this is helpful information! My daughter has allergies and we've tried all the mildest and most natural shampoos we could find and she still gets the itchies. We use baking soda in her bath water to help soothe her rashes when she has a reaction, but I never thought about using it for her hair! *light blub*

  10. lol - Light BULB. Looks like I need to learn to proof for typos...

  11. I've read about this on my homeschool forum and wondered. Maybe I should try it.

    I've heard Bragg's makes the best Apple Cider Vinegar - my mom wants me to try it on my face for my Rosella {is that spelled right... you know red cheeks}. Someone she knows did it and it work well.

  12. Lisa, Your hair looks fab! Wasn;t that a fun experiment? I signed us up for more if readers want!!!!!!

  13. Great tips. I like it. Thank you for sharing it.

  14. Wow, what a great idea! Figures I just bought a new bottle of shampoo, but I'm definitely filing this to try when it runs out. And my hubs will probably think I've hit an all new level of crazy. *lol*

  15. I have never heard of such an idea. Your hair looks great though. I will tell you what though if I ever find myself out of shampoo again, which does happen around here since I have 5 kids and a hubby that uses it up so very quickly, I will remember this and try it.

  16. Never woulda thunk it. ;-)

    I may have to try this, as my hair needs a time-out from every day washing. My hair gets so dry and damaged... this might help!

  17. What a great post! I was googling "baking soda on treated hair" and got to this post. I've been "back on the wagon" with baking soda and vinegar for a few weeks, and then got my hair seriously colored before New Year's. I washed it for the first time today and was really struggling with whether to use the baking soda and vinegar or the shamp and cond. that the hairstylist suggested. I went ahead with the baking soda and vinegar and it was reassuring to read this.

    Sorry this is so long but just a quick thing: I read somewhere else on the internet that baking soda should be used just on the scalp and not on the hair, and vinegar just on the hair and not on the scalp. I don't know if that's true but I do it anyway (there was a reason for this routine but I forget what it was).

    Anyway, great blog and thanks for the information!

  18. we did it, and its GREAT! very low in cost, and no chemicals and it works better than any shampoo!!

  19. Great info! I've been considering going 'poo free for a while now, but i absolutely hate the feeling of greasy hair. That being said, did you go straight from daily shampoo use to every-other-day baking soda without too rough of a transition with the intent to eventually decrease washes, or was there still a really nasty waxy period like I've read in other blogs?

    Thank you!

  20. KatieV - I was already shampooing every other day which helped my hair to transition a little easier. But I still went through plenty of yuckiness during the 1st 3 weeks of transition. Check the link at the top of this post for more updated info too.

  21. Did you keep up with it? I see that this was posted 2 years ago. I have the same type of hair as you (straight and not super thick). I started this journey 8 weeks ago and I'm still struggling with it. My husband hasn't use ANYTHING in his hair this whole time, while I still need to wash (either BS/ACV or castille) it every 3-4 days. Just wondered if you managed to go more than a week without washing??? Seems to work better on people with curly thick hair :/

    1. Right at the top of the post you'll see a link to a more recent up date from Aug. 2011 (which has parts 1,2 & 3) that will give you more info! But I cannot go a whole week without washing. I use BS/ACV about every 4-5 days and rinse with water in between. And I still would like to see better hair results - we have hard water here and I know that affects it.


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