23 December, 2010

Hair Shampoo and Rinse

 I've been meaning to put together this post for months but now it seems to be a good time to maybe shake up your hair care for the new year. For the new decade. For the new you.

This is a post letting you know how to wash your hair with plain old baking soda and rinse with apple cider vinegar. Skip the commercial shampoos containing chemicals.
I've been using this concoction for over two years now. Back in 2007, I was diagnosed with severe food allergies and I have always had a problem with chemical reactions. Staying away from many of the food problems pretty much cured my chronic headaches. Soybeans being my number one allergen, it was distressing to find soy in not only food, but cosmetics, hair care products, you name it. Even Burt's Bee's which has enjoyed a good reputation as a careful manufacturer got sold and they now put the cheaper soybean oils in their products.

 I have long, wavy hair prone to the frizzies and tangling. Washing it often is not good as traditional shampoos and conditioners stress it out.

Why do I use Baking soda and apple cider vinegar in my hair?

1. My hairs curls more and for a longer time before the weight starts staightening it.
2. Way less frizz. Seriously.
3. Shinier.
4. Healthier.
5. Less tangles. Yes.
6. This is great after a work-out to de-sweat the hair. (Sweat left on dulls the hair).
7. My hair color/highlights stay longer without dulling.
8. Less chemicals coming in contact with my body.

It takes a while to get used to no foamy lather (none at all). Other than no lather, I've made this as easy to do as I could.   I even took my kit to Ireland when I traveled there last fall for a week. I washed my hair three times, easily.

I think this all started either with  reading Angry Chicken's blog or I wandered by myself over to this site.
Either way, I was researching the internet after reading shampoo bottles and getting mildly sick to my stomach at the amount of chemicals in direct contact with my skin.

This post really explains in detail why you should switch over and also troubleshoots some of the minor problems in application.
And, if you want to read about Amy's experiences, she has really wandered into Make-your-Own-Personal-Products Land. She has produced "Mail Order 11:   16 Recipes for Health & Beauty" that you can order from her.

Okay - this is how I do it:
I start the shower to get the water warm. I take my two containers out from under the sink and pour about 1 Tbsp. of Baking soda in the smaller (1 cup hummus) container and 2 Tbsp. of apple cider vinegar (splash) in the larger (2 cup butter) container.
I take these into the shower with me where I do have a shelf to place them on and wet my hair. Then I dilute the baking soda, stirring with my finger and pour carefully around my scalp at the base of my hair - all around.
I do some finger massaging and work the 'grittiness' through. Most of your excess oil and scuz is at the base of your hair.
I rinse the baking soda solution out and dilute the apple cider vinegar with water and pour that carefully around the base of my hair and cascade it down throughout.

Containers: I had these on hand. The post about the proportions suggested 1 Tbsp Baking soda to one cup of water. And for the rinse; 2 Tbsp of ACV to 2 cups of water. These containers were the right size. And I don't measure the baking soda or the ACV. It's a small dollop/splash.
I think the oddest item to get used to is the no foam and bubbles. The ACV isn't as creamy as a conditioner either. But it does slick down your hair.
If my hair gets past my shoulder blades and I start getting a rat's nest back there, occasionally, I might use a dollop of conditioner back there to help in detangling without ripping out one's hair.
I love that I am not exposing myself to numerous carcinogens anymore. And,  what's more, I love my hair. I love that is curls more (not vain here) and is way less frizzy.

How I took this to Ireland? Well, they let you on the airplane with 3 oz bottles. So I figured on 3 oz of ACV, utilizing 1 oz per shampoo. And I keep the baking soda in a Nancy's yogurt container (about 1 cup with tight-fitting lid) so I packed my four containers (two for mixing, 3oz bottle and yogurt container) in a ziploc. The containers stack within each other so they don't take up much space.

 Reason # 8; avoiding unnecessary chemicals was my main reason for doing this. It isn't much more difficult to change over and now my number one reason is the way my hair looks and feels.

I haven't reached the level of Amy's dedication but I may try her deodorant recipe this year.

February 2012 update: Still using this. The ACV really keeps the frizzies at bay and I usually run around with my hair past my shoulder blades now with very little tangling.

My hairdresser totally compliments me on the shape my hair is in.
I do use a curl reactant on my damp hair to help set the curl.

I am going to be 49 this year and my hair - for all of my auto-immune illness and terrible food sensitivities - continues to look lush and beautiful.

There are other natural shampoos out there if you still desire the foaming action - with less chemicals.
Angry Chicken has some great hair and facial oils that are all natural.

April 2013 update:  Still using this method.  I cut my hair above my shoulders in January and I have had to learn to use less baking soda and ACV. Really - less is more!
I occasionally get some white build-up on my scalp and I think it's because of too much baking soda and ACV. I will have to go back to original post and see if there is something else I can do. I went to Europe last summer for 2 1/2 weeks and also took my kit with me. Two 3 oz. bottles of ACV - which they hardly check at all as long as you bundle your liquids together at the airport. I did have a little airport fun with my yogurt container as I was stupid coming home and threw it in my carry-on. Yogurt containers were on the 'hit' list.
This shampoo method is not only less costly to your pocketbook but good for the environment.
Oh - and I still have not made Amy's deodorant.

February 2014 updateStill using this method. Growing out my hair. Seeing if I have enough gray to go gray. I believe we use too many chemicals without thinking about where products come from. This method of washing my hair is part of my overall health regimen.
I understand no foam and bubbles is weird but please think about what you are putting on your skin and scalp.  Be mindful.

February 2016 update: Still using this method. My hair remains curlier, less frizzy. I continue to keep it longer as there are less tangles.  My only problem is the white stuff on the scalp. I might be using too much baking soda and too much ACV - I need to re-visit the original post above troubleshooting this problem. I was thinking of trying a commercial no-poo shampoo but none have jumped into my vicinity - I also need to research these. I continue to monitor my auto-immune with a diagnosis in 2014 of SIBO - small Intestine bacteria overgrowth.


  1. January 2020 UPDATE.
    I was getting small bumpies on my scalp and felt the long term use of baking soda was causing an allergic response. A year ago, I switched to using Shampoo bars - which any bar of soap can double as. What's alarming is that many bar soaps utilize palm oil to give you suds. The extraction of palm oil is done with trees getting cut down = deforestation. Trying to find a shampoo bar without palm oil is difficult, but I look to local makers. Coconut oil is another sudsy ingredient and I am suspecting I'm allergic to coconut "items" now, if I use too much. Always a struggle for me, trying to keep my body from attacking itself.
    Currently, I am using my local bar soap maker: Wandering Goods. Then I use a Tablespoon amount of Herbal Essences 'Hello Hydration' conditioner which I leave in my hair.
    I know, I know. Even as careful as I am about chemicals and bad ingredients, sometimes, you get tired of being good, when the bad stuff is working. DIL left a bottle at my house for when she visits and I liked it. I'm currently looking for a conditioner when I don't use ACV as a rinse. My old curl reactant (Fx) was discontinued many years ago and I am still trying different products to help with taming the frizz and waves. The ACV helps but I was giving it a rest also. I think the baking soda was the culprit and will go back to utilizing ACV as a detangleing rinse.
    Hoping this helps.

  2. january 2020 - additional comment!
    My hair continues to be awesome, wavy and long. Less frizzy, no breakage. I have some serious health issues and my hair is one of my vanities. With news of plastic in our drinking water, in our fish, seafood and oceans, I like that I'm not contributing to that problem. Less chemicals, less plastics.


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