Busy Mom Tips/ Self Care

Wash Your Hair With Baking Soda and Vinegar

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It has been 6 weeks since I have shampooed my hair!

I have long thick hair that takes forever to dry.  I had been really frustrated with my “blah” hair and itchy scalp.  I had little bumps that would appear at the nape of my neck and drive me crazy.  I had a sneaking suspicion that my shampoo and conditioner were the culprits.  So I switched… again… and again…. and again… trying new shampoos and found no relief.

Finally, I decided to stop shampooing cold turkey and try out the “no poo” hair washing method.

I grabbed a squeeze bottle filled it with 1 cup of water and added 1 Tablespoon of baking soda.  I shook up the bottle and squeezed it onto my scalp.  I used quite a bit the first few times, saturating my scalp then massage it really well.  I’m not lying when I tell you that I could FEEL the oil washing out of my hair.

As a substitute for conditioner, I grabbed a second bottle added 1 cup of water and 1 Tablespoon of apple cider vinegar. – do not worry your hair will NOT smell like vinegar at all!

I pour this over the middle and ends of my hair – intentionally avoiding my scalp. Because my hair is so long I used a wide-tooth comb right after I add the vinegar mixture to my hair. This helps with the tangles.  I rinsed the vinegar mixture out of my hair and voila!  Squeaky clean hair!

5 Reasons I love cleaning my hair with Baking Soda and Vinegar:

  1. Super duper clean hair and soft – it nearly squeaks!
  2. Less frizz = fewer products
  3. Cheap hair care
  4. Newfound CURLS!!
  5. No more crazy hair loss— Previously I would have a huge wad of hair in the shower when I was finished shampooing and conditioning my hair.  Gross, I know!!  I could run my hands through my hair and have a good handful of hair.  I truly believe that something in the products I was using was causing me to lose so much hair.

After 4 Weeks of Using Baking Soda and Apple Cider Vinegar to Wash My Hair

After 4 weeks my hair was already so soft. My scalp was super healthy, I believe thanks to the apple cider vinegar. Within 2 washes the bumpy itchy spots on my scalp are gone and my hair is super soft!

After 6 Weeks of Using Baking Soda and Apple Cider Vinegar to Wash My Hair

The picture below is after 6 weeks of washing my hair with baking soda and apple cider vinegar. This is with NO products and my hair was air-dried!

I wish I had taken a good “before” photo but I think you can see a bit of the difference.  My hair has always had a bit of a wave to it but now I can scrunch it up and have really nice curls. I can still blow dry it straight easily but it’s nice to have the option to let my hair just air dry.

My Honest Review of Washing my Hair with Baking Soda and Apple Cider Vinegar after 6 Weeks

  1. I loved the results and feel like doing this really stripped my hair of the waxes that other shampoos have left on my hair.
  2. My scalp healthy was amazing. It was no longer dry or itchy – even the irritated spots dissapeared after just 2 washes!
  3. Baking soda is harsh. I don’t think I would recommend this for long-term use.
  4. I recommend trying this for 3-5 days a month, max.
  5. Commit to trying this for 3-5 washes in a row. I don’t think you will see all of the benefits after just one wash.
  6. Everyone’s hair will react differently, just because I loved it doesn’t mean your hair will like it too. Pay attention to your scalp health and hair, if you notice any negative changes, stop immediatly.

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  • Reply
    Kamille @ Redeeming the Table
    December 21, 2011 at 8:10 pm

    hot mama!!

    • Reply
      December 21, 2011 at 10:28 pm

      right back atcha Kamille!

  • Reply
    December 21, 2011 at 8:14 pm

    Donna! Your hair looks awesome!! I’ve seriously considered doing this (after reading Simple Mom’s post about it a while back)…now I feel even more inspired. I was a bit dubious about the transition period, but your hair says it all. It definitely looks worth it!

    • Reply
      December 21, 2011 at 10:30 pm

      Thanks Erin! The transition period is not fun, but wasn’t terrible for me either. In the end I’m pretty sold on it, mostly because I can tell that my hair is clean and not coated with a bunch of waxes and other gunk from the conditioners I was using.

  • Reply
    Christin @ Joyful Mothering
    December 21, 2011 at 8:18 pm

    Oh wow! Very interesting!! I’m going to consider trying this. Thanks Donna! 🙂 I think your hair looks great! And, it’s better for your hair if you don’t blow dry it. 😉

    • Reply
      December 21, 2011 at 10:33 pm

      I love that I can let it air dry – my hair takes forever to blow dry and honestly I’m always afraid to wake the kids with the dryer!

  • Reply
    December 21, 2011 at 8:47 pm

    OMG! I love it and am tempted to try it out even though I don’t have lovely curls like you =)

    • Reply
      December 21, 2011 at 10:31 pm

      It’s nice too, if you have oily hair – it cleans up your scalp so your natural oils chill out. You might want to grab a cute hat or two to help you through the 3rd week. You look cute in a hat anyways!

  • Reply
    December 21, 2011 at 8:54 pm

    for realsie??? truly? this will really work??????

    • Reply
      December 21, 2011 at 10:34 pm

      I was doubtful, to tell the truth but once week 5 came around I was thrilled. I still think I might use a light non-junk-filled conditioner on the ends of my hair once in a while just to ease my tangling. Other than that I’m sold!

  • Reply
    Anne @ Quick and Easy Cheap and Healthy
    December 21, 2011 at 9:04 pm

    I tried that, but I was disappointed b/c no matter how much I rinsed, I always had bits of baking soda in my hair that looked like dandruff:( I even dissolved the baking soda in hot water, so I don’t know how that happened. I would love to use this method because it’s so safe, but for me it was not effective at all, which really bums me out.

    • Reply
      December 21, 2011 at 10:35 pm

      I haven’t noticed any baking soda in my hair! I add the Tbs of soda to room temp tap water and shake it up. I don’t even see chunks in the water. hmmmmm… That stinks!

    • Reply
      October 16, 2012 at 1:36 pm

      I’ve been using this method for about 7 weeks now. It worked great at first and then I started noticing white build up in my hair and a waxy feeling all the time. I thought it was baking soda and I just wasn’t rinsing it out. Well it wouldn’t go away. Finally I found this blog called ecocatladyspeaks or something like that. She said that she uses a fine tooth comb after she puts the vinegar rinse in her hair. This manually gets out all the build up. Traditional shampoos have chemicals that literally dissolve the oil on your scalp but baking soda and vinegar don’t do that. So anyway now my secret to living with this method is using a fine tooth comb while I have the vinegar in my hair. You will be amazed/grossed out by all the gunk that comes out of your hair. I think it makes my shampooing last longer too.

      • Reply
        October 16, 2012 at 2:25 pm

        That’s a great tip. I use a boar-hair brush before getting in the shower to lossen up the gunk too. I had never noticed a build up – you may be using too much vinegar too. I made sure I only used the vinegar on my roots not on the scalp. I hope it continues to work for you. I’ve fallen off the no-poo wagon and really really need to get back on it, I can tell a difference since I stopped even though I use all organic shampoo!

        • Reply
          October 16, 2012 at 2:47 pm

          Your hair in the above picture really looks great! I was hoping I would have some magic transformation of my wavy hair going curly but I’m still just wavy.

          I think there are multiple reasons to do it and keep it up I like the fact that I’m not buying a ton of plastic bottles of shampoo/conditioner and products anymore. I can go several days without washing my hair! And I’m not using crazy ingredients on my body.

  • Reply
    Sam @ Sam's Noggin
    December 21, 2011 at 9:08 pm

    I have lots of fine, straight hair. I don’t think I could ever give up the hair dryer-especially since it is short. I wonder how this would turn out on my kind of hair… cause I am happy with it now. interesting.

    • Reply
      December 21, 2011 at 10:36 pm

      Sam – I’d love to hear if you try it and how it works. For me it was more about my scalp feeling clean and not itchy anymore. The curls were just a bonus 😉

  • Reply
    Tracy @ Hall of Fame Moms
    December 21, 2011 at 9:21 pm

    You’re hair does look great. And I have hair like you – thick, long, falls out when I wash it ( but I have so much anyways I can’t tell I’ve lost any). I feel like I’m damaging my hair with today’s retail products (I use cheap stuff).

    I’m going to give this baking soda wash a try tomorrow. Just so happens I have 2 empty dish soap bottles ready to be used!

    • Reply
      December 21, 2011 at 10:41 pm

      Tracy – yes! Those clumps of hair in the tub were so annoying and sometimes I wondered if I was going to have thinning hair the way it was falling out. Just don’t expect a huge change unless you stick with it for a few weeks, although I do wonder if you do it every few weeks for a week if that will help to give your scalp a deep clean. Hmmm.. something to ponder.

  • Reply
    December 21, 2011 at 11:09 pm

    You are so brave!! I’ve read this but don’t think I will ever be brave enough to try it!! Your hair looks amazing!!

  • Reply
    December 22, 2011 at 8:52 am

    That P shampoo you mentioned I cannot use either. It makes my scalp hurt so bad. Anything that is shampoo and conditioner in one does that to me. I will have to try it!

  • Reply
    Rebekah from Simply Rebekah
    December 22, 2011 at 10:28 am

    Very impressed my dear….. very impressed….

    I really should TRY it, but it just seems so scary. That’s probably silly, huh?

    • Reply
      January 1, 2012 at 11:01 pm

      Rebekah your hair would LOVE THIS!! Maybe you should add it to your Insane list for 2012??

  • Reply
    LoveFeast Table
    December 30, 2011 at 10:17 pm

    Va Va~voom!! Your hair looks amazing!!
    I use to do a vinegar rinse on my hair when I was a teenager ~ along with other home spa things like oatmeal face scrubs etc… and I do remember I had great results ~
    somewhere along the way I’ll have to rummage through my pantry again! Remember lemon juice for highlights?

    • Reply
      January 1, 2012 at 10:59 pm

      Awww… thanks! 🙂

      I remember using lemon juice to try to bleach my hair when I was a teen. I would soak my hair in it and sit in the sun…. then I broke out the Sun In. Do you remember that stuff? LOL

  • Reply
    Carley Evangelista
    April 8, 2012 at 11:08 am

    Hey Donna! Your blog is awesome btw =) And my roommate and I were just talking about doing this no shampoo thing!! Question though – I have very curly hair and use mousse and hairspray to keep it contained…will I still be able to use the products I am using and still do the no shampoo thing? Will the baking soda get all the product out?

    • Reply
      April 25, 2012 at 10:22 am

      If you try it just remember that the 3rd week can be rough. I love how clean my hair is now and I love having new curls! It really gets rid of the frizz too. I’ve been going back and forth between the baking soda / vinegar method and organic shampoo and conditioner. I like how the baking soda really cleans the hair so much better than any shampoo!

  • Reply
    June 13, 2012 at 3:11 pm

    I just tried this for the second day, so far so good! I have fine, medium curly hair. I used the baking soda with water, rinsed, then used a spray bottle for the vinegar and rinsed. After that, I put some conditioner, just because my hair is super tangly. I did this last night before I went to bed and didn’t pay much attention, but when I woke up my hair was super soft and frizz free with more curl. I should have left it but I wet it and put some gel just to see because that is what I am used to. But honestly it looked better without the gel, the gel seemed to make it look heavy so I’m going to experiment without any product next time! Just to let you know my hair is usually frizzy, fine and gets greasy if I don’t wash it everyday so I am crossing my fingers that this works!!!

  • Reply
    Andrea M.
    January 8, 2013 at 5:25 pm

    I have long hair and the top gets SO oily after 2-4 days (I usually wash it every 2-3 days, but I’ve got three kids, so I am not gonna lie and say I’ve never gone longer!!)
    I hate that the ends get dried out when the top is still so OILY! I also get an itchy scalp after 1-2 days and when I itch it I get white stuff under my nails (yuck!). I think I read where you said this is good for people with oily hair?
    How/why does this help oily hair – and why are weeks 3/4 so rough!? I am tempted to try this, but not sure what to expect!

    • Reply
      January 10, 2013 at 3:01 pm

      The reason it helps oily hair is that shampoos/detergents strip so much oil that your scalp is triggered to make MORE oil! As your hair adjusts to the new method, you’ll produce less oil.

      I was able to minimize the transitional side-effects by using shampoo every other time for the first few months. When one day shampoo made my hair feel and look awful, it was time to stop using it at all.

  • Reply
    January 9, 2013 at 1:16 am

    For a great, organic conditioner, I love Amazing Miracle by Renpure Organics! Makes my hair incredibly soft and feels weightless.

  • Reply
    Rachel R.
    January 10, 2013 at 10:21 am

    That is a huge difference!

    And one blog I read said that the blogger’s family discovered that with their hard water, they had to *boil* the water first and dissolve the baking soda in the boiling/boiled water. I wonder if it’s actually baking soda buildup in the hair in that instance, or if it’s the minerals from the water. (I know they leave somewhat powdery-looking white stuff all over our teakettle, sinks, etc.)

  • Reply
    January 10, 2013 at 3:08 pm

    Nice article! I’ve been washing my hair with vinegar for almost 9 years now, and I love it! I don’t use baking soda; I’ve tried it, but it didn’t seem to do anything.

    I still shed a lot of hair every time I wash or even rinse it. I’m not sure why, but since I still have plenty of hair on my head, I don’t worry about it.

  • Reply
    Zoe @ecothrifty
    January 10, 2013 at 4:41 pm

    That’s so great that it works for you! I have just given up no ‘pooing’ after 6 months as my hair got progressively greasier and more dandruff ridden 🙁 Still on the look out for a more natural alternative to shampoo though…

  • Reply
    January 12, 2013 at 5:45 pm

    Your hair looks awesome. Thanks for some of the troubleshooting tips; they will help me greatly if I get the guts to give this a try!

  • Reply
    LaDonna @ Santa Beso
    January 13, 2013 at 6:37 pm

    Your hair looks great. Really, it does. I think it’s a great before/after shot and is very convincing. Lookin’ good lady lou.

  • Reply
    May 6, 2013 at 9:25 pm

    I started this 4 weeks ago and I literally love it. I’ve dyed my hair a lot (I’m 21), and I used to straighten the hell out of it, but now I’ve gotten rid of ALL of my extra hair products besides a little oil for the ends occasionally. I have long, thin, colored hair. I started with using too much vinegar because my roots were pretty oily the day after, but now I’ve pretty much perfected it. I started this method while in my dorm building, so I mix the bs with water in a tupperware bowl in the shower, then use my toothpaste-rinsing cup to mix the little bit of vinegar with water. I use like half a teaspoon of vinegar for the small cup of water. I just experimented and eyeballed until I found an amount that worked for my hair. But I definitely know what you mean when you say you felt the oil rinsing out of your hair. I still get that when I initially rinse my hair. I’m keeping on this method, it’s so awesome. I can’t wait to let my hair grow longer than it is now!!!

  • Reply
    July 15, 2013 at 7:50 am

    Donna you look really nice 🙂
    I want to ask you if this method will help to prevent hair loss either?
    my hair fall out, scalp itchies, no shine and getting thinner…

  • Reply
    October 10, 2013 at 8:34 pm

    Hi Donna. Same thing here. The shampoo just dries my hair out and poof! I am going to tey the Eggs , vinegar and baking soda, not sure of the>> how much of each yet. But like it goes the eggs can cook in the warm water, so,. I am going whip the eggs 1rst with my mixer and add the vinegar the baking soda and some water, maybe that will prevent the eggs from cooking and help remove the oil from my hair. If you try this, email me and let me know what happens? Okie?

    • Reply
      October 11, 2013 at 12:42 am

      Oh yes, the vinegar I will be using is acv apple cider vinegar.

  • Reply
    October 25, 2013 at 9:42 am

    hate that the ends get dried out when the top is still so OILY! I also get an itchy scalp after 1-2 days and when I itch it I get white stuff under my nails (yuck!). I think I read where you said this is good for people with oily hair?

  • Reply
    vito andolini
    November 22, 2013 at 8:51 am

    this tip worked on my wife as i shared the information with her.. so happy to get the results. Thank you for sharing this helping tip with all of us 🙂

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    Hey Donna