Thursday 21 February 2013

Baking soda washes and ACV rinses

Since my recent setback for which my overzealous lathering up with herbal essences hello hydration shampoo is partially to blame, I have been on the hunt for a gentler way to clean my hair. I have been using the hello hydration shampoo for a little over a year and never noticed the striping effect. Probably because I always washed my hair with a watered down mixture of the shampoo. I'd basically squirt a few drops of the shampoo into a bowl of water and wash my hair with the mixture. However, this time, for some reason I applied the shampoo directly to my hair without diluting, lathered, rinsed and was left with striped, tangled, dried out strands. Even after repeatedly conditioning my hair, it still felt striped, dry and tangled. I was eventually able to detangle my hair using the method described in this post hair woes...

After this experience, I had no intention of using the hello hydration shampoo again... and so began my hunt for a gentle non striping alternative. My search led me to the apparently well known and widely discussed baking soda wash (for cleaning) and apple cider vinegar (for conditioning) routine.

Baking soda does a 3 things: It cleans your hair, 'thickens' it by coating the strands and opens up the cuticle to let moisture in

Apple cider vinegar removes build up, conditions your hair and closes the cuticle (trapping moisture and making your hair smoother and shinier)

So this is how it works:

- Make your baking soda mixture. Different people do this in different ways. Some use a teaspoon of baking soda in 3 cups of water, some use a cup of baking soda in a cup of water. I guess you have to experiment to figure out what works for you. I went with a heaped tablespoon of baking soda in 2 cups of water

- Pour the baking soda mixture on your hair and scalp and gently scrub your scalp

- Rinse thoroughly

- Make your apple cider vinegar mixture. Again, different people use different ratios. I use a mixture that is 1 part ACV and 2 parts water. So a cup of acv and 2 cups of water.

- Pour the mixture on your hair
(I would not recommend detangling at this point because the mixture does not give your hair any slip)

- Rinse thoroughly

- Dry
(I usually air dry)

I found that the smell of the acv disappeared once my hair was dry. My hair appeared thicker, was easier to detangle, easier to comb through and very soft.

- My hair appeared thicker (I know this is faux thickness as the baking soda coats and fills out the strands making them appear thicker... However, it's good enough for me especially as thicker strands = easier detangling)
- My hair was soft and had a sheen to it. (It wasn't super shiny but had a nice lustre)
- Inexpensive

- The time it takes to make the mixtures. (It's a weak con but a con nonetheless)
- Figuring out what to do with my stash of shampoos and conditioners...

Have you tried cleaning and conditioning with baking soda and ACV? What was your experience with it?



  1. The ACV had been part of my regimen. I couldn't stand the smell while air-drying but I'm back to using it every 2 weeks in between tea rinses. Great for detangling!

    As for getting rid of your striping shampoos, I don't throw products away, lai lai! I actually mix my sulphate shampoos with oils (coconut or almond). And I always do a warm oil treatment (2 hrs to overnight) before shampooing. I never feel stripped (well my hair doesn't).

  2. Oh, no, I won't be throwing them out. I plan to use them to clean my extensions... heavily diluted though to reduce the striping and drying effect. Hmm, tea rinses? I plan on trying that soon.

  3. So happy 2 av found a blog lyk dis av tried so hard 2 grow ma hair long but I onli eNd up with a short nd scanty hair!ummmppph!even had 2 cut it a number of times 2 start all ova again @ 1st it'll act as if its comin up nd all of a sudden start breakin again n. D cycle goes round n round untill recently.the truth is d@ I dnt rilli know d tinz 2 use on ma hair. D@ iz d tinz I cn fynd in ma immedi8 environmeNt

    1. Is it me or does this comment lack the english language?

    2. I think what Holla is trying to say is that despite efforts to grow full healthy hair, often times resorting to cutting it all off, she's had no luck as it keeps breaking off. She also admitted not knowing what products to use in order to achieve her goal of healthy hair and requested recommendations for products that she could get in her "ïmmediate environment"

  4. Please can baking soda be substituted for baking powder?i can't find baking soda where I am

  5. I just tried these methods after reading your post and I felt a difference, or maybe it was all in my head. I'll definitely infuse this into my regime. I started a hair journey a year ago but haven't exactly had any huge results due to poor maintenance, but I am convinced if I stick to your advices this will be a fuller,longer and healthier hair year for me :)

  6. I am actually using the baking soda and vinegar wash to treat my shampoo but i guess am using one stone to kill so many birds.I also make a mixture of egg yolk, honey,olive oil and lemon juice on my hair. After washing the hair with baking soda which i have mixed with my Sulfur 8 shampoo, i use the mixture mentioned above and cover for about 10min then i rinse with the vinegar in warm water. I wash my hair twice a week.
    Results: My dandruff has reduced drastically and my hair now looks shiny, voluminous and very healthy, and i can actually see some growth.
    I now wash my hair at home bcos most hair salons like to manipulate and discourage the home made products, lol.

  7. Hi B, this blog is so cool. I've always wished I could carry my natural hair but because it's so scanty and breaks, I'm stuck with weaves and braids. I have really itchy scalp even though there's no dandruff and this makes fixing and braiding a real burden. I've tried all sorts of dandruff shampoos with no success. I would really like to see if my hair could grow out full and thick as well as end the itching. Does this acv and soda wash lather? As in does it really wash out the dirt from the scalp? Cos this is the high point of my hair regimen, when I get to scrub the itchy scalp to my satisfaction. Lol. Can all of this (healthy hair growth) be achieved on my own? As I'm tired of the constant battle with careless hairdressers. Right now I'm unable to do some protective styles because of hairloss at my hairlines so....

  8. Love this method! I use two eggs, coconut oil, mayonnaise, vitamin E oil, with baking soda. I leave it in for roughly 2 hours, or while I'm doing housework, reading etc. I rinse then follow with 2:1 water:acc rinse. Fine 4c hair has nice spirals, looks and feels thicker, and so much easier to manage. I find that I use less product to try and tame my hair. This along with consuming 1-2tbsp of DE has made my damaged, thinning hair fill in and grow! Boo to those stripping shampoos and drying conditioners that are not made for us. I'll take cheap and natural anyday!

  9. I think its diatomaceous earth.

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