My recent praise of Arm&Hammer baking soda prompted some questions from two of my favorite people who hadn't seen my rejection of shampoo or wanted updates.
If you missed what's going on: I stopped using shampoo, probably about six months ago.
Instead, I use baking soda to clean my hair and apple cider vinegar to condition it.
Q: Do you smell like a salad?
A: Nope, you rinse everything out. Vinegar loses its smell when it's dry anyway.
Q: Baking soda isn't soap. What gives?
A: I'm rapidly understanding the view that we're not supposed to be using harsh soaps that leave our hair and skin dry and brittle. No harsh soaps, no needs for gooey conditioners and chemical lotions.
Q: You're not washing your hair. That's gross.
A: That's not a question. And it's not gross. If you ran your fingers through my hair, you little flirt you, you wouldn't know I'm doing anything different, except my hair feels healthy.
How does it work?
There's no exact science to this. Your hair might need something different than mine.
I toss about a tablespoon of baking soda into a little bowl and about two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar into an old coffee mug. They both come into the shower with me.
I soak my hair, add a little water to the baking soda and dump it on my head. I give my noggin a little massage rubbing the baking soda solution around.
I rinse that out of my hair, fill the mug with warm shower spray to dilute the vinegar, and dump that over my head. I smoosh my hair around to be sure I got the vinegar everywhere, then I rinse.
Done. My hair comes out tangle-free, clean feeling.
I do this every other day. On noncleaning days, I just rinse my hair under warm water in the shower.
- If you decide to try this, you will think you've made a big mistake until your head gets used to it. The first two weeks or so, your hair spazzes out, wondering where the sodium laureth sulfate went. You'll feel like a greasy teenager. You'll embrace ponytails. But you'll bear through it to save money and keep chemicals out the water. (Plus, you're saving habitats for tropical animals. Really!) Keep on keeping on. It'll get wonderful after this introductory period.
- Don't use off-brand baking soda. Arm & Hammer actually makes a difference. It was like going from Suave to salon shampoo.
- Experiment with the amounts and the procedures. You can sprinkle in dry baking soda, then add water. You can create a paste to work in. Some folks premix the baking soda solution in a shampoo bottle and use it as they need it. You can keep the diluted vinegar in a spray bottle and spray it on.
- If your hair has special-needs, do an internet search. There are baking-soda-and-vinegar variations for dandruff or hard water (do a little vinegar before the baking soda), very curly hair and other problems. If you search "baking soda" and "shampoo" on Google, you'll get a wealth of other people's trial and error experience.
My hair is no longer as short as in my photo. It's about shoulder length, but it's fairly straight and trouble free. I'm having my usual scalp freak out that occurs with the fall-to-winter transition, but this system does seem to work better on that the shampoo did.
This is a perfect match for me. I'm frugal (who isn't in this economy?), I tend to be allergic to some shampoo ingredients, I don't like the idea of what SLS does to us and the planet and I love the smell of apple cider vinegar. When was the last time you got conditioner in your mouth and actually licked your lips?