Whenever I admit to anyone that I use baking soda for hair. I end up getting prying eyeballs.
I further admit that 5 years ago even I was inquisitive on baking soda uses for hair.
But since the start of the year 2015, I have been a complete no poo movement devotee.
That means I have not used the commercial shampoo all these years.
If you have never heard about washing hair with no shampoo. Then, you can read further to know how to go about doing it.
Before getting into the How, it is important to know –
Why Use Baking Soda Instead of Shampoo
I am not sure about you. But I have had disappointments dealing with commercial shampoos. They worked well for the initial washes. But with further usage, the issues of bad hair days returned.
That included pesky dandruff, oily tangled hair, and serious hair fall.
After repeated cycles of moving from one shampoo to another. I decided to look into the reasons for my hair issues.
The ingredient labels of shampoo bottles introduced me to their questionable inclusion.
For instance, Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLS) is a principal surfactant in most of the shampoos. Thus, it lathers when it comes in contact with water.
There are reports suggesting that it is unsafe for human use. It contains 1,4-Dioxane, which is a potential human carcinogen as per FDA.
1,4-Dioxane is a by-product of the manufacturing process of sulfates and solvents. It is a skin irritant that can even penetrate into the skin. Thus, the use of SLS can lead to cancer in some cases.
Though as per FDA, it is safe at levels <= 10 ppm.
But my point is why to give it a benefit of doubt?
SLS is not the lone ingredient that is shady. I do not want to dwell into examining artificial fragrances and colors that are futile in a shampoo. The mere thought of knowing the possible harms they can cause is alarming.
That is why I got into researching a product that could replace conventional shampoo. The one that would do the mere job of cleaning the hair well. That too minus the harmful effects and other dispensable benefits.
That one product is bicarbonate of soda. It is also known as sodium bicarbonate or baking soda. Since it cleans the hair and scalp well. It works as a considerable replacement for shampoo.
How to Use Baking Soda as Shampoo
It is simple to use baking soda for hair as a shampoo. Though the challenge remains the shift in mindset to accept a non-lathering shampoo.
Most of us associate lather as proof of cleaning. That is why it is difficult to believe that the usual baking soda can clean hair.
Do not worry about believing it. I am living proof of the fact that the humble baking ingredient can work as a shampoo.
To use baking soda as a shampoo, you can do the following:
- Dissolve about 1 tbsp of baking soda in 1 cup of lukewarm water.
- Use the liquid to scrub your scalp and pour it down on the length of your hair.
- Wait for about 5 minutes to let this shampoo work.
- Then, use plain water to wash off the baking soda shampoo from your hair and scalp.
Does not this sound simple and easy, though a little unbelievable?
As I told you, not to be a non-believer, and go ahead with using baking soda for hair as a shampoo.
Since the baking soda is alkaline. Therefore, you must follow up with an acidic rinse to cover up for the lost pH balance.
The recipe of the acidic rinse conditioner is as follows:
- Dissolve 1 tbsp of organic apple cider vinegar in a cup of water.
- Pour it on your head to cover the scalp and hair.
Do not use water to rinse it off.
- This conditioner recipe is also easy like the baking soda shampoo.
Now you know how to apply the Baking Soda shampoo. Let us now move on to the important question –
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Is Baking Soda for Hair Good or Bad
The other recurring question that I get often asked is does baking soda damage hair?
As a no poo addict for the last few years, I can say that baking soda is good for hair provided you do not overuse it.
The truth is that baking soda is an alkaline element. It binds with oil, dirt, and grime from the body. Those bonds wash off with water giving away cleaner hair and scalp. But while doing this cleaning activity, it also opens up the hair shaft.
That means the individual hair strands swell up and the bonds between them weaken. This further means that overuse of baking soda can cause hair breakage, itchiness, and dryness. Though, with the use of conditioning agents, the itchiness and brittle hair issues get sorted.
But do not worry. With experience, I have worked up a solution to prevent baking soda shampoo side effects. They are as follows:
Precautions for Using Sodium Bicarbonate on Hair
- Do not use baking soda shampoo more than once a month.
- Never skip the acidic vinegar rinse after the baking soda shampoo.
- Do not increase the concentration of baking soda in the shampoo. Instead, increase the water ratio to cater to longer/ thicker hair. You can go up to 1 tbsp of baking soda in 2 cups of water.
- Use damage preventing hair masks and conditioners every 15 days.
- Do a weekly scalp massage with strengthening hair oil to nourish follicles from within.
It is astonishing to know that one could be using baking soda as shampoo.
But it is true and popular among the people who embrace the no poo movement.
Although using a baking soda as a shampoo comes with its own issues when not done the correct way. But in comparison to the regular SLS and parabens stuffed shampoos. The merits of baking soda are far too many.
It is a biodegradable element and does not harm the environment. No wonder it is famous as a household cleaner and as a baking ingredient.
I am regular in using it as a once a month shampoo to get rid of build up on my hair. I also include it in my weekly body scrub routine.
If you use baking soda in your beauty regime, do let me know your experience. It is exciting for me to know alternative beauty hacks.
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