If you have made a shift towards a greener lifestyle. Then, without a doubt, you must have come across a no cosmetic lifestyle. No cosmetic refers to the abandonment of the store bought toiletries and beauty products. It may sound unclean and unhygienic. But for a matter of fact. It is not. The green lifestyle involves extensive use of baking soda. Its technical name is bicarbonate of soda. It is present in almost all the alternative cleaning products. That means bicarbonate of soda shampoo. Bicarbonate of soda toothpaste. And even bicarbonate of soda face and body scrub.
What is bicarbonate of soda shampoo
The granular powdered baking soda when used to scrub the scalp makes it a bicarbonate of soda shampoo. This shampoo cum scrub sloughs off unwanted stuff. That includes oils, dirt and even the dry flaky scales or dandruff too.
Apart from the scalp. It cleans the hair as well. Baking soda dissolved in water makes a wonderful liquid hair cleanser. A tablespoon of it added to a cup of water is a good ratio.
Soak the hair in this liquid. Or drench portions of hair with it. Then wait for 5 minutes for the bicarbonate of soda shampoo to work its magic.
After that rinse the entire hair and scalp with plain water. This completes a simple hair cleansing ritual with no regular shampoo. By the way, this process is the no poo one.
No poo is a popular slang for no to shampoo. Hence, no poo.
People with a dry scalp and or hair can follow no poo with a conditioner. Much like the shampoo. The conditioner is also an alternative to the regular ones.
It involves the use of apple cider vinegar. A tablespoon of it diluted in a cup of water is fine. You can pour it both on the head and the hair.
There is no need to wash it off with water. This conditioner is good as a final rinse.
Does washing hair with baking soda damage it?
I am on a no-poo route since last 2 years. Without a doubt, that was the best thing I did to my hair and life.
Not only my hair became fuller since using this bicarbonate of soda shampoo.
But also, they tend to break and fall less. In fact, my scalp secretes less oil. As a result. The hair strands attract less of dirt and dust. Thus, that calls for lesser hair wash per week. In fact, I shampoo just once a week.
This shampoo routine might perplex many. I know a lot of people who shampoo a lot. Some even every alternate day.
But still, I get asked sometimes if the bicarbonate of soda worth all its hype?
And my simple and upfront answer is YES. FOR SURE.
But I know a lot of people who could not continue the bicarbonate of soda shampoo for long.
At times it was the presence of hard water. Other times it was the inconvenience involved with this alternate mode of cleansing hair. Some find the alkalinity of baking soda to drying for them. And in most of the cases, it was just the difficulty to adapt to the strangeness of going no poo.
Whatever be the reason to not go ahead with baking soda to clean hair. The failure of baking soda as a shampoo does not mean the end of a no poo journey.
In fact, there are various other methods and products to do no poo. These alternatives to bicarbonate of soda shampoo are food based. Hence, limit out the possibilities of ingesting in harmful chemicals or toxins.
How to do no poo without baking soda
Following are the 5 ways to do shampoo that does not involve the use of baking soda. Read further to know how to go about doing them.
Honey and Green Tea
This is one of the simplest means to go shampoo free. All that this method requires is about 3 tablespoons of honey dissolved in a cup of water.
Though you can also heighten the cleansing properties of this shampoo. You can do that by replacing plain water with green tea.
Boil about 1 teaspoon of water in a cup of water. Then, sieve the boiled tea. Use that liquid to dissolve in the honey.
This shampoo is a wonderful cleanser. It works as a conditioner too. Conditions like dry scalp also get a relief with this honey + tea shampoo. Also, you have the option to use green/ black/ white tea.
Though it is mandatory that honey and tea be of organic nature. I use the following honey and tea to make my shampoo.
Shikakai, Amla, and Aritha are fruits of plants. Hair fruit, Indian gooseberry, and Soap nut are their respective English names. All 3 of them are popular in the Indian subcontinent.
Since times immemorial, they are popular as hair conditioners and cleansers.
Both shikakai and aritha have saponins. Hence, they work as cleansers. While amla nourishes hair and scalp.
I take 1 teaspoon of dried powder of each to make a paste with water. After that, I apply the paste on my hair and scalp. Within 15 – 20 minutes the paste dries up. Then I wash it off with plain water.
By the way, you can use the shikakai and aritha as stand-alone products for a shampoo.
That is because both of them have cleaning properties. Hence, they are good as a single ingredient shampoo all by themselves. But that is not true for amla.
Amla works as a conditioner, but not as a cleanser. You can team it up with either of shikakai and aritha. Or you can always mix all the three together.
I love the feel of clean and bouncier hair after using these 3 miraculous ingredients. But be careful of using counterfeit products. They might end up mixing up a lot of spurious stuff. After many permutations and combinations. I have zeroed in on the following.
Pre-mix of shikakai, amla and aritha – (This one works best for the super lazy ones like me)
3. Mud Shampoo
I know it sounds gross to clean hair with mud. But in many ancient cultures, people did clean themselves with mud.
Certain muds have excellent cleansing properties. It is due to their adsorption quality that they stick themselves to the dirt and oil. Then, get washed off with water. This leaves the hair and scalp clean from the oil and grime. At the same time, mud gives nourishment to the hair with its richness in minerals.
But I am not referring to any kind of mud. The cleansing muds are different from the one we have in our garden.
Bentonite, Rhassoul and Fuller’s earth are the popular muds for cleansing.
You can use any of them as a shampoo. If you get hold of all the 3. Then, mix them together with water to make a paste. 1 tablespoon of clay with enough water to make a thick paste works well.
Paint this paste on your hair and scalp. Wash it off when it dries in next 15 – 20 minutes.
I use the following sources for the muds.
As the name suggests. This shampoo uses rye flour as a shampoo. Rye flour makes a bond with the external stuff on the head. Oil and dirt are the usual culprits.
You can make a paste with 2-3 tablespoons of rye flour with water. Then, smear this paste all on your hair and head. Wash it off with plain water when it dries. Then, enjoy your clean and fuller hair.
You can check with your local grocery supply store for a good quality rye flour. Rye is from the wheat family. It is high in potassium, magnesium, and b-complex vitamins. It also has some amount of saponins. Thus, it works as a wonderful nourishing shampoo.
I find the following rye flour good. It is in a small quantity. But it lasts long. Ones bigger in quantity end up infested with insects as it takes longer to finish.
5. Egg shampoo
I have kept the best one for the end. This is, in fact, the first shampoo alternative that I ever used.
I still have memories of my mother washing mine and my younger sister’s hair with it.
Those were the times our family was living in a remote place in the north east of India – Kumbhirgram.
The era was 1986-87 and we were living in a remote Indian Air Force base camp. Those days at that place there was no access to sophisticated toiletries and cosmetics.
Thus, my mother ended up whipping some eggs together to wash her hair along with ours.
She tells me that those days 1 egg beaten to perfection with a fork was enough for her and her toddler daughters.
Though decades hence to those days. Today, 1 egg is mandatory for shoulder length hair of an adult.
I got hair till my waist length. So, I whip up 2 eggs together. Though, I do not use a fork. Since, it does not get the results that I desire.
I rather use an electric beater to get a fluffy consistency of eggs. This way the egg shampoo does not run all over me. Instead, it stays on my head in a thick froth. Much like the commercial shampoos.
Also, invest in a sturdy beater to get a good end result from your homemade egg shampoo. I got one electric and other a mechanical one. I recommend them to get nice and thick beaten eggs. The whipped eggs will surprise you.
Though for the eggs. The usual ones will do. I have used chicken and duck eggs. Though do not be experimental with those of lizards’ or crocodiles’. But if you do. Then do let me know the results. Adventures always tickle me.
I pour the beaten eggs on my head and hair the way one would do with their regular shampoos. I then rub it in on my scalp. Also, I smear it well on my hair strands.
Then, I give about 5 minutes for it work well. After that, I run water over my hair to wash it off.
Though make sure to not use hot water when dealing with an egg shampoo. Eggs are super sensitive to heat. They get cooked at warm temperatures.
So, use cold to tepid water for washing off the egg shampoo. For more egg-based hair masks, you can read this article.
Conditioner for bicarbonate of soda shampoo alternatives
The shampoos mentioned are not harsh. Unlike the presence of detergents in regular shampoos. These nature based shampoos do not strip off the oil from scalp. Thus, their use does not require much of a conditioner.
But in case you feel the need to use one. Then, you can use the apple cider vinegar conditioner. It is a natural one. Also, it does an excellent job of keeping scalp and hair humidified.
Apple cider vinegar conditioner troubleshoots the build up issues as well. For an instance, the mud method of cleaning hair may leave some build up with regular usage. The acids in vinegar help wash the buildup away.
Also, for the egg shampoo. You can add few drops of essential oils to ward off the odor.
I use the following oils to my apple cider vinegar conditioner rinse.
Rosemary – I love its strong aroma. It also helps in hair growth
Tea Tree – I use it for its infection-fighting properties. Smell is a bonus.
Geranium – I love its woody aroma
Lavender – Helps to calm the senses. Also smells heavenly
Please feel free to use your favourite essential oil. These are my current favourites.
In Conclusion :
A bicarbonate of soda shampoo is one of the basic means to no poo. But at times, it may not work out for everyone.
External conditions like hard water may render cleaning power of baking soda futile. Though for some individuals, its high alkalinity might be a problem.
Whatever be the reason to avoid using baking soda as a shampoo. It does not mean to ditch your plans of going no poo.
There are several other means to go no poo. These means serve as suitable alternatives to the bicarbonate of soda shampoo.
They are nature-based sources to achieve cleaner hair. They work as good as the commercial shampoos. Plus, they do not contain petroleum by-products and other toxic compounds.
You need to get well versed with their usage. Once you get comfortable with their use. Then, from there it is a matter of sticking to the habit.
If you are skeptical of using baking soda as a shampoo. If you go bonkers wondering if baking soda for hair good or bad. Then, the recipes mentioned in this article are for you.
I am sure anyone can do it. Believe me now is the best time to go no poo. Drop toxins from your scalp and life. It is much easier than you think.
Image Courtesy: Pixabay