Is Baking Soda & Apple Cider Vinegar The Best Combination?
The traditional method of naturally washing your hair involves using a solution of baking soda and water as a shampoo, and a solution of apple cider vinegar and water as a conditioner. The solution of each varies — it will depend on how oily your hair and scalp are. It’s important to point out that you use shampoo (or alternatives) to clean your scalp; you use conditioner (or alternatives) to prettify your actual hair. Be sure that you’re using these on the appropriate parts (hair vs scalp)!
Baking soda: This has been knocked down a couple pegs from its lofty claim to fame. Baking soda has PH of 9.5, making it highly alkaline (castille soap, another common ‘poo replacement, is similar). Your scalp, like the rest of your skin, is acidic, with a PH between 4.5 and 5.5. Cranking your scalp’s PH up to 9.5 with baking soda (to open the cuticles) then back down to 3-4 with apple cider vinegar (to close the cuticles) leaves your hair vulnerable to damage — and a chunk of no ‘poo-ers have discovered that it’s simply too harsh for their hair. Individual hair type plays a key role in finding the right products. If you have very oily hair, perhaps using baking soda on occasion could be a viable option. Some bloggers still swear by the baking soda method — for every blogger saying baking soda has made their hair healthier, there’s another saying it’s harmful.
Apple cider vinegar: This doesn’t have the questionable rep that baking soda does. It’s slightly more acidic than your hair, and closes the cuticle — thereby protecting it from damage. It has a strong, pungent scent, so it may not be for everyone, but every blog promises that you won’t reek of vinegar post-shower. (Though your shower itself may perpetually stink of the stuff.) It’s also similar to lemon juice in acidity. You know how you put lemon juice in your hair in the summer for highlights? Continued regular use of ACV could potentially lighten your hair, as Lauren experienced.
What Are Some Other Natural Alternatives?
These are all options that multiple bloggers have mentioned. Once again, it’s all word of mouth, but here are some natural options to help keep your hair clean and beautiful.
- Rye Flour: This has a PH of 5 — much more similar to your scalp’s natural PH. It’s also packed with vitamins and minerals. Try this: Rye flour + water + cognac.
- Honey: Honey has antimicrobial properties, which we talked about here. It has a PH of about 4, can be used as an anti-inflammatory, and forms a breathable barrier. It may not be as cost effective as ACV though, especially when paired with expensive essential oils. Try this: Honey + water + essential oils.
- Coconut Milk: Rich in protein and vitamins, coconut milk has a PH of 6-7. Mix it with a lower PH to get that all-important balance. Try this: Coconut milk + aloe vera + essential oils.
- Eggs: These clean and condition. Make sure the water is cool and not hot when you put it on your scalp (otherwise… scrambled eggs, anyone?). Afterwards, rinse with apple cider vinegar to get rid of the eggy smell. Try this: Egg + lemon.
- Rhassoul Clay: This cleans and conditions, but is a bit on the expensive side. Apply it to your hair, and after a few minutes, brush it out and rinse it off. Try this: Clay + boiling water.
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It’s all up to you! There is no scientific evidence that shampooing regularly for the average person will do damage to your tresses. If your hair is dry and brittle, it could absolutely be caused by the type of shampoo you use or over-washing — but it could also be caused by other hair products, diet, genetics, and tap water. The goal is to figure out the cause, and find the right products for you.
Trying the no ‘poo method has worked wonders for countless people. If you want to use natural, PH-balanced products on your hair, more power to ya. Try it out if you’re curious, or stick to your regular regimen — it all comes down to personal preference.
Have you tried the no ‘poo method, and did it work for you? Let us know in the comments!Whizzco