3

votes

Why baking soda instead of shampoo?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created April 23, 2012 at 1:54 PM

I've gone a week without shampoo, my hair was a ball of grease, so I decided to use baking soda / vinegar as recommended by others here. I was surprised at how rough it was, even with a very small amount. Why is this better than shampoo? I might give up and just switch to the gentlest baby shampoo I can find.

026dde5c5ed48e30d006ac075410871e

(288)

on August 13, 2013
at 02:32 PM

This is the method I used. Over six months, I slowly reduced the frequency I used a hippie shampoo from Whole Foods. Now I rinse my hair with water every few days and use shampoo once or twice a week, and it's actually less greasy than it was when I was shampooing daily.

D5dff6376e17373751ccf4a10aaa0b34

(274)

on July 26, 2013
at 11:34 PM

No oxygen to the root? Can you point to something supporting this? Are you saying that before shampoo was invented we lost all our hair all the time? Personally, my hair got a lot less oily after a few weeks of not washing, somehow my body adjusted, it just took a while.

1c67bc28f4e44bbb8770b86df0463df3

(6719)

on July 01, 2012
at 12:59 PM

dont believe everything you read, and oh, brush your teeth 2x a day too.

1c67bc28f4e44bbb8770b86df0463df3

(6719)

on July 01, 2012
at 12:59 PM

Oily hair? You need to shampoo 2x every other or every 3 days. Otherwise, if you follow the advise below, by week 3 or 4, not only will you have a nasty oily mess, you will start finding a lot of hair on your pillow. That would be your hair falling out from lack of oxygen to the root. VERY common problem with people lacking access to shampoo.

7841848bd0c27c64353c583fb7971242

(7275)

on April 25, 2012
at 02:00 PM

Huh, I wonder what was off-topic or incorrect about my answer. Whoever downvoted it, I'd love to know why. :)

7841848bd0c27c64353c583fb7971242

(7275)

on April 23, 2012
at 06:01 PM

I have shoulder length fine hair and I didn't have any adjustment period at all. It seems a lot of people do, though, so sticking it out if it doesn't immediately work seems like a good idea.

Fc6a9e07f6056d465573c8969d3a2ddd

(370)

on April 23, 2012
at 05:08 PM

I have very short (pixie) hair, so it only took me a couple of weeks.

1568416ef28477d1fa29046218d83ddd

(6235)

on April 23, 2012
at 04:04 PM

@Nicole The reason for the baking soda is that it soponifies the oils like lye does when making soap, so the High Ph is what makes it work for this system. If it is too harsh there are other options that are mostly about soaking up oil like clays and dry shampoos, but they are not as effective at first. SO try diluting more first if you can.

D5d982a898721d3392c85f951d0bf0aa

(2417)

on April 23, 2012
at 03:58 PM

You may need to boil the water. I did, and our water isn't even hard. BUT...baking soda still didn't work for me. My scalp couldn't take it, and I was getting pretty dilute. Back to shampoo bars and soapnuts.

7841848bd0c27c64353c583fb7971242

(7275)

on April 23, 2012
at 03:11 PM

I use the baking soda to remove excess oil on my hair. Do you think it would work if you came up with a system of warm water some of the time and baking soda some of the time, to balance it out? If you don't, though, I don't see anything wrong with using a shampoo that you like and that works well for your hair. I would try Dr Bronner's baby shampoo (which I've been using for nasal irrigation, of all things), or soapy water made from soap nuts.

41088c15a77277f4d28f5d918c04da20

(101)

on April 23, 2012
at 02:27 PM

I've been soap-free for months now, with nothing but positives. When I've tried washing with only water for my hair though, the first few days feel great, but then it gets rough and stringy. I just don't understand the benefits of baking soda, since it actually makes my hair feel more harsh than a gentler shampoo.

Frontpage book

Get FREE instant access to our Paleo For Beginners Guide & 15 FREE Recipes!

13 Answers

4
97ffbac59e88bdff6495d0a9b6f70ff7

(555)

on April 23, 2012
at 01:56 PM

If you want to go no 'poo, you need to stick it out for 1 to 2 months for your hair to adapt. I never use shampoo or soap now that my body has adapted.

Fc6a9e07f6056d465573c8969d3a2ddd

(370)

on April 23, 2012
at 05:08 PM

I have very short (pixie) hair, so it only took me a couple of weeks.

7841848bd0c27c64353c583fb7971242

(7275)

on April 23, 2012
at 06:01 PM

I have shoulder length fine hair and I didn't have any adjustment period at all. It seems a lot of people do, though, so sticking it out if it doesn't immediately work seems like a good idea.

3
4ec0fe4b4aab327f7efa2dfb06b032ff

(5145)

on April 23, 2012
at 03:00 PM

Maybe try to wean yourself off shampoo slowly. Lather every other day, then every third day and so on.

I still use shampoo (don't ever see myself stopping using it actually), but I only use it about once a week. A quick rinse on the other days is perfectly adequate.

026dde5c5ed48e30d006ac075410871e

(288)

on August 13, 2013
at 02:32 PM

This is the method I used. Over six months, I slowly reduced the frequency I used a hippie shampoo from Whole Foods. Now I rinse my hair with water every few days and use shampoo once or twice a week, and it's actually less greasy than it was when I was shampooing daily.

2
E68bdbd83e45fd5be130e393ace9c9a9

(2063)

on April 23, 2012
at 03:59 PM

In my experience, baking soda is bad for your hair. I've used it several times, and like you said, I found that it made my hair very rough and harsh-feeling. Vinegar is all right to use, but I don't think it's necessary.

You do need to stick it out for least 3 to 6 weeks to let your hair adapt. For me, the transition took about 4 weeks. I only washed with warm water, and my hair went through numerous odd stages in the process. On some days it would feel dry and crunchy, then it would suddenly be oily for a day or two, maybe feel normal for a day, and then transform into an oily mess again. It was very up and down, but now, after a couple of months, I can say that my hair has never felt so good in my life (and I'm someone who has always received compliments on my hair).

Just give it time, and make sure that you "wash" your hair in the shower just the same as you would if you were using shampoo. Use your fingers to massage your scalp thoroughly, and work the natural oils down the strands of hair. Brush your hair after you get out of the shower to redistribute the oils even further. It might take a little while for things to even out, but I think it's worth it. I'm never going back to shampoo!

2
E55906cdb6839a23fd740ad85d160cc8

(1159)

on April 23, 2012
at 02:41 PM

I tried baking soda at fist, but I just didn't like it. I have short and fine hair. At first, I started using a dry shampoo of finely ground oatmeal (I had no plans to eat it). I put in a spice shaker, applied to hair, and brushed it out. It makes a mess, so I did this in the bathtub before I showered. While in the shower, I used a brush to clean out the oatmeal. Now I mostly just brush my hair in the shower. I think having a great haircut makes the biggest difference in how your hair responds. My hair doesn't need to be too layered and blunt ends just don't work. Having softer, razored, and point cut layers works with the natural oils give my stick straight hair a little interest. I do have to brush my hair a lot more than I used to. Occasionally I scrunch a little lemon juice/salt water solution into the ends.

2
7841848bd0c27c64353c583fb7971242

(7275)

on April 23, 2012
at 02:18 PM

The main reason I do it is because I'm very sensitive to gluten and I just don't want to deal with figuring out if my shampoo and soaps are gluten-free. Most of the time the shampoo shouldn't get into your system, but I'm terrible about touching my face, and I just don't want to have to think about it. I think for a lot of people, it's about knowing and having more control over what is going on your skin and hair.

Plus, I've found since I stopped using body wash and commercial deodorant (I now use a mix of coconut oil and baking soda that I make, myself) my underarms don't stink anymore. When I use bodywash, my underarms stink again. So that's a big incentive for me.

As for the shampoo or no 'poo: my hair doesn't seem to care either way. I appreciate that I only have to wash my hair once, maybe twice, a week now. I don't find the baking soda particularly harsh as long as I'm not doing it every day, but I can't wash my hair with regular shampoo every day, either.

If you find the baking soda too harsh, have you tried just washing with warm water? I used to have a terrible time with my hair if I got it wet in the shower without washing it, but now I find a warm water wash actually does nicely with distributing the hair's natural oil (and removing the excess). The trick, for me, was to go through the motions of washing, just without anything besides the warm water. That helped distribute the water throughout my hair, to allow it to distribute the natural oils. You could also try that with a vinegar rinse to see your hair likes it.

1568416ef28477d1fa29046218d83ddd

(6235)

on April 23, 2012
at 04:04 PM

@Nicole The reason for the baking soda is that it soponifies the oils like lye does when making soap, so the High Ph is what makes it work for this system. If it is too harsh there are other options that are mostly about soaking up oil like clays and dry shampoos, but they are not as effective at first. SO try diluting more first if you can.

7841848bd0c27c64353c583fb7971242

(7275)

on April 23, 2012
at 03:11 PM

I use the baking soda to remove excess oil on my hair. Do you think it would work if you came up with a system of warm water some of the time and baking soda some of the time, to balance it out? If you don't, though, I don't see anything wrong with using a shampoo that you like and that works well for your hair. I would try Dr Bronner's baby shampoo (which I've been using for nasal irrigation, of all things), or soapy water made from soap nuts.

41088c15a77277f4d28f5d918c04da20

(101)

on April 23, 2012
at 02:27 PM

I've been soap-free for months now, with nothing but positives. When I've tried washing with only water for my hair though, the first few days feel great, but then it gets rough and stringy. I just don't understand the benefits of baking soda, since it actually makes my hair feel more harsh than a gentler shampoo.

7841848bd0c27c64353c583fb7971242

(7275)

on April 25, 2012
at 02:00 PM

Huh, I wonder what was off-topic or incorrect about my answer. Whoever downvoted it, I'd love to know why. :)

1
96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on April 23, 2012
at 03:57 PM

I don't use baking soda on my hair. I have sensitive skin and actually burned my underarms so bad they peeled when I tried using coconut oil and baking soda.

For my hair, I bought a shampoo made from soap nuts extract; it doesn't irritate my scalp at all and I used to have red, itchy skin from commercial products.

For my skin, I fill a basin with warm water and drop in a bag of soap nuts; I sponge with that in the shower then rinse myself with plain water. Again, no skin irritation at all and I itched all my life.

For underarms, I spread a liberal coating of cornstarch and then apply the baking soda/coconut oil paste. I find it extremely effective and only need to apply a new coating every few days.

Bottom line: it's not natural to use anything that irritates your skin. Keep experimenting until you're happy with what you're using and that includes commercial products--and remember, baking soda and coconut oil processed products.

1
1568416ef28477d1fa29046218d83ddd

(6235)

on April 23, 2012
at 02:23 PM

If you want to go back to products (and I do sometimes during diet transitions) try conditioner only first.

I know you are wondering how that will get rid of the oil, but try it, you might be very pleasantly surprised. But it takes a lot of conditioner.

I sometimes use french clay instead of baking soda since I find it a little harsh.

0
7256c5253aa692287e19025c13966092

on July 26, 2013
at 11:20 PM

I only use baking soda on dry hair. I sprinkle a bit into my hands, then run my hands through the oiliest sections of hair (roots and crown). After letting it sit for a bit, I brush it out. This keeps my hair from looking greasy and avoids the harshness you get when you 'shampoo' with it.

0
7256c5253aa692287e19025c13966092

on July 26, 2013
at 11:03 PM

I only use baking soda on dry hair. I sprinkle a bit into my hands, then run my hands through the oiliest sections of hair (roots and crown). After letting it sit for a bit, I brush it out. This keeps my hair from looking greasy and avoids the harshness you get when you 'shampoo' with it.

0
B09a99bf46bc30ce15ad636336ecc976

on July 26, 2013
at 10:01 PM

I have only used it for a week, but the baking soda has given my hair lift and it feels thicker. I didn't water it down enough the first time and it felt like it took a while to wash out, but I think I have it down now. I also take a little and wash my face with it. I have oily skin and my skin feels cleaner. So far, so good!

0
Ef3e1f45f45a01ff20b3f5825df6381d

on February 20, 2013
at 01:26 AM

I've been poo free for about 3months now. I jad no transition period. My hair went from a an oily, built up mess to squeeky clean, fresh and so full of body. I was so excited that I never touched my shampoo bottles again. I now have no more and I mean no more hair balls on the drain grid in my shower, where u used to have a gholf ball size every week. I hair down to the hollow of my back, so go figure. I have a Zooey Descannel fringe and woth that I have noticed how super fast my haor grows ever since. I don't mind the smell pf the vinegar though I once used Body Shop coconut body butter in my tips to help with the breakage. Do I still have split ends, yes. I had a straight perm a year ago and my hair is still recovering, though it is much less than before. I never going back to shampoo. I was twice a week instead if daily and I could actually wash less.

0
F64c65adb3c0cf71d637c9177e61592e

(0)

on July 01, 2012
at 12:49 AM

I use 2 tbs baking soda to two cups water to wash hair...than rinse asap and apply 2tbs apple cider vinegar plus two cups water which I leave on for the remainder of my shower-- <3 it!!! if your hair is still feels tangled use some leave in conditioner...

Another trick is to add 1tbs honey to the vinegar...for deep shine!

0
7bf306ada57db47547e9da39a415edf6

(11214)

on April 23, 2012
at 03:14 PM

Make a water/baking soda solution. If you do it right, your hair should feel slick. The baking soda/vinegar combo cleans mainly via the manipulation of ph. There is no need to scrub with the baking soda crystals directly.

D5d982a898721d3392c85f951d0bf0aa

(2417)

on April 23, 2012
at 03:58 PM

You may need to boil the water. I did, and our water isn't even hard. BUT...baking soda still didn't work for me. My scalp couldn't take it, and I was getting pretty dilute. Back to shampoo bars and soapnuts.

Answer Question


Get FREE instant access to our
Paleo For Beginners Guide & 15 FREE Recipes!