I finally tried washing my long hair with baking soda, and it works!
The Principle of the Thing
The equation of clean, as I have said many times, is:
(1)Temperature + (2)Agitation + (3)Chemistry + (4)Time = CLEAN
In the shower, you have hot water(1) going for you already. Baking soda has two basic cleaning functions: scouring(2) and raising the pH(3). You are not using the scouring part on your hair; this is a dissolved solution. If you just spray it all over your head and immediately rinse it out, you are only using two parts of the the cleaning equation. If you additionally, scrub your head all over (2) and let it sit for a minute or two (4), you are most certainly clean.
But, what about shampoo? Lather is great stuff. It LIFTS away dirt. The questions is how much lifting you need. I don’t lead a life that embeds a lot of junk in my scalp. But when I was a mountain guide, I probably couldn’t get away without it.
Here’s how you do it:
- Dissolve 1T per cup of water in an old alcohol or hydrogen peroxide or other squeezy type bottle.
- Draw all over your scalp with it.
- Scrub it in every inch of your scalp, twice. (This is overkill, but after you do it a few times, you’ll know how much you need. It’s harder to adjust UP than DOWN. Most of us spray-and-wipe-suburbanites aren’t used to exhaustive, effective scrubbing.)
- Leave it for a minute and do something else, like your oil face treatment! (BTW, the vinegar rinse in step six will burn the fire out of your legs if freshly shaved. Don’t shave here.)
- Rinse, rinse, rinse, until it “squeaks.”
- Follow with dilute apple cider vinegar in a similar bottle, same ratio, just enough coverage that as you rinse, you’re pretty sure it passed over everything, reacted any stray soda, and fixed the pH of your hair so you can run your fingers through it.
Troubleshooting and Other Thoughts
- I’ve heard people say that their hair was still greasy. This is not about your scalp adjusting to the treatment. This means it never got clean. If this happens, you probably didn’t scrub effectively, or didn’t use enough coverage to change the pH everywhere, or didn’t rinse to the “squeak”.
- (EDIT 7/21/12)No greasy for a week, but now it’s not working anymore. My hair had this problem after the solution was two weeks old. Ever buy liquid baking soda? Me neither. It loses it’s potency after a week or so. Don’t mix up more than you will use in a week.
- I’ve heard people say that they’re hair gets greasy, not immediately, but sooner than with shampoo. This *may* be about your scalp adjusting to the change. I can see that, but it’s also likely that you’re running your fingers through it more often ’cause you’re self conscious about not using shampoo.
- I’ve heard people say that using apple cider vinegar makes their hair greasy. I have *never* found this to be true or make any chemical sense. But, wonders never cease.
- I’ve heard people say that using too much wash solution will cause soda to collect as white sediment on your scalp. I can’t imagine a situation where there would be enough soda in solution, that didn’t get rinsed out, that would then evaporate and crystallize on your scalp. This is likely a scrubbing issue. Your scalp isn’t being stripped; you need manual exfoliation.