Friday, July 30, 2010

Let's talk shampoo (or not) for starters.

So what so I start with? Well, the issue I've been dealing with most lately, and perhaps you've seen it yourself here and there...To Shampoo or Not to Shampoo.
I have kind of fine, straight brown hair. It's always hung there kind of limp. Even freshly washed, it's unstylable (is that a word? Spell correct says no), won't hold any shape and barely takes up room in a hair band. Even worse, I had been losing a lot of weight very quickly on Weight Watchers, and my hair began to fall out in wads! I fixed this be adding walnuts to my diet for natural fat, but that's a post for another time.
I had run across an article on baking soda hair care while Stumbling around the internet and became very interested in alternatives for cleaning my hair. Baking soda? The stuff I put in banana bread and chocolate ship cookies? The same stuff I put on my kid's bee stings? Ok!
Turns out that most shampoos contain Laureth or Lauryl Sulphate, a very harsh detergent. You can find it in car wash chemicals, soaps, toothpaste or almost anything that foams. It is an irritant, especially to people with sensitive skin, and has been found to cause a recurrance of canker sores in some people.
So, last February, I took the plunge...I threw out the $4 a bottle shampoo and cream rinse I'd been using for years. I took the baking soda out of my kitchen cabinet, put it in the bathroom and that was it!
It was easy to get started, but be warned! For about 3 weeks, I suffered some bad hair days. After 37 some odd years of daily stripping my follicles of all the naturally produced oils, the scalp was in oil production overdrive. My poor glands trying desperately to protect my hair against the daily detergents I was rinsing them with. Within a month, though, my body grew accustomed to the fact that I was being nice to it and leveled out on the oil production. In fact, there were only two days that I actually wore a scarf on my head to hide the fact that I looked like I had combed my hair with Crisco.

Baking Soda, Honey & Vinegar...all you need for hair care.

So, what to do, you ask?  Easy, and cheap, my friends. Baking soda, vinegar and honey. About $5 worth of ingredients, depending on your shopping habits.
One big secret for me is hot as you can stand. Then, in a small cup (Domino's Pizza donates regularly to Bathtub Cups in my house) I pour in about 2 tablespoons of baking soda. In another container (I use a small squeeze bottle) I mix a solution of 50% Apple Cider Vinegar, 50% water and a big heaping spoonful of honey. Shake it up well.
Once in the shower, I mix the baking soda with just enough water to make a thin paste, then pour this on my head. I then gently massage this into my scalp. Don't worry about getting it on all your hair, just concentrate on your scalp. When rinsed, it will go through all your hair. Don't be rough, massage gently, in small circles, getting all your scalp. It feels good!
Once done, then rinse thoroughly. Again, I use as water as hot as I can stand, I find I get better results. I usually wash with Burt's Bees soap at this point, because soap and vinegar don't get along. THEN, I use the vinegar mixture to rinse. I only do the last 6 inches of my hair (which is long), and not the scalp. The honey will make your hair flatter, but if I don't use it, my hair frizzes out. Baking soda is an alkali, and the vinegar balanced out the PH of my hair.
I then allow this to air dry.
So, since February of 2010, I have noticed my hair improve be leaps and bounds! It is thicker, has body, and holds a style very well. It stands up off my scalp under it's own power. More importantly, my lost hair has grown back thick and fluffy, and I no longer find half my hair in the drain. I can twist my hair in a knot in the back and it will hold without hairbands!
The one big texture difference I notice is in the shower while wet. My hair is no longer sleek and smooth, as it was when stripped of oils. I can detect a "coating" which I thought odd at first, but it's the natural sebum that my scalp creates to protect my hair. Excellent! When dry, however, my hair is soft and fluffy, and a joy for the first time in decades.
So here are the Before, During and After pictures, just for illustration of the point.

So, for those of you about to take the plunge, be brave! You'll never go back!


  1. Do you have to mix that concoction up every time? Sounds sort of inconvenient...

  2. Not at all. I put the baking soda in the cup before each shower and mix that while wetting down. The vinegar/honey solution gets mixed in a 12 - 16 oz. Squeeze bottle, and it lasts about 2 weeks. My showers are actually shorter, now, than they used to be.