Baking Soda and Vinegar

It seems I’ve become that person, the weird one who doesn’t use shampoo anymore. In fact I haven’t since July. I’ve been washing my hair with baking soda and vinegar.

You may or may not remember (probably not, as I’m sure you have better things to do than remember the minutiae of my life and plans) that I was hoping to switch to a baking soda and vinegar routine this summer, when I had time away from the world to let my hair do the super oily adjustment I’d read I should expect.

To prepare I bought myself some low-poo shampoo and its corresponding conditioner. When I used a 2-in-1 (yes, I previously used a 2-in-1 because I’m lazy and it worked) I had to wash my hair every day or it started to look so oily that it seemed wet. But I found that after a few months of the low-poo shampoo I didn’t need to wash my hair as often. I started washing it every other day and eventually was only washing it three times a week.

I will admit that I was starting to like the low-poo shampoo and didn’t really think much about making the final switch to baking soda and vinegar until I started to work out more this summer. The weather got hot and between working in my yard and using the elliptical trainer, I needed to take a shower pretty much every day. I didn’t want to start washing my hair that frequently again, so I decided to use the baking soda and vinegar routine on the days in between my regular washes.

And then, I ended up liking the baking soda and vinegar enough to abandon my low-poo shampoo altogether. And I realized that even if I only washed my hair every other day, like I was doing before, my hair didn’t look oily or dirty at all. So I kind of ended up making the transition by accident and I haven’t looked back.

For tips on how to wash your hair with baking soda and vinegar, I recommend this post.

Of course, the question everyone asks is WHY? And honestly, I don’t have a very good answer. When I first read that the reason my hair was oily was because my shampoo was stripping it of it’s natural moisture and my scalp was overcompensating to return moisture to my hair, it seemed to make sense to stop that cycle if I could. I also figured I was a good candidate to try baking soda and vinegar because I never do anything with my hair but put it up, so I didn’t have to worry about product building up. I also liked the idea of being kinder to the environment, though that was low on my list of reasons to give it a try. Mostly I guess, I was just curious what it would be like.

I have to admit, I had my reservations. First of all, my trusty Dove 2-in-1 shampoo and conditioner didn’t cost much and worked fine for what little I tried to accomplish with my hair. When it started getting harder to find, though, and I didn’t like the other 2-in-1s as much, there was another reason to try something totally different.

I will say that washing your hair with baking soda and vinegar is not perfect in every way. The biggest draw back for me is that you have to prepare the baking soda and water mixture right before you take a shower, as the water activates the baking soda. That means you can’t just jump into the shower super quick, you have to remember to grab your bottle and measure out the baking soda and water before getting in. The vinegar/water/essential oils (added to  mix can be pre-made and lasts indefinitely. The bottle I have for the vinegar rinse holds enough to last three shampoos, so about a week.

As for cost, I’m sure it would save someone who buys more expensive shampoos a lot of money. I’m sure it saves me some, but my one bottle of Dove 2-in-1 was not costing me much and while Costco sized bags of baking soda and bottles of vinegar are cheap, the essential oils cost about $6 a pop (except for Sandlewood which was $67 for a 1 oz bottle!). Of course they also last for months and months as you only need a few drops here and there.

The one thing I thought I’d miss the most was the satisfying feeling of lathering my hair. While it was hard to transition to the low-poo shampoo, which created minimal lather, I didn’t notice the lack of lather at all when using baking soda. The whole thing feels so different, I didn’t miss lathering my hair at all and my hair still felt clean despite the lack of bubbles.

All in all I’d say I’m happy washing my hair this way and I doubt I’ll go back anytime soon. I wonder if it will be hard to travel while doing this–luckily we don’t travel much, if at all, so that isn’t an issue for me. I like the way my hair looks when I wash it this way and I appreciate only have to wash it every other day. If you’ve been thinking about washing your hair with baking soda and vinegar I recommend you read that post I sent you (it’s where I got all my information) and then feel free to send me any questions you may have; I’ll try my best to answer them.

10 responses

    • Thanks so much for the tutorial. A mustard type bottle is brilliant idea. As is a spray bottle. Thanks for the tips and the tutorial!!!

  1. At the risk of sounding stalker-ish, I was wondering if you had made the switch and how it went! Because I use a fair amount of product in my hair, I don’t know that I could pull off the baking soda/vinegar combo, but I have found with my dry wavy/curly hair, I’ve found that I only have to wash it 2x a week. It took a while to get to that point though!

  2. I’ve thought about it, but honestly, I’ve gone from washing several times a week to washing my hair every 7-10 days so our one bottle of shampoo (that G and I share) lasts FOREVER, so I’m not motivated to look into it. And having to make it up ahead of time might be enough to keep me away from it. Plus, this summer, I’ve mostly been washing my hair at the Y after swim lessons, and this doesn’t sound transportable. Maybe I’ll try it once or twice and see if my hair feels better, though…

  3. I’m at 6 levels of goop to attempt to reign in my Jersey circa 1985 hair, I wonder if I would need them at all if I did this. Or if I would just look like I’ve been sticking forks into light sockets in my spare time.

  4. Wow! So many people are doing this or interested in it!

    Is this mostly for people with really thick hair? And ahem, non color treated hair? I feel like the vinegar and baking soda would strip the color off…

  5. Interesting!! I have never heard of using baking soda on your hair. But I grew up rinsing my hair out with a vinegar & water solution. I haven’t done it in years, though & Jjiraffe makes a good point about whether it would affect colour (not something I had to worry about in my younger years…! :p 😉 )

    I am a fan of baking soda & vinegar generally… I use both all the time for various housecleaning & laundry purposes!

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