Can you believe that it’s been 16 months since I’ve ditched the shampoo? Okay, well, I haven’t ditched the shampoo entirely, but I’ll get to that later. I have however made rinsing my hair with watered down baking soda my norm though and I have no regrets! I originally tried this whole baking soda gig out back in October ’08 because I wasn’t happy with how my hair looked using shampoo everyday. It was just kind of limp and if I ever dared go a day without shampooing it would look oily and horrid. Plus I’m always curious about how to make things myself and liberate myself from having to buy more (like with my lotion and deodorant, even with our jams and canned goods).
I did go through some awkward weeks at first, but I realize in retrospect it was because I was experimenting with how to apply this baking soda to my hair. There are oodles of folks out there who have tried this and everyone gives different advise based on what works for them, so of course I had to try them all before I found out what worked best for me. Want to hear about it all? Oh sure you do!
First there is just pouring a tablespoon of dry baking soda on my wet hair in the shower and massaging it in, then washing it off. This method gave me the worst results and had I tried only this method I would have given up in a day. My hair gets really funky doing this. Kinda dry, kinda gunked up feeling. It doesn’t brush through well. It was awful! However I attributed this all to the ‘adjustment’ period everyone talks about. The kind of shampoo detox that your hair has to go through until it looks shiny and lustrous again. But there was no shine nor luster.
Second I tried putting a tablespoon of baking soda in a little ramakin, taking it into the shower and adding about a cup of water and stirring until dissolved. Then I put that onto my hair. Also didn’t work well. Better than the first method, but also, no good.
At this point, after a couple of weeks of bad hair, a normal person would probably just turn back to shampoo, however I have never been one to make life easier for myself, so I kept on going. This time I took an empty, large Dr. Bronner Peppermint Soap bottle and filled it with a more diluted version of baking soda to water. 4 Tablespoons baking soda in 5 cups of water (all which fit into the big sized bottle). I shook it until it dissolved and just put it in the shower to use whenever I needed to. At hair washing time, I’d just squirt a bunch onto the top of my head, massage around, flip my head upside down and do the same to the underneath section of hair. Then I’d rinse it all out and I was good to go.
This big bottle full lasts me about a month to 6 weeks, washing every two to three days, and I was noticing that halfway into the month, my hair would look really good after rinsing. Really good. Soft and with plenty of volume. Much nicer than it was with regular shampooing and yet free of that oily, dry gunky look I was sporting with that first method of baking soda washing. Hmmmm….. which is when I hit upon my baking soda hair rinsing secret! You need to let the baking soda and water combo sit for a week or two before using!
Now I’m no chemist, I have no idea what chemical process goes on while that baking soda sits and rests in the water. All I know is that it does a world of good for my hair. So now I keep two bottles going, which I fill every two or three weeks alternately. So I always have two week old diluted baking soda to rinse with.
A lot of people suggest rinsing with a diluted amount of apple cider vinegar but I haven’t seen any sort of advantage to doing this myself. There are all sorts of fancy hair rinses you can do after the baking soda wash, however I guess I’m just not creative enough to have tried them yet. Have you tried any that work wonders? The only drawback I’ve found is that the ends of my hair do feel a bit dry. Maybe that could be remedied with one of these rinses.
So back to the shampoo, it is okay (at least for my hair) to use shampoo/conditioner every once in a while. Some days I just want that lather and shampoo smell, so I go for it. Those end up being really, extra good hair days too. And I can go back to my baking soda rinse without any bad repercussions. Some days when I do the baking soda rinse, I’ll follow with a little conditioner just to help with any dryness I may be feeling that day.
One of the things I’ve missed about ditching the shampoo is the smell and lather, it is kind of a luxurious feeling. So to compensate, I’ve been buying lots of beautiful handmade soaps. Oakmoss‘s soaps have been my most recent indulgence. I love her scents (especially Caravan) because they appeal to both men and woman. I share my bathroom with three other guys (one big, two tiny) and being that we only have one soap dish, I can’t get too floral with the soap smells without complaints. Her scents seem to keep us all happy.
I try to ‘wash’ my hair every three days, but sometimes I need to go to every other day depending. Other days I push it off for another day and learn a new cute braid or call it hat day.
Have you tried alternative hair washing techniques? What’s worked for you?