The ‘Sham’ in Shampoo

The other morning I stumbled into the bathroom well before the kids were awake.  “Yay!”  I thought, “I’ll get to take a shower today!”  But then I remembered.  I was all out of shampoo.  And I forgot to get more last time I went to the store.

My spirit, unwilling to be dampened, I decided I’d try that whole baking soda for shampoo/apple cider vinegar for conditioner, thing I’ve heard about.  I mean, really.  I use all natural soap, natural toothpaste, natural household cleaners, homemade laundry detergent.  I can do homemade shampoo!  Yay for less chemicals!  Yay for clean hair!

Except baking soda in your hair is gross.  Really, really gross.  I almost titled this post “The ‘Poo’ in Shampoo.”

I mean, I know it was the first time I tried it, and maybe I did it wrong.  Maybe I just need some guidance?  If you do the baking soda thing, let me know.  I did a quick Google search, and I mixed up baking soda and water according to the recipes I found.  Basically 1 Tablespoon soda and 1 cup water.  I also mixed up the apple cider vinegar and some water.

First, I tried what they all said to do.  I wet my hair and poured the baking soda mix into my hair at the roots.  I massaged it all around and rinsed.  I have really thick hair and by this time it felt all tangled and I was having doubts about the vinegar thing, but that part was actually!  I had put the vinegar mix in a squirt bottle and it completely detangled and smoothed my hair, pretty much instantly.  “Yay! This will make such a great blog post!”  I thought.

I got out of the shower, and went to dry my hair and it was all smooth and sleek and shiny!  WOW!  I blew it dry.  Gorgeous.  Well.  Almost.  It looked all greasy at the roots.  It felt all greasy at the roots too.  Super greasy.  Not oily, greasy.  Worse than before I got in.  Maybe I got carried away with the vinegar?  Hmm.  The kids were still asleep, so I decided I’d give it another go.

I decided to sprinkle in baking soda dry at the roots.  I worked it all around and it looked like the grease was all absorbed.  But also like I had grayed out my hair, since my hair is quite dark and there was now a fine white dust on it.  So I hopped back in the shower to give it a rinse.  And I could feel the greasiness about ten times worse than what it felt like before.  It was not the vinegar that caused this.  It was totally the baking soda.  I gave up.  I scrounged around the bathroom until I found some tiny, little bit of shampoo in a travel bottle.  I used it.

I will totally keep that apple-cinder vinegar thing.  It is awesome.  But the baking soda for cleaning your hair – a total sham.

Categories: Simple Living, Thrift | Tags: , , , | 12 Comments

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12 thoughts on “The ‘Sham’ in Shampoo

  1. Chibby

    Oh I frequently use baking soda to wash my hair. It can be a serious clean, even a bit stripping and is great for clarifying and removing build up (eg silicone). I dissolve a heaped tablespoon in close to a liter of warm water, and really stir it up to make sure it is dissolved completely or it can be way to abrasive, and damage the hair shaft. I pour 1/3 of the water onto my already wet hair, and then work my fingers down my scalp from my forehead to my nape repeatedly, scritching with my fingertips as I go. I sometimes dangle the length of my hair (my hair is 90cm long) into my jug, then squeeze the soda+water back into the jug and pour the last of the water over my head again, repeating the whole scritching thing, focusing on behind my ears, and my nape where I sweat. Rinsing thoroughly is next. Sometimes at this stage it feels really grabby, and squeeky, and I’m careful to continue handling it gently and with the direction of hair growth. I like to follow this with a nice silicone free conditioner (I like Tresemme naturals) and I de-tangle when my hair is full of conditioner. I don’t try to rinse out all the conditioner from my length. (I use 4 times more bottles of conditioner than shampoo) I follow this with my vinegar rinse, I prefer Apple Cider (with the Mother) but will use white too, and I just splash maybe 100 mls into my rinsed jug, then fill with warm or cool water, and slowly pour that over my scalp as a final rinse. The ACV/V rinse restores skin ph, and also smooths the hair shaft adding shine. As the hair dries, the vinegar smell disapates. Some people like to rinse the vinegar off, but I never bother.

    It sounds to me like you may have used way to much baking soda, I definitely wouldn’t use it dry, as a paste or even in suspension, got to be completely dissolved or it is just too harsh. It cleans stove tops and pot grease remember! Don’t give up!
    Sometimes I make a weak baking soda solution-1/2 teaspoon in a cup or so of water, dissolved, then add a squirt of shampoo, and mix them together till the shampoo is blended in and diluted, and then use it with the same washing technique, gives the shampoo more oomph.
    This is my favorite site for hair care ideas…

  2. Of all the ‘changes’ we made to be more eco & ethically friendly, I just couldn’t do The No ‘Poo Technique, as I can’t stand my hair being greasy and just didn’t have the gumption to go through it. So sad. I did try Shampoo Bars and ACV Rinse, but just wasn’t getting the result or the convenience. The shampoo we use is quite ‘eco’ (including the packaging, which is what we were really trying to reduce, and apparently they use sustainable palm oil) plus affordable/ accessible. We keep our hair fairly short too and don’t use conditioner every time, so that helps. If it comes down to it, I’d shave my hair off and make it really simple!! There is a company that sells bulk products with all our requirements met, so we will try that this year.

  3. I use castile soap to wash my hair and YES have finally found one that does not feel like it completely strips my hair dry. Granted, it might take a couple of weeks before your hair starts to feel ‘normal’ again. Thankfully, it’s just a transitional phase. I use ACV & water to condition and love it too!

  4. I love it. Here’s a great website for troubleshooting. It’s different for different types of hair. I will say that for thick hair, I find it easier to put the soda/water on my roots before wetting it down. MUCH easier. There is also a transition period. Check out that site. It gives a lot of info. You can do it!!!

  5. We also tried the castille soap/ACV rinse method for about a month and never seemed to get out of the transitional period – plus it was pretty harsh on our oldest’s delicate, thin hair. I’d be so happy if we could find a homemade, natural approach that worked for us.

  6. If you like, check out my method. I’ve been using baking soda and ACV for over two years now, and my hair looks great! I make a baking soda “paste”, basically just enough water that it spreads but doesn’t pour. I take chunks of the paste and work it into my scalp all around, then massage my whole head for a little while before rinsing it well. The idea is to work it under your hair without tangling up the rest of it (your cleaning your scalp after all!).

  7. I was a licensed hairdresser for 10 years, and I used to use baking soda on my clients hair ALL THE TIME! I also recommended that they use it at home, especially if they used a lot of hair products. For years, I’ve added it to my shampoo, but I just started doing the no ‘poo method a week ago. I’m definitely still in the “transition” stage! Somebody suggested to me that I try letting it sit on my hair for several minutes to help with the oily root issue before rinsing, so that’s what I’ve been doing.

    It sounds as if you tried using it as a “dry shampoo” after you dried your hair. Yeah – it’s not going to really work like that. You could try cornstarch, which you would then brush through your hair (though you’ll probably still look greyish since you’re a brunette), but if you really want to do a dry shampoo during the transition period, orris root powder is your best bet. You can get it at a pharmacy.

    When you tried washing it the second time, that 10x greasier feeling was caused by the dry baking soda that you’d put back on your hair. No big deal, it just rinses right out. 🙂

  8. Heather

    After I read your post I also saw this one and thought you might enjoy it –

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  12. Izzster

    I’m a bit late to this party, but I gotta say, I’ve found it takes a loooot longer than you’d think to completely rinse baking soda off of your scalp, and especially out of your hair. Much more so than with standard shampoo.

    I find that it’s kind of like dish soap in that it leaves behind a slick residue that can feel scummy when it dries. You’ve got to COMPLETELY wash it out, and it’s harder to feel when it’s been completely rinsed out of the hair roots, where it sticks and clings longer than on the scalp.

    I give my roots a good three-minute-plus rinse after I use baking soda, of actual active scrubbing, then another 5-10 minutes under the shower-head scrubbing sporadically and checking to see whether it’s all washed out yet. I also keep the vinegar away from my roots afterwards so I can preserve as much volume as possible.

    My hair is slightly less fluffy for it throughout (though no limp-root problem)- but that’s also the biggest part of the system’s appeal. No more frizz or dry, damaged-feeling hair 😀

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