Lets talk about hair

I’m not a particularly ‘groomed’ girl, but occasionally I enjoy reading about the next big thing in grooming. Mainly so I can think about trying it and then get bored and go back to my old routine (soap, scrub and that’s it). Anyhow, I seem to have inherited my mother’s inability to use any type of shampoo without feeling like a whole bunch of ants are tap dancing on my scalp. It’s so unpleasant and frustrating because I have to wash my hair often, and also because the shampoos that work are super expensive.

I’m not sure where I came across it, but I found some recommendations for using bicarbonate of soda (aka baking soda) and cider vinegar as shampoo/conditioner replacements. This sounded intriguing as I never use conditioner, and as I’m fairly environmentally conscious, the whole lack of chemicals and limited refinement of the two products was also appealing.

 vinegar and sodaI did more googling and trying to find suggestions for ratios of soda-to-water and cider vinegar-to-water. After finding some info (I’ll reference it at the bottom of this blog), I then mixed up the two mixtures and hopped in the shower. It was a bit weird not using shampoo to clean my hair and I was really not expecting big things from it. The whole rinsing the vinegar out with lukewarm water wasn’t that fun either. My shower is either hot or cold, so it doesn’t really do lukewarm. I found that getting out and rinsing my head under the bathtub tap was a better option.

Once I was washed, rinsed and dried, I had a look in the mirror and my hair looked awesome! Really sleek and shiny and with a bit of volume. My scalp felt lovely and clean and I was really surprised. My OH was not so impressed as I now smelt like a fish & chip shop but I didn’t care. The best thing about this approach to hair washing was the fact that I didn’t have to wash my hair after a really sweaty session at the Works (I had to climb in my sports bra and shorts. That’s how hot it was) and even after a wet, windy and sweaty ride out on the bike it didn’t look greasy or lank. I did tie it back into a pony tail, but I didn’t have that sweaty/itchy feeling that I usually got after wearing a helmet for 2 hours. So, I had had a quick wash and didn’t bother washing my hair until Sunday morning.

Today it still looks pretty good. I’ll report back after a week or so to see if the itchiness is abating too.

So here is the mixed method that I’m currently using when washing my hair with baking soda and cider vinegar:

Washing hair with baking soda:

There are two approaches to washing ones hair with baking soda. The first is to keep the hair dry and to rub the soda paste into the scalp, making sure to give it a good ol’scrub and massage. I’m not too keen on this approach because I found that most of the soda paste fell off and landed on my shoulders. I have tried to use a wetter paste on drier hair and that worked a bit better. I now think that the best option is to use a slightly wetter paste and with damp hair.

I have chin-length hair and used 2 tbs baking soda to 4 tbs water (slightly more if it looks to dry). This made enough to have a good scrub and feel like I’d really coated my scalp and hair in it. I warn you, the texture is weird and the taste is a bit strange. That said, I prefer the taste to the chemically one in normal shampoo. I also found that the soda paste that fell off my hair made a pretty good body scrub.  I generally give my scalp and hair a good long scrub (some people suggest giving yourself a head massage. I prefer scrubbing) and leave the soda to ‘soak’ in for a couple of minutes

Rinsing hair with cider vinegar:

I was totally amazed at how well this works. Okay, the taste is pretty bad and I really don’t advise getting any in your eyes as it stings (although inevitably it happens), and the rinsing in lukewarm water is a bit of a faff, but the end result is pretty awesome. I first used a tupperware container with 1/4 cup vinegar to 1 cup water. I found that rinsing was really difficult using the tupperware and I got a lot of spillage. So, I’ve now filled an old tonic water bottle with the vinegar/water mixture and leave it in the bathroom. I used 1:3 ration of vinegar to water until I filled up the bottle. I use about 1/2 bottle per rinse.

Here are some other blogs/info sites about using baking soda and vinegar: