Friday, January 21, 2011


One day, while I was doing something in the same room as the TV but not really watching TV, I looked up for a moment and saw Alyssa Milano waving her arms around and flipping her hair while saying that she doesn't wash her hair anymore. WHAT???? I stopped whatever it was I was doing and watched for a few minutes. Well, actually she does, but it's with some stuff that costs $29.95 a month that isn't traditional shampoo. Well, she lost me right there. I spend three bucks for a bottle of stuff that lasts me six months at least (when I have short hair).

I didn't think anymore about it.

At least until my friend Anna started ruminating about becoming more Earth-friendly and ditching her harsh, chemical-filled shampoo. Anna has an amazing head of hair - long, curly, red hair. She has trouble with frizzies and dull hair. And she thought that perhaps her shampoos, conditioners and styling products might be part of the problem. So after a little research, she decided to stop washing her hair with shampoo and use something a little more natural...

Anna writes:
This may be completely coincidental, but I've been using baking soda and acid rinse for 9 days now and when I went into town today, 4 separate people (that I didn't know and was just randomly chatting to) complimented my hair in a "it's gorgeous, is it naturally curly?" kind of way.

Which feels kind of weird. Because I just don't see my hair as gorgeous - sometimes when it goes right I quite like it, but mostly I just think it looks crap and tie it back to hide it. It's always irritated me because of the frizz and the shorter hairs that fall out of any hairstyle I do, making me look like I've had a fight with a hedge and lost.

It got me to thinking too - my hair, while shorter, straight and fine is different from Anna's lovely curls, it is possible that my shampoo has been hurting my hair too. It is thinning on top at an alarming rate - to the point where I'm beginning to consider a rug or a wig for those times when I really should have some hair up there. Is it possible that if I stopped using shampoo and other chemical hair products that my hair would do better?

I decided that I would follow in Anna's footsteps and ditch the shampoo and conditioners. Today, I washed my hair with 1 Tb. of baking soda dissolved in warm water, rinsed well, then used lemon juice in warm water as a rinse (leaving it on for a few minutes). My hair came out soft and shiny with very small highlights in my gray. I liked it! I believe I will continue this experiment and see just what can be accomplished by changing this one thing.

While reveling in my success today, I suddenly remembered the "How Clean Is Your House?" ladies. They did a lot of cleaning with baking soda and lemon juice! I went and got my book Salt, Lemons, Vinegar and Baking Soda (by Shea Zukowski) to see what she had to say about washing hair in baking soda. There was a small note that it could be used with shampoo, but said nothing about washing with it alone. However, baking soda is a known odor neutralizer and a whiz at tackling sticky messes. It helps with skin problems like diaper rash, canker sores, bug bite remedy and foot soak. I also use it to brush my teeth sometimes. So it makes sense that it would make your scalp feel better and remove excess oiliness. And lemon juice? I remember using it as a rinse when I was a teen to help keep my hair a bit lighter. It can also help prevent swimmer's hair and dandruff and oily hair - so lemon juice is also a natural for this job.

And the really beautiful part of this? It's inexpensive!!! Nowhere near $30 a month. More like $3 for a big box of baking soda and a large bottle of concentrated lemon juice. Both of which should last quite a while.

I'll keep you posted on how this goes - for both me and for Anna.


Sandy said...

and I will be following this. Can't wait to hear more.

Karmyn R said...

Well - I bought myself some Wen at Christmas time.

It is damn expensive and it is nice to my hair - BUT - it is also a scam by the hair guy....he says to use up to 20 pumps of the product on my hair. 20 pumps? That is outrageous....if I used as much as he says to use, I'd go through the bottle 1 week. I use 6 pumps....

The stuff is nice and gentle - but because it is gentle, my hair gets greasy a lot quicker than if I use the other shampoo. So, maybe I need to resort to baking soda too.

Mom said...

Lemon juice for blondes and cider vinegar for brunettes are OLD-time rinses for hair. My Mother and Grandmother used them, and so did Edwardian ladies, and maybe it goes back even further than that. Thanks for the reminder--I'm going back to it, too.

Bethany said...

The amount of baking soda in water may need to be tweaked for some people. Baking soda can be drying to some (me) if too much is used. I'm with Mom- cider vinegar for brunettes.

joanygee said...

sounds like a great experiment, hope it continues to be a success.

Pamela said...

my scalp is SOOO dry. I better not try the soda wash.

Hoosier Girl said...

I'm going to try this, but I think I'll use the cider vinegar since my hair is more brown than blonde.

Great idea!


BTW, Daniel uses a baking soda face pack on his acne between acne treatments. It neutralizes oil on the face.

Anna said...

I prefer the cider vinegar too, for me the lemon juice is a little too drying for my frizz. Everyone has different chemistry so you have to experiment to find out what works for you.

There's no way I'm going back to shampoo now. Baking soda's easy, VERY cheap, and my itchy flaky scalp full of dermatitis feels a lot better (it's not completely flake-free but it's not itchy and sore any more).

And I was worried that it might dry my scalp and hair too much, but it seems that all the various potions (conditioner full of silicones, anti-frizz serum, mousse, gel, styling cream, shine spray and then a clarifying shampoo to remove it all) I used to buy to combat that weren't really helping.

My hair looks and feels better now, and I'll I'm using is baking soda, cider vinegar with a few drops of essential oils, a "gel" made from the water from boiling flax seeds, and pure coconut oil on the ends. Occasionally I dilute the vinegar with chamomile tea. And I can't say enough good things about it!

Anna (of the curls which I don't think are at all lovely most of the time and the frizz) xxx