Baking Soda for Your Hair: Wash & Clarify in Easy Steps

Published July 2, 2018
Washing hair with baking soda solution

Baking soda is known to be an effective hair cleanser in the beauty world. As well as lifting natural dirt and grease from your tresses, it also removes product residue and buildup. You can easily create a DIY hair wash with baking soda for frequent use that will provide you with clean and shiny locks.

Creating a Baking Soda Shampoo

As many shampoos strip your hair of its natural oils and can potentially do more damage than good, baking soda hair wash is a popular alternative. It's a natural mineral natron that's been used since ancient times. The large amount of sodium bicarbonate acts as a natural cleanser, giving your locks more body and volume.

DIY Baking Soda Hair Wash

Follow these steps to clarify your hair.

  1. Mix one part baking soda with three parts water for mid-length hair.
  2. As a general guide, put two or three tablespoons of baking soda in a small water bottle and fill it almost the rest of the way with water. You can add another tablespoon of baking soda and use a bigger water bottle if you have longer tresses.
  3. Shake the bottle until the two ingredients are well mixed.
  4. Wet your hair.
  5. Pour the mixture over your scalp and roots.
  6. Work it through to your ends.
  7. Leave the mixture to settle for one to three minutes.
  8. Rinse thoroughly with warm water.

Apple Cider Vinegar Rinse

As baking soda is very alkaline with a high pH, it's a good idea to follow the hair wash with something acidic like apple cider vinegar. Follow this method to balance out the pH of your locks.

  1. Mix one part apple cider vinegar with four parts water.
  2. As a guide, put one or two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar in a small bottle and fill the rest of it up with water. As before, you can add another tablespoon of apple cider vinegar and use a bigger bottle if you have longer tresses.
  3. Shake the bottle until the ingredients mix thoroughly.
  4. Apply the mixture to hair that has already been washed with baking soda from your roots down to the ends.
  5. Rinse the mixture out with cold water almost immediately. The cold water seals in moisture, smooths out your hair, and makes it shiny.

Variations and Other Tips

There are some variations of this DIY baking soda hair wash that you can try to achieve different results.

  • Lemon juice: Simply squeeze several drops of lemon into your mixture before application to eliminate dandruff.
  • Castor oils: If you're not a fan of the vinegar smell, you can also add lavender, peppermint, or rosemary essential oils to the mixture prior to application.
  • Normal shampoo: If you find that your hair is especially greasy or oily, you can team the baking soda mixture with a squirt of your usual shampoo and rinse thoroughly to make it more matte.

Pros and Cons

As with anything, there are some pros and cons to using a baking soda hair wash.

Positive Benefits

Washing your hair with baking soda offers many benefits. It is a cheap, effective and chemical-free way to cleanse the hair throughly, moisturizing the scalp and balancing your hair's pH levels. The net result is hair that is softer, shinier, and more voluminous.

Potential Negatives

Even though creating a DIY baking soda hair wash generally produces instant results that aren't harmful to your locks, there are also some downsides if you overuse it. The hair wash can strip your hair dye, cause dry and brittle hair, or cause cuticle damage. Your locks could get frizzy and the solution may irritate your scalp, causing dry skin and dandruff.

These cons are mostly due to baking soda's high pH. People with oily hair generally see the best results, but people with dry hair should use the mixture sparingly and with caution.

Testing Out Baking Soda Shampoo

Using a DIY baking soda hair wash typically has an instant, clarifying effect on your hair when used once or twice per month. However, try to avoid overuse as it may do more harm than good. If the mixture is well-suited to your hair, applying it on a consistent basis will soon provide you with clean and shiny locks.

Baking Soda for Your Hair: Wash & Clarify in Easy Steps