Why I Don’t Use Baking Soda In My Hair Care

As you’ve probably gathered from my posts, I don’t use any conventional shampoos or conditioners on my hair. All in all, using all natural products has really helped with my hair quality (more shine, less shedding, stronger locks). It also has meant that I have gotten away with not clarifying my hair in over half a year, something I used to do at least once a month.

But recently it came to my attention that I was due for a clarifying session. Hm, I was stumped. As well as my soapnut shampoo, conditioning castile soap shampoo, and cleansing clay shampoo mask were working, none of them are designed to strip your hair (that’s kind of the point!). I was hoping to avoid my previous go-to clarifying shampoo: Neutrogena Anti-Residue Shampoo.

Baking soda was pretty much the only choice I felt I had. To be honest, I’ve never been too keen to try to wash my hair with baking soda, even though I had heard rave reviews about the “no ‘poo” method all over the internet. I never liked the idea because baking soda has a much different pH than hair and I generally choose cleansing ingredients that have a pH that’s closer (I even add pH-lowering additions to my castile soap shampoo for the same reason). My hair tends to be so fragile that I like to minimize my chances for acquiring any damage and baking soda seemed like it could be dicey.

First, I set about researching baking soda washes on the internet. It seemed like the key to making it work for all those rave reviews was getting it properly diluted. The next thing I read about was making sure to condition well after the treatment so I set about creating a conditioning concoction to do after the baking soda wash (that worked well so definitely check that out!). I was still nervous about the baking soda being too drying so I went a step further and added honey to the baking soda dilution…This is because honey is both cleansing and conditioning.

Finally, I decided to try my mixtures. I followed all the advice I read on the internet…I got my hair wet, then poured on the baking soda wash, let it sit for a few minutes, and then rinsed out super well before applying my conditioner.

To my disappointment, rinsing my hair after the baking soda wash resulted in a major hair shed. I destroyed the evidence, out if sheer horror, before I could take a photo of it…but here’s the closest pictorial representation I could find:

Luckily, my conditioner seemed to help slow the shed afterwards and admittedly, my hair is really clean and normal-looking after this whole ordeal. But I’m not sure it was worth it to see so much of my hair go down the drain.

I did read several people’s recommendation that to make a clarifying baking soda wash work, you need to immediately use a powerful, commercial conditioner after. But if I’m going to use chemicals after the baking soda, I’d rather just use regular clarifying shampoo and skip all the baking soda mixing and rinsing hassle. I figure using regular shampoo maybe twice a year is not likely to kill me.

As a bonus, I got a great, simple conditioner recipe out of this experience!

Let me be clear in saying that this is just my experience. I’ve read enough to know that it works amazingly well for a lot of people…it’s simply not for this gal.

Have ideas on how I can improve my baking soda experience? Please let me know in the comment section below!


Categories: Uncategorized

4 replies

  1. You know I was losing so much hair since last May, I couldn’t figure out what the heck was going on. It was really scary, I would lose huge handfuls and clumps and clumps of hair every time I was in the shower. I couldn’t figure out if it was my diet or the new water of the place I just moved into, or what on earth was going on! I decided to just switch shampoo routines and now after reading your post, I guess I can safely assume it was that no poo method that was making me lose so much hair! My hair was so shiny while I was doing it, it felt great and I thought I was really helping it! BOY WAS I WRONG! I seriously thought I was going to end up having no hair soon! I mean sounds obvious to change your hair cleaning method – but I thought I was doing my hair a service without all the chemicals! Never again!!!!!

    Thanks for sharing this post! I hope others read it before they consider putting baking soda in their hair all the time. My hair is SO much happier nowadays! I have normal shedding, no more clumps and clumps falling out! I’m going to go give my hair a hug! 😛

    • I can so totally relate to that story! Losing hair like that is scary, and it’s such a relief when you figure out what’s going on. I’m so glad you found the post helpful! I know lots of people love the baking soda rinses but it’s nice to get the word out on what can happen to some of us. What are you using now? Just curious!

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