When it comes to natural hair care, the simpler the better. Once a product gets bogged down with so many ingredients that it takes longer to read the label than to wash and rinse, you may want to think twice about using it… as it may not be as natural as the label suggests.
When my daughter was about four years old, her hair was so long and thick that I had to do something to keep it manageable. I didn’t want to fill her head with the chemicals found in most of the children’s detanglers, shampoos, and conditioners.
So, I did what any other rational mother would… I asked a crunchy granola mom that I knew (whose daughter’s hair was as bouncy and beautiful as the girls on the shampoo commercials) what product she used! Her answer surprised me. Vinegar and baking soda.
My nose wrinkled just at the thought of the smell, but she assured me that the smell dissipated as the hair dried,
leaving you with nothing but clean, beautiful hair. I was skeptical, but I went ahead and tried it… and I’ve never looked back.
The acetic acid in the cider vinegar perfectly balances the hair’s pH, and it closes up the pores, making the hair bouncy and shiny. The baking soda works as a mechanical cleanser. When mixed with water, the sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) particle splits and one ion absorbs into the dirt, breaking it up so it can be easily flushed away.
Here’s the recipe for our Vinegar and Baking Soda Hair Wash. Once you get used to your “natural shampoo” not foaming up (that was a tough one for me to grasp), you won’t ever go back.
Vinegar and Baking Soda Natural Hair Wash
- 2 cups warm water
- 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon baking soda (aluminum free)
Mix all ingredients in a re-used pump or spray bottle. While in the bath or shower, gently rub the mixture into your scalp and massage into hair from tip to end. I recommend doing this at the start of your bathing, and then let it sit in your hair for five to ten minutes. Rinse hair thoroughly with warm water and dry normally. As the hair dries, the sour vinegar smell will dissipate.
In fact, once your hair is completely dry, you will no longer smell vinegar at all. It will just smell like fresh, clean hair. If your nose turns up a the smell while applying, you could always add a couple drops of pure essential oils, like citrus or lavender.
Defense Against Lice
If you’re concerned about preventing head lice, add a few drops of tea tree oil to the hair wash. Tea tree oil is a natural insect repellant, in addition to its antibacterial and antifungal properties. I used this hair treatment (with the addition of tea tree oil) when my kids’ school had a lice outbreak, and the little buggers stayed away from my kids’ heads. Of course, I can’t be positive that’s why, but I’m sure it didn’t hurt.
Effective on Dandruff
This wash is especially affective on scalps that are prone to dandruff. According to the Mayo Clinic, the causes of dandruff include a yeast-like fungus, sensitivity to chemicals found in conventional shampoos, and irritated oily skin. The antifungal properties of vinegar attack the first cause, and the acidic properties of this mixture help regulate the oily skin problem. The sensitivity to chemicals becomes a non-issue, because this regime doesn’t have any.
For all of these reasons and more, I am a hair care convert. I keep this solution in a recycled pump bottle in the shower. Our whole family uses it, and we get compliments on our hair all the time. Especially, the kids. As an added benefit, the ingredients are mighty all-purpose cleaners, so I often squirt down my shower with it and scrub away the tub ring.
If you want to hear more about the benefits of cider vinegar and baking soda, check out cently1017′s video below. She’ll walk you through a tutorial on how to cleanse your hair with a two-step baking soda and vinegar method. (I like to simplify, so I mixed it all together in my recipe). Her results were fantastic!