Baking Soda & Vinegar Hair Care

Welcome to the final Beaty Food Friday, a special feature I am doing every Friday for the month of October that shows beauty products that can be made from everyday items in your kitchen.
I am super excited to share my final Beauty Food Friday recipe with you beause it’s something new that I’ve been trying and I am loving it. That’s right… we’re talking about baking soda and vinegar for hair care!
Now, before you judge and think I’ve gone off to Hippieville (which, maybe I have… and maybe I like it there…), hear me out for a minute. I’ve done my research and I know that there are mixed reviews about the baking soda and vinegar method.  The top complaints I’ve heard are:
  1. Ease of use
  2. The strong smell from the vinegar
  3. Dry, brittle hair
What if I told you that I have solved these issues?  And that this method is super cheap and will save you  money on shampoo?  And, that using natural ingredients on your head keeps hundreds of toxic chemicals off your body and away from your brain?  Trust me, it’s time you get on board.
It might be hard to adjust to the lack of shampoo foaming action at first, but using the right quanties of ingredients will make this a lot easier.  Start by mixing 1 part baking soda with 3 parts water.  I have chin-length hair, so 1 Tablespoon of baking soda mixed with 3 Tablespoons of water was the perfect amount for me.  You can adjust this depending on your hair length.
To make application easier, I recommend mixing individual batches in travel-sized squeeze bottles (pictured above).  Apply to dry hair by squeezing a little at the roots and working to the ends.  Repeat this process all over your head.  Let it sit for 1 – 3 minutes then rinse with water. 
Once you get the hang of this and are able to judge the right amount for your hair, you can make a big batch of the mixture in a large squeeze bottle and keep it in your shower.  The baking soda and water will separate so make sure to shake the bottle prior to each application.  Super easy!
After washing and rinsing with the baking soda mixture, you’ll want to apply a vinegar rinse.  Mix 1 part vinegar (both plain white vinegar and apple cider vinegar work well) with 4 parts water.  For my hair, I used 1 Tablespoon plain white vinegar and 4 Tablespoons of water.  I also mixed this in travel-sized squeeze bottles.  Tilt your head back (to avoid getting this mixture in your eyes) and distribute through your hair.  Rinse after a few seconds. 
The vinegar rinse does have a strong smell, so I like to mix 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract, 1 pinch of cinnamon, and 1 pinch of nutmeg with it.  This not only masks the vinegar scent, but it’s a nice scent for fall.  I’ve also been enjoying different combinations of essential oils and if you are looking for a stronger scent I would recommend experiementing with different oils. My favorite combinations are:
These amounts are for a single rinse so if you are making a larger batch, experiment and find the right amount of oils for you.
If you find that your hair is becoming dry, simply use some coconut oil!  You can apply it to your hair and let it sit for a few minutes before washing with the baking soda mixture or use it as an intense overnight hair mask.  
I found baking soda in the bulk section of my natural grocery store for $.92/pound.  A 16 ounce plastic squeeze bottle cost $2 and my travel-sized bottles cost $1 each.  This is a very accessible and affordable way to get rid of unnecessary chemicals in your life, green your beauty routine, and stay healthy! Now that I’ve solved all your complaints, you have no reason to not try this out at home! 
Note: I have an updated post about this method with revised tips. 
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  1. Desiree says

    I have wanted to do something like this forever!! Thanks for the specific info, I will be doing this tomorrow as my first try. I have very thick longish hair, so it will be interesting. I live in a dry climate, and my head is itchy a lot of the time, this I’m sure will help. Thanks.

  2. Camille ;-) says

    another way to help me cut back on all of those damn plastic bottles that I go through. Thanks Sonnet!

    • says

      Highlights it will be fine for, they are really taking color out of your hair, and there isn’t anything that a beauty product can do to strip that out of your hair. Putting color onto your hair though, I’m not sure. I haven’t tried it with dye in my hair yet.

  3. says

    I’ve been doing this for about 2-3 months. The results are wonderful however I am just searching around to see if anyone in the long term are having any dryness issues. I have really dry, brittle hair. Wondering if I should put oil on my ends first before the baking soda? As far as the greasy hair comment. Doing this will help regulate the amount of oil your scalp naturally produces. You will go through an adjustment period. If you feel like you want to shampoo, DON’T mix up a high concentration of baking soda. Say double or triple the normal amount. Slightly paste like and really scour your scalp. Only do this once or twice though over the next month or two. You’ll find your scalp has never felt so clean. Just throw away all your shampoo or put it in the laundry room for hand washing.

  4. says

    OK went back & studied your postings a little better in detail. Would you say coconut oil before the baking soda rinse or after the vinegar? My hair is such a mess =) it was before the no poo method but I do love this method. Oh & it so funny when you admit to people about the train stop in “Hippieville” the looks on their faces are crazy!

    • says

      When I was staying true to the baking soda method, I did experience some dryness so I would put the coconut oil in my hair overnight and then wash it out with the baking soda & vinegar rinse in the morning. It usually left my hair a tad greasier than normal, but by the next day it was back to normal. Let me know if you have any success with this. :)

  5. Robin says

    Do you always apply the baking soda to dry hair or can you apply it to wet or damp hair? I have very curly hair, so I’m concerned that I won’t get it all through my hair if it’s dry.

    • says

      Hi Robin! I have straight hair so I’ve found it easier to get the mixture through my hair when it’s dry, but you can definitely experiment and see what works best for your hair.

  6. says

    Hi Sonnet! Thankyou! I’ve been looking for something like this for so long. For me, its either a toss up between store bought, chemical laced shampoo & cond, or health food store, natural but gluten containing shampoo & cond. So with my celiac, I cant use the natural one :(. And this is so cheap! Who knew using natural beauty products would be cheaper :). I’m so impressed. Will let you know how I go with it.

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