The Problem with No ‘Poo
If you google “no ‘poo” you’ll get testimonials about the miraculous results of this hair care method. The before and after pictures were enough to convince me to try the baking soda and ACV. Although I only used the No ‘Poo method for about two months, it did take a toll on my hair. My scalp was getting flaky and irritated and my hair felt slightly brittle.
When I posted that I was trying the no ‘poo method on Facebook, many of you wrote that baking soda had actually ruined your hair. Curious–and scared–I began researching. Evidently, baking soda is very alkaline and, although it may make hair soft in the beginning, it will overtime damage hair.
One dermatologist wrote 3 Reasons Why Baking Soda and ACV Destroy Your Hair:
With a pH of 9 – one hundred times more basic than water – baking soda is a known alkaline irritant (Journal of Cutaneous Pathology, 1989). According to renowned dermatologist Dr. Audrey Kunin, M.D., “The first principle of shampooing: make sure your shampoo says it is pH-balanced and avoid those that are alkaline. Alkaline shampoos strip the hair’s natural oils and disrupt the acid mantle, causing dehydration and leading to porous, fragile hair.” (The DermaDoctor SkinStruction Manual, 2005) SOURCE
While I don’t agree with the product plug at the end of her article, she does bring up good points. Namely: don’t use harsh ingredients on your hair, even if they are from your kitchen cabinet.
Recently, Robin at Thank Your Body shared the importance of using a pH balanced shampoo. Like me, she was using a natural but very alkaline replacement for regular shampoo: castile soap. A reader commented and explained why these alkaline substances at first soften hair but then make it dry and brittle:
Using highly alkaline solutions on your hair (baking soda, bronners soaps, etc.) though it feels soft and manageable that is really the disulfide bonds in your internal hair structure being weakened by the alkaline solution… To then bring your hair down to it’s proper pH a acidic solution (apple cider vinegar) when using a alkalinic cleanser is used, this is called clarifying. This dual process is not healthy for your hair or your scalp. – Amanda, a TYB reader.
Can baking soda or vinegar be used on the hair?
Due to the strong alkalinity of baking soda, I believe it has NO place in hair care. But what about raw apple cider vinegar? Since a healthy scalp is slightly acidic, between 4.5 – 5.5, a diluted apple cider vinegar rinse can be safely used. Dilute 1 – 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar in 1/2 cup of water to create this rinse. The gentle acidity of this rinse helps promote a balanced scalp and can prevent the common fungal overgrowth which leads to dandruff.
Use this rinse after the honey shampoo method (discussed below) or after using a gentle, pH balanced shampoo. Always rinse with water after using the diluted vinegar on your hair.
DIY Honey Shampoo for soft, silky hair
I’ve been washing my hair with this DIY honey shampoo for the past month and I LOVE the results! First, my embarrassing and persistent dandruff is clearing up. My hair is soft, shiny and it has become even more curly/wavy than usual. Finally, it is significantly less frizzy and I have no need to use an anti-frizz product. My scalp’s oil production has normalized and I can go 4 days between hair washing.
Why wash with honey? It is the perfect pH to balance the scalp. It also has antibacterial and antifungal properties, which can help heal dandruff. Additionally, it cleans hair without stripping the natural oils. That means the oil production of the scalp will normalize and hair will become softer.
Do you use homemade hair care? Have you used the no ‘poo method?