Baking Soda Shampoo

One of the things that I have developed over the years after working so long in the food industry around heavy duty oven and floor cleaners and whatnot, I have developed a chemical sensitivity. Doing the GAPS/SCD diet has made me more aware of what is affecting my body in adverse ways. I have also become increasingly frustrated for how much money I have to spend for a bottle of shampoo and conditioner that doesn’t have a zillion names I can’t pronounce included in the list of ingredients. Anyway it turns out you can just use baking soda and vinegar very successfully as a shampoo and conditioner.

There are various other ingredients you can add to these basics, I have tried a few. My first attempt washing my hair with my own shampoo was with bentonite clay and marshmallow root, I think I also used soapnut detergent in that. I didn’t really like the results for that, as my hair is quite fine and the bentonite dried it out too much. I haven’t tried adding marshmallow to the shampoo since then, if I do, I’ll let you know.

My hair is quite long so I had my doubts about whether this would work. As they say it takes about two weeks to a month for your scalp and hair to build up their natural oils, and you may have a few days of dull annoying hair at first, but on the whole this method works surprisingly well.

There are various ways to do this. The baking soda can be used separately, mixed with water and massaged into the roots and scalp as a shampoo, rinsed and then the vinegar added in the same manner as a conditioner. This instructable for No-Poo is an excellent method. I have been mixing the two together — which creates a situation where I am madly dashing for the shower because I have added a bit too much baking soda to the vinegar and the whole mess has bubbled over. So take your pick.

When I first started washing my hair I used an egg, a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar and about a teaspoon of baking soda. This worked quite well, but as it turns out, the egg isn’t really necessary. My hair is quite long and easily tangles but this combination actually does work surprisingly well. It doesn’t suds up, of course and the vinegar smells quite strongly when it is on your head. I have come up with a concoction that I quite like. I remember reading at some point that chamomile is quite good for blonde hair and rosemary for dark hair. Rosemary is also good to massage into the scalp as it encourages the circulation and is good for hair folicles. Other essential oils or herbs can be added…

Baking Soda Shampoo and Chamomile Vinegar Conditioner

You need quite a tall glass for this mixture if you are adding the baking soda and vinegar together and I would advise you to do it in the bathroom. Use about 1-2 T apple cider vinegar that you have infused with chamomile flowers. (I keep a bottle filled with the herbs and add more vinegar as I use it). Keep the flowers covered.

Add about 1/4 c water and a drop of rosemary essential oil. Add in about 2 teaspoons of baking soda and stir. Pour this mixture into your scalp around the back of your neck and massage in around the temples and back of the head. Pour slowly onto hair around forehead. If you have long hair pile the hair up as much as possible and pour any remaining shampoo over it and let it sit for about 30 seconds or more. Rinse it out as well as possible and proceed as usual.

This post has been featured in‘s Baby Steps to a Rocking Life.

Shampoo Conditioner 2 in 1
Washing Hair
Before Washing
After Washing

This Post Has 5 Comments

  1. Gdaiva

    My hair is the same as Allison talking, and i tried all kind of homemade shampoo or very natural bought, but hair are getting so greasy, that i keep going back to more or less chemical. But i’ll give another try stronger as Hella said.
    Thank you!

    1. hellaD

      I hope it is working out for you. I have actually been using just baking soda and apple cider vinegar with chamomile and rose water for nearly 6 months now and my hair is so smooth and silky. I do wash it every other day now, but don’t use anything else. Sometimes I used to use an egg every so often when I first started, but now I don’t. I guess it just takes some time for the hair to get used to it.

  2. Allison

    Hi Hella D,
    I am also on the GAPS diet and have been doing the baking soda wash, apple cider vinegar rinse for about two weeks now, based on the article here:
    I put 3 T of baking soda and about 4 cups of water into a gallon jug for the wash, and pour out a cup a day to use in the shower. Then for the ACV rinse, I put about 2 T in an old 16 oz shampoo bottle and fill the bottle up with water. I squirt some of this on my hair each day after the baking soda wash.

    I’m having a really hard time with it. My hair is just like yours in thickness and quality (straight, fine) although it is a little shorter. The problem is that it is so sticky and oily right now, it’s driving me crazy! There is no silkiness to it at all; it’s like a mat of hair and I have to work hard to get a brush through it.

    Is this how yours was at first? Am I doing something wrong or do I just need to push through this stage?


    1. hellaD

      I am not sure. I had a bit greasy for a while but never to the extent you speak of. If I was you I would stop using the 3T to 4c ratio. I generally get a small jar and put in about 2 T of baking soda. I only add enough water to make a thin paste. Then I rub that in all around my scalp and give it a good rinse. Also with the ACV. I use it nearly straight. I dilute it with a bit of water, but not anywhere near 16 oz. For perhaps 1 c of vinegar I would add 1/4 to 1/2 c water. Try it straight if your hair is too tangled. I then pour this onto my hair around my scalp as with the baking soda. I pile up the rest of my hair ontop of my head and pour in a little onto that. Then I generally rinse it out although you can leave it. I just found that then I smell pretty vinegary–which is why a few drops of rosemary essential oil or some rose water or infusing it with chamomile helps a little. Also what about your water? Is it fairly hard? I have actually just started using a shower filter which is really amazing. It is a vitamin C shower filter–Vitashower. Which removes chlorine with vitamin C which is particularly good for your skin and hair, perhaps that will help.

      Perhaps another point is that I don’t rub my hair into a mess like I would with a shampoo. I mostly just try to get the baking soda into the scalp. Then I pile up the hair ontop of my head and pour some over all of that. I don’t really tangle the hair up much, just rub the scalp and maybe rub the hair a little–then leave the baking soda in for a few minutes and rinse out.

      I have a feeling that probably your baking soda and vinegar are too diluted. Try that and let me know if it helps!

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