Monday, May 28, 2012

Still Shampoo-Free: the Magic of Baking Soda & Vinegar

Baking Soda & Apple Cider Vinegar
Our family has been completely shampoo free since mid-2011 (read here about how we did it). Instead, we use a baking soda & water solution for washing, and diluted apple cider vinegar for the conditioning rinse. We are totally happy with the texture and cleanliness of our hair, and I really love having less junk I have to get at the store (we never go to the store anymore!) Also, the chemicals in even the more natural shampoos and conditioners are something we are all better off without.

As far-fetched as this idea sounds to a lifelong shampoo/conditioner user, it really works! Our family is composed of several hair types... we all have long hair, mine is very straight and tends to be oily, and Nik's is highly textured and tends toward dandruff. Both of us, as well as our kids, have had a great experience with the switch, and have absolutely no desire to go back to store bought, chemically-loaded products. I was amused, after my original post on our switch, to discover how many people we know that already use one or both of these on their hair. The secret is out! It's great stuff, don't be scared to try it ;)

I do have an update since my original article about ditching shampoo. At the time, I had switched to my homemade kombucha for a conditioning rinse after washing with baking soda. It seemed like a reasonable substitute for apple cider vinegar, and I liked that since I make it myself, it was one less thing to buy. 

However, I discovered a problem after a while- the baking soda wasn't rinsing out completely, leaving traces of white powder in my hair. This was almost annoying enough to get me considering using regular shampoo again. Why was this happening? I realized it had never been a problem when I used apple cider vinegar rather than kombucha, so I went back to that, and the problem disappeared immediately.

I think the kombucha just doesn't have the same properties as apple cider vinegar. Vinegar, as well as closing hair follicles, giving hair shine and releasing tangles, reacts with any remaining baking soda, rinsing it completely away. Anyway, I'm pleased to report that, now that I'm back to baking soda wash with the ACV rinse, my hair is totally clean, healthy, and free of baking soda debris.


Shampoo free family
Baking Soda & Vinegar On The Go:

When I started doing hot yoga at our local Bikram studio, I briefly thought I may have to switch to shampoo and conditioner just so I could have something that travels easily so I could shower at the studio, but then I came up with this easy, portable solution:

8 oz travel jars: All I needed to make this system portable.

I simply put one scoop (I'm down to 1/2 t) baking soda, and a splash (maybe 1 tb) of vinegar into each jar, respectively. Make sure the jars are sealed tightly, and I'm all set to shower at the gym. In the shower, I add about a 1/3 cup of water to the baking soda, wash my scalp with it, and then dilute the vinegar in the same way for rinsing my hair and scalp. 

Any bottles that you feel comfortable traveling with would also work... just make sure the vinegar container won't leak. I did have this happen, and was worried I'd be stuck with a vinegary backpack forever, but the smell disappeared after about a day. Not too traumatic ;)

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110 comments:

  1. Yay, great to hear! We are still shampoo free and loving it, too! We still pre-mix our baking soda with water and I keep meaning to see if mixing it fresh in the shower works even better. The smell of the ACV was a bit strong for me so we've been using a milder smelling white vinegar we've steeped with citrus peels. The citrus really cuts the smell. Love it!

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    1. I've got some orange peels steeping in white vinegar right now... but I was planning on cleaning the house with it! I wouldn't have thought to use the white vinegar for my hair. The citrus-smelling vinegar sounds awesome.

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  2. I've been no poo for five years... I had no idea it had been that long until I wrote this comment! When I first started I was literally no poo, as in I didn't use anything. It seemed to work fine for me but at some point I started using the baking soda and acv. I use it about once a week. (I only ever shampoo'd once/maybe twice a week when I used shampoo, too.)

    My sons have never shampoo'd their hair -- they are 8 and 5. I used to rub in a bit of lavender oil on my first son's head when he was young and now I don't use anything on either of them. Not sure why, but it seems to work just fine -- their hair is never oily or dirty -- and a regular bath works fine to shine it up. :)

    My younger son really dislikes the way acv smells when I use it so not sure he'd go for it anyway.

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    1. We occasionally used shampoo on the kids when they were younger, but so rarely that when we stopped using shampoo ourselves, we simply switched to water-washing for our kids as well. They don't seem to need anything more than water... but I wonder if puberty will change that!

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  3. Hi there,

    Thanks for sharing your story. It seems like a lot more people than I realised are into the no-poo method. I've been using baking soda for a couple of years and I love it. Only recently started with the ACV though. It's good to hear that it works on a variety of hair types too.

    I guess you never notice other no-pooers because everyone who uses it has such lovely hair you wouldn't think they weren't using shampoo!

    Cheers,

    Rob

    http://www.naturalshampookits.org

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  4. I recently started using ACV that I infuse with rosemary on my hair to battle dermetitis. It works great. I plan on making my own ACV when the apple harvest comes this fall so I won't have to buy it at all. I like the rosemary in the ACV - my hair looks amazing. I'm still using shampoo and may make my own shampoo bars - I have a sensitivity to baking soda.

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    1. Oh, the rosemary infused vinegar sounds lovely! I'll have to try that when my rosemary matures. I want to make ACV this summer as well!

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  5. I'm doing this as well and I love it! It's easy, cheap, and natural - what's not to love?

    A couple weeks back on my blog hop, someone shared a rose-infused vinegar recipe, which I thought would be so great as rinse in the shower - turns out the author of the post actually used it that way, and loves it!

    Thanks so much for linking up at Tiny Tip Tuesday!

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    1. Mmm... rose sounds nice. I'm doing a lavender/ACV infusion right now with hopes that it will improve the smell. Although the vinegar smell doesn't stay on my hair, I still miss a good smelling conditioner!

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  6. I've been poo free for about 9 months now, and I'll never go back! I LOVE, like you, that I don't have to go to the store nearly as often anymore now that my whole beauty regime is homemade and all natural. So much healthier, too. Stopping by from Nature's Nurture's link party! I posted about this on my site a while back, too. http://www.mymerrymessylife.com/2012/03/diy-baking-soda-shampoo-apple-cider.html

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  7. When I was a little girl, my mom always used a vinegar rinse to be sure all the soap came out. I like the idea of infusing vinegars with a fragrance that is pleasant. That is my plan for Christmas gifts.

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  8. I have tried this, but I couldn't seem to get my coarse, long hair really clean with hit. I'm happy it works for your family. :)

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  9. I've never gone completely shampoo free just because I have dandruff and the natural vinegar solutions recommended for dandruff haven't worked for me. I'm glad its working for you! Maybe I'll try it again and add baking soda to the mix...Good post!

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    1. It won't hurt to try washing your scalp with baking soda for a couple days, you may be pleasantly surprised! I know it worked for Nik right away when he had dandruff.

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    2. Tea rinses are a great way to sub for vinegars if they are causing you trouble. Black tea is great for trouble shedding hairs, for darker hair colours. For strawberry to red heads opt for hibiscus tea(my fav even as a brunette) . Blondes / fair hair should use camomile. These are not only clarifying but can be great for bringing out your hairs colour. Note that the higher tannins in black tea can be drying so if you have dryer hair go for green, hibiscus or camomile tea.
      The caffeine helps block DHT that contributes to brittleness of the hair. They also provide great base to infuse herbs that will condition the hair. Those who suffer with scalp/skin trouble should use nettle and / or rosemary to sooth scalp and and stimulate growth. Also cosider using Green tea which helps sooth the scalp. Just add a 1-2tsp to the tea and steep (if herbs are dry not fresh you will have to add additional tsps)
      And if you find your hair needs a touch more acidity to balance the baking soda; add fresh lemon juice to your tea rinse to help balance your hairs PH

      Hope that helps, ACV sometimes disagrees with ppl

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    3. Dandruff can be caused by a lot of things, not the least is sensitivity to common things in shampoos. My husband had bad dandruff for years. Turned out it was the result of a dairy sensitivity.

      @Danielle, thanks for the tips on tea rinses -- I had not thought of that!

      Also, when it comes to ACV, beware Heinz brand. It's never seen an apple. It's just white vinegar made from coal tar flavored to seem like it ever saw an apple. No wonder some people react to that.

      I'm having problems with coconut and coconut byproduct reactions, which means there's about no shampoo I can use anyway, so I guess I'm going to bite the bullet now the hot summer has passed and see how the "no poo" method works.

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  10. I love this idea! i want to be brave enough to try it one day!
    thank you for linking up on successful saturdays!

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    1. Just bring some baking soda & vinegar with you when you take your next shower! I think you'll be pleasantly surprised how well it works. I know it took me a while before I attempted it, but I was completely convinced immediately once I finally tried it, because the soda just cleans so well and the vinegar leaves my hair so shiny & tangle free.

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  11. What an interesting post! I'm glad this formula has worked out so well for you, and your portable version looks great too!

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  12. I've been wanting to try this for quite some time. Recently switched to more natural shampoo/conditioner, but they're so expensive! Never quite sure how much water to mix w/ the baking soda and vinegar. Your suggestion is about 1/3 c water to 1/2t baking soda and about 1/3 c water to 1t vinegar?

    Are you concerned at all about the aluminum used as anti-caking agents in some baking sodas? Or that some brands (A&H and store brands) don't use purely mined soda but a cooked/processed version from another source? I just priced some Bob's and Frontier brand baking soda, and both are rather expensive - although cheaper when purchased in bulk.

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    1. We do buy our baking soda in bulk, so it's quite cheap (50 lbs for about $30, which should last us forever). The manufacture of baking soda is actually a complete mystery to me! Our baking soda says it's aluminum free, but even if it weren't I use such a small amount, and only every other day, that I would not be worried about it. There is no telling what is really in even "natural" manufactured shampoos. At least with this single-ingredient product, I've reduced our exposure to several known, and possibly more unknown, nasties.
      Basically, I like to use enough water that my baking soda is fully in solution. I use about 1/3-1/2 c water, and slosh it around a bit to dissolve the powder. The exact amount of water isn't so important. Some people actually like to make a thick paste to rub into their scalp, but I find pouring a thin solution on works fine, and probably uses a lot less baking soda.
      As for the vinegar, I use 1 tablespoon. Again, the exact amount of water isn't that important. About a half a cup will be fine, you just need enough to make it easy to distribute around your hair and scalp.
      Give it a try, and when it works you might consider investing, like we did, in a lifetime's supply! No more plastic bottles and expensive products to buy!

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  13. Awesome!!! Love it! My only thought is the smell of ACV in your hair or does the baking soda dilute it enough? Thank you for sharing with us at Healthy 2Day Wednesdays! Hope to see you next week :)

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    1. The smell of ACV mostly rinses away. When I was first doing this, I always asked people to smell my hair, checking for signs of vinegar! Everyone said they couldn't smell it. Twice though, as I cuddled my kids, they said my hair smelled "yucky", and I can only assume it was the vinegar. I think kids can be more sensitive to smells (and tastes!) than adults, or maybe I just hadn't rinsed my hair well enough on those days.
      Since I mostly shower at a local yoga studio these days, I've started infusing my ACV with lavender flowers. It really helps tone down the smell, so it won't bother the ladies showering next to me ;) Just fill a jar with lavender flowers, top off with ACV, and let set for a couple of weeks. It will turn a beautiful purple when it's ready, and smell way better. Plus, lavender has beneficial properties for skin & hair.

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    2. I have lots of mint in my garden. I wonder if infusing some in vinegar would make a nice minty rinse?
      Tatjana

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  14. I have been poo free for almost 3 months now, after reading your blog about being poo free... I immediately made my 8oz spray bottle up of the baking soda water mixture, and another 8oz bottle of Apple cider vinegar and water. I ran and washed my hair and I have always had really oily, thin, brittle, no luster or shine, straw type hair. So I washed my hair, and conditioning it with these solutions and to my wonderfully amazed eyes when I finished my hair was clean and soft, my hair comb glided thru my hair just as smooth as can be. When it dried it was shinny and was soft. As I said I've never had this. I couldn't stop looking at my now beautiful hair. So needless to say I only have to do this once a week when I did have to shampoo every other day if not daily. And my hair doesn't get as oily in this week period as it did when using shampoo (that was oily by third following morning). I'm a true believer and will never ever go back to commercial shampoos!!!!!
    Thank you so much for introducing me to this!!!!

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    1. Oh that's great! Glad you were inspired. How many showers do the 8 oz bottles last you? I always mix mine right in the shower in a cup, but a spray bottle sounds like an even better way to apply it.

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    2. Hello, I love this post. My husband and I have been trying to find different products to keep our hair healthy and they all seem to do some harm. I do a ACV rinse twice a week. The only question I have is about how often it is fine to wash my hair. I exercise every day at the gym or runnin outside and my hair gets sweaty. Shampoo was killing it. Can I use these products as often as I need to???

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    3. While I think you could do it daily without harm (both ACV & baking soda are extremely gentle when diluted!), I don't think it will be necessary, even with your daily exercise. I do Bikram yoga 5 days a week and get insanely sweaty during class, and then after class each day I take a shower. I rinse my hair well in these showers, but only actually wash it with ACV and soda about once every three days. If you find you need to wash more often, I really think you could without damaging your fine hair, I just don't like to bother more than I need to because I like to be quick ;)
      Good luck!

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    4. I dilute 1 tsp. Baking soda In an old gatorade bottle and pour over my dry hair. Rub Into scalp and let sit while I finish my shower then rinse. I do this every other day. I only use ACV about twice a month. I get so many compliments on how shiny and healthy my hair looks. My ponytail has also gotten thicker!

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  15. The 8oz spray bottle last me 4 to 5 uses depending on how crazy I get with it.... But I have shoulder length hair and I message my scalp and work it down the length of my hair as well.

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  16. I love the idea of this, but as it is my daughter hates the smell of coconut oil because I use so much coconut. My husband hates the smell of vinegar, but i suppose ACV smells better. Does it matter what kind of ACV to use? I have a HUGE jug from Heinz that I would never use for food but maybe for this...

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    1. You can really improve the smell by infusing the vinegar with some lavender flowers. Just put a bunch in a jar, add some of your Heinz ACV, and let sit for a couple of weeks. You could use rosemary or orange peels for a different scent as well. It helps a lot!
      Any ACV will work. I've even used white vinegar, infused with orange peels. Good luck!

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    2. The Heinz ACV is not actual apple cider vinegar. Read the label it says "flavored". It's glorified white vinegar. Look around the grocer's for something real at least.

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    3. That's good to know about the Heinz brand ACV. We've only ever bought Bragg's ACV, "with the mother", but these days we make our own! However, I've also used white vinegar for my hair and it's worked just the same, so I would go with it if it's what you already have, and discontinue if there are any problems.

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  17. Great natural recipe. I tried carrying this around for 2 weeks but got lazy and just started using my shampoo again. I just use a sulfate free one to avoid all the nasty irritations associated with most conventional brands.

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  18. Great to know someone using baking soda instead of shampoo just like me.
    I've been using it since April of this year and I use citric acid as conditioning rinse.

    Both of them work totally fine and easy to carry to gym.
    To carry both of powder, I use these shape of plastic bottle. It's easy to apply on hair.

    http://begood4all.blogspot.kr/2012/06/20120629-seoul-baking-powder-instead-of.html

    Thanks for great and helpful post.

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    1. Those look like great bottles for this. I have some citric acid but never thought of using it for my hair, thanks for the idea!

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    2. As a Cosmetologist I can tell you that citric acid cleans very deeply. Basically it is used to strip hair color. After research I did, and looking at labels, and interning with a master stylist, I can tell you that all that expensive salon color stripper is- is basically the same thing as grabbing a bottle of cheap vitamin C vitamin pills, crushing them up and voila- there you go! I soak the pills in hot water to crumble them up faster. This is also the same thing they use as a swimmers treatment. Instead of paying $50 to remove chlorine from your familys hair- just use the crushed vitamin C tablets mixed with hot water or conditioner and the Vitamin C chelates the copper out. You can smell the copper come out. We put people under a dryer for 20 minutes but Ive found that lil kids dont have the patience for that long! Even 5-10 minutes without heat works to me. And another tip would be coat the hair with oil or fresh water before swimming. Then wash hair as soon as possible. Oh and also- for dandruff you have to try tea tree oil! It kills funguses, viruses & bacteria. And studies have shown it can help hair growth for certain alopecia. I sold so many bottles of salon brand tea tree oil shampoos & body washes because it works. I just hated there was Sulfates & harsh salts & parabens added! I am honestly not the best money making stylist as i cant lie to people when I know darn well they can do the same thing at home and for cheaper!

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    3. So many great ideas, thanks for sharing!

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  19. Darn! I was hoping that the kombucha would work as well as vinegar. :( I've been poo-free for awhile and love the savings.

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    1. Fortunately, apple cider vinegar can easily be made for basically free! You can start out with apple scraps & water, or apple juice or cider, and just let it ferment until it turns into vinegar. I've got a batch going right now, and I added a little acv to it to get it started faster.
      But you could try the kombucha if you prefer it- maybe it will work for you? Everyone's kombucha turns out different!

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  20. Hey Emily,
    Great information. I haven't tried the poo free method yet. Does your hair feel funky at first? Do you have to get used to it? I may have to try this soon. I hate putting chemicals in my hair. Except, for dye, I am really grey and not ready to look grey at 54. LOL.
    Thank you so much for sharing with Wednesdays Adorned From Above Link Party last week. This weeks Link Party is opened at
    http://www.adornedfromabove.com/2012/10/almond-sugar-body-scrub-and-wednesdays.html
    from Wednesday until Sunday.
    Hope to see you there.
    Debi Bolocofsky
    Adorned From Above
    www.adornedfromabove.com

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    1. Deb, I put off trying this method for some time, because I hated the idea of a rough transition and dirty hair.
      If you go off washing your hair altogether, this will happen (my husband tried just washing his hair with water for a couple months after we quit shampoo, but he developed dandruff. When he switched to "my" method his hair & scalp were immediately clean & healthy!)
      I had no rough transition with the baking soda & vinegar! Really, I could not believe how well it cleaned my hair, from the first day. Try it! You will probably agree that you never need to use shampoo again.
      Good luck Debi,
      Mellow

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  21. This is great info! I've been researching the no 'poo method on several different blogs and such; in fact, I haven't washed my hair in 8 days! My hair itself feels perfectly fine and soft, other than a little oily right at the roots in the front of my hair. But my scalp is dry, itchy and flaky. So now you've got me thinking I should try this baking soda wash and vinegar rinse. I have a question for you though; what do you say to skepticals? I haven't mentioned to many people, but I did to my mom and she gave me a funny look. Lol I'm wondering, if/when it's brought up with other people who don't have a clue about the no 'poo method, what do you say? How do you assure them that it's not gross, or unhealthy and that your hair is perfectly clean?
    Thanks!

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    1. If you've gone cold turkey and don't want to deal with dryness or oiliness, I would start using the baking soda & vinegar, for sure! Then, when your hair is clean and shiny, tell all those skeptics that you haven't shampooed in however long... but make sure your hair looks good first! No one's going to be impressed if you've just been washing with water and your hair is in some funky transitional stage ;)

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    2. haha! Thanks for the input, and good point ;) I couldn't stand it anymore and had to wash this morning with my regular shampoo. It's all I had for now, but I used very minimal amount and rinsed REALLY well. It feels clean now, but not bogged down with residue. I'm going to get all the other ingredients (baking soda and vinegar) this weekend and start with your method. Thanks again!

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  22. I've only recently come across this 'no poo' method and while it sounds, interesting I'm a little worried about my dandruff. I can't be sure if the dandruff is from sensitivity to shampoo/conditioner or if it's just a natural thing to worry about. Dandruff as it 'large flakes littering my shoulders when I brush my hair'. Do you think this method will work if I switch suddenly or do I need to have a transition period?

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    1. I would definitely try this baking soda & ACV method for your dandruff. My partner hasn't had a bit of dandruff since using this method, and his got pretty bad when he just went "cold turkey" off shampoo.
      In my experience, you don't need to worry about having a transition period. If you are quitting washing your hair with anything, like my partner tried, that's going to be rough... but what we do, and what I recommend, is wash with baking soda and condition with ACV. It works right away, and you can feel it working.

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  23. I read an article about a year ago on toxic chemicals in personal care products. I carried the article to the bathroom and checked my shampoo and conditioner, the only 'normal' products I use on the recommendation of my hair stylist. I was shocked that it had FIVE different kinds of formaldehyde. They went in the trash and since then I've been using a natural brand with shea butter. Fine but expensive and it takes a lot to rinse it out. I've been washing my hair about once a week. After seeing this blog post I gave the baking soda/ACV idea a try. That was two weeks ago and my hair is just now getting to the point that I'm thinking of washing it again. It has been shiny and manageable and clearly my hair is happy if it isn't getting greasy. I'm just thrilled. And there are so many wonderful tips in the comments. Think I'll try the tea idea!

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  24. I too am a no-poo person. I actually ONLY use the baking soda and don't use any "conditioner" rinse. I started out with the vinegar, but then went on a month long adventure where I just carried a baggie of baking soda with me. I LOVE how clean my hair is and for SO LONG! I can go at least 4 days before I even think about that I should wash it. Sometimes it will look a smidge greasy, but I just kinda froof it and it looks fine.
    I have started rinsing every so often with tea, but I'm doing that more as a colorant. I had found a couple different ideas for coloring and figured I would check that out. It definitely gives a nice shine!
    Check out my no-poo experience http://nowwhatssheupto.blogspot.com/2012/09/my-no-poo-experience.html

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    1. I wish I could just do baking soda, but it doesn't seem to rinse out all the way without doing a vinegar rinse. Maybe it's our water?

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    2. Wow! I finally found someone else that only uses the baking soda! I've been doing this for about two weeks and I love it. You know, I really wondered if something as simple as baking soda and water would clean my very limp, oily and fine hair, but it did. I just started it without the vinegar as a test run to see what the baking soda alone would do. Well, my hair is really clean, soft as can be, and there's a new shine that I haven't had since I was a little girl!

      Mellow, I'm wondering about the water, too. I'm having no problems washing the baking soda out myself, and as I said, my hair is really shiny & healthy and isn't quite so limp anymore. I'm hooked.

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    3. Yeah, baking soda is pretty amazing stuff! I thought it would fry my hair, but it's so silky and clean!

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    4. I had the rinsing problem but using more water and letting the soda completely dissolve In a jug then pouring It over my dry hair like a rinse Instead of a fixed that.

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  25. What a great post and dialogue in the comments. Chock full of ideas. I remember trying baking soda and water before, but there was something I didn't like about it - it's been so long that I no longer remember. But maybe it was the lack of following it with the ACV rinse. You've inspired me to give this a go again. Thank you!

    Blessings...

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    1. I'm so glad! Yes, I don't think the baking soda alone would work for me. Good luck!

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  26. Hi there, I've just discovered your blog and am having great fun reading - great stuff!!

    Just a question about no-poo. Is 1/2t half a teaspoon or tablespoon?

    Also..... I did this for a couple of years (using 1Tbl soda to 1C water, and about the same ratio of ACV). It seemed to work OK for a while, then it went pear shaped, and I eventually gave up. The issues I had were that my hair never really felt clean, especially at the back of the head where you sweat the most. It would tend to be a bit smelly too (like dirty hair smell) and was SUPER itchy. I do have thick hair, but I would rinse rinse rinse rinse and I could never overcome the itchy thing. i use soda in my homemade deodorant with no probs so don't think I have an allergy to baking soda. But this was really disappointing.

    Reading this post I am motivated to try it again, but wonder if i was doing anything wrong. Here is what I did.

    I would mix the soda and water fresh each day in a squirty sauce bottle, squirt all over my scalp in the shower with the warm/hottish water, massage in well, then rinse heaps and heaps. Then put the ACV/water on my hair, and rinse out under cooler water. I found the ACV smell stayed in the hair too which I didn't like, but I'm keen to try some of the suggestions above with citrus, rosemary, lavender etc.

    So this was my method, but after a while (like.... a few months) my hair started to feel very heavy, not clean, and a bit stinky. Not what it's supposed to do, I'm sure. My hair tends to be oily at the roots and dry-ish on the ends.

    I don't really like most of the organic shampoos out there, and I'm using the Clear Scap therapy one at the moment. But being a commercial one I don't want to continue.

    if you have any tips or ideas I would be grateful as I'd like to try this again.

    Cheers
    Jane

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    1. Hi Jane, I posted this reply a long time ago, but I just noticed I didn't actually do it as a "reply" so you may not have seen it yet. Sorry!
      I use 1/2 a teaspoon of baking soda. For better or worse, I write teaspoon as "t" and tablespoon as "tb", hopefully with some consistency ;) When I started out, I tried much more than that, but quickly realized I needed way less, even for my long, naturally oily hair.
      I really don't think my hair smells like vinegar OR like dirty hair. I'm not sure about that part... but when I'm doing the acv rinse, I add a bit of water to the vinegar, about 3 parts water to 1, and condition the ends of my hair with that. Then, I dilute the vinegar much more, adding about another 1/2 cup of water to whatever's left of the acv. This I use on my scalp, to make sure the remainder of the baking soda disappears. I find if I don't do this step at all, I get unreacted baking soda left behind when it's dry, and if the acv isn't diluted enough, my hair ends up feeling greasy.
      I don't bother with rinsing any more than I normally would for real shampoo, since the acv helps to rinse out the soda. Good luck and I hope your experience is better this time!

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  27. Greetings from Norway. I added a link to your blog. Still shampoo free and loving it. Thanks for sharing.

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  28. Wow, baking soda and vinegar (of one sort or another) really are good for just about everything, aren't they?! I'm going to head back to your original post on it now. I feel another change coming on in our household... :)

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    1. Ha ha, yes! I just read that you can use baking soda to wash dishes as well, something I've never tried. Seems like it would be great!

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  29. So I just started using baking soda around new Years eve. Still trying to figure out how often to wash my hair with it..

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    1. Really, I just wash as needed. I shower every time I exercize, but I only wash my hair if it's looking like it needs it, which is about every 3 days. Some people don't even have to wash that often. It's up to your lifestyle, and your hair.
      If it looks and feels clean, you're washing it enough. I don't think you have to worry about overwashing because this is so gentle, but I prefer to go without washing as long as I reasonably can, while still maintaining clean hair, just because it takes time that I would rather be doing other things ;)

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  30. I've been wanting to do this for the longest time and I don't know what kick-started me into it but I've been using baking soda and regular vinegar (we don't have ACV and every time someone goes to the store we forget) for about two weeks now and the difference is truly amazing. I've always had very oily hair, to the point I would have to wash my hair at least once a day, but now (even after 10 days) I wake up in the morning and I don't feel like I need to wash my hair. It's truly amazing!

    My only problem is static. I live in Ohio and right now with the winter, my hair is just a static magnet. I tried putting a few drops of a natural lavender oil I happen to have in with the vinegar rinse (to cut the smell of the vinegar) and while that seems helps with some of the static, it doesn't help with all. Should I switch to ACV, is that the problem? I don't mind adding in a few extra ingredients into the rinses if it will help. I've heard of a honey and avocado conditioning mask that you leave on for 20 minutes but even doing that once a week can get expensive (price of avocados in Ohio...ouch). Any ideas? Thanks for the wonderful article :D

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    1. I don't know if there's much effective difference between white vinegar and ACV, but ACV could help with the static. It definitely leaves my hair shiny and smooth, and I haven't noticed a static problem all winter (though Seattle has nothing on Ohio winters!) I would definitely try ACV. Also, I use coconut oil as a moisturizer and if you rub a very small amount in your hands, and then apply it to the ends of your hair, it could help the static as well. Not too much or it will be greasy again, but a very little might be just the thing.
      That's so great that you've seen benefits from quitting shampoo!

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    2. First, Seattle is BEAUTIFUL and I wish I lived there...strike that. I wish I lived anywhere except Ohio. Enjoy the greenery for me :)

      I will definitely try the ACV (I remembered to pick it up at the store). Coconut oil...is that a paste or an actual oil? I've never heard of it, or seen it, before now. Where would I find something like that? I have a Whole Foods and a Trader Joe's very close to me...possibly try there?

      Thanks again for such wonderful advice :D

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    3. Coconut oil is solid at room temp, but easily liquifies when it warms up a bit. It's a great cooking oil, and absolutely wonderful for making raw desserts, plus it doubles as a body lotion! Our local Fred Meyers has it in the natural food section. I'm positive Whole Foods carries it as well. There are different grades, the more "virgin" ones are more pricey, and smell more coconutty. The more refined coconut oils are cheaper, and have less flavor (and less health benefits). We get the refined for external use and cooking, and the higher quality for using raw in recipes.

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  31. Hi Emily -

    Did you have any issues with the ACV lightening your hair? I see you have dark hair, so logic would dictate that there was no issue. However, I'd like to quell my paranoia that my hair will turn orange like Greg's did in that episode of The Brady Bunch :)

    Thanks!

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    1. ACV will definitely not lighten your hair, at least used this way. Maybe if you coated your hair with full strength vinegar, and then laid in the sun, I don't know- but using it diluted and then rinsing it out absolutely doesn't lighten it. In fact, last summer I tried to bleach part of my hair blond, with professional hair bleach. Unlike my friend's hair which went baby blond after one bleaching, mine was hardly changed after two bleachings! I really think this BS/ACV washing method protected my hair from the bleach. It was a bit disappointing at the time, but it was also a sign, I think, of how healthy my hair is these days. No worries, I think your hair will stay dark!

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  32. Hello, I've been doing this for a few days now, found it on pinterest. From the instruction I read on a different blog said to expect straw like hair for a couple of weeks, but thankfully my hair has been the same as normal. I was wondering how does it work when going swimming at getting the chlorine out you hair? I normally wash my hair 2-3 times after swimming an it still smell of it.
    Thanks Anna

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    1. Yeah, in my experience there is no "hair feeling like straw" transition. It was reading stuff like that that made me afraid to try this method. At least the way I do it, there is no residue and it just works great and leaves hair clean.
      I used this method after swimming in a chlorinated pool last summer, and didn't notice any lingering chlorine smell afterwards. Give it a try the next time you swim, it may just be better than shampoo!

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    2. Thank you, I'll give it ago next time.

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  33. I tried this today with FANTASTIC results! My hair feels clean and fresh!

    @Katie, for static, just get your hands slightly damp and run them over your hair. See if that works for you. :)

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  34. Hi, I would like to try baking soda and vinegar, but I am a guy who needs product to keep my hair under control. Do you think this solution will clean my hair of styling gel in a satisfactory way? Thanks!

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    1. I think this method would be fine with hair products, you just may need to use more baking soda than I do. I started out with 2 tablespoons, and quickly found that I needed less. Now I use only 1/2 teaspoon, but with hair product I might go back up to a tablespoon or so. Play around with it, it's ok to use too much and then gradually reduce the amount you use as you find you don't need so much.

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  35. I didn't really like the smell of the vinegar, I'm kind of a weenie, so I started using a little lemon juice. The longer I let the lemon juice sit on my hair, the less product I need for frizzies.

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    1. That's a great idea! It seems like anything mildly acidic would work, so lemon juice is perfect!

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  36. I've been using this method for a few washes. When do you start noticing the benefits of it? My hair used to be so beautiful and curly and that just stopped all of a sudden so I switched to natural stuff to kinda bring it back. Still struggling! haha

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    1. Oh, I hope you get your beautiful curls back! Give it time, it may take a while to recover from products you were using. Although, it is possible that your hair just changed over time and it's not going to go back to what it was. I'm no expert, but I know that hair texture and curls can change over the years, especially during things like pregnancy and menopause. Anyway, I hope this method helps! My hair is really shiny and healthy, and basically tangle free since going this route... but sadly no curls here ;)

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  37. I'm a fan of baking soda and vinegar as well. Although with our recent move and very soft water, I'm having to adjust the proportions a bit.

    We'd love for you to share your posts at our Finished Friday blog party.

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    1. Thank you, I will check it out! Yes, I can imagine different types of water would need a different amount of soda/vinegar.

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  38. I switched to an all natural shampoo, but this sounds interesting :) I would love to have you share this on Wildcrafting Wednesday!
    http://www.theselfsufficienthomeacre.com/2013/03/wildcrafting-wednesday-13.html

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  39. Great post! Very informative post and comments. I recently started using white vinegar to rinse my hair. I love it, my hair has never been so soft. The only probably is that my hair is a little fuzzy when it dries. But I didn't realize that I was suppose to dilute the vinegar, I was just squirting about a tablespoon onto my wet hair. I will try it diluted now. I've been scared to try the baking soda wash, but after reading all the comments and hearing all the great results I am going to give it a try. That you for sharing your wonderful post.

    Visiting from Project Inspired linky party.

    Linda

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  40. Thank you for sharing with the Clever Chicks Blog Hop this week; I hope you’ll join us again!


    Cheers,
    Kathy Shea Mormino

    The Chicken Chick

    http://www.The-Chicken-Chick.com

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  41. Wow, great post.

    Apart from the post above, are their any tips or suggestions for thick, curly hair? Curly hair is naturally dry and mine tends to knot really easily if I don't put enough conditioner. I'd love to try something natural like this even though I already use an organic shampoo and conditioner.

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    1. Well, (sorry this is a month delayed!) my husband does have thick and very curly hair, which he keeps pretty long and always gets compliments on. He never does anything to it besides washing this way once every three days or so. Hopefully you'll also find that the ACV really is all the conditioner you need. It's been really amazing for us; it just takes all the tangles out, and leaves your hair glossy! This really works better than all the organic shampoos and conditioners that we've tried in the past.

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  42. I started this regimine several weeks ago and LOVE the results. Then I read somewhere tht if you have hard water, you should boil the water first, let it settle so that the excess minerals float and stay at the bottom of the pan. Then pour (carefully) the hot water into another bowl and slowly add the baking soda (cuz it fizzes and "grows"). Let cool and put in spray bottle and keep in your shower. Sounded perfect, right? So I did it, but the baking soda "crystallized". Do you have any idea why? And I was reading the earlier posts and spray bottles are the way to go - especially for the shampoo part, because you can really concentrate on getting it directly on your scalp. Just wondering if you have any idea why my baking soda crystallized and if you have ever heard of boiling the water when your water is hard?

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    1. That sounds like a lot of work! Spray bottles sound like a good idea in theory... but that sounds like a pain that it crystallized. No, I don't know why exactly the baking soda crystallized, but maybe it was too saturated (more soda than the water could hold in solution).
      I really find that just mixing the baking soda with a little warm water as I need it is easy and simple, and then I pour it right on my scalp, so it gets where it's needed easily enough.

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  43. I heard about this. My mother uses the apple cider vinegar to rinse but I wonder if it works on processed hair? Thank you for the info.
    Consider yourself hugged,
    http://www.theconfidentmom.com/mom-resources/the-confident-moms-calendar-for-surviving-summer-with-kids/?ap_id=simpleesue

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    1. You'll just have to try it and find out... ;)

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  44. Thanks for posting about your trials and different regimes! I've been using coco oil on my ends 2x a week and washing with 3/4 tablespoon baking soda in 1 1/2 cup water (I have long, thick and coarse hair that lies slightly wavy.. Hawaiian hair). About 5 months in, and everything is great but a couple days after washing I notice I have a LOT of dead skin build up. I'll scratch my head and a lot of residue (feels waxy.. probably oil?) will come off. I scrub with the baking soda.. but I don't know where I could be going wrong.. any ideas? Also, what does baking soda residue feel like?

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    1. That doesn't sound fun. Do you use the ACV rinse?

      Delete
  45. Hi, I have been reading this with great interest and feel like it is the way to go for me, and would also like to try it on my kids, but both my daughters have super long, tangle-prone hair. You should hear them when I try and brush it in the morning! So what I'm wondering is will the cider vinegar rinse de tangle their hair like a normal conditioner would? Or is there something else I need to use to get the tangles out when I'm bathing them? Really excited about trying this, going straight out to the shops in the morning to get the vinegar!
    Claire x

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    1. While my hair isn't especially tangle-prone, I can get some nasty snarls here and there! I literally use no other conditioning/detangling products, and I find the knots come out easily with the ACV. Perhaps give it a try on your own hair first, so you know how it feels and how well it works before trying it with your daughters.
      Also, I have a suspicion that shampoo contributes to tangles. Hopefully you will find that the baking soda really doesn't do this. It cleans junk out of the hair, with out leaving it tangled, so there is really less detangling to do after washing.
      Good luck!

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  46. No poo here too! Thanks for sharing with us at Eco-Kids Tuesday. Hope to see you again today! http://likemamalikedaughter.blogspot.com/2013/06/eco-kids-tuesday_25.html

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  47. I am now on day 3 of shampoo free. I originally researched the Internet to find a way to get rid of lifelong dandruff (in my forties and had it for as long as I can remember). Tried lots of different types of anti dandruff shampoos containing lots of different chemicals (zinc pyrithione, selenium, etc, etc) at varying concentrations some did not work at all whilst others worked for a very short period before becoming ineffective.

    I have oily hair which needs shampooing everyday as i am quite active. Started day 1 and 2 with just bicarbonate of soda. This left my hair like straw but still felt greasy close to roots (especially on day 2) although it did not look it and i rinsed really well. however the dandruff was almost gone with 1st wash and had completely vanished with 2nd wash. Day 3 decided to add vinegar to see if it would remove the straw like feel and it did! Hair still felt a bit greasy (but does not look it) and soft.

    I used the bicarb as a paste on wet hair, massaged it in gently, rinsed with water, rinsed with diluted white vinegar (acv too expensive in Australia like everything else!), left it on for a couple of mins whilst I showered myself and then final rinse with water.

    So far I am happy with the results - cautiously optimistic since it has only been 3 days but not scratching my scalp like mad at the end of the day or the following day after shampoo is fantastic. I will keep going and hope hair settles and stops over producing oil and dandruff does not return ever.

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    1. That is fantastic! Nik hasn't had a dandruff issue since using baking soda and vinegar either. And really, when I used white vinegar it seemed to work every bit as well as ACV, so I think you're fine there. We make our own ACV with pressed cider each year. If you know anyone with apple trees (if they grow in Australia...), it's a good way to go!

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    2. thanks...ACV also too expensive here, I'll try it using white vinegar

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  48. Thanks for sharing the travel tip. I've never gone shampoo free, but it looks like it works wonders! Thanks for sharing on Tuesday Greens!

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  49. Hi Mellow I have been using the bi-carb to wash my hair its amazing,I just put about a teaspoon in a small dish of water and pour it over my hair and it lathers up just like shampoo and leaves my hair so shinny,soft and silky. I too have long hair and no need to use any thing for a conditioner...I'm 50 and wish I discovered this many years ago ..like you I don't use any toxic chemicals in my home and on my family ..love you to drop by at http://simpleliving-sherrie.blogspot.com.au
    P.S we call baking soda in Australia bi-carb..

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  50. Quick question! I have read a lot of stuff online about baking soda damaging hair over time (due to the ph difference from the scalp). How long have you been using it and has the texture or thickness of your hair (or family's hair) changed?

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    1. Hi Christina,
      We've been using baking soda & ACV for over two years now! My hair is definitely not damaged. I have really long hair still and trim it myself maybe once a year, but I barely have split ends.
      I think using very diluted baking soda, and then rinsing with diluted ACV, makes it safe. There are people who just rub baking soda into their scalps and that might be a little much in the long run. I am curious about the "pH balanced" homemade shampoos, but I'm happy with this method. It's so simple and really works!

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  51. I've just started using this method the other day and I'm still working on getting proportions right for my hair. How do you store your baking soda and ACV in the shower? The containers I bought do not dispense the baking soda very well, even once I mix it with water.

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    1. The only thing I store in the shower are two plastic cups. I just spoon a little baking soda into one, and pour a little ACV into the other, before each shower. I now keep a small jar of each in the bathroom for convenience, but for years we'd load up our cups from the kitchen jars before showering.

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  52. Does this have any effect on or reaction with hair dye? I finally found a salon that only uses organic color. I want to try this but don't want to end up with a crazy color or (worse) my hair breaking off. Has anyone had any experience with the baking soda/ACV and color-treated hair?

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    1. Yes, unfortunately it does! It's nothing horrid, but the few times I've tried to dye my hair in the past couple of years, NOTHING happened. It's like my hair is impermeable to color, or even professional hair bleach. Two bleachings barely lightened the ends of my hair. Dark red henna did nothing. It was disappointing, but I take it as a sign that I have super healthy hair.

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  53. Hi I've used this technique since I was a young girl. We didn't have much growing up and my mother learned this from her mother. We also used baking soda to brush our teeth along with a little mint oil. Just a thought too on the orange peel in the vinegar. Be careful not to get citrus on your skin and then end up in the sun. I grew up in the South where we were always at the pool with some new concoction on our hair to lighten or to condition. Well citrus and sun don't mix--you can get terrible burns- we were always warned about this. I'm sure there's a name for it--hyper-photosensitivity or something--I made that up. Anyway use caution when using plant extracts and then getting exposure to the sun.

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    1. What do you use to brush your teeth now? Just curious if you didn't like the baking soda & mint oil for some reason.

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