As far as hair-care fads go, the general trend in the beauty community is toward a more natural approach. First, stylists recommended shampoos with more natural ingredients. Who will ever forget the ecstatic Herbal Essences shower commercials from the early 2000s? Then hair pros suggested clients avoid shampoo with silicone and sulfates. Afterward, eco-conscious consumers tried to avoid harmful paraben, phthalates, sodium laurel sulfate, petroleum byproducts and other chemicals.
Now, a new fad is sweeping beauty blogs: Washing your hair with only baking soda and apple cider vinegar. Many people are rightfully skeptical. Most folks live their entire lives shampooing their hair every day. Leaving behind their beloved shampoos and conditioners sounds like an insane thing to do.
Truthfully, at first things can get a little grubby. The way the “no-poo method” works is that once you no longer strip your hair every day of its natural oils, your scalp actually adapts and starts to produce less grease. The concept is similar to washing one’s hands or applying lip balm less frequently to prevent dryness. The baking soda deodorizes your hair, gently removes oil from the roots and exfoliates the scalp. Apple cider vinegar replaces your conditioner, softening strands and adding natural shine while balancing the pH levels in your hair from the baking soda.
Use the baking soda and apple cider vinegar separately, just like you would with shampoo and conditioner. Any amounts will suffice – just mix it with water and experiment with ratios to use however much you feel saturates your hair and scalp. In the first stages of trying the method, your hair might be a little limp and greasy. That’s just your scalp adjusting to a new regimen. It’s like shampoo withdrawal. During this period, it helps to wear hair pulled back to reduce the appearance of oiliness. Ponytails, up-dos, headbands and headscarves can help mask the grease.
After a few weeks you’ll find that your hair is softer, shinier and easier to manage. Curls will have more bounce and limp thin hair will have more body. This approach to hair care can also save you money, is truly all natural and cuts down on the number of times you need to clean your hair each week. If you dye your hair, your color will last longer too.
As one blogger found, the baking soda and apple cider vinegar method doesn’t work for everyone. Jaquelyn Baers did what other beauty mavens are doing. She tried the alternative method, but when it didn't quite work she decided to go one step further – she ditched all cleansing products and started only washing her hair only with water.
Again, the breaking-in period was a little messy. She experienced some oiliness in the beginning. Patience paid off, however. Baers’ hair now looks great. It’s shiny and even grows faster. If you try this method, try rinsing your hair with hot water at first. Warm water strips oils more efficiently from your scalp than a cold rinse.