No 'Poo Take Two: Washing Hair With Baking Soda And Vinegar Has Surprisingly Excellent Results

Over the last few months I've been trying (and failing) to get on with sulfate-free shampoo. I have a sensitive, irritable scalp that gets oily quickly (it's a real delight) and it was suggested to me several times that avoiding Sodium Lauryl Sulfate and Sodium Laureth Sulfate, which are detergents and foaming agents, would help balance my scalp and generally keep it happy.

While my scalp might be very marginally more content, the process certainly hasn't made me any happier.

Naked Detox: So bad, I've dubbed it SHAM-poo Naked Detox: So bad, I've dubbed it SHAM-poo

I'm out of pocket and out of sorts at the fact that not one of the myriad of SLS/SLES free products I've trialled, from budget to high-end, have really seemed to suit my hair. The Naked shampoo I tried was impossible to rinse clean and I felt permanently scuzzy when using it, while a Louise Galvin shampoo and conditioner duo looked fancy but ultimately left my hair feeling dry and brittle.

Louise Galvin Lovely
Louise Galvin Natural Locks: Hair fail

Oh, and none of them did a thing to stave off scalp oiliness, which has actually gotten worse rather than better since I switched.

The upshot is that I've spent several months now waiting for my scalp and hair to adjust to a lather-free existence with nothing to show for it but a mane that always looks like crap.


I was fed up. I was going to jack it in and revert to my old ways. And then, as I was getting ready to hop in the shower, I realised that every bloody shampoo in the house was SLS/SLES free.

Well, I was damned if I was letting any of them near my hair again, so I took to the kitchen presses... and went proper old skool, washing my hair with a baking soda and water paste instead and finishing with an apple cider vinegar and water rinse. (You might remember that xgirl tried another so-called "no 'poo" method a couple of weeks ago, using just water conditioner to cleanse her hair.)

Baking soda + vinegar = winning! Baking soda + vinegar = winning!

I actually found it easier to wash my hair with the baking soda mix than with any of the shampoos I've been using. Like any shampoo I've ever used, I just wet my hair thoroughly and then massaged it into my roots before rinsing it out. I didn't feel like I'd missed any spots, and it rinsed out cleanly and easily. I'd made up the vinegar rinse in a mug and just tipped my head back and slowly poured it through from roots to ends.

Immediately afterwards, my hair felt properly, thoroughly clean for the first time in ages. And I didn't smell like a chipper – bonus! While it was a little more difficult to comb out my hair than if I'd used conditioner, it didn't look like a fuzzy bush when it air-dryed.

It did look wildly shiny (in a good rather than greasy way) with an unexpected bit of volume in evidence at my usually flat roots, and I got an extra day out of the wash compared to the SLS/SLES free alternatives.

Colour me surprised and delighted.


Have you ever tried the baking soda and vinegar method for washing your hair?

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