Baking Soda: The Cure for Sad Hair

This post was actually slated for later in the year, but enough people texted and messaged me after my Instagram post that I decided to go ahead and do it now! 

Behold! A series of awkward selfies while I tell you about my newest green hair hack! Whatever class it was women my age took on taking a cute, not self-conscious selfie, I was out sick that day. Also I'm short on time this month, so phone selfies it is today. Bear with me, y'all.

I have what has been described as very "thirsty" hair, which means it absorbs everything and anything, and I also have that previously mentioned tendency to aggressively hoard shampoo products like the well-coiffed chipmunk I secretly am.


That means I'm periodically subjected to sad, flat, gunky hair. Think Ethan Hawke in Reality Bites and you'll have an idea of what was going on up top last week. 

Normally I would happily bop on out to CVS and raid the bath aisle for a new clarifying shampoo, but I have a shower filled with enough bar shampoo to last me until the zombie apocalypse because 1) those little bars last forever and 2) #hoarder. I'm also trying to break myself of my constant consumer mindset lately, and that's harder than you'd think.

Furthermore, there is a lot of toxic shit in most clarifying shampoo, and it comes in a plastic bottle. Need a refresher on why we all have to curb our plastic consumption? Click here.

So I took to the internet. The first thing I stumbled across was a vinegar rinse. It was... weird. Even after rinsing it out and then later washing my hair, my head smelled like a Caesar salad. It was so hot. All I needed was to stick a few anchovies in there. 


Then I found a recipe for a baking soda rinse. Being slightly scarred by the Salad Hair incident, I was skeptical. But it was so simple and cheap, how could I not try it?

Here's what I used:

  • Sport-style water bottle
  • 1 tablespoon baking soda (if you're going to use this regularly, you may need less)
  • Warm water (so the baking soda dissolves

Dump water and baking soda in bottle, shake, and rinse through hair, working through with your fingers. (I washed my hair first because I am neurotic and anxious and had serious doubts about this level of hippie dippie.)


Here's what happened:

A rubbery slime came off of my hair. GROSS. Then, despite not having brushed out my extremely long, fine hair before getting in the shower after a long day running around, I had no tangles. Zero. I think my normally snarl-prone locks have actually been suffering from waxy build up of fancy chemicals and whatever is in our water over the years. 

Then, because I was running late as usual and I am a trash heap of a woman when it comes to beauty and social practices, I ran out the door with sopping wet hair. Like, drowned rat wet.

This is the result after my shampoo + baking soda rinse:

  • No conditioner
  • No blow drying
  • No styling of any sort
  • No product
  • And I hadn't had a haircut in 5 months

I got so many compliments, and people kept asking if I had straightened my hair that day! I'm sold. Oh, and I already had the baking soda from making Jen's Meal Without Plastic Pumpkin Chocolate Chunk Bread, so it cost me nothing. It felt so good enjoying my hair after such a blah spell, I immediately went to my girl Ashley at Lava Salon and got a whole new 'do.


So, should you use this every day? There ARE people who claim to use baking soda in lieu of shampoo. But let's be reasonable about this. Anything strong enough to strip your hair of everything shampoo (and vinegar!) couldn't wash out probably isn't something you should use in really strong quantities every day. I plan to use it on my super fine tresses once a month or so, and it's also worth noting I don't have color treated hair. If you do, get on that Google, gurrrrrrrrl, and make an informed choice. 

I'm in love with the baking soda rinse, though. My hair hasn't been this shiny, fluffy, or bouncy in... I can't honestly remember when! I love the feel and look, and this change is here to stay. And for my fellow hair hoarders, here's why this is your better option than hitting the store next time you're having a sad hair day: