Baking Soda and Apple Cider Vinegar: Why You’ll Never Go Back to Shampoo
Surprise, surprise. Your commercial shampoo may have ingredients that could have serious repercussions on your health.
There’s a reason that hair care professionals suggest washing your hair only once or twice a week.
Flip over your bottle of shampoo. One of the main ingredients in shampoo is Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, known as SLS. Is it on the back of the label? It’s likely there because it is a detergent, degreaser and foaming agent. It’s in more than your shampoo, however; it might be in your dishwasher detergent, toothpaste, bubble bath and other foaming home products. Also check your car wash soap, garage floor cleaners, and car engine degreasers.
SLS isn’t something you want hanging around your sensitive body. Skin irritation, hormone disruption, eye irritation, and eye deformities are all known results of SLS toxicity. If that’s not enough, it’s even possibly carcinogenic when paired with some of the other typical ingredients in shampoo.
Even if you dismiss the SLS risks as nothing to be concerned about, here’s another issue you’re your shampoo. As I said, SLS is a detergent and degreaser. This means it strips your scalp of the natural oils in it. “Good!” you might declare. “I don’t want oily hair!” Not so fast: those oils are actually healthy and there for a reason. When they get stripped, your scalp dries out along with your hair. That’s where conditioner comes in, to replenish and restore the damage. However, the natural way is nearly always better, and sadly, conditioner does not stay on your hair in the same way that your natural oil would.
Thus begins a vicious cycle. Once your scalp contains less oil, it senses the need for more oils to be produced. That’s why you may notice an oily scalp after just a few days of not washing it. Your scalp is going into overdrive, overcompensating for these necessary oils.
A breakdown of what you’re probably doing right now: wash your hair, strip the oils, put fake oils to reduce the damage, your scalp gets super oily the next day as a result, so you wash it again.
What can we do to break the cycle?
You can definitely switch over to SLS-free, toxin-free shampoo, but you might notice this is a little pricey. Thankfully, there’s a cheaper solution! Grab baking soda and apple cider vinegar on your way home, as well as the little travel-size squeeze bottles found in the dollar section.
Baking Soda “Shampooing”
Baking soda is a gentle alkaline compound effective for cleansing and removing build up from your hair. The typical formula is 1 tablespoon of baking soda for every cup of water, though you might want to play with it according your hair density and texture. Fine, thin or short hair may require less.
A good method is to use an 8 oz travel size squeeze bottle. Fill it up with the water and baking soda mixed together. Shake it up to dissolve the baking soda.
In the shower, squeeze the water/baking soda mix onto your head, starting with the crown and then all over the scalp. Thoroughly work it through with my hands, scrubbing the scalp and rubbing the hair.
You may notice a remarkable difference in this experience: no lather or foam. This doesn’t mean it isn’t working, however! It is, in fact, cleaning your hair in a much gentler, more natural way.
Leave it on for a minute or two and then rise as normal.
Apple Cider Vinegar Rinse
We’ve raved about apple cider vinegar before. It’s an amazingly multi-functional, mild acidic that is useful for detangling and clarifying, balancing the pH level of your hair, and sealing the hair cuticle. Use 1-2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar to every cup of water. For dry hair, use closer to 2 tablespoons. For oilier hair, use 1 tablespoon or less. Again, you may want to play with it to see what works best for you.
Put the required amount of ACV as well as a cup or a cup and a half of water into a reused apple cider vinegar bottle. Shake it up thoroughly.
In the shower, starting at the crown of the head, pour just a little on top. Then, pour again while scrunching up the hair at the base of the neck and concentrate most of solution towards the bottom and ends of your hair.
Wait a minute or two and then rinse it out.
Your hair will probably go through a transition phase lasting anywhere from 2 to 8 weeks in order for all of the chemicals to wash out, as well as restoration for proper scalp oil balance. In the transition period, your hair may be a little flatter, duller, or greasier as your scalp finds its balance. Sticking it out for the 2 to 8 weeks will be entirely worth it, however, as many testify that it’s their best hair they’ve ever had.
You also may have to play your solutions for some time to get the right balance for your specific hair situation. If your hair is too dry, use less baking soda or try rinsing with honey instead of vinegar. If your hair is too oily, use less vinegar, or try rinsing with lemon juice, or try not using a rinse at all.
Now is the Time for an Ayurvedic Spring Cleanse
Spring has been shown to be the best time for a cleanse, which may just be the best action you can take for your health today. The ancient science of Ayurveda provides a safe, evidence-based, and comprehensive way to do it.
Cleansing, or detoxing the body, has been a key practice throughout the 5,000 years of Ayurveda’s history as a system of natural healing. Now, research explains the impressive results of the Ayurvedic cleanse.
Dr. John Douillard is a leading Ayurvedic practitioner who has been incorporating Ayurvedic detox programs in his practice for decades. He explains that poor digestion is at the core of the need for detoxification.
“I think most people don’t realize that our ability to digest well is directly linked to our ability to detoxify well,” Doulliard said. “In one survey, [it was] reported that 74 percent of the American population have a digestive imbalance of some kind, suggesting that not only are we not getting the nutrition that we need, but we’re also not getting the waste out as efficiently as we could — and there are waste, toxins, and pollutants everywhere. So, even if you eat really clean, which is obviously a really important thing, you’re still being exposed to toxicity, which means that you have to be able to digest well to detoxify that. That’s why Ayurveda is all about making sure with every change of the season, we do our best to reset — a deep rejuvenation to repair the digestion and detox organs and pathways. They’re actually creating a whole new population of bugs in your gut that are based on this year’s model, which gives you the stability and immunity for the entire year.”
Given these compelling reasons, what are the best indicators to notice if it’s time for you to do a cleanse?
“How is your digestion? Do you have a food intolerance? When you look at your tongue in the morning, if it’s white or coated, Ayurveda calls it ‘ama’ or undigested food. When you’re toxic, you’re tired, and not getting the energy from the lymph delivery of fat — your immune system is compromised and you can’t take the trash out, so it starts coming out through your skin. This gives you brain fog, headaches, rashes, indigestion; all these things begin to happen,” Douillard said.